A View From The Overlook: Safety Issue

The National Park Service and other federal law enforcement agencies have always had a guarded, nervous relationship with the National Rifle Association, and with good reason.

The 4.5-million-member NRA is the largest armed entity in the world; larger than the American army, larger even than the Chinese Army, and is vociferously truculent in assertion of its rights.

True, there are some NPS rangers who are duly ordained life-members of the NRA and who support it enthusiastically and religiously (the NRA does indeed have some aspects of a religion).

Other rangers are not so sure. One ranger, who shall remain anonymous, as he is still making a living with the NPS, had this to tell me:

“PJ, early in my NPS career, I became a firearms instructor. As part of that training and in order to gain certification, I was required to join the NRA. I was furious and complained to my supervisor. My peers looked at me like I was some wild-eyed commie.

"After joining the NRA, I received an amazing amount of NRA propaganda, including subscription to two of their publications. It was very instructive to experience the materials that were sent to their members. I now understood why they hold the severe positions that they do and how they become so rabid about these issues; total mind-bending propaganda similar to what might have been seen in World War II Germany. I know it sounds extreme, but after you read their publications, I am confident you will agree," Ranger X told me.

One person who apparently agreed with Ranger X was the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Unlike Ranger X, President Bush was an NRA True Believer; a life member. However, Bush resigned his life membership. What happened?

Among other things, what happened was Wayne La Pierre, “spokesperson” for the NRA.

It seems that Wayne spoke.

Well, you say, that’s what “spokespersons” are supposed to do, right?

Except in the case of Wayne. Not a bad person, Wayne was sort of like your Uncle Fred.

Every family has an Uncle Fred. A decent enough chap, but there are certain things that send him into raging, crazy tirades. Uncle Fred believes that the Democrats are putting fluoride into the water supply to turn everyone into liberal zombies. Therefore, everyone at Thanksgiving dinner is warned not to mention (A) Democrats (B) Fluoride or (C) Water.

In the case of Wayne, some of the trigger words that will set him off are (A) federal agents (B) guns (C) gun control and of course, (D) the Second Amendment.

La Pierre had a dim view of federal agents before the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 federal employees, including four commissioned federal law enforcement officers. Just days before the bombing he compared federal agents to some kind of fascists in a letter soliciting support for the NRA in its opposition to gun-control legislation.

“What did Wayne say that was so bad?” you ask.

Basically, Wayne said that the federal law enforcement officers were “Jack-booted thugs.”

After the bombing, President Bush resigned his life membership in the NRA with the following letter to La Pierre.

“…. Al Whicler, who served on my Secret Service detail when I was Vice President and President, was killed in Oklahoma City. He was no Nazi. He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country and serve it well he did.

"I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of the NRA’s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.

"However, your broadside against federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slandered a wide array of government law enforcement officials who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us…”

Well said, Mr. President!

Now among the “wide array of government law enforcement officials” are the National Park Service's commissioned law enforcement park rangers, who don’t wear Jackboots and are not thugs. (Wayne may have watching too many old World War II movies on TV.)

Now, one of the problems of protecting the public is the “Security Bubble Illusion,” the fondly and widely held belief that somewhere, someplace, somehow, there is a ” Camelot of Safety,” an enchanted place where Nothing Bad Can Happen.

This is often described as being some rural village in the “Heartland" ---until, of course, something really horrific happens there.

Another “Camelot of Safety” is America’s National Parks where John Muir’s injunction to “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings!” is expected by the gentle and naive to cure even potential mass murderers of their desires.

Unfortunately, that is not in the mountains’ job description. Since humans visit national parks; this means the potential of random violence exists in even the smallest, most bucolic historical park. Even something as mundane as a dog off a leash can escalate into murderous violence. This was exactly the case at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park in Hawaii, and cost a responding park ranger his life.

More recently, Ranger Margaret Anderson was killed in Mount Rainier National Park on January 1, 2012, by a paranoid fugitive who was headed up the mountain toward the heavily used Paradise Visitor Center. The killer’s intentions are not known, but they were unlikely to have been pleasant. The killer’s plans were disrupted and in the ensuing manhunt, Mount Rainier itself exacted the ultimate vengeance.

There is no “Camelot of Safety” in national parks. Things happen. Last year, a mountain goat improbably gored a visitor to death.

So, with the smarmy oleaogeness of a crooked undertaker, the National Rifle Association offered a plan to protect the patrons of the national parks from dangers both animal and human.

How? Well, the NRA believes that everyone who visits a national park should potentially be armed and dangerous (to the bad guy or “bad” animal of course)

Now this is the kind of bizarre idea that normally shows up in publications like THUNDERBEAR, which the NPS can ignore.

Unfortunately, the NPS cannot safely ignore the NRA.

Using malleable congresspersons who, for whatever reason, agreed with their position, the NRA put sufficient pressure on the Department of Interior and the NPS to reverse a nearly 100-year-ban on firearms carry in the national parks.

To be sure, since parks were often adjacent to U.S. Forest Service or other public land where hunting was permitted, bringing unloaded, cased, and/or disassembled firearms through a park was OK. That all changed when the gun people won the right to carry fully operational, fully loaded guns in the parks, the rationale being defense against dangerous animals or people. (One envisions Wayne LaPierre being enveloped by an Everglades Python!)

Do the NPS Resource Management folks agree? Generally speaking, no.

The wildlife management folks understandably believe that their years of education and experience in animal behavior trump the knowledge of a used car salesman with the price of a Glock pistol.

The wildlife rangers point out that bison often manage people with false or bluff charges when us pesky two leggers get too close. However, the charge can become a real one if 9 mm rounds irritate the bison.

Some Yosemite National Park bears adopted a clever mugging strategy. While they would not directly attack a backpacker, they would seize the bottom end of the backpack and hold on. This is a Tug O’War that no human can win. The hiker is forced to abandon his pack.

Seems like a clear case for Mr. Glock or Mr. Colt, doesn’t it? Nope, the NPS believes that the bear should learn human avoidance, but not by dying, and the NPS would much prefer that you use the very effective bear sprays.

Ah, but what about the human predator? Again, the law enforcement ranger spends hundreds of hours in training, and later with that stern teacher, Experience, in learning when to shoot and when not to shoot. They prefer that you leave these decisions to the ranger.

“But what if there is no ranger available?” you ask. What if you are hiking a dark and lonely trail 20 miles from civilization and you come upon a strange and suspicious character, possibly a liberal or maybe even a Democrat, coming down the trail, directly toward you! What are you going to do? Shouldn’t you have the ability to shoot him?

Well, an actual and similar situation happened to David Michael Keane, son of the present president of the NRA. In the year 2002 The 21-year-old Mr. Keane was driving the George Washington Memorial Parkway, a unit of the National Park Service. An aggressive driver cut off Mr. Keane. There was not a park ranger in sight (never around when you need ‘em!) So young Mr. Keane hauled out his legal 9mm semiautomatic and fired one shot at the offending driver. The bullet shattered the rear window and lodged in the headrest of the driver’s seat. (Not bad shooting from a moving vehicle!)

Bullets are strange things, once fired they cannot be recalled and they change lives forever. The aggressive driver was not injured (except for being scared out of his Okole, as the Hawaiians say). David Michael Keane on the other hand, could not unshoot that single bullet and it changed his life. He was arrested on December 5, 2002, pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison where he was to learn anger management and the manufacture of interpretive signs for the NPS.

Something to think about.


Ah, how wonderful it must be to be a world class expert on EVERYTHING.

Lee, I don't consider myself an expert, just accomplished. But thanks for the compliment.

Target shooting isn't legal? Hunting isn't legal? Self defense isn't legal? 30 round magazine could be convenient for all those.

I'll skip the debate about whether laws banning 30-round magazines would be useful, but would suggest that anybody who needs a 30-round magazine to get the job done for either hunting or self-defense needs to spend more time on the range and get their skills up to par :-)

Lee... I've seen you make some weak arguments but....you don't usually resort to the elementary schoolyard taunt.... ECBuck didn't claim to be an expert.... he simply provided Zebulon with some factual rebuttal to his emotional assertions about guns.. Facts are easy for anyone to obtain in the age of the internet... you do, of course, have to be critical regarding your source.... multiple source corroboration might be useful too.

I would think that facts would be welcome in this debate... However, if you prefer to run on pure emotion, your arguments are terriffic!

Problem is that facts and emotions too often become one here. Endless attempts to dodge, weave, and divert become very old after awhile. Deliberate twisting of what another person has said does nothing to add substance to a discussion. Some people are more expert at that than others. And when that is all they seem able to offer, then it becomes an exercise in futility to try to respond with something that might be sensible.

It just has to be up to other readers to decide who they will stand beside.

We're having a nasty ice storm here in Utah today. I think I'll go ice skating on my sidewalk and get some fresh air.

Facts are facts and opinion (or emotion) are not necessarily facts...there is no reason for any of us to think they 'become one' in these discussions. We do have a bunch of correspondants who chose to cloak opinion as facts, however.

Ecbuck responded to a specific question Zebulon asked about ecbucks's opinion of gun regulation. Zebulon then made some assertions about guns that aren't accurate. Ecbuck then gently provided Zebulon with accurate information... I don't see any deliberate twisting there....

I think you're right Lee. I think you need some fresh air.

I don't know Jim - heres a place that advertising shooting 300-700 rounds a day praire dog hunting. Having 30 round magazines might be convenient.


I can't say for sure because I don't hunt. But I do know that having those 30 round mags won't hurt.

As to self defense, if I had a half dozen folks coming at me (think Katrina like situations) it again wouldn't hurt to have a 30 round magazine.

(Added by edit) - What does it help getting rid of them?

I don't think I'm the only one . . . . Unfortunately the "accuracy" of a lot of information is entirely dependent upon the opinions of whoever is stating or receiving it. I'm just pushing for moderation in all this. But moderation has become a dirty word to some folks.

Keep smiling and let's be thankful we are allowed to have opinions and disagreements.

Would I be off base if I point out that anyone who needs 300 to 700 rounds for a day of plinking prairie dogs needs some practice in their marksmanship?

Unfortunately the "accuracy" of a lot of information is entirely dependent upon the opinions of whoever is stating or receiving

Lee, if any of my information is inaccurate - pray tell, identify it and provide evidence to back your position. The problem is that whenever I ask you (and some others) to back your assertions, you seldom deliver.

There's nothing emotional about my remarks ecbuck. However, I haven't seen a rational case made as to why anybody needs a semi automatic assault gun with 30 bullet magazine for either target shooting or hunting. The NRA/pro gun lobby always does the same thing. It comes up with the most outlandish claims (we have to be ready for the next Katrina/zombie apocalypse (remember the rule: doubletap)) to support its refusal of any kind of regulation. Even after the proposed regulation, you'll still be able to buy weapons that will allow you to target shoot, hunt or defend yourself. The 2nd amendment, misinterpreted or not, is safe.

No need to be irrational about it.

Zeb - there are many things we don't "need" in life. Just because we don't "need" them doesn't mean they should be banned. Nobody "needs" a Porsche to get from point A to B. Should we ban Porsches? How about recreational boats. Nobody "needs" one of those yet twice as many people are killed in recreational boats as are killed by rifles of all kinds on an annual basis. Should we ban recreational boats?

If you could demonstrate that banning would have some beneficial effect - i.e. there is a need for the ban, then you might get more support. But, the fact is the 1994 ban had no measurable impact. Other areas (i.e. England) where gun bans were put in place had no or even detrimental effects regarding gun violence.

There is nothing irrational about wanting to enact legislation that is effective not just cosmetic. And there is nothing irrational about wanting to respect our Constitution.

I enjoyed your article PJ. I always thought a well regulated militia would be like the National Gaurd or a posse going after a cattle rustler. I also figure the right to bear arms should be well regulated. When this amendment was written, they had muskets. I know that although I have the freedom of speech, I cannot shout "Fire" in a theater. I feel the real problem here is where the line between military weapon and personal weapon. You can't have go around with a bazooka or rocket launcher, yet maybe some feel they need more than a hammer or knife (that the NRA people always remind me could kill someone). I guess my feeling is a pistol for protection or a shotgun for hunting is enough for civilians. If that means we need to change laws or amendments...than i am for it.

Attempts to deliver are fruitless when they are twisted and distorted. Dodging and ducking and restating and contradicting even things posted by oneself earlier is not productive. Trying to cite anything to rebut a nebulous opinion is fruitless. You are an expert in bringing empty smokescreens into otherwise sensible discussions.

One example: "there are many things we don't "need" in life. Just because we don't "need" them doesn't mean they should be banned. Nobody "needs" a Porsche to get from point A to B. Should we ban Porsches? How about recreational boats. Nobody "needs" one of those yet twice as many people are killed in recreational boats as are killed by rifles of all kinds on an annual basis. Should we ban recreational boats?"

How does that in any way move the discussion forward?

It's like when your good friend Founding Father posted a couple hundred totally extraneous clips from Wikipedia in an attempt to respond to a comment about global warming. Tactics that are as slippery as the icy sidewalk outside my home are great for politicians, but they do nothing to actually bring good solutions to serious problems.

So David - what do you think those changed laws or amendments will accomplish?

If you could demonstrate that banning would have some beneficial effect - i.e. there is a need for the ban, then you might get more support. But, the fact is the 1994 ban had no measurable impact.

Guess it depends on how you measure "impact" of the previous ban. Here's some food for thought. (I include sources, and will accept their accuracy at face value unless someone refutes the information.)

1. Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the country...Twenty-five of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006 (after the ban on assault weapons was lifted) , and seven of them took place in 2012.

Source: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

2. 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

3. "Mass Shooting Incidents in America (1984-2012)." This report documents 30 mass shootings in the U. S. in which large capacity magazines were used. Thirteen of the incidents listed (43 %) occurred since late 2004 (when the ban on assault weapons was lifted). It makes pretty sobering reading.

The report notes, "The increased lethality of such incidents is made possible by the use of large capacity ammunition magazines (defined as more than 10-rounds) which enable a shooter to rapidly fire off as many as 100-rounds without having to reload the firearm."

Source: http://www.nycrimecommission.org/initiative1-shootings.php

4. Given the large number of assault-type weapons and large capacity magazines already in circulation, would a new "ban" help? It's hard to say; it would take a long time to work down the number of those items available for use, and as gun advocates like to point out, a ban wouldn't keep those items out of the hands of criminals. That said, others would argue you have to start somewhere to address the current problem, which sadly seems to be trending upward in the U. S.

well said Jim

Jim - a lot of misc data that means nothing. Have there been mass shootings, absolutely. Would similar violence not occured with an assault rifle or high capacity magazine ban been in place? None of this information makes that connection - other than some opinions by people who collected the facts.

Perhaps there are other factors - video games? declining family structures? the use of psychotic drugs (most recent shooters have been on or recently come off), the existence of gun free zones?

The National Institute of Justice's (part of DOJ) (https://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles1/173405.txt) two reports, one shortly after the ban was in place and one near the end of the 10 year ban state the evidence is inconclusive.

"Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban. LCMs are involved in a more substantial share of gun crimes, but it is not clear how often the outcomes of gun attacks depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than ten shots (the current magazine capacity limit) without reloading. "

And I will take the DOJ over Motherjones as a source (almost) anytime.

Jim, Thank you for your attribution. We could use a lot more of that....regarding your statement that 'we have to start somewhere'... ok, but do we have to start with law abiding citizens? you said yourself criminals won't comply so what's the point?

The majority of gun crime (yes, these mass shootings are basically crimes) occur with handguns, not Diane Fiensteins 'assault weapons'. Why aren't we banning handguns?

I know they're scary to look at but the technology involved in these assault weapons is over 100 years old. John Browning's model 1911 semi-automatic pistol was patented in that year. It's still seeing service with our military and is one of the most popular handguns with civilians. The technology in these assault weapons isn't any different then the Model 1911. Shouldn't we ban these handguns too or are some semi-autos evil (the black ones) while others (like the majority of handguns in service today) are ok? Yeah, a bunch of you will say 'yes, lets ban them all!' Are you going to confiscate the 300 million already out there? Cared for, they can last for a century you know. It's gonna take a long time to 'work your way through them'.

It does seem that mass shootings are trending up. Could it be that the mass media contributes to this trend with the feeding frenzy they initiate and the infamy they give the shooters? How many people who feel 'left out of society" and 'powerless" are looking for some way to make themselves known are out there sitting in Mom and Dad's basement watching TV?

What about the entertainment industry? Are they at all culpable? A few years ago, when cigarettes were the worst evil in the world, Joe Camel was claimed to be a tool of the industry to hook kids on smoking. If that's so, you don't think maybe movies and video games play a role here?

Lee, I see from your bio that you were a teacher. Did you accept any stated opinion from your students when you assigned them some topic to expound on or did you require that they provide some evidence to support their claims of fact? Did you accept their manipulations of fact and deliberate twisting of statements without attempting to teach them the proper way to make an argument? It ain't hard to document a source, as Jim has done. Maybe you didn't teach a subject where students had to validate their statements....Gym or shop maybe.....

Legislation for it's own sake isn't the answer. Politicians legislate in cases like this to get re-elected (Feinstien maybe) or to advance their position to the next level (Biden, Cuomo?). Good grief they're just politicians! Identification and help for those who can be expected to be violent might help. Education holds promise. Who is the leader in firearms education in this country including safe storage, and firearms handling? Maybe they have something to add to the debate that would be useful. No, forget it..... the NRA is evil.

BTW, a bunch of you keep referring to the second amendment and hunting. The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It has to do with government tyranny. Like occurred in Germany, Italy, Japan in the last century.

Same old argument. We don't have conclusive studies, so let's keep dangerous military grade weapons in the hands of civilians. Meanwhile, mass shootings keep occurring... This is just an irrational smokescreen. I'm with Lee on this one.

Mike, I taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades variously for many years. Those students were just beginning to be capable of reasoned thought. It distresses me when some adults seem to cling blindly to ideologies rather than making an attempt to look at a bigger picture and insist on trying to use massive amounts of repeated verbiage as they attempt to make a point.

I cannot believe that at a time in human history when the total of human knowledge is more than doubling every two to three years that we can continue to believe that there is no need to consider possible changes in how we govern ourselves. Every time technology makes a leap forward, we need to investigate the consequences of those leaps. What might the moral, legal, human consequences be? Then, if necessary, we need to react and make adjustments lest we find ourselves in a place from which there is no safe escape.

For anyone to try to claim that our Constitution must not be changed in any way is to deny the effects of the evolution of human knowledge and technology. But it's not just the way we govern ourselves, it also must include other parts of the physical world. The argument over a warming climate is one example of that just as is the debate over gun safety.

If anyone simply locks themselves into clinging desperately to one idea while refusing to investigate others, they are guilty of self-deception. I learned to fly light aircraft in the late 1950's. At that time I could not possibly have conceived of the changes that have occurred in aviation in just my lifetime. As a pilot I have had to adjust my thinking and actions accordingly. When someone presumes to tell others that they know what our founders had in mind when they wrote any portion of the Constitution or Bill of Rights, I immediately become justifiably suspect of their ability -- or willingness -- to think reasonably. Burying heads in sand and refusing to at least consider alternatives is as foolish as taking off in an aircraft without having checked the fuel levels in its tanks.

And when I see anyone spouting about "government tyranny," it worries me. Paranoia is not conducive to rational thought. We have to put aside imaginary things and concentrate on reality.

This is just an irrational smokescreen.

No, doing something for the sake of doing something when it won't have any results is irrational. The studies are conclusive - they indicate there is no measureable effect. Why don't we just ban red cars? That will be just as effective in stopping mass killings.

Oh, and by the way, we aren't talking about military grade weapons.

And to PJ - are you going to remove the slander to LaPierre? The events as you descibe them never happened and your leaving them posted when they have been demonstrated in error is irresponsible.

For anyone to try to claim that our Constitution must not be changed in any way is to deny the effects of the evolution of human knowledge and technology.

Lee - the Constitution has been changed 27 times. There is a method to do it. Do it the right way. Problem is the ant-gun folks know they can't they don't have the support. Therefore they just want to ignore it, or "interpret" it differently. There may need to be tweeks to the Constitution to make it function better - essentially what our prior Amendments did. But the core principles (such as the right to bear arms), are like the ten commandments, ever lasting.

So PJ is guilty of slander because he wrote the truth?

A large part of my frustration is that I became accustomed to dealing with people who were 9 to 12 years old. At least they usually make better sense than some adults.

No Lee, as I pointed out before he didn't write the truth. LaPierre never said directly or indirectly the agents killed in the Oklahoma bombing "had it coming." That is a total fabrication.

Prove it. I've been searching unsuccessfully for a copy of the original NRA letter.

But one thing the search has done, I wound up reading a bunch of nauseating garbage produced by the NRA. If anyone has any doubts about what PJ wrote, all they need to do is get on the NRA website and start looking around.

I'm amused that ecbuck is fond of asking for facts vs. opinions, and then when some are provided, he responds with "a lot of misc data that means nothing."

Re: his earlier opinion that "There is no evidence that "reasonable limits" would have any impact. Our own experience with "assault weapon" ban 1994-2004 showed no change."

The 1999 DOJ report he cited actually indicates the evidence was inconclusive: " The ban's impact on lethal gun violence is unclear because the short period since the enabling legislation's passage created methodological difficulties for researchers."

Perhaps most useful were the following comments from the DOJ study he cited: "

"Gun control policies, and especially gun bans, are highly controversial crime control measures, and the debates tend to be dominated by anecdotes and emotion rather than empirical findings ...The findings suggest that the relatively modest gun control measures that are politically feasible in this country may affect gun markets in ways that at least temporarily reduce criminals' access to the regulated guns, with little impact on law-abiding gun owners."

One result of the latest proposals for any kind of restrictions on firearms and accessories is clear: a sales boom for makers and sellers of those items. I'll have a little fun with the fans of conspiracy theories and suggest that maybe the firearms industry has really been a behind-the-scenes booster of proposals for any kind of "gun bans" ... because all the talk sure is good for business :-)

Lee, Prove it? How does one go about proving a negative - that something didn't happen. Maybe he points out that neither you or PJ can produce evidence it did happen. Maybe the fact that in your searches - nobody else has made the same claim. Maybe the fact that in other discussion of the incident, the "jackbooted" comment was attributed to a solicitation letter and that no mention of Oklahoma City was made. PJ's connection to Oklahoma City was pure fabrication.

For Jim, yes I ask for facts, but the facts have to be meaningful. Throwing out a list of mass killings doesn't show that banning "assault rifles" or "high capacity magazines" would make any difference. As to the DOJ findings, the first study found no conclusive effect in the early years and the second study after 10 years ( you ignored that report) also said there is no measurable evidence the ban had an effect. Given those reports it is hard to argue, the ban had an effect. Don't you think if it had a meaningful effect it would be "conclusive"?

re: the 1995 NRA fund-raising letter by LaPierre, and LaPierre's comments after the letter's release and the Oklahoma City bombing. It's pretty clear from the full text of former President Bush's letter to the NRA that the President drew the same conclusion as PJ from LaPierre's comments about federal agents.


According to media reports, "Bush was particularly irate because Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's chief lobbyist, defended the attack contained in the letter even after the Oklahoma City bombing."


Let's put the ban in for now. Then, 20 to 40 years from now, we'll have enough empirical evidence to see if it worked or not. There, we'll have facts!

Therefore they just want to ignore it, or "interpret" it differently.

The irony!

Jim and Zeb, it's just an exercise in futility to try to talk sense to one who is not interested in anything sensible. There seems to be some sort of compulsion to try to overcome by sheer volume and an avalanche of nonsense anything anyone else might try to say. It's very hard to overcome obsessive egocentrism with much of anything. It's becoming apparent that our friend has no interest in anything beyond stirring up as much confusion as possible and is dedicated to simply playing some sort of game in which he opposes anything and everything anyone else might believe or say. He asks for something that might substantiate a point and when we provide it, he dodges and tries a different tactic that has little, if any bearing on anything previously discussed.

No amount of documentation or reasoned thought will ever satisfy a person like that. But thanks to both of you and others who apparently realize the dangers we all face from folks like Wayne LaPierre and the sheep who blindly follow his erratic lead.

Perhaps it's time to move on to other fields of interest. As for me, I'm optimistic that in the end the collective good sense of thoughtful Americans will once again prevail.

"No amount of documentation or reasoned thought

And that is what you have delivered - "no amount"

It's pretty clear from the full text of former President Bush's letter to the NRA that the President drew the same conclusion as PJ from LaPierre's comments about federal agents.

Hardly. Bush was upset with the comments about fed agents in general, particularly so after the Oklahoma Bombing. He never, however, said nor implied that LaPierre felt the agents killed "got what was coming". Becasue LaPierr never said nor implied it. Pure fabrication.

Let's put the ban in for now. Then, 20 to 40 years from now,

And what do you expect a 20 to 40 year ban will deliver that is any difference than a 10 year ban? After 40 years of no effect, you will want a 100 year ban to see what happens. I assume you are familiar with the definition of insanity often atttributed to Einstein.

"Pure fabrication." Okay, prove it.

"Pure fabrication." Okay, prove it.

Isn't proving something was not said sort of the equivalent of "Did your wife have any black and blue marks when you quit beating her?"

Of course it is defellows. Its like me claiming that Lee said Kurt's mother wears army boots and then asking him to "prove" he didn't say it. It is a favorite tactic of the progressive.

I am satisfied that it is proven in that neither he nor PJ, or any body else, can prove that the statement was made. Pure speculation and irresponsible at that. Lapierre had enough integrity to come out and apologize for the remark he did make. Too bad PJ can't do the same here.

ec et al, the chronology of the La Pierre letter assailing federal agents as "jack-booted thugs" and the Oklahoma City bombing was skewed as originally laid out; the letter came out just days before the bombing. After the bombing, La Pierre appeared on Meet the Press and the question of whether his offensive letter might have encouraged the bombing was raised.

The section pertaining to La Pierre in the column has been restructured to reflect the timing of the events.

As to whether La Pierre was demonstrating integrity in apologizing is subject to interpretation. “If anyone thought the intention was to paint all federal law enforcement officials with the same broad brush, I’m sorry.” Does that mean he thinks some of them are?

ec is constantly using terms like "pure fabrication" without providing any evidence that something said by someone else was fabricated.

I'm just asking him to do the same thing he demands of others. Provide some documentation that whatever it is, is indeed "fabrication." Methinks he is guilty of a lot of fabrication himself.

One thing I can say for him, though, he sure is accomplished at dodging and weaving. He'd make a great professional politician.

Still no success at finding the actual text of the NRA's 6-page letter from 1995. But did find this AP article:

NRA Official Defends Strong Anti-Government Rhetoric
JIM ABRAMS , Associated Press

AP News Archive May. 1, 1995[/b] 12:08 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The National Rifle Association will continue its crusade against law enforcement ``abuses'' and stands by recent statements that federal agents can intimidate and even murder law-abiding citizens, a senior official of the organization says.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said Sunday there was unity within the nation's largest gun-owners group on the need to fight alleged abuses by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and protect the right to bear arms.

He said it was unlikely the NRA's stand on gun control would be affected when ``the two most sensational crimes in America'' were the result of a bomb, in Oklahoma City, and a knife, in the O.J. Simpson case.

LaPierre's group has been criticized for a recent fund-raising letter that said that in the Clinton administration, ``if you have a badge, you have the government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens.''

It referred to federal agents as ``jack-booted government thugs'' who ``seize our guns, destroy our property and even injure or kill us.''

Asked on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' program whether such rhetoric was excessive in light of the Oklahoma City bombing, LaPierre replied: ``That's like saying the weather report in Florida on the hurricane caused the damage, rather than the hurricane.''

He defended the strong language, saying, ``Those words are not far, in fact they are a pretty close description of what's happening in the real world.''

Thank you Kurt for the rewrite. With the letter being written before the bombing, it is clear he wasn't saying in that letter that the agents got what was coming to them. But obviously that hasn't stopped Lee from conceding the truth.

Are some federal agents "jackbooted thugs". Probably. The then recent Waco Massacre may have been in his mind when he wrote that.

I found a link in the NRA's website urging their members to view this video:


Take a look.

OK Lee why don't you tell us where on the site you found this so we can have the full story rather than the innuendo.

I would add Ruby Ridge to the Waco Massacre for calling FBI guys "jackbooted thugs". And the idiot that blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma did it with a homemade bomb, not a gun. And all this has to do with guns in parks.... how?

There are those who insist that there is no room for any contemporary interpretation or analysis of the 18th-century language of the Second Amendment.

Under this literal view, the right "to keep and bear Arms" leaves open a very broad definition of "Arms." Even so, most of us have wisely accepted reasonable restrictions on the "keeping and bearing" of arms such as rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

However, for those who insist on the literal reading of the 2nd Amendment and rail against any thought of "regulations," it's interesting to note that although that Amendment makes reference to the right to "keep and bear Arms," it's absolutely silent on any right to buy, sell or trade those Arms.

Although I certainly don't advocate such an approach, there's one avenue open for dealing with the ongoing arms race in American society: simply outlaw the buying, selling or trading of firearms, ammo and accessories, including spare parts. Eventually the supply will dry up :-)

Sooner or later, such ideas will gain more traction in the political establishment unless the NRA and similar groups recognize that some middle ground must be reached in dealing with the growing problems created by the widespread availability of weapons whose capabilities go far beyond the legitimate needs of private citizens for self-defense and hunting.

We hear an oft-voiced complaint that any regulations simply restrict the availability of firearms to law-abiding citizens while having no effect on criminals. However, if you analyze most of the mass-shooting tragedies in the past two decades, the high-capacity weapons used were purchased legally and fired by individuals who had no previous criminal record (i.e. until then, "law-abiding citizens.") Thanks to an earlier comment on this site, you can find that information here: http://www.nycrimecommission.org/initiative1-shootings.php

Some have downplayed the idea that large capacity magazines are not a factor in recent mass-shooting incidents. I'd suggest that such weapons not only lead to more victims, they place responding police – or legally armed citizens who try to intervene – at a serious tactical disadvantage. If the bad guy has to stop shooting - even briefly- to reload, the good guys have a much better chance of halting the carnage... and surviving.

As long as there are people willing to listen -- and actually believe -- this kind of stuff, there is need to be concerned. Very concerned. Concerned about weapons of any kind in the hands of people who allow themselves to be manipulated by fear mongering from any source.

That video was one of several items in a small pocket simply labled "Other Links"

Still not finding it Lee - how about providing the link where this "small pocket" exists.

I looked at the link, Lee. Right wing, yep. Scared of what is happening in this country. Yep. Didn't find any connection between them (greenewave) and the NRA. Went to the NRA site (s). Didn't find anything there telling members to go to greenewave.

I suspect you could find leftie alarmist stuff too, if you looked.

Your note infers a connection between NRA and this vid. I didn't find it.

BTW. What the heck happened to PJ? He started this dust up but hasn't been seen since. You got him gagged in the basement or something? I'd think he'd want to defend his opinion....

Lee - watched the video. What's so scary there that makes you think people should have their guns taken away? Sounded to me like a fairly accurate account of what has happened to date. You may not agree with his predictions but he didn't threatend anyone. He didn't suggest anyone commit violence. In fact his action advise was to listen, speak and defend the second amendment.

Looks like now you want to go after the 1st amendment as well.

I'd suggest that such weapons not only lead to more victims, they place responding police – or legally armed citizens who try to intervene – at a serious tactical disadvantage.

You can suggest that but the DOJ studied that and concluded it didn't necessarily lead to more victims. And since I don't recall any, perhaps you can identify where a mass killer used high capacity magazines to fend off law enforcement.

Ec - It didn't take long to answer your question, using the link provided above.

Here are some excerpts with examples showing both shootouts with police responding to the incident, and even more important, examples where bystanders were able to tackle and subdue the shooter once he stopped to reload.

In all cases, large capacity magazines allowed the idiot to fire a lot of shots in very little time. I doubt you'd agree that there would have been fewer victims if the shooter had been forced to stop and reload sooner, but these examples sure suggest otherwise. Ask any police officer if their odds are better facing a bad guy with 9 rounds vs. 30 rounds in his weapon, and I suspect you'd get some pretty uniform answers.

A few examples:

1. August 5, 2012 Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Police officers arrived on the scene in response to 911 calls, and exchanged fire with the shooter. Page killed six and injured three, including a responding officer, before committing suicide.

Weapon: Springfield Armory XD(M) 9mm semiautomatic handgun equipped with a 19-round large capacity ammunition magazine.

2. January 8, 2011 U.S. Rep. Gabriel Giffords incident, Arizona

Subject first shot Rep. Giffords in the head from about three feet away and then turned to the crowd, firing over 30 rounds in just 15 seconds. Among those killed include a federal judge, Hon. John M. Roll, congressional staff, and civilians ranging in age from 9 to 79.

Loughner was tackled while attempting to reload his firearm with another large capacity ammunition magazine.

3. November 5, 2009 Fort Hood, Texas

In four minutes Hasan fired off about 214 shots, killing 13 and wounding 30 more. After running outside the building to chase down a wounded soldier, Hasan was confronted by a police officer. Engaging in a brief firefight, the officer managed to down Hasan with a shot to the torso.

Weapon: FN Herstal 5.7 Tactical Pistol equipped with 20-round large capacity ammunition magazine

4. May 20-21, 1998 Thurston High School Springfield, OR

Subject was armed with multiple weapons including a 50-round large capacity ammunition magazine. Walking through a school hallway, he shot 27 students, killing 2 of them, before he was finally tackled to the ground by other students while trying to reload.

5. December 7, 1993 Long Island Railroad

Subject was armed with a handgun and four 15-round large capacity ammunition magazines, He emptied approximately 30 rounds upon 25 people, killing 6. Stopping to reload, he was tackled by three train passengers

6. January 17, 1989 Cleveland Elementary School Stockton, CA

Subject killed 5 students and wounded 30 others, including one teacher, firing approximately 106 shots with an AK-47-type assault rifle over less than two minutes.

Weapons: Chinese-made AK-47-type semiautomatic assault rifle, 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a 75-round large capacity ammunition drum magazine, a 75-round large capacity ammunition rotary magazine, and four 35-round large capacity ammunition banana magazines.

re: your comment, "DOJ studied [role of large capacity magazines] and concluded it didn't necessarily lead to more victims." Of course not, since that can't be absolutely proven. However, if you truly believe the ability to fire a large number of shots in a short period of time before the shooter has to stop and reload isn't a factor in the number of victims, then it's too bad that famous bridge in New York isn't still for sale.

Lee, PJ and others: Here's a link for ya'll....http://www.peoplesworld.org/fight-to-end-gun-violence-is-key-to-defending-democracy/

This is the house organ for the American Communist Party. They think this gun regulation is a great idea. Maybe the greatest since 1917. It's gonna cure the epidemic of violence in America. Or maybe it will disarm a hostile American public so that their goals can be more easily achieved....

There are extreme opinions on both sides. I guess a paranoid, gun nut like myself has to line up with the right. Who said the Red Menace was dead?