Saturday, March 30, 2013

Preppers - Fallout Shelters - Part One

I remember being in St Patrick's School in Kaimuki, Hawaii, and going through the air raid warning drills back then.

The teacher would have us climb under our desks as she closed the long heavy classroom window curtains - supposedly to stop the glass from exploding all over the room during an explosion.

All of us would keep our heads down until the "all clear" siren sounded and we could come out from under our desks. On the first Monday of every month, that was our regular routine.

From right after the end of World War II and into the mid-1960s, it was fairly routine for us to go through the "duck and cover" drills. Back then the threat of Nuclear War with Russia, then called the Soviet Union, was very real.

In fact it was so real, that in 1961, President John F. Kennedy made it an administration priority to build public fallout shelters around the country.

And yes, his administration actually encouraged every U.S. citizen to have a fallout shelter of their own. A place to survive the inevitable blast and the radioactive fallout that would result.

Yes, some can laugh at those who are today called "Doomsday Preppers" - but it wasn't a joke back then. Besides, think about it, would anyone laugh at President John F Kennedy for encouraging Americans to do exactly that - prepare for doomsday.

When Civil Defense was a real concern of the Federal government President Kennedy appointed Steuart Pittman, the assistant secretary of Civil Defense, to implement his administration's program.

Mr. Pittman took his position very seriously. But since it would cost Six Billion Dollars to fully implement the fallout shelter program, both Congress and local governments, who would share the costs, balked at the price tag.

While there are estimates that families built approximately 200,000 shelters in just 2 year, and thousands of schools, hospitals, and other large buildings were designated as shelters for public use, some say that many Americans were so depressed by the idea of living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that they would rather die in the nuclear blast that they did not.

Steuart Pittman worked in that position for 3 year. He died on February 10, 2013 at the age of 93.

Some say millions of Fallout Shelters were actually constructed privately across the nation. Many are still in existence today.

With the Federal Government not doing anything these days in the way of Civil Defense, mostly because they find it wiser to spend critical taxpayer dollars on senseless things like a menu for a Mars Mission or giving it away by the Millions to Dictators who hate us in the Middle-East, today it's more of an every American for themselves situation. 

First, we must understand that whether they are called bomb shelters or fallout shelters - they have been around a long time.

A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defense measures during the Cold War.

When a nuclear bomb hits the ground, a crater is formed, and the earth that used to be there gets pounded into trillions of particles. These particles receive the radiation from the explosion and carry it up into the sky in a huge mushroom cloud.

The cloud doesn't stay there or come back down to the ground -- wind pushes it along like any other cloud, and the particles drift down along the way.

The dangerous material is actually visible, looking like sand or flakes, and coming into contact with large doses of it is life-threatening.

When this material condenses in the rain, it forms dust and light sandy materials that resembles ground pumice. The fallout emits alpha and beta particles, as well as gamma rays.

Much of this highly radioactive material then falls to earth, subjecting anything within the line of sight to radiation, a significant hazard.

Remember, when nuclear fission or fusion occurs, many types of radiation are created, including alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays and neutrons.

Alpha and beta particles would mostly be harmless. Although they're fast-moving particles, they're too big to pass through much matter -- alpha particles (helium atoms) can be stopped by a few inches of air or a piece of paper, and beta particles (electrons) can be stopped by plastic or light metal.

Alpha and beta particles only pose a serious danger when they're inhaled or fall onto the food we eat.

Gamma rays and neutrons are much more dangerous following a nuclear explosion. Neutrons are heavier than electrons, and when they break off of atoms from nuclear fuel, such as uranium or plutonium, act like extremely small "missiles" and can easily penetrate matter.

Gamma rays are photons very much like light, except that they have more energy and can easily pass through several inches of a heavy element like lead.
A fallout shelter is designed to allow its occupants to minimize exposure to harmful fallout until radioactivity has decayed to a safer level.

Although many shelters still exist, some even being used as museums, virtually all public fallout shelters have been decommissioned since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The purpose of a fallout shelter is, of course, to shield the people inside from the harmful effects of radiation.

Just as there's a special number on bottles of sunscreen that describe how much protection the substance provides from the sun's rays -- SPF, or Sun Protection Factor -- fallout shelters have their own number. It's simply called a Protection Factor (PF).

An SPF number refers to how much time you can spend out in the sun before getting burned.

The PF number for a fallout shelter, though, represents the relationship between the amount of radiation an unprotected person would experience compared to the amount one would receive in a shelter.

For example, a shelter with a PF of 5 would expose occupants to about 20 percent of the amount of radiation they'd receive if they were outdoors -- not a very safe number.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pamphlet Are You Ready -Standards for Fallout Shelters, a fallout shelter is "any room, structure or space designated as such and providing its occupants with protection at a minimum protection factor (PF) of 40 from fallout radiation resulting from a nuclear explosion".

This means that the people inside would receive one-fortieth (or 2.5%) the amount of radiation they'd receive if they were outside after a nuclear explosion, which is much safer than a PF of 5.

The lingering danger of a nuclear explosion, however, is the effect of nuclear radiation. This is something people outside of the immediate blast area would have to worry about -- radiation sickness can kill as many or more people than a blast would, but it would happen over a much longer period of time.

Using fallout shelters is the best way to protect people from falling radiation.

While there are different types of shelters such as, for example, hurricane, tornado, and multi-purpose shelters, there are also two types of radiation fallout shelters.

The first is a private fallout shelter, one built or bought by a person or a family. These types may be converted basements under a person's house, underground shelters built within a yard or shelters built away from a person's home.

The second kind is a public fallout shelter, described by FEMA as any place "intended for use by or is accessible to the general public. Fallout shelters which are a part of a private residence and are intended for private use are not included".

A public shelter can be any kind of public building, including hospitals, schools and police stations. All public fallout shelters are marked with the universal sign for fallout shelters, which is a circle with three upside-down triangles inside.

Public shelters usually have enough room to carry at least 50 people, but they can be big enough to provide protection for hundreds. A minimum of 10 square feet per occupant is required by FEMA, along with a minimum of 6.5 feet of head room.

Most government manuals recommend staying inside a fallout shelter for about two weeks. Although the amount of time it takes for radiation to disappear varies, from a few days to two weeks, most people take the "better safe than sorry" stance on this issue.

Most are equipped with radiation detection devices and battery-powered radios to stay informed.

It is hard to find good fallout shelter plans. There are links to sites that discuss fallout shelter plans, but one should understand that the basic difference between a tornado shelter and a fallout shelter is the 30 inches of dirt over a fallout shelter - and the U shaped air inlet and outlet that makes the air go up before it enters the shelter.

Most fallout is heavy dust that will not go up the curved 6 inch air intake pipe, especially if it has a dust filter on it.

Only a structure built to withstand about 50 pounds per square inch (psi) could survive close to ground zero, and the majority of it would most likely be underground. The material of such a shelter would have to very heavy and dense, like lead or concrete.

So how are fallout shelters built, what do people need in a fallout shelter, and what will living in a fallout shelter will be like, will be covered in the next parts of this series. 

Just as a hint to what will be covered. Let's first understand that although we're used to eating food on a regular basis, humans can survive for two weeks without much food. But on the other hand, it's water that's important if people are going to stay alive for long periods of time.

FEMA suggests a minimum of 3.5 gallons of drinking water per person to last the two weeks. We will discuss storing lots of food and water in a fallout shelter along with other essentials.

Story by Tom Correa

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Fear Of Public Schools

Sure there are things going on these days which we probably wouldn't know about if there weren't so many News sources.

And sure, it does seem at times as though things in America are just going to hell in a hand basket every time we turn around.

But really, I just hope that folks don't give up and surrender. We can't lose hope!

I've received a lot of e-mail asking me what to do with everything looking so bad these days? My answer is that though it might look bad, we still can't give up and let it happen.

I have a nephew whose wife is expecting. He said he doesn't want his child to go to public schools but he can't afford private schools, so he is at a loss as to what to do.

When I asked why not send him to public school? He said schools are not places to learn how to be an American, or any positive aspects of our history or of our nation in general.

Besides, he says, schools today are "extremely anti-Christian." And also, he doesn't want to send his son to a school that will persecute his son for his Christian beliefs.

And really, how can I argue with him there because he's right.

And no, it doesn't stop at grade schools demeaning Christian students, it's even taking place at supposedly higher levels of education. Example of this is what is going on at Florida Atlantic University.

Professor Deandre Poole gave his class a horrible anti-Christian assignment, many call shameful and insensitive. Poole ordered his students to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper, then put it on the floor and stomp on it.

Imagine if students were asked to write "Mohammad" on a piece of paper and stomp on it? Or how about write "Obama" on a piece of paper and stomp on it?

It would never be tolerated! Never! Neither would be condoned, yet anti-Christians like this jackass Poole are protected and encouraged by their schools.

A woman who wrote me lately, responding to an article that I did on California's Education System, echoed many others who have written me to say that today's schools are just anti-American, violent, politically correct, ultra-liberal, more like leftist indoctrination camps - and not schools for learning useful knowledge such as math, English, science, or geography.

Since she hasn't been out of High School for very long herself, she said that it has even gotten worse than when she was in school.

She said she's having a tough time undoing what schools are doing to her children.

Her kids are being told that drugs are good and people who are against them are narrow minded; that gay and other deviant lifestyles are normal and that straight people are all homophobes; that Christian values are bad and that there is no God; that Republicans are bad and Democrats are good because Republicans hate blacks and Mexicans and anyone not white; that the 9/11 terrorists were not at fault and that the United States is really the reason for the attack; all guns are bad no matter what kind of gun: that there is no reason to listen to what your parents have to say - especially if they don't agree with President Obama because they are just Racists; and much more.

She said she is going to take her children to a hospital when they are older to see the results of a drug overdose and see what AIDS is all about - both the results of reckless behavior.

As for convincing them that she doesn't care what gays do, but does not think it normal, she said her children will have to learn that they shouldn't be made to accept something just because of peer pressure to do so.

And she's right, after all, there were a lot of Southerners who were anti-Slavery and sympathized with Republicans who were trying to free the slaves - all while being called some of the most foul things imaginable by their peers in the South.

She has decided that her children will be raised Christian, and hopefully they will learn that their are those who don't like others to have faith because they themselves don't. She's hoping that her children will recognize hate for what it is, even if it comes in the shape and form of a smiling teacher who tries to rob a child of their faith.

As for Republicans, those nasty folks who are all wealthy and white, she reminds her children that their family is of Mexican descent and they are Republicans.

She said she reminds her daughter, who is approaching her teens, that when she was pregnant with her and feeling lost that Planned Parenthood, who is made up of liberals and Democrats, told her that she should abort her.

She asked her daughter, "So if the Democrats are really so caring, why did they own slaves and fought against Civil Rights, and have encouraged so many women to kill so many babies?"

Since her family owns guns, she said her children are aware of gun safety and how guns can be useful for hunting and self-defense.

She told her oldest daughter, "if guns are not good for self-defense, then why do all police officers carry them? And if a police officer can carry a gun for self-defense purposes, why can't we do the same thing?"

As for their teachers telling them that they don't need to listen to what their parents have to say - especially if they don't agree with President Obama because they are just Racists, well that is just stupid.

She said, "I told my children that that is like calling me a racist because I disagree with your dad on spending too much money when we can't afford it - its just stupid"

So, is my nephew and those who write me correct in that it is getting worse these day?

Well, a 7-year-old boy in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, was suspended for two days for chewing his Pop-Tart type breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun and saying, “bang, bang” — an offense that the school described as a threat to other students, according to his family.

The pastry was a rectangular strawberry-filled bar, akin to a Pop-Tart, that the second-grader had tried to nibble into the shape of a mountain Friday morning, but then found it looked more like a gun, said his father, William “B.J.” Welch.

Mr Welch said an assistant principal at Park Elementary School in Baltimore told him that his son pointed the pastry at a classmate  — though the child maintains he pointed it at the ceiling.

“In my eyes, it’s irrelevant; I don’t care who he pointed it at,” Mr Welch said. “It was harmless. It was a danish.”

So has political correctness gone crazy in schools?

Well, in the 11 weeks since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, at least two young children in the Washington, D.C. region have been suspended for pointing their fingers like guns; a 10-year-old in Alexandria, Va., was arrested by police for showing a toy gun to others on his school bus; and in Pennsylvania, a 5-year-old little girl was suspended for talking to classmates about shooting her Hello Kitty water gun that blows bubbles.

Of course, in one Texas school, a quiz given to fifth-graders blames the U.S. for 9/11 attacks.

That's right, a Texas mother is outraged by a school quiz given to her son that blames the United States for the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed over 3,000 people.

Kara Sands posted the test her son received in fifth grade at the Flour Bluff Independent School District in September on her Facebook page, which attracted more than 1,600 users in support of her concerns.

She told KRISTV that she was completely dismayed by a question that asked why the U.S. may be a target for terrorism? 

Her son chose the correct answer to the test that covered material from a video students watched in class: “Decisions we made in the United States have had negative effects on people elsewhere.”

"I'm not going to justify radical terrorists by saying we did anything to deserve that; over 3,000 people died," Kara Sands told the station.

She later met with the school’s principal, her son’s teacher and contacted the video’s distributor, Safari Montage, whose representatives stand behind the video but have already changed the corresponding quiz.

She plans to bring up her concerns during the next school board meeting on March 28.

"When I teach my children that you have to work hard and you have to earn a living and they go to school and learn something different, I absolutely take issue with that," she said.

Then, earlier this month, there is the story about a Texas student who was disciplined for refusing to recite Mexico's Pledge of Allegiance and sing the Mexican National Anthem.

Imagine that!  A student refuses to recite the Mexican National Anthem and is disciplined for it. Talk about the height of liberal indoctrination and anti-American behavior by teachers and school officials.

A Texas couple claims their daughter’s school district tried to force her to sing the Mexican National Anthem and recite Mexico's pledge of allegiance against her will - then punished her for standing her ground.

When the teen refused to participate, arguing it was against her beliefs as an American, she was eventually thrown out of the class and then given a failing grade for that day’s assignment, the lawsuit says.

William Brinsdon filed the lawsuit on behalf of his daughter, Brenda.

The lawsuit was filed against the McAllen Independent School District as well as Yvette Cavazos, Brenda’s teacher, and Reyna Santos, the principal at Achieve Early College High School.

McAllen is a Texas city of around 130,000 people less than 10 miles from the Mexican border in a region known as the Rio Grande Valley, the deepest part of the Lone Star State with a Mexican-American and immigrant majority population.

According to the lawsuit, Brenda was a sophomore in 2011 when she was asked to recite the Mexican National Anthem during her Spanish class. Brenda, whose mother is Mexican, told Cavazos, her teacher, that it was un-American to pledge an oath to another country.

Yvette Cavazos then told her to instead write an essay on the history of the Mexican revolution for the following day.

Brenda, 15, claims in the lawsuit she failed the essay because of her refusal to recite the Mexican pledge of allegiance. Previously, her father said, she was an above-average student. Eventually, she was asked to drop out of the class, according to the lawsuit.

So was it a class assignment designed to show patriotism to a foreign country?

A school official says no, but why would it be done when there are all sorts of other things a student can do for a Spanish class? The official called it "a cultural awareness" assignment in an advanced Spanish-language class.

They are 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexican border, they already have cultural awareness of the Mexican people. How much more awareness can students have living there?

Now on the flipr side of the coin, this is not the first lawsuit involving how patriotism should be handled in the classroom.

In June of last year, a teenager and her mother, Carolyn Raja, along with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), took on the Brownsville, Texas, school district after the student was forced to stand during the U.S. pledge of allegiance.

In that case, Judge Mark Hornak ruled that students have a constitutional right to pass on reciting the pledge.

So let's understand what is taking place here. In the McAllen case, the school allows students to opt out of reciting the American pledge of allegiance - but punishes students for not reciting the Mexican pledge of allegiance or singing the Mexican national Anthem.

Is this ass backwards or what?

Now as to whether the school retaliated against Brenda for opting out of the Mexican anthem is still unclear, but it certainly sounds like it.

Her father claimed in the lawsuit that Brenda was kicked out of the class and then given a failing grade. This was a violation of her constitutional right to free speech, according to the suit.

“She spent the class hour in the school’s office, even though she requested to return to the classroom,” the Thomas More Law Center, which is representing Brinsdon, argued in the lawsuit. “Brenda was also given a failing grade on her report card, which was later corrected.”

"While the initial intent of exposing students to the elements of a different culture was a noble and well intentioned one," said Francisco Martinez, an English teacher in McAllen.."The apparent retaliation seemed petty in nature."

So yes, those of you who want to keep your children out of public schools have just cause to want to do so. Fact is, the more I read about what's going on across the nation in public schools - the more I realize that they are more screwed up than most parents really know.

Would I take my kid out of public schools today? Yes, even if it meant Home Schooling.

But besides Home Schooling, I believe that there might be another answer. Parents need to get involved and take charge.

They need to get on school boards if they can. Or maybe, they need to set up watchdog groups to prevent teachers from imposing their own leftist ideology on your children.

I understand how hard it is while both parents have to work these days, but maybe there is a way to bond with other like-minded parents and do something that will help fix the problem.

And yes, it is a matter of trust. Schools, both teachers and officials, have proven that they cannot be trusted to educate American children properly and without liberal propaganda.

On school boards, curriculum can be examined and monitored. As for watchdog groups, it may be beneficial to set up monitors to sit in on classroom discussions and observe whether or not political correctness and liberal indoctrination is going too far.

It is a shame that parents can't trust public schools to furnish their children with a quality education while doing away with the political bias and liberal ideology.

It appears that all they are doing is making life harder on parents who have the job of fixing what the schools are screwing up - their children.

Story by Tom Correa

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Rifleman - We Need Him Today!

OK, I'll confess, I love watching The Rifleman! I have for years, and thanks to re-runs and my DVR, I will for a long time to come.

Each episode had a moral, a message, a great life lesson, things that made sense and were right. And yes, I loved it then just as I love it now. As for you who have never heard of The Rifleman, well you're missing out on a great show.

"The Rifleman" is a Western television show that aired on ABC from September 30, 1958 to April 8, 1963 as a production of Four Star Television. During the production of The Rifleman back in the early 1960's, its star was Chuck Connors who played Lucas McCain. His son Mark McCain was played by Johnny Crawford. It was set in the 1880s in the fictitious town of North Fork in the New Mexico Territory. And please, don't try finding it because it's not there.

The show was filmed in black-and-white as were most in those days. And frankly, I don't remember any shows back then in color. It was only produced in half-hour episodes. It was one of the first prime time series to have a widowed parent raise a child.

The three main characters consisted of Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, a rancher, Union Army veteran of the American Civil War and widowed father; Johnny Crawford as Lucas' son Mark McCain; Paul Fix as marshal of North Fork Micah Torrance. Other regulars included Bill Quinn as Sweeney the bartender; Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory; Joe Higgins as Nils Swenson the blacksmith; Harlan Warde as John Hamilton the banker; Joan Taylor as Milly Scott; Hope Summers as Hattie Denton; John Harmon as Eddie Halstead.

As for trivia? Well, seven actors played the town doctor during the series, for some reason all were usually known as "Doc Burrage": the first was Edgar Buchanan, then came Fay Roope, Rhys Williams, Jack Kruschen, Robert Burton, Ralph Moody and Bert Stevens. And as for guest stars, more than 500 actors made guest appearances in over 970 credited roles during the series' run -- and many went on to big time careers.

The series centers on Lucas McCain, a widowed Civil War veteran who was supposedly a Union Army Lieutenant in the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Lucas McCain and his son Mark live on their ranch outside the fictitious town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. You notice how I said fictitious town of North Fork again? It's because people really do go looking for it. The series was set during the 1880s, a wooden plaque next to the McCain home states that the home was rebuilt by Lucas McCain and his son Mark in August 1881 after the first one was burnt to the ground.

The pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter", was originally telecast on CBS as part of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater on March 7, 1958. It was repeated in an edited form as the first episode of the series on ABC. Believe it or not, actress Ida Lupino directed one episode. Chuck Connors wrote several episodes himself. Actor Robert Culp wrote one two-part episode, and Frank Gilroy wrote "End of a Young Gun".

The February 17, 1959 episode of The Rifleman was a spin-off for an NBC series, Law of the Plainsman, starring Michael Ansara as Marshal Sam Buckhart. In the episode "The Indian", Buckhart comes to North Fork to look for Indians suspected of murdering a Texas Ranger and his family.

A common thread in the series is that "people deserve a second chance." For example, Marshal Micah Torrance is a recovering alcoholic, and McCain gives a convict a job on his ranch in "The Marshal". Lucas McCain himself is a man with human foibles. He is not perfect. Yes, he too learns during some of the episodes.

In an episode with Phil Carey who played a former gunman and old adversary Simon Battles, he is unwilling to believe the man has changed and become a doctor and father. It takes a gunfight with Simon Battles standing alongside him to make him admit that he was wrong.

In "Two Ounces Of Tin" with Sammy Davis, Jr. as Tip Corey who is a former circus trick-shot artist turned gunman, McCain angrily orders him off the ranch when he finds him demonstrating his skills to Mark. McCain has a reputation in the Indian Territories of Oklahoma, where he first acquired the nickname "the Rifleman," and where Lucas' wife died in a smallpox epidemic.

The series was created by Arnold Laven and developed by the famous Sam Peckinpah, who would go on to become the director of some of the bloodiest movies ever made. Peckinpah, who wrote and directed many episodes, based many characters and plots on his childhood on a ranch. His insistence on violent realism and complex characterizations and his refusal to sugarcoat the lessons he felt the Rifleman's son needed to learn about life put him at odds with the show's producers at Four Star. Peckinpah left the show and created a short-lived series, The Westerner with Brian Keith.

Television Westerns were extremely popular when The Rifleman premiered, and producers tried to find gimmicks to distinguish one show from another. Show creators really did try to make characters interesting by equipping them with a "gimmick" of some sort such as different types of guns. For example, the three most famous having been Josh Randall's "mare's leg" rifle which was used by Steve McQueen in CBS's Wanted: Dead or Alive,  the over-and-under shotgun used by Scott Brady in Shotgun Slade, and of course Lucas McCain's trick rifle from ABC's The Rifleman,

The Rifleman's trick rifle was his gimmick. As with the guns in many Western movies, it is anachronistic in that it was first manufactured in 1892 which is 12 years after the time in which the show is set. But hey, it's just a television show! It was a modified Winchester Model 1892 rifle, with a large ring lever drilled and tapped for a setscrew allowing for rapid fire by setting the screw to depress the trigger instead his having to pull the trigger for each shot fired. The unique feature of the Rifleman's rifle and screw pin attached to a large loop lever positioned to trip the trigger when the ring was slammed home allowed Lucas to fire the rifle as fast as he could work the lever, emptying the magazine in under five seconds. It also enabled McCain to spin-cock the rifle.

The trigger-trip screw pin was used in two configurations, with the screw head turned inside close to the trigger or more often outside the trigger guard with a locknut on the outside to secure its position. In some episodes the screw was removed, when rapid-fire action was not required. When properly adjusted, the screw “squeezed” the trigger when the lever was fully closed.

So how does an 1892 Winchester lever action rifle make it into a television show that is supposedly taking place 12 years before it was invented? Friends, that's Hollywood! In Hollywood, anything is possible. For example, Lucas McCain fires 12 shots from his rifle during the opening credits. Seven shots in the first closeup and five more as the camera switches to another view. The people doing the soundtrack put in a dubbed 13th gunshot to allow the firing to end with a section of the theme music. Most, if not all, of the sound effects for the rifle shots were dubbed, which is why the rifle sounded so different from the other gunshots on the show.

For us gun folks who can appreciate the Winchester used in the series, the rifle was chambered in .44-40 caliber, which could be used as six-gun cartridges or rifle rounds. He could supposedly fire off his first round in three-tenths of a second, which certainly helped in a showdown if he needed rapid fire and run his rifle dry. 

Despite the anachronism of a John Browning-designed rifle appearing in a show set 12 years before it was designed, Connors demonstrated its rapid-fire action during the opening credits on North Fork's main street. Although the rifle may have appeared in every episode, it was not always fired. As surprising as it may sound to some folks, some plots did not require violent solutions. For example, one involving Mark's rigid new teacher. McCain attempts to solve as many problems as possible without having to resort to shooting.

Gunsmith James S. Stembridge modified two Model 1892s for use in regular and close-up filming.  In addition, a Spanish-made Gárate y Anitúa "El Tigre" lever action near-copy of the Model 1892 was modified for use as a knockabout gun.

The El Tigre is seen in scenes where the rifle is in a saddle scabbard and is not drawn and in stunts where the rifle was thrown to the ground, used as a club, or in any stunt where there was the possibility of damage to the real Model 1892s. These three rifles were the only ones used by Chuck Connors during the entire series.

The 1892 Winchester caliber .44-40 carbine with a standard 20-inch barrel used on the set of The Rifleman appeared with two different types of levers. The backwards, round-D-style loop was used in the early episodes. Sometimes the rifle McCain uses has a saddle ring. The style later changed to a flatter lever instead of the large loop with no saddle ring. The 8-32 set screw tapped through the trigger guard for the rapid-fire action also came in different styles. Some were silver, while others were black with a silver nut under the head of the screw. Sometimes Connors had the screw head turned inside close to the trigger, but he mostly had it on the outside of the trigger guard.

The rapid-fire mechanism was originally designed to keep Chuck Connors' finger from getting punctured by the trigger as he quickly fired and cocked the rifle. The rifle and ammunition were provided by the now-defunct Stembridge Gunsmiths. Ammunition was quarter-load 5-in-1 blank cartridges containing smokeless powder, which did not produce the thick clouds of smoke the genuine black powder cartridges of the 1880s did. If memory serves me right, smokelesss powder wasn't invented until invented until 1884 in France, and it wasn't introduced in the United States until 1887.

The 1892 Winchester is a top-eject rifle as the top is open when the lever is cocked forward. The empty shells are ejected straight up when the lever is pulled towards the shooter. When the rifle was spin-cocked down to Connors' side, the cartridges would have fallen to the ground. Therefore, the rifle was modified with a plunger which would hold a round in place. Smart huh!

The Model 1892 Winchester rifle, a descendant of the Civil War-era Henry rifle and Winchester Model 1866 "Yellow Boy" rifles, was made from 1892 to 1941 which had a total production run of over one million. Many variations and calibers were introduced over the course of production, but the basic design was kept the same. Winchester made 27 different variations of its 1892 rifle.

Like the earlier 1873 model, the light and handy Model 1892 was chambered for handgun cartridges, favored by many Westerners to simplify ammunition supply problems by using the same cartridge for both your handgun and rifle. And yes, like many other fine firearms, the Winchester Model 1892 rifle was designed by the great John Moses Browning who designed the M2 heavy .50 caliber machine gun which our troops are using in combat to this day.

As for what ever happened to the famous rifle? On July12th of 2012, it was reported that Profiles In History has announced that the iconic Hollywood firearm would go to auction July 30th, 2012. In lot #369, Chuck Conners 44-40 Winchester rifle from the TV Show The Rifleman went on the block.

Jeff Conners, son of Chuck Conners, said his father presented the rifle to him when he was at his father’s ranch inn Bear Valley Springs in Tehachapi, California, and was one of five rifles custom built for the show. The estimated auction price was $40,000 – $60,000. And yes, as silly as it sounds, since it was in California, the buyer needed to have a transfer of ownership done with an FFL to receive the $60,000 rifle -- including a background check.

Background check? As if a criminal would use a $60,000 1892 lever-action .44-40 rifle to do a drive by shooting? Right.

Now as for the idea of remaking The Rifleman? I hope not! Though in 2011, CBS announced plans to remake the original Rifleman series, I really hope it's not done.

Hollywood's new version of The Rifleman would not be like the old version at all. They would want to portray Lucas McCain as a Civil War hero and unparalleled sharpshooter who is haunted by personal demons of wrongs that he had committed. Something that Lucas McCain was not. They would depict him as a dark figure who moves to the New Mexico territory trying to put his past behind him -- yet becomes the unofficial guardian of the town. Again, something that Lucas McCain was not.

During a discussion on a forum lately, some were talking about the 2011 CBS announcement of remaking The Rifleman. I commented on how it wouldn't be the same. My belief is that if it happened, it simply would not be the same because Hollywood has changed for the worse.

Back then, in the 1950s and 1960s, each Rifleman episode had a moral or a message. It had great life leassons for kids and adults. Whether it was against bigotry or selfishness, regarding greed or injustice, the idea of never losing hope and staying on right side of the line, each episode gave the viewer something to think about.

Take for example, the very second episode of The Rifleman: The Home Ranch. Here is Chuck Connors' own words describing part of the episode:

"Mark and I stood together as we watched our home burn. I had a discouraging look on my face, but Mark’s face showed confusion and disgust. He couldn’t believe our home was going up in smoke. I walked across the burn and ashes, trying to take everything in. I threw a can down in disgust and walked to the wagon, banging my fist against it. With our new home burned to the ground, Mark was upset and discouraged.

"Pa, it's just not fair!” He cried in his little ten year old voice. "We ride half way across the country looking for the right place, and when we finally got it...well look what happened!"

Suddenly another board fell from the house. I turned and closed my eyes, knowing I needed to stay strong for my boy and mustering up the strength to do so. "Looks to me like the Lord is dead set against us having our own place'!" Mark said practically in tears.

His words shook me, and I realized I had to restore his faith in the Lord. So instead of comforting him like my whole being wanted to do, I simply stated, "Help me saddle up boy. I want to tell you a story.”

Mark just sat still, not understanding why I was wanting to tell him a story at a time like this. “Come on," I ordered sternly. As we started saddling my horse, I told the story:  A long time ago in a country so far west, it's almost due east of here, lived a big stock man with a beard so long it reached down to his belly button. His name was Job.

Now Job had seven sons and seven daughters, over seven thousand head of fine cattle and sheep, not to mention a considerable amount of camels. Now Job was top dog with the Lord because he was so hard working, righteous. The Lord never lost a chance to brag on him...made a point to tell the devil about the old man...about how he hated evil, temptation and, most important, how he never lost his faith in God.

Well the devil swished his tail and laughed and he allowed that Job was such a good man because everything was going his way. Just give him some trouble and he'd switch sides in a hurry.

Well the Lord thought this over and then he said he'd give the devil a hard dollar against a penny's worth of brimstone that Job would keep faith with his maker no matter what trials were put upon him.

Well the devil sent some rustlers on to the old man's stock. Then he called up a big wind that knocked down his house and killed all his children. The old man's beard turned white with grief. But he held stead fast. So the devil reared back and saddled him all over with festers and boils.

Mark, Job was a miserable as a man could be. He got himself a piece of broken jug, sat out in the corral doctorin’ his boils and shaken ashes over his head and bewailing his faith, wondering why the Lord has forsaken him until finally three of his friends came up, and they told Job that wailing about the situation only made it worse and it looked to them like he sinned somewhere along the line and why didn't he repent.

Job jumped right back at them. He said he'd repent when he had something to repent about. He knew he'd been good and righteous and while he might complain about his life, he had not lost faith with the Lord.

‘Oh that my words were now written and printed in a book, graven with chisel and granite rock forever. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand beside me later on.’

That's how the old man put it! Well Mark, the devil was plum wore out, so he just tossed in his chips and quit the game. The Lord was so proud of Job that he restored all the old man's children and his house and his camels and sheep and he gave him over twice as many cattle as he had before. And Job lived a hundred and forty years happy as a bird dog and finally died being old and full of days."

Mark thought about what I had just said. "Makes our troubles look kind of piddlin' don't it?"

I nodded, giving him a gentle smile. "I guess we're gonna keep this ranch!" Mark said proudly, his faith restored. 

So I then told him, "Well I guess we're gonna try!" Mark knew then that we could overcome any kind of obstacle as long as we keep our faith in the Lord and faced them together."  
Hollywood would never go for that sort of Christian message today. They like dark and negative where good guys fail and bad guys prevail. In today's Hollywood, there is no place for such a good man.

In the 50's and 60's version, Lucas McCain is a strong man who read the bible, a good practical Christian who might have a cold beer but mostly drinks coffee, is a rancher and a true steward of the land, a person who lives his life believing that doing what's right is right. He is a man who volunteers to do his Civic Duty by being part of the School Board and volunteers to cover for the town marshal from time to time just as most others in town do.

He defends himself, his family, neighbors and country, all while giving people a fair deal and trying to bring up his son the best way he knows how. He is like most around him -- hard working, good, strong, brave, steadfast in making his property and life a go, living a life good and rich with close friends and family, using the Bible as a guide, remembering that there is a law higher than that made by man, respecting others and himself. Lucas McCain's character is what those in the Old West were like. His character is that of those who persevered, settled the West, and made our nation great.

Those are not the traits which Hollywood wants to sell these days. Instead they focus on the seedy, the greedy, and the worse of the worse in human nature trying to make people believe that we are all essentially bad. And yes, ironically, Hollywood's desire to depict the Old West as a place that lacks all humanity shows just how out of touch Hollywood is to the rest of the country and truth history.

Whether Hollywood likes it or not, the 50's and 60s version of Lucas McCain is what America really wants and needs right now. America needs to see how tough our forefathers really were, and maybe find inspiration in knowing that we too can persevere and win in the battle of keeping the Devil at bay -- no matter how bad things get.

Tom Correa

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Justin Baca's First Gathering

Colorado, circa 1900
I have found that some of the easiest stories are hard to tell. The reason is not the telling, but the why things are the way they are.

A week or so ago, Chris Zahniser asked me if I would give a hand during a gathering and branding at his place. Of course I was all for it. It was that time of year, and I always look forward to gatherings. Besides the work involved, it is a big part of the cowboy lifestyle. And yes, all in all, it's also a lot of fun.

When Saturday morning came around, as I had a second cup of coffee, I realized that I was feeling that old anticipation of wanting to get out there. I sat there for a moment with my coffee and slipped into a memory of my grandfather and dad, my uncles, and others when I wasn't 10 yet.

Though the day started with a crisp chill in the air but soon warmed up real nice, by the time I arrived at the ranch, it was a really beautiful spring morning. Chris had told me that most of the cattle were already done and that there were only a few to do. He also said that there the few left would be easy enough to bring in to the pens and that there was no need for another horse.

Now, though I did want to try to use my new horse Jack for this, I'm not too proud to think that I can't do ground work. And yes, I've been around enough to have seen a few hands who would only show up for the riding and the gathering - then bug out when the ground work begins. It usually only happens once, because after that their names get around and their not usually asked back to help - no matter how short handed you might be.

As for doing ground work, my age and bad back wouldn't stop me from helping when friends ask. Besides, there is something about trying to wrestle a cow or two or more. Why wrestle cattle, or sit on their shoulders and neck to keep them down? Well, that's part of the job when you do it the "old way." And yes, Chris told me that we would be branding and cutting the "old way" - without a chute, and instead using a "header" and a "heeler."

Using two cowboys on horseback, one roper is referred to as the "header." He's the cowboy who ropes the front of the steer. The second cowboy roper is the "heeler." He ropes the steer by its hind feet. Once the header has roped the animal, he then takes a dally, which is a couple of wraps of the rope around the horn of the saddle. Once the header has made the dally, he turns the horse, usually to the left, and the steer will follow, still running.

The heeler waits until the header has turned the steer. When the heeler has a clear throw, the heeler throws a loop of rope under the running steer's hind legs and catches them. As soon as the heeler also dallies tight, the header turns his or her horse to directly face the steer and heeler. Both horses back up slightly to stretch out the steer's hind legs, hopefully taunt enough to immobilize the animal. As soon as the animal is stretched out, then the ground work starts.

First thing to do is make sure the cow, calf, steer, or bull is laying on the opposite side of where the owner's brand needs to be placed. If the animal has to be rolled over, then that's the time to do it. One cowboy places his knee on the cow's neck and pulls up and back on the head. His partner grasps the uppermost hind leg, pulls it back and at the same time places his foot on the hind leg next to the ground. Although some skip the second man and just let the horses stretch the animal out. Either way, the animal is in pretty good position for branding.

Most cattle operations today use a squeeze chute because it is simply faster and easier. Also, beings that the cow or steer or calf is in the chute, it is completely immobilized and can be vaccinated, doctored, cut, tagged and branded all a lot easier than on the ground.

While more cattle can get done in a shorter amount of time, it is also true that a squeeze chute is a sizable investment for most beef producers. Many small outfits like the Zahniser's Green Valley Ranch would be smart to save their money and do things the "old fashion way" if they can get the help to do it. And just for the record, branding livestock has been around since before the ancient Romans and were well known to be used in the Middle Ages in Europe.

The Europeans brought branding to America, and it was actually refined by the Spanish Vaquero in what today is the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In the Old West, a "branding iron" consisted of an iron rod with a simple symbol or mark which cowboys heated in a fire. That hasn't changed much at all.

Once the animal is restrained, and after the branding iron turned red hot, a cowboy grabs up the iron and presses the branding iron against the hide of the cow. Back in the Old West, a brand meant that cattle owned by multiple ranches could graze freely together on open range. Cowboys would later separate the cattle during "roundups" and "gatherings" when preparing to drive them to market.

Rustlers used what was known as a "running irons" were pretty smart about changing brands. It should be noted that just having a "running iron" in your possession could have led you to a hanging tree in the Old West. Brands became so numerous that it became necessary to start Brand Registries and record them in books so that ranchers could prove their property was in fact theirs.

Once laws were passed requiring the registration of brands, and the inspection of cattle driven through various territories. Penalties were imposed on those who failed to obtain a bill of sale with a list of brands on the animals purchased. Of course, today free-range or open-range grazing is a lot less common than in the past. But, branding is still used for the purpose of proving ownership, especially of lost or stolen animals. In fact, even today, many states have strict laws regarding brands, including brand registration, and require brand inspections. Of course, today there are other types of branding methods including freeze and paint branding.

As for last Saturday, well, we went Old School.

Al Zahniser and his son Chris who manages their family beef operation, Craig Record who is a local cowboy and horse trainer, his daughter Jasmine, Buck Baca and his son Justin, were all there when I arrived. Chris organized the gathering and branding. And although Al was scheduled to be somewhere else that day, he did show up to see how things were going - and of course make sure all was going according to plan. While Al has raised cattle for more years than most, and Chris knows what was needed, Craig has worked for some big outfits in his time and because he was available. Craig was the top hand that day.

There are many unspoken rules to the tradition of gathering and branding. One big rule is that while everyone works together and watches every one else's back, there can only be one top hand who calls the shots so that everything goes smoothly and safely.

Since all they had to cover was about a hundred acres, Craig had his mare Annie saddled and soon rode out with 15 year old Justin Baca to cover his flanks. And yes, this was a first for Justin.

Justin Baca is a young man who has learned a lot from the cowboy way. He is a good worker and not afraid to get in there to do what needs done. At 15, he's just started team roping and his dad Buck is a great mentor for him.

Granted there were less than twenty head of cattle that needed to be gathered, it was good to see that Justin rode where he was told and not ahead of the boss. Riding ahead of the top hand or boss is seen as plain disrespectful, but also foolish because in most cases he's not taking directions from the man in charge - and really won't know how things are going to get done.

It was sort of funny to watch the scene take off. At the top of the far rise, the cattle had come out and lined up all facing the two riders coming slowly toward them. It looked like some sort of cavalry position being met by two lone riders.

Once Craig was close, the cattle broke and swung across the right side of the field. Both Craig and Justin tried to contain them and move them slowly toward the pens, but couldn't as the cows split time and time again from one side of the field to the other.

Normally, when you are given an area to gather in - you go exactly where you are told. You don't cross over into another rider’s area. But in this case, the cows and not the riders were forcing the action. Whether its a small area or big area, a number of riders can search out cows and have an easier time moving them simply because they have more help.

In this case, two riders were trying to move cattle in an area that was wide open and the cows didn't want to go where they were being pushed. It was sort of squeezing a balloon full of water. Squeeze one spot and another bulges. Use two hands and the middle bugles. Of course to add insult to what was being done was when the cattle were almost in the corral and they broke again. This went on for the better part of an hour when Justin came in and his dad took over his position.

Now I can't say for sure, but I was hoping that Justin saw how nothing changed after his dad took over. At one point though, I looked at Justin and asked how he was doing. He looked a little down in the mouth because he was having such a hard time with the cows out there. As I said before, Justin had just started team roping where roping is completely different altogether. Team roping is a controlled event.

Steers used for roping are moved from a holding corral through a series of narrow alleyways that lead to the roping arena. The alleyways or runways allow the steers to be lined up in single file. Then, one at a time, a steer is moved into a chute with spring-loaded doors in front and a solid gate behind, so that only one animal is released at a time.

On each side of the chute is an area called the box that is big enough to hold a horse and rider. The header is on one side (usually the left, for a right-handed header) while the "heeler" is on the other side of the chute in that box.

A taut rope, called the barrier, runs in front of the header's box and is fastened to an easily released rope on the neck of the steer of a designated length, used to ensure that the steer gets a head start. An electronic barrier, consisting of an electric eye connected to a timing device, is sometimes used in place of the barrier rope.

When the header is ready, the roper calls for the steer and an assistant pulls a lever, opening the chute doors. The freed steer breaks out running. When the steer reaches the end of the rope, the barrier releases. The header must rope the steer with one of three legal catches: a clean horn catch around both horns, a neck catch around the neck or a half-head catch around the neck and one horn.

The header then takes a dally, and goes through the exercise the same way as I described before. The same for the heeler, except since Team Roping is a competition the heeler gets a five second penalty assessed to the end time if only one leg is caught.

As soon as the heeler also dallies tight, the header turns his or her horse to directly face the steer and heeler. Both horses back up slightly to stretch out the steer's hind legs, immobilizing the animal. As soon as the steer is stretched out, an official waves a flag and the time is taken.

The steer is released and trots off to an open gate where he will go back into an allyway for another go around. All very neat and clean. Some of this is what old style ranch work was all about, such as with what the header and heeler does, but the difference is in the cattle and the setup.

In ranch work, the animals you're roping are not just a bunch of Corriente steers that live to be roped. A small herd that has been roped again and again.

Chris Zahniser's red and white face Herefords seldom ever run in a straight line. They bunch up with other cattle. There are no alleyways or runways. No chutes and boxes. And yes. they can try your patience while making the most experienced Team Roper feel like a rookie.

I tried to tell Justin that besides gatherings not being like Team Ropings, Al Zahniser's cattle had never been driven by horses before. This was a first for more than just Justin.

After almost an hour or two, Craig's 19 year old daughter Jasmine who has been around cows forever finally took her horse out there to help her dad and Buck bring them in. Her horse made the difference and the cattle were all pretty worn out from running around. Both Craig's and Buck's horses were lathered and tired as well, so we all figured that they and the cattle would take a few minutes to calm down.

After a short break, we were ready and cut out the ones that didn't need branding and got them out of our way. The few left were bunched up and sorting was getting interesting in that one big steer thought he was still a bull and actually charged the horse - and me at one point.

The guys yelled and said that he missed me by a foot or so, and I was thankful they were watching my back. That is an important part of doing the ground work, especially when there's a mean one in the herd.

Justin was never involved in castrating bulls, so besides the gathering and branding - cutting a bull was a real eye opener. Castration is the removal of the testicles of a bull. Castrated bulls gain weight a lot faster. Castration makes the beef tastier, and it improves its temperament.

Justin watched Craig as he cut the first bull, and he was OK with helping with whatever needed to be done. He was a great help, and just as everyone else does -- he kept from getting in the way.

Craig was the header and Buck heeled, and they worked pretty good together. Buck seem to realize that the big difference between Team Roping and the branding pen is that you're not fighting the clock for time. Roping in the branding pen is very different, when taking your shot you have to sort of consider where the steer is going to go. You consider where the animal is going to end up after your loop. And yes, you don’t want to get another roper in trouble.

It's been my experience that when making plans to take a shot you need to notice if the other roper is paying attention to what's going on. It's better to pass up the shot and wait until he's working with you.

My grandfather was a great cowboy, and he would have loved Craig's horse Annie that day. She kept the rope taunt but not too much. See while its true that the animal being stretched is being immobilized, we wouldn't want a horse to put too much pressure on that rope - especially small calves.

As for ground work, I've heard it said that the best ground crews are ones that are the best horsemen. Many times the ground crews don’t know enough to get out of the way of the roper who is dragging a steer to them. The crew needs to know what's going on and should get out of the way of the man on the horse and let him ride past before doing the work.

After we made sure the cow, calf, steer, or bull was laying on the opposite side of where the owner's brand needs to be placed, and rolled over a couple, I had put my considerable weight on the cattle up to that point by placing one knee on the cow's neck and pulling up and back on its head.

Justin said that he wanted to hold the next steer down. Chris and I looked at Justin, and after asking how much he weighed, he replied, "113 pounds!"

Chris and I both got a laugh from it, mostly because I'm about three times his size, but we agreed and told him that the next one was his. When it was time, Craig showed Justin what to do and how to hold him down. Justin did as he was told, at one point riding out the steers attempt to throw a fuss. At that moment, Justin Baca became a cowboy.

Most young people learn a great deal from ranching and farming. More than people think actually. Fact is that there are a lot of great qualities that kids learn on a farm and ranch. Nowhere can you find youngsters who are more responsible than ranch and farm kids. And nowhere can you find young people who are more polite or more trustworthy.

Beside teaching kids about animal husbandry, animal care, and what it takes to feed America. Living in the country can teach many valuable qualities that are lacking in city life.

Like many others who I've known, Justin has learned responsibility and really does have a good sense of self worth. And yes, I believe that one way that the small gathering and branding was good for him, he was part of the success of what took place that day. It was hard work, but in the end it was great. And yes, he learned that for himself.

By joining in on the gathering and seeing how it can get done even when it looks frustrating, getting into Team Roping and learning to be responsible for his horse and other animals, all of these activities can heighten a kid's sense of worth. And as most of us know, there’s something about knowing that people and animals are counting on you and what you do - that brings out the best in people.

When Justin showed that he had the determination to hold down that steer - even though he didn't have the body weight behind him - that was real determination.

And there is a another essential trait that I see in Justin and other country kids that I don't see in too many city kids, it is what makes us into the people we are. It has to do with how we look at life.

Hope is one of the strongest forces that drive the human spirit to accomplish many things. Having hope will help kids overcome many disappointments. Combine a sense of hope with being  responsible and determined, and that truly is a formula for success.

By showing a great sense of responsibility and determination, Justin became a cowboy that day at the Green Valley Ranch. He did great. And yes indeed, his sense of responsibility and determination showed us all that he knows how to Cowboy Up!

Story by
Tom Correa

Friday, March 22, 2013

Colt & Beretta Unwelcome In Northeast Blue States

Colt feels unwelcome in Connecticut

Colt's Manufacturing, the legendary gun maker that has made the iconic "Peacemaker" for more than a century, could pull up its stakes in Connecticut and find another home after coming under fire in the national debate over the Second Amendment.

Colt's President and CEO Dennis Veilleux said the pro gun-control climate that has taken hold of the state in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre and other firearm attacks has left him feeling unwelcome in the state his company has called home for 175 years.

Proposed laws being debated by the Connecticut Legislature and pushed by Gov. Dannel Malloy include a new gun offender registry, an expanded assault weapons ban, ammunition restrictions and a ban on bulk purchases of handguns.

Veilleux said those measures have put Colt and its nearly 700 employees in the crosshairs.

“At some point, if you can’t sell your products … then you can’t run your business," Dennis Veilleux, CEO of Colt's Manufacturing told Fox News. "You need customers to buy your products to stay in business.”

Veilleux, who wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Hartford Courant this week in which he raised the prospect of leaving the state, said the company doesn’t have any such “definite plans.”

But if Malloy follows through on his promise to ban the purchase and sale of AR-15 rifles, the centerpiece of the company’s business, he said leaving could become an option.

The 47 year old CEO of Colt's Manufacturing, Veilleux, said Colt is “constantly approached” by other states to relocate.

Several business friendlier red state governors have made no secret of the fact they covet firearms makers, Colt and Beretta and others. It is an industry that contributes $1.7 billion annually to Connecticut's economy.

The gun company's CEO acknowledged that even raising the possibility of a move could be troubling to workers whose roots in Connecticut are in many cases as deep as Colt's.

“The employees are what the company is,” he said. “It’s not a building with a bunch of machines in it. The company is the employees. They’re proud of what they do, they represent their community – and I would say a lot more than some of the legislators do. They’re real people.”

Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba says the Democratic governor does not want Colt and its 670 employees to leave the state.

But ...

“The governor has been clear for some time that while he does not want manufacturers to leave the state, we need to move ahead with common sense gun violence prevention legislation that will improve public safety,” Andrew Doba  wrote Fox News in an email.

Dennis Veilleux made headlines last week when he closed down his factory and bused 400 workers to the state Capitol so they could personally urge lawmakers not to pass gun control legislation that they say could risk their livelihoods.

Connecticut's unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in December.

In Hartford County, where Colt is based and provides what Veilleux considers high-paying jobs, that figure was 8.1 percent. Both jobless rates are well above the national average.

Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14. Gunman Adam Lanza also killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, before committing suicide as police responded to the school.

That shooting, as well as last year's movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, have triggered an outcry by liberals across America to ban so-called "assault rifles," restrict the sale of other guns, ban ammunition and reloading supplies, ban certain magazines, start a National Gun Registration and Gun Owner Registry, force Americans to register all guns in their possession, install a system for National Background Checks even if it means making public what is at present private medical records.

And just last month, it was in the news that ...

Beretta considering leaving Maryland as Gov O'Malley pushes for tougher gun laws

One of the world’s biggest gun makers is threatening to move its Maryland manufacturing plant – along with roughly 400 jobs – as Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley pushes one of the most ambitious gun-control agendas in the country.

Beretta, the nearly 500-year-old Italian company, arrived in southern Maryland in 1997.

A government contract in 1985 made Beretta the standard sidearm supplier for the U.S. military, helping the international company, and its small U.S. division, supply more than 500,000 guns to the Armed Forces.

But now Beretta USA executives have grown weary of the state’s attitude on guns and reportedly have backed up their threat by pointing out the company moved a warehouse to neighboring Virginia in 1990 when Maryland previously tightened gun laws.

Republicans, who largely oppose the new legislation, are warning about the economic impact of Beretta's threats.

“We are pushing a legitimate manufacturer and good neighbor out of Maryland,” Republican state Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell told on Wednesday.

“Losing them would be a big disappointment. Maryland has a reputation for having a horrible business climate, and this would be one more nail in the coffin,” continued O’Donnell, the state House minority leader.

The O’Malley-backed legislation – which includes bans on possessing assault rifles and high-capacity gun magazines – would unlikely impact Beretta’s manufacturing.

However, possession of its 9mm pistol, with its 13-bullet magazine, would be illegal under legislation now moving through the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

Beretta’s civilian version of a Special Ops weapon now in production, and anticipated to be a big seller, also is expected to have the same fate. All that has company executives questioning why they should expand in a state where residents cannot buy some of Beretta’s best products, though relocation would be costly.

Company board member Jeff Reh recently testified against the Maryland legislation, saying he understands the need to reduce gun violence, but the pending measure is not the answer.

He also told lawmakers that Beretta and two related companies over roughly the past 17 years have paid or are projected to pay $31 million in state taxes. And the group has invested or plans to invest an estimated $73 million over the same period.

“We are confronted with a state government that wants to ban our products at a time, by the way, when numerous other state governments are courting our investment,” Reh added.

O’Malley aides told The Washington Post the pending legislation doesn’t include a ban on the manufacturing of assault weapons, in part because of Beretta.

And O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory told the newspaper: “We think getting assault weapons off the streets and keeping this company can both be accomplished.”

O’Donnell acknowledged the recent mass shooting in Connecticut and similar ones should be prompting lawmakers to look at ways to curb gun violence. “But most of the proposals do little to stop a tragedy like the one in Connecticut,” he said.

As for moving out of business unfriendly states, at least one other company in the United States is making such a move.

The Colorado company Magpul, which makes high-capacity magazines and add-ons for semi-automatic rifles, took out a newspaper ad stating it would leave should the state pass a ban on such magazines and guns.

On Wednesday, a Colorado ammunition magazine manufacturer went a step further than Veilleux, saying that it will leave the state after lawmakers approved new gun laws there.

Magpul Chief Operating Officer Doug Smith said the moving process has begun following the signing of a bill by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper that bans the sale of gun magazines with more than 15 rounds. A new location has yet to be determined.

“Our moving efforts are under way,” Smith told the Denver Post. “Within the next 30 days we will manufacture our first magazine outside the state of Colorado.”

Magpul, which employs roughly 200 workers, is based in Erie, about 30 miles north of Denver. It’s the largest Colorado company that potentially would be affected by the bill, one of three state gun measures passed this year.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, Republicans, have invited gun makers to relocate to their state, promising no unwarranted government intrusion into the businesses.

There are many states that would enjoy the billions of dollars that both Colt and Beretta bring to their respective states, so let's see where Colt and Beretta end up.

It seems to me that any place they land will be better than where they are at. It seems the Northeast blue states have enjoyed getting huge tax revenues from them, yet they hate their product - even if their respective products go to arm our nation's armed forces.

It seems that Maryland and Connecticut have forgotten what it takes to ensure our freedoms - guns from great gun makers such as Colt and Beretta.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Liberal Journalists Would Not Stand For It!

And for the Liberal Journalist out there, the one who wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment, how would they like it if their First Amendment Rights were treated the same way as they want to treat our Second Amendment Rights?

How about having to jump through hoops before publishing their columns?

They call for the eradication of gun rights, but how about their rights under the First Amendment? Would Liberal Journalists do all of the following to exercise their First Amendment Rights?

What if ...
  • the government advised them that certain topics, subjects, and/or interests, were banned from publication for political reasons just like the government wants to ban certain guns for political reason;
  • the government required that they get a special license to write about a certain topic and that they may censor their article or column at any given moment without just cause;
  • the government required them to undergo a Federal and State background check to see if they are mentally fit to write a column;
  • the government required them to undergo a Federal and State background check to see if they have had a misdemeanor (as in the case of a domestic violence charge) in the past that would make them ineligible to exercise their First Amendment rights;
  • the government required them to fill out and sign a Form 4473, a sample of which would look like the form below which would be a legal sworn affidavit - before being allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights;
  • the government required them to wait for five days to “cool down” before being able to publish anything;
  • the government required them to have the serial number of their column recorded with the author's name and address by local, state, and federal authorities;
  • the government required the author to get fingerprinted by your local police as done in some states;
  • the government required the author to take a mandatory 16-hour Journalism Safety Course to learn writing safety measures so that they learn not to offend or unintentionally injure others with their publication; 
  • the government made their name and personal home address available to the public and published it in the local newspapers or on-line because they applied for a permit to exercise their First Amendment Rights;
  • the government required them to furnish personal information about your "private" life including any "unlawful" drug use before an author would be granted permission to publish an article;
  • the government required an author to keep your published columns locked in a cabinet when not in use, and out of the reach of children who might find and read one of their columns which the government has deemed dangerous;
  • the government limited an author, a writer, a blogger, a journalist, to only one publication every 30 days?
And yes, how would you the Liberal Journalist like to fill out the form below every time you decide to publish a new column - all just so that the government can keep track of what you are publishing for political reasons?

How many Liberal Journalists would be able to publish anything if they had to answer the questions on the form? How many would qualify to do so?

And yes, the bigger question, how would you feel if all it took was one "wrong" answer to make you ineligible to exercise your First Amendment Rights? 

Would Liberal Journalists answer any of the above questions honestly and correctly? I don't think they would. I think they'd cheat knowing that needed to so - just so that they could exercise their First Amendment Rights. I think they'd lie and cheat.

But more realistically, Liberal Journalists would not stand for it!

They would not put up with it for any reason because they see any infringement on their First Amendment rights as a violation of the Constitution. That's right, even if it meant them wanting to publish a how-to column on killing Americans.

To Liberal Journalists, there should be no limitations as to what they can publish - whether it be books, Internet, or videos.

Sure, liberals have been slowed down from publishing Child Porn.

And please remember, while Child Porn may be banned from publication, the subject of Child Porn can be written about and published.

Can you imagine the uproar if there were government restrictions on Liberals Journalist being forbidden from publishing say one of there infamous hate pieces on George W. Bush? 

Case and point, Liberals produced and made public a "how-to video" on how-to kill George W. Bush during his term as president. They found nothing wrong with that.

Can you imagine the anger coming from the Left if there really were topics and subjects and interests which were arbitrarily banned from being published because of political pressure?

They would call it government intrusion and a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Yes, if the government tried to place limitations on them in the same way as the government does to us, they would not stand for it! 

But since it's not them that a gun ban or a federal gun ownership registration would effect, Liberals who thinks they know what's better for others truly believes that any sort of restriction on our Second Amendment rights are just fine.

They sit in judgement of others while never having to walk a day in another's shoes. They are an arrogant bunch! 

Story by Tom Correa

Monday, March 18, 2013

Banning Assault Weapons More Like Banning Mark Twain, Not Child Porn

Diane Feinstein likened banning guns to prohibiting Child Porn in an effort to combat a question from Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

And yes, it was a question which I thought I'd never see a U.S. Senator put to another Senator - especially one like California's Diane Feinstein who has attacked the Constitution and the Bill of Rights over the years.

Though the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Feinstein's gun-grabbing bill that bans over 150 different types of guns, it didn't pass without a fight from Republicans.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz grilled ultra-liberal California Democrat Senator Feinstein on the Constitutionality of her gun ban, reminding her that the same "right of the people" applies equally to the Second Amendment as it does to the First and Fourth Amendments.

He asked her if she thought it within the purview of the federal government to ban certain books because it didn’t like them as say in violation of the First Amendment or claim that certain citizens are not protected against unlawful searches and seizures as in say violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Cruz contended that this is what she and her Democrat friends are doing with the 2nd Amendment and semi-automatic weapons.

Liberals have simply deemed those firearms “assault weapons" and have arbitrarily decided, all for political reasons, that they can be legally banned.

But no, Feinstein didn't like being asked about how she viewed the Constitution saying, ”I’m not a sixth grader. Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons. I’ve been up — I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn’t mean that weapons of war — and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. And so I — you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture.”

After her rant, she strongly objected to Senator Cruz’s use of the term “prohibited.” She said that nothing is being prohibited because there are 2,271 exemptions.

Imagine that, I guess those other guns don't count as being prohibited for some reason? But who knows why? Who can really gauge how Liberals think, they are such devious cowards.

She said, “Isn’t that enough for the people in the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high-powered weapons that military people use to kill in close combat? I don’t think so.”

Since she didn’t answer Senator Ted Cruz’s question, he asked it again, to which Feinstein reluctantly responded, “No.”

Later, she backpedaled when other Democrat members of the committee chimed in to remind her of child pornography.

She then changed her answer and said that child porn books can be legally banned because they are not protected under the 1st Amendment.

As a side note: The USA Department of Justice coordinates programs to track and prosecute child pornography offenders across all jurisdictions, from local police departments to federal investigations, and international cooperation with other governments.

Efforts by the Department to combat child pornography includes the National Child Victim Identification Program, the world's largest database of child pornography, maintained by the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the United States Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for the purpose of identifying victims of child abuse. 

Police agencies have deployed trained staff to track child pornography files and the computers used to share them as they are distributed on the Internet, and they freely share identifying information for the computers and users internationally.

So though they were right in coaching her to say that the government does have the authority to ban certain books and publications like child porn, the government does not have a right to violation the First Amendment by banning books for political reasons.

You see, Feinstein equates so-called assault weapons with child porn. Not with say banning Mark Twain, which is a more appropriate comparison to what she and other Democrats are trying to do.

Her fellow Democrats failed to mention that besides Child Porn, which is justifiably banned, the works of 19th Century American Writer Mark Twain is unjustifiably banned in schools around the country.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, (1835 to 1910), is better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. And yes, America's greatest writer.

He is most noted for his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel."

Twain was a master at rendering colloquial speech and helped to create and popularize a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language. Many of Twain's works have been suppressed at times for various reasons.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been repeatedly restricted in American high schools for its frequent use of the word "Nigger" which was in common usage in the pre-Civil War period in which the novel was set.

If we use Child Porn as an example of what should be banned, than we can say that banning Child Porn is the same thing in severity as banning air-to-air anti-aircraft Stinger missiles or hand-grenades for example.

Using Mark Twain as an example of what we should not ban is extremely appropriate because someone has made the Political decision that his 19th Century language is offensive because he uses the 19th Century colloquialism "nigger" in the way they did back when he was alive.

Imagine that for a moment, writers who actually use the same vernacular language as those around them? Wow! What a concept!

Liberals who keep Mark Twain out of schools for political reasons are violating the First Amendment. It is the exact same thing as trying to ban so-called assault weapons just because of political reasons.

They use the gun's appearance and mechanical features to say that they are more dangerous than other firearms, yet FBI crime statistics don't agree with what they are trying to sell the American people. 

It is not surprising that Democrats would use Child Porn as an example of how they see so-called assault-weapons. It is an extreme, it is their way of doing things. It is the very same way how Obama said the world would end after March 1st 2013 because of Sequestration.

Throughout history, various people and groups have banned  books like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because they contain information, ideas, or language that conflicts with their own values and beliefs.

The same with guns in the respect that guns conflict with how liberals see the world. It offends them to think that Americans would be stronger than the government and of course more independent from needing government protections if they had guns.

Huckleberry Finn remains one of the most controversial novels in classrooms and on school library shelves; the main criticism is Twain's treatment of the theme of race and his use of so-called "racial slurs" in reference to African Americans, Native Americans, and poor white Americans.

So-called "racial slurs" today was common language before the Political Correctness Police rear their ugly heads and stifled free speech.

Although the novel is written in the vernacular of its historical setting and the time period in which it was written, people today find this language offensive.

Some people have falsely claimed that Twain's novels condone and promote racism. Though that is not true and in fact Twain was an ardent abolishionist, they lie to get Twain off the shelves. It is their way of getting political support to ban them.

Democrats like Feinstein want to ban so-called assault weapons because of how she and other liberals see them. Liberals have set themselves up as would-be censors fto decide what is OK and not, what should be legal and not. Yet, no one asked them to!

And really, since anyone who has read my blog knows, I believe in common sense regulations but not government power hungry over-regulation.

Feinstein's attempt to ban a type of gun that is not a primary concern to law enforcement in America is an attempt at impose government control and over-regulation through political theater.

And yes, beings next year is an election year, it may all be for her liberal constituents in California.

Story by Tom Correa