Recent comments

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I'm there with you on the concealed carry permit in Chicago. There would be less shooting and armed robberies if there was a good chance the victim was carrying. The offender would think twice about pulling a gun on someone if he knows there is a good chance he will get shot. Besides, look at how well dictator Daley's law of no registered handguns in Chicago has done. Shootings and shooting related homicides are up!

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 12 weeks ago

    If there is a bigger whacko than Jerry Patterson, I don't know who it is.

    Rick Smith

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I always find it ironic that pro-gun people say the gun control crowd has been duped/misled/confused of the truth by the Brady Campaign, when the pro-gun people have been 'duped' just as much by the NRA....

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Sorry Lone Hiker. I hate to let you down but I read this piece online the other day and felt compelled to confess. It's one thing to make a decision, and another thing altogether to carry it out. I honestly do hope that the proposed rule change goes through. Otherwise I will be a lawbreaker the next time I visit a Park in a CCW permitted state (the only kind I will visit).

    Read this piece written by the Texas State Land Commisioner that appeared in the online San Antonio news:
    http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/stories/MYSA.052808.OPED_1B_CommentPatterson.2690f28.html

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Aw, Fred!!! After I was decent enough to throw accolades your direction for being honest enough to fess up to the criminal activity that you openly professed, you go and do the proverbial 180 on us!

    And Rick, as I too have stated in prior opinions, it's just a shame that people's thoughts of self-defense in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives, and investigation of newer technologies that put the 17th Century weaponry to shame. How nice it would be for a little intellect to go along with the claims of "I demand my God given rights", instead of taking the easy way out by placing all your testosterone in one basket of alternatives. All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious when the methods of such aren't investigated, and alternative methods and options beyond firearms fully considered as viable. What we're trying desperately to avoid is the "My gun's bigger than your gun" syndrome, or the inevitable "My gang's better outfitted than your gang", which the law-abiding citizens of this country lived through once already.

    Is it really too much to ask for one to step back and exhibit a bit of sensibility and reasoning before one decides on "the proper course of action"? And why are you always hiding behind the NRA-propped up mantle of people taking away your "rights"? I've never seen that sentiment expressed in any of these alleged discussions? Just who's putting out the fire with gasoline here?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 12 weeks ago

    OK, I'll try to ignore the fact that you have to start your argument with an insult.

    But as the saying goes, "figures don't lie, but liars figure." In other words, anyone can find statistics to back up their argument. And the fact that your set of facts comes from the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association does not give them any more credibility than you place in the Violence Policy Center.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    "Congressman Raul Grijalva, who heads the House subcommittee on national parks, is accusing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne of pandering to the National Rifle Association."

    Who cares? The NRA is an organization which seeks to protect and insure the publics rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. They have every right, some might argue an obligation, to promote the interests of their constituency. The ACLU does the same thing, claiming an interest in protecting the First Amendment. The NRA, at least, has the distinction of not having been founded by an avowed communist.

    As for Congressman Raul Grijalv, as a former member of La MEChA, an organization whose motto is, "For the race everything. For those outside the race nothing", he is an anti-American racist and any accusations he makes must be weighed in that context.

    It is perverse to focus so much concern on the harmful potential of people who have undergone criminal background checks and, in most cases, safety and proficiency training. Every legitimate study reveals the legal gun owner to be far less likely to commit a crime of any kind.

    Let Mr. Grijalv show us that he can first disarm the criminal gangs, like MS-13, which infest our cities and his former radical friends before we turn our attention to law abiding citizens.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    Is this the kind of fact checking you did as a reporter? The Violence Policy Center is a left-wing anti-gun group with a long history of deception. They specialize in half-truths and twisting statistics, for instance, their report on Texas CHL holders, "License to Kill IV", states the number of CHL holders "arrested" without providing the context of what percent of total CHL holders that number represents. It provides no numbers on "convictions" or what percent of total arrests those convictions represent. They fail to inform their audience that it is standard procedure in many jurisdictions to place the CHL holder under arrest pending the outcome of an investigation into the use of his firearm. They also fail to state that many of the arrests represent minor offenses such as accidentally displaying or carrying a concealed weapon into a restricted zone. Only about 26 percent of CHL holders who are arrested for violent crimes, and go to trial, are later convicted.

    Here are the facts:

    "... an analysis of arrest data for Texas concealed handgun licensees that was performed on data from the subsequent years of 1996 - 2000. A comparison was made with the arrest data for the entire Texas population for the same time period, showing that, on average: male Texans who are over 21 years old and are not CHL holders are 7.7 times more likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime than male Texans with a CHL; and female Texans who are over 21 years old and are not CHL holders are 7.5 times more likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime than female Texans with a CHL. Of the violent crime cases that have been adjudicated, approximately 26% of CHL holders who were arrested were convicted ..."

    "The average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 7.7 times more likely to be arrested for the violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery, and assault than the average male CHL holder."

    "Looking at violent crimes individually, the average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 1.7 times (rate of 7.4 v. 4.3) more likely to be arrested for murder; 87 times (rate of 24 v. 0.3) more likely to be arrested for rape; 53 times (rate of 44 v. 0.8) more likely to be arrested for robbery; 3.4 times (rate of 202 v. 60) more likely to be arrested for aggravated assault; and 10 times (rate of 892 v. 87) more likely to be arrested for other assaults than the average male CHL holder."

    "No male Texas CHL holder was arrested for negligent manslaughter during the 1996 through 2000 period."

    "The average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 18 times more likely to be arrested for committing a non-violent crime than the average male CHL holder."

    http://www.txchia.org/sturdevant.pdf

    If the anti-gun side of the argument is so compelling why must they constantly stoop to half-truths, misdirection and fraud?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Confession time: Although I have said that I've carried in a Park, I actually have not. But I have made the deliberate decision that I WOULD carry the next time I visited a Park. Sorta the same thing, I guess. That's why I feel so strongly about changing these rules. Consciously disobeying the law is morally objectionable to me in many ways. But I will NOT go in to the wilderness defenseless.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Rick,

    You keep glossing over the fact that CCW permit holders who comment on this forum have already said they've packed in the parks, against the law. That's criminal.

    Also, did you overlook this comment I made earlier under another post:

    ...an August 2000 study by the Violence Policy Center revealed that, from January 1996 through April 2000, the arrest rate for weapon-related offenses among Texas concealed handgun license holders was 66% higher than that of the general adult population of Texas. CCW license holders are committing crimes - including murder, rape, assault and burglary - but because the gun lobby makes it difficult if not impossible for the public to determine if a shooter has a CCW license in most states, the full story has not yet been told.

    Also, check out this story: Night of Terror in BWCA. True, the Boundary Waters is not a national park, but I don't think it's too hard to envision a similar scenario if the laws are changed.

  • Everglades National Park Wildfire Grows To nearly 33,000 Acres   6 years 13 weeks ago

    What chemicals were used to suppress the fire?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    the anti-gun crowd continues the basic concepts here. We're talking about eliminating the unconstitutional prohibition of a citizen's right to self defense. Regulation 36CFR 2.4 will be amended to assimilate state CONCEALED CARRY laws. Everything else remains status quo.

    Any one of you anti-gun people, prove to me that a citizen with a concealed carry permit has used their firearm criminally within the national park system. Give me one example. Now prove to me that a citizen with a concealed carry permit has done the same outside the parks. You'll have a hard time. Beyond that anything you say about citizens exercising their Second Amendment right is imagination, supposition and paranoia.

    I said this before in another post. You claim there are not many crimes in the parks. My point is if you are one of those lucky victims you will now have the opportunity to defend yourself. That doesn't mean shooting someone. Most times just showing the assailant you have a gun is enough to dissuade them from proceeding. Unless they're intent on cleansing the gene pool. In which case I'd be happy to oblige them.

    Stop the baseless speculating and your obsessing about people acting lawfully and focus on the criminals who are the problem. If you have facts put them on the table.

  • Research Indicates Annual Precipitation Might Control Yellowstone National Park's Geysers   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Thanks Kurt !! The video camera is too cool !!

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    This would take an incredibly good lawyer. How would counsel prove to the court that my UN-fired 9mm pistol had been used to poach a full-grown elk ??

    When I visit the Parks, no one, including you, or the animals, or the foreign tourists, are going to know that I am carrying a concealed handgun. How on earth is that going to affect their experience?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago


    To Tom Smith:

    because right now if a park ranger finds evidence of poaching on wildlife, in parks where hunting is illegal, a loaded weapon, carried illegally, is significant evidence.

    Furthermore, in areas where poaching is known to be high, but difficult to catch the poacher in the act, by enforcing the rules against carrying weapons park rangers significantly reduce the incidence of illegal poaching.

    The opportunity to view unhunted wildlife is a major reason many people visit parks. Even parks with comparatively low wildlife populations provide plentiful viewing opportunities because the animals are not as cautious. A significant number of visitors to parks, including significant tourism with significant dollar values to the US economy come to national parks for this experience.

    Rules allowing guns would significantly undercut enforcement against poaching, and have a disproportionate impact on the visitor and tourism experience.

  • Artists' Paint Pots Area in Yellowstone National Park Temporarily Closed Due to Thin Surface Crust   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Definitely. I was on the West Thumb overlook trail 15 years ago, and the thermals were coming through the established trail. We thought it was quite exciting, and we found and told a ranger who basically laughed us off - not sure why because the ranger was giving an interpretive program talking about how quickly thermals change. I wonder if there was some evidence of this beforehand and was it reported. Maybe, maybe not - I wouldn't raise the speculation if not for my own personal experience.

    Yellowstone is dangerous; in backcountry, you don't always have ways over thermal run off areas that you have to cross. You just don't know what will happen. I think that's part of what makes it so exciting; you are in a forest - not everything seems scenic, and then holy @#$%, where's that steam coming from?

    It's like when I see pictures of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - it sure is beautiful, but when you are in the canyon, hiking in it, you realize just how alive the canyon is with some of the strangest things you'll ever see or hear or smell. I love it!

    I am glad to see the person was so burned has at least been released from the hospital and am sorry that happened - perhaps, it would do us good to warn people who go to Yellowstone that this possibility is about as dangerous as anything else that might befall you when out and about in the park.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Research Indicates Annual Precipitation Might Control Yellowstone National Park's Geysers   6 years 13 weeks ago

    You say that geysers spout hot water, but we were once lucky enough to be totally showered by the Beehive Geyser, near Old Faithful. The water was cold. Apparently, the water that sits on top of the thermal source does not get heated by it.

  • Artists' Paint Pots Area in Yellowstone National Park Temporarily Closed Due to Thin Surface Crust   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Wow! What rotten luck! I've walked that trail hundreds of times... quite scary.

  • Couple That Was Lost In Grand Canyon National Park Had Good Survival Plan   6 years 13 weeks ago

    This is one smart couple. Hopefully they will share what they learned so that others can be equally prepared if it ever happens to them.

  • Alexander Hamilton's "Country Home" on the Move in New York City   6 years 13 weeks ago

    You know there no real good reason to once again to be moving the hamilton house.people need to let good things alone.Instead they need to focus on more important htings like running new york city without corruption.

  • Alexander Hamilton's "Country Home" on the Move in New York City   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Thank you, Kurt, for this great story !

    We have only been able to see the side of this once-beautiful building, as the front and back were pinned against adjacent buildings, and the graceful front and back porches torn away.

    Hamilton is the symbol of New York and was as responsible as anyone in lifting New York from the economic devastation caused by the British attack and occupation of the City. The British attack in 1776 was followed by a fire that destroyed much of the town, and an enemy occupation that did not end until days AFTER the peace treaty was signed. For years afterward, New York did not regain its former vitality, in the same way other cities destroyed by the British, such as Providence, RI, NEVER recovered their prominence destroyed in those attacks. New York citizens were also economically destroyed by buying bonds to support the American Revolution, bonds that after victory were worth pennies on the dollar.

    What Hamilton did was cut a deal with Thomas Jefferson. The U.S. Government agreed to back the bonds, to provide a flood of currency and restored credit in New York and throughout the new nation, and Jefferson extracted the agreement that the U.S. Capital would be removed from New York -- hated by Jefferson -- to the slave states of the south.

    Hamilton opposed slavery and he and John Jay and even Aaron Burr collaborated with others to found an anti-slavery society to rid New York of slavery. Legislation was passed that slowly extinguished slavery from New York in timed thresholds. This compromise was a painfully slow process, but slavery was eliminated from New York long before it was eliminated from Maryland and Virginia, where Jefferson 'safely' ensconced the new capital.

    As a boy of no family abandoned by his father, mother dead, Hamilton rose by sheer ability and sometimes-frightening intensity. This house, The Grange, reflected his belief that in America everyone should have the opportunity to rise by their ability, and not by the condition of their birth.

  • Creature Feature: The American Marten   6 years 13 weeks ago

    It is protected - it lives in national parks and is protected under National Park Service regs.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    Joel,

    Sorry, I don't see the hypocrisy. Alcohol by itself cannot kill an innocent bystander in a crowd.

    But really, I think you'd have to agree that wild statements are being made on both sides of this issue. This was in the New York Times today:

    “You read stories about people attacked by animals or who stumble upon meth labs or women who are raped in a national park,” the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, said.

    I cannot recall the last time a park visitor was attacked outright by an unprovoked wild animal. Yes, there are incidents when grizzlies have attacked visitors, but in every case I can recall it was because the humans wandered into the bear's territory, not a random bear-eats-tourist attack. Would you say these humans need to arm themselves so they can ignore well-accepted practices for protecting yourself in the wilds? And if so, would you agree that that would lead to higher numbers of wildlife killings? And would that be acceptable?

    Meth labs in the parks? I don't recall any. I have heard of marijuana farms in Sequoia and Yosemite, but can't recall any stories of visitors "stumbling" upon them.

    Rapes in parks. I can't deny that one. Those are truly disturbing incidents that I wish there was an easy solution for. Is carrying a gun the easy solution? If one is confronted in the backcountry by a rapist, who obviously has a plan, how quickly could a potential victim get a gun out of her backpack (after all, we are talking about "concealed" carry)? Wouldn't it be better to travel in groups? To learn self-defense?

    What about those who believe the majority of rapes are committed by men who know their victims and so are more likely to catch the women off-guard?

    All that said, there are no easy answers to this debate in which hyperbole runs rampant. For every comment that guns are dangerous and there are too many in circulation there is another that more guns equates with more safety in society. I think you'd have to agree that both sides have some merit to their arguments.

  • Development of Valley Forge National Historical Park Inholding Gets Green Light from Planners   6 years 13 weeks ago

    This ARC situation in Valley Forge is a true tragedy.

    It was created by the officials who run the National Park Service and the elected congressional and local government officials who have allowed this to happen, and seem unable to move against a politically popular fundraiser and gadabout and insider.

    This is the sort of outrageous situation that happens when Congress fails to provide the funding – ALREADY AUTHORIZED IN LAW – to acquired all undeveloped land within Valley Forge.

    The purpose of the Center is to exploit the good name of Valley Forge in American history to create a profit center to perpetuate their organization.

    What is really specious is the way ARC is trying to trivialize the national park to build its convention center. By Act of Congress, ALL land within the park is sacred. ARC is trying to challenge the meaning of Valley Forge to America by trying to get the National Park Service to prove that archeological remains exist exactly where they want to build their center. All national parks would be threatened by this standard. Parks are significant AS A WHOLE; and there are good reasons why ALL undeveloped lands within Valley Forge National Historic Park must be protected.

    The National Park Service and the Congress should condemn this ARC inholding now before damage is done, and before the value and cost is driven up further.

    George Washington knew a thing or two when he selected this site. A river ran through it! One of the key things ABOUT Valley Forge is the encampment was straddling the river. Washington knew he was in the best tactical position if, to evade a British attack, he had the option of moving to one side of the river or the other to maneuver. As a base, he could separate his supply depot from his barracks, for maximum efficiency and hygiene. This park cannot be protected unless the visitor can see undeveloped land where ARC wants to place a $250 Million extravaganza. How degrading to the memory of Washington and those few and brave Americans who stood with him during the lowest point of American prospects. For shame.

    How could the leadership of the National Park Service and the Congress forget about the fight only a few years ago to prevent the Toll Brothers from building on land in the park only a stone’s throw to the East, on the same side of the river? At that time, the National Park Service had to admit that the Toll development would conflict with the Park’s Land Protection Plan, a plan that calls for the protection of ALL undeveloped portions of the land on the north of the river?? By the time Secretary Norton was forced to agree to acquire the Toll Brother’s property, the price had soared to over $9 M. Yet she and the Director of the National Park Service did nothing to acquire the rest of the privately owned, undeveloped land. This Administration seems unable to learn from its disasters. Why aren’t the current Secretary and the current Director capable of learning from what happened at the Toll Brothers site and ACT PROACTIVELY?

    There is nothing comparable in this situation to the development of the visitor center at Gettysburg on private land. In the case of Gettysburg, the development concept was first included in park planning and park Environmental Impact Statement, reviewed by the public and approved by the Regional Director of the National Park Service. The NPS then conducted a search for an appropriate partner to develop and raise funds for the center, and after competition, a partner was selected. NPS then negotiated with the partner to modify the proposal so that how the center was designed, built and managed would be consistent with the congressional purposes of the park. The agreement provided for a means for the ultimate transfer of the center to the NPS. Everything was subject to NPS approval.

    None of these conditions apply to this rogue development proposal by political players who know how to compromise a national park supposedly set aside for all Americans, and compromise political appointees of the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior, and compromise the elected officials who should be vigilant to protect the site of the birthplace of the U.S. Army.

    OUR OFFICIALS MUST STOP THIS TRAGEDY AND DISHONOR TO THE U.S. ARMY AND THE MEMORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON NOW !

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 13 weeks ago

    It sounds like the Congressman has a problem with alcohol. Maybe we should start with banning that too. We should make the world as benign as possible right? Let's look at his quote again:

    "NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd."

    Why would he single out guns when he clearly painted alcohol with the same broad and dangerous brush? It sounds to me like the Congressman is pandering to the Anti-gun Lobby. Of course he’s not a hypocrite when he says something the moderator of the site agrees with. Maybe we should just ban the large crowds they're confronting. (That would be easy. Just take away the designation of National Park. The same land will be there but people will stop coming in droves.) We all know what it's like when Old Faithful is running late. It's pandemonium everywhere. I bet the rangers are checking their watches and diving for the nearest foxhole.

    I’m guessing you have a great chance of losing your life while walking through certain parks with not enough nourishment or water. I’d be willing to bet you are more likely to die while rock climbing or riding your mountain bike on slick rock. What about boating? I hereby call for a look at all activities and ban anything dangerous. Down with hiking, campfires, water skiing, fishing, mountain climbing, alcohol.