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Ann's Corner

VOLUMES 127 & 128-----------JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013



March 3, 2013

Hello Everyone.

Haven't been to the keyboard for a while, and finally decided that today is the day!

Not that I'm counting or anything, but as of today I have 28 more days before my tour of duty as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Elks Lodge comes to an end.  I'm looking forward to not having to prepare the agendas, chair the meetings, write the articles for the Lodge Bulletin, and trying to beg, cajole, or coerce the membership into doing the things that need doing.

But yes, to be honest, I'm gonna miss all that too!  I have pledged to myself and the other Lodge Officers that I will NOT become one of the 90 percent of those fraternal organization members who just pay their dues, bitch about everything they don't like, and do little or nothing to help with activities and financial support!

Hopefully, the time not spent on Lodge activities will let me get back to doing some things that have been woefully neglected.  Does anyone remember when I used to write about shooting guns, reloading ammunition, mounting scopes, and minor gunsmithing chores???

I recall that I began writing about scoping, shooting, and developing reloads for a Weatherby Vanguard won at an NRA banquet, back in the September 2011 issue of this newsletter.  This was followed by a bit more information in November/ December 2011.

I did kill my buck with the Weatherby during the 2011 season using ammo I already had on hand, but Guess What?  Those cartridge cases that had progressed through the sizing, de-priming, cleaning, trimming, champhering, and de-burring steps are still languishing in a box on my reloading bench!

Add to that, the Browning BLR I bought over a year ago has yet to have a scope mounted and has never even been fired!  This madness has got to stop!  I hope it will with all this extra time I'm gonna have.

We are gearing up for our 2013 Hunter Education classes.  The classes are on the calendar, student vests are on hand, we have the newly required 'bore flags' ready to go, and about all we have left to do is purchase the Cabela's gift cards that we give away in each class.

We have been joined by another Certified Instructor.  Chuck Porter, a fellow Elk member and volunteer for the past couple of years, has completed his certification process and we are looking forward to his participation in the teaching rotation.  (For more about Hunter Education, Click on the Hunter Education button.)

At this point I'll warn you that I'm about to step on the soapbox, so if you don't want to read about these thoughts you can stop now.

Not too long ago I wrote a letter to the editor of our local daily paper.  With only a 200 word limit, it's hard to expound in detail about a point being made, but I did my best.  This is my letter as it appeared in the January 25th edition of the Spokesman Review:

Exploiting tragedies:  In recent weeks, the Spokesman Review, and other media have reported something akin to the following:

“In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, President Obama held a news conference to launch a national discussion on gun violence."  (What he really meant was launch an effort to ban certain guns, magazines, and private sales)

Why did the lead sentence not begin:  “In the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado Theater shooting . . .?

Or:  “In the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting near Tucson . . .?

It appears that much of mainstream media routinely chooses not to question the motives or even obvious blunders of the Obama administration!  For example, there seems to be a dearth of anyone asking questions about what role November 6th played in presidential decision making about when to jump on the gun control bandwagon.

Is it not conceivable that had Obama held that news conference immediately following the Aurora Theater shooting we would have inaugurated a President Mitt Romney?  I’d bet Obama thought about that too!

Are we really so naïve as to believe that a politician, particularly Obama, would not carefully weigh the political ramifications of what tragedy to exploit, and when?"

What else should I have added besides the tepidity of the Obama administration's responses to the Aurora theater shooting and others occurring weeks or months prior to election day?

How about the deliberate misinformation and hiding of the facts behind the attack on the American compounds in Benghazi, resulting in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans?

How about the release, well over a year late, of reams of Federal Regulations by Executive Branch Agencies that were held up until after the election and seen by some as stifling to the economic recovery?

I submit, that had we the public, been informed of the real facts behind these happenings before November 6th, and had Obama jumped on the gun control bandwagon, say just after the Aurora theater shootings, that we might very well have a President Romney today!

(Love 'em, or hate 'em, the National Rifle Association was spot-on when they kept sounding the alarm that Obama would immediately hit gun control hard if he was re-elected.)

As is alleged by many pundits, did the so called, 'liberal mainstream media' hide, distort, or otherwise conduct themselves in ways that promoted the re-election of Obama?  Consider the facts and you be the Judge.

No, I ain't done yet!

The three main thrusts of the Obama/Biden push for Federal gun laws are; Ban certain guns, Ban certain firearm magazines, and Require universal background checks for any firearm change of ownership.

A piece of this matter that I want to explore, is the hypocrisy involved in the way our elected officials enact or attempt to enact legislation, and why it often doesn't accomplish what we are told it will.  What's really maddening is those elected officials KNOW it won't accomplish what they tell us it will!

We are reading and hearing that the so called 'Assault Weapons' ban and limiting magazine capacities, may not gain enough traction to ever become law at the Federal level.  But, conventional wisdom says they may be able to find common ground on universal background checks.

Hmmm!  Now let me get this straight.  Some of the events that are nearly universally cited as compelling reasons for considering these new laws include:

The Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia

The killing of two firefighters responding to a fire in Webster, New York.

The Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

The theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

The Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

(Remember, we are concentrating here on the 'background check' issue that the liberal pundits are pushing hard, as it may turn out to be the only step politically possible!)

Virginia Tech:  The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder, and prior to his college enrollment had received therapy and special education support.  In later years, due to investigation of a stalking incident, a Virginia special justice declared Cho mentally ill and ordered him into treatment.  Because of various privacy laws, none of this history was conveyed into the database for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  As a consequence, Cho was able to purchase his firearm and pass the NICS background check.

Webster, New York:  The shooter, William H. Spengler Jr. was a convicted felon, having served 17 years in prison for murdering his grandmother with a hammer.  (There was apparently no background check required to obtain the hammer)  Spengler had three firearms, which, as a convicted felon, he couldn't legally possess.  Two of the guns, a shotgun and Bushmaster rifle were found to have been purchased by a neighbor who passed the NICS background check.  The neighbor was a 'Straw Purchaser', which of course, is another illegal act.  (Keep in mind, this occurred in New York State, where, even before the 'knee-jerk' spate of arguably unconstitutional laws recently passed, they already had some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation!)

Tucson, Arizona:  Here again we have a perpetrator, Jared Loughner, with a previous offense for drug possession, who was suspended from Pima Community College because of complaints from teachers and students of 'disruptive behavior'.  Since his re-instatement to the school would require a mandatory 'mental health evaluation and clearance', he did not seek readmission.  Because of privacy issues and the fact that his behavioral issues were ignored, Loughner was able to pass the NICS background check to obtain the firearm used in the shooting.

Aurora, Colorado:  This shooter, James Eagan Holmes, was another college student with mental health issues.  Even his own attorneys told a Judge at hearing that their client is 'mentally ill'.  Later a Judge ruled that a notebook written by Holmes allegedly describing a 'violent attack' was subject to 'physician - client privilege' and was only admissible in the event mental health became an issue at trial.  (Dang, Judge!  Ain't that a little late; a dozen people are already dead and dozens more wounded!)  Bottom line; Holmes passed a background check in order to purchase his guns, in spite of the fact that there was ample evidence he had mental issues!

Newtown, Connecticut:  This is the one that Obama jumped on to begin his 'gun control' push.  (Remember, this one occurred after his re-election was assured.)  Adam Lanza, another perpetrator with obvious 'issues', uses his mother's firearms to invade an elementary school for his mayhem.  Connecticut happens to have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation.  They already have what is described as a 'partial' ban on some 'assault weapons' identified by certain cosmetic characteristics or features.  They have waiting periods in place and because of the way firearm transaction records are kept, de facto registration of many of the firearms in civilian hands.  The virulent anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, at the end of 2011, ranked Connecticut 5th in the nation for having the toughest gun laws.

So, the firearms used in this massacre, along with the owner were subjected to some of the most strict regulations and scrutiny in the country, yet we know the results!  Apparently a NICS background check is not required when one murders his own mother and commandeers her guns!

I use the five above examples, only because these are the ones I heard referenced most often as reasons for a flock of new gun laws.   Let's take a closer look in considering this 'universal background check' obsession.

At Virginia Tech, Tucson, and Aurora, the shooters actually passed the regular NICS background check, because those factors that would have and should have disqualified them from purchasing a firearm were not in the system.  In Webster, New York, the killer obtained his firearms through a 'straw purchaser',  a practice that a dozen new laws can not make any more illegal.  Finally, we have the Sandy Hook massacre, where murder and robbery yielded the guns!

Here's where the brilliance of our elected lawmakers eludes me!  How would forcing submission to a mandatory NICS background check, and paying the fees required to do so, in order to pass along my John Wayne 100th anniversary commemorative Winchester Model 92 rifle to my Granddaughter have prevented any of the above atrocities???  The obvious answer: It Wouldn't!  And the really sad part is, our lawmakers know it!

So, we now have another case of our esteemed elected representatives concluding that they must DO SOMETHING in response to an outcry over an issue, even though the 'something' in this case is chosen only because it is the one thing being considered that has the best chance of hurdling all the political obstacles.

Here's the rationale:  "Because of incidences like Sandy Hook, the Aurora theater shooting, the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, the killing of the two firefighters in New York, and the Virginia Tech massacre, we are passing a law requiring 'universal background checks'."  Remaining unsaid, and hoping you and I are too damn dumb to get it, "Even though this new law would have done nothing to prevent any of the occurrences we are using to justify it."

As if a law that wouldn't have prevented the incidents that were used to justify its passage isn't bad enough, passing a law that is virtually unenforceable with respect to those who have a predilection toward committing gun violence  is even worse.  This 'universal background check' nonsense will be obeyed by only those who aren't gonna commit gun crimes anyway.  What are the chances that the felon or the holder of a domestic violence restraining order are going to escort their favorite black market gang banger down to the nearest licensed gun dealer to run their 'purchase' through the NICS system?

Compare the 'universal background check' issue to the myriad laws and billions of enforcement dollars directed toward the 'War on Drugs'.  Think your High School kid or your next door neighbor can't find a source of illegal drugs within a matter of hours (or even minutes)?

Can the NICS system be improved?  Of course it can!  So let's spend the money and resources on getting better and more accurate information into the existing system, rather than attempting to enact a sweeping 'universal background check' law that will in practice, be no more enforceable or effective than keeping Adam Lanza and his guns out of that elementary school with a simple door lock and a 'no guns allowed sign'!

We all know some obvious answers to preventing gun violence!  And they do not include disarming or limiting the types of guns law abiding citizens are allowed.  Ask our neighbors to the south how limiting the ordinary citizen's ability to posses firearms is working out for them in light of the gun violence in Mexico.

Yes, it's going to require resources (as in taxpayer dollars).

It's going to require modifying our 'revolving door' criminal justice system.  (It is very difficult for a violent felon to shoot people when they are in jail or prison!)

It's going to require expanding and equipping our law enforcement agencies so they have the resources to apprehend and prosecute those who commit crimes.

It's going to require modifying our stance on when and how the mentally ill are turned loose on our streets without resources to make sure they are properly medicated and/or supervised.  (What's worse, institutionalizing a mentally ill person against their will, or not doing it and having it result in mass murder?)

It's going to require a willingness to expend the money and effort to make sure it is a verifiable fact if we choose to post signs on schools, public buildings, and private businesses that declare them a 'gun free zone'.  (People like Lanza and Cho may have been crazy, but they weren't stupid!  There's a reason they chose 'gun free' schools in which to wreak their mayhem, and it's our fault for believing that simply posting a sign will make it so!)

Are we willing to do the things I've just described, or shall we continue to pontificate, cry, wring our hands, and pass laws that reflect the way we wish things were, but without the intestinal fortitude to do the things that would actually ensure that this is the way things are!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote by Thomas Jefferson:

". . .all power is inherent in the people. . .it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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