Recent comments

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Nice list. I have two minor additions, both of which have to do with apparent disinterest in African-American history in the NPS:

    * that the NPS web site be fixed to include the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C. It used to be there, I stumbled across it back in 2005. But now it's completely gone from the web site. This is a travesty. Yes, the AACW Museum is privately owned & operated, but the memorial itself is still within the NPS as far as I can tell. The George Mason Memorial still has it's page, why not the AACWM?

    * That the African Burial Ground NM visitor center receives its own entrance, so visitors do not have to go through the metal detectors required for entrance to the federal building. This is easy to do, there is a revolving door right there, they can build a wall through the lobby separating the two areas. They may need to build restroom facilities, so that would be a problem, but it's not unworkable. Very few NPS sites require metal detectors & security screening, I can only think of two (the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty). I don't think it's required here if they had their own entrance.

    With all the history of mistreatment of minorities in this country, these two issues are serious thorns in the lion's paw.

    [I editted this for typos, that's why it appears below Bob's reply to me. Sorry about the confusion -- Barky]

    ==========================================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Funny you should mention African American representation in the Park System, Barky. I recently finished an African American-themed quiz for the weekly series and loaded it for "release into the wild" on Wednesday, January 21st. I'd be interested to know how you do on this quiz.

  • Some Things We'd Like 2009 To Bring to the National Park System   5 years 34 weeks ago

    Excellent! You have my support on every point.

  • Cats on the Prowl   5 years 35 weeks ago

    That is awesome. I visited Capitol Reef National Park this summer, I didn't see any cats. I would have loved to see that cat and get a photo.

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Happy 2009 to Traveler.
    I don't get to travel much these days, but I've spent time in many of the Parks from coast to coast in the past, and I still try to keep up with the goings-on, especially in the one's that have always been my favorites.
    I appreciate all the time and hard work you put into this site, and am grateful.

  • Lost to Hurricanes, the Flamingo Lodge at Everglades National Park Will be Hard to Replace   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Why only 30 rooms? We need 103, like before, at least.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Warren Z.,

    Ah, thanks for the clarification of the Brady group's role in the gun-control community. I was unaware of them being the leader, but sometimes such things are the case even though not evident (sometimes, by design).

    It is of course understandable that the personal tragedy of Mr. Brady became the impetus for a new gun-control organization (he was shot in the brain during the assassination attempt upon President Reagan; survived, but with substantial neurological damages). While again acknowledging that I may not have all the facts, I think that although the group is named for the man, it appears to be quite independent of him. Mr. Brady may have a formal seat or honorific role with the Brady operation ... but I saw him on TV a few years ago, and he was clearly 'in over his head', just trying to make a largely passive appearance in front of the camera.

    Warren Z. objects:

    "... I do not support politically manipulative legislation and idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution to suit the needs of a few while ignoring the consequences to the larger society we live in.
    In "D.C. vs Heller", the Supreme Court sweeps aside the characterization that you assert here, on the record. SCOTUS slices through the "manipulation" and "interpretation" issues, as a primary task they set themselves to. Much of the historic 65 page ruling they brought down, concerns itself with the question of what is extraneous & irrelevant to the nature of the Second Amendment, and just what item #2 of the Bill of Rights really does provide to citizens.

    Yes, there are costs tied to having an armed citizenry, as provided by the Second Amendment, and they should not be downplayed. However, the governance of disarmed populations is not without costs itself, some of them much worse than what we bear.

    I did indeed compare the legal fallacy of the Parks' former gun-law, to the legal fallacy of the Jim Crow laws. No, I did not make the mistake of comparing the grievance of deprived gun-owners with the grievance of African Americans. Furthermore, I took pains to include language to forestall such a misinterpretation of my wording. Any who actually read my previous comment will see that I did not suggest what you try to credit to me. Perhaps you should read it again, Warren.

    Yes indeed, the former gun-laws of both Washington D.C. and the Parks System are but sophistries not-so-cunningly designed to place spurious barriers between citizens and their fundamental Constitutional Right to arms. The use of this type of sophistry is the same legal fallacy by which Jim Crow laws kept the Black Man from his Rights.

    Or ... those who take refuge out on a legal limb, should not be surprised when it ultimately fails to support them.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    "the terminology they used in discussing limitations ran to words like "longstanding" and "traditional" situations, naming examples like the mentally ill, felons, schools and federal buildings....."
    72 years is pretty "longstanding and traditional" I'd say.
    "the Court did explicitly acknowledge that no Right is without limitations....." Exactly! If you don't want to shut off your cell phone, don't go into the theater.
    "Overall, law enforcement is the 10th most dangerous job...." Is that a valid reason to make it more dangerous?
    "Why should Washington DC be deciding on my ability to Carry in Yellowstone?" Because Yellowstone is federal land, Jason. It is NOT state land. You are not in Wyoming or Montana, you are in Yellowstone NATIONAL Park.
    "And we are not talking about just "ANYONE" carrying a gun on their person, but about those who have been trained to handle a firearm, had detailed State and Federal background investigations....."
    Depending, of course, on what state they obtained their permit. I quote from Kurt above, ""Experience in states that have allowed concealed carrying of firearms has shown that thousands of dangerous people are able to get licenses. In Florida, for example, more than 4,200 licenses were revoked because many of these licensees committed a crime.....""
    " ...it is strictly about self-preservation...." Guess it must come as quite a surprise to millions upon millions of visitors to national parks who somehow manage to get out alive year after year without pack'n heat! This has nothing to do with "self preservation" or the second amendment, just as keeping bison out of Montana has nothing to do with brucellosis. It is about political power, plain and simple.
    "...And hopefully, as a park visitor, others--such as poachers, intoxicated campers, and thieves--won't put me in confrontational situations....." I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, Frank, I've been around a good long time. I learned a long time ago that most "confrontational situations" can be avoided. I don't argue over campsites, parking places etc. You want it, its yours. If there is a problem, I get into my car and drive to the nearest ranger station. That's what they get paid for. On those rare occassions when a confrontation was unavoidable (never once in a National Park, BTW, despite spending hundreds upon hundreds of days camping, hiking and backpacking in them), I was actually glad that I did not have a gun which could have escalated the situation. Finally, in that hypothetical situation where I might be accousted in the back country: The trails that I take are not the busy, popular ones. I often go days without seeing another human being, much less being confronted by one; but heck, it could happen! I believe that in a hypothetical worst case scenario (which I don't spend my life dwelling on as apparently some people do) I would blast the culprit with my bear spray; which I would probably have a better chance of shooting from the hip than trying to get at a conceled weapon buried under a couple of layers of clothes (or in my pack). In a situation involving drug growers (which so many people seem to obsess about), I figure they are going to make themselves scarce because the last thing they want is hundreds of searchers combing the woods looking for a missing hiker.
    Check the statistics that Kurt linked to. No reasonable person can make the arguement for the NEED to carry a loaded gun in a National Park. The only arguement is to prove that you can. Political power.

    Oh, one last thing........Jim Crow? Really?

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Thank you all for providing a great site! It's the first thing I read every day.
    May 2009 bring health and prosperity to us all!

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Frank C. asks:

    Are you speaking of the political party or the small-l libertarian philosophy of government?"
    If one notes that the Democrats or the Republicans or the Greens or the Constitutionalists are pleased or disappointed with this or that, do we parse the spectrum of private political orientation to determine what she is talking about? No. Libertarians - like Greens and Constitutionals - are a bust. No nuance necessary. Has nothing to do with the admittedly complex & certainly fascinating rainbow of actual citizen thought. We're talking Parties.

    By reading my comment, it is seen that all four of my uses of the work "libertarian" in my response to Warren Z. are indeed plainly capitalized ... so it would seem the usage was explicit aimed at - literally - Big-L Libertarians.

    Frank, I endorse & recommend your use of the phrase, "corrupt, one-party system". I'm not going to be drawn into a hair-splitting exercise over what the word corrupt means ... far as I'm concerned the word does not belong to somebody with a tenured chair at the University, nor some lawyer, nor some company selling dictionaries. "Their butts are sucking wind" does fine with me, if "corrupt" is too tricky to handle.

    I do, however, call it "The Two-Party System", a different term meaning the same as your usage. ;-)

    I call the Libertarians "delusional", because they think that because they have a quality argument and more-consistent platform, that should qualify them for an important role. Problem is, they can't get the votes to ... be important. They think they are, but the voting record shows they are not important. That's close enough to delusional to fit as a one-word summary.

    George W. Bush "forced" his views on us, by getting elected President. Jerry 'Moonbeam' Brown is forcing his views on California, by getting elected Attorney General. If the Libertarians ever escape from the Wonderland of their delusion, they will force their interpretation of issues upon us, by getting themselves elected to lead. So far, 'tain't happening.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Ted Clayton:

    When referring to the Brady Campaign as "leading the opposition" I meant to say I applaud the Brady Campaign for being the first entity to take a legal stand against the new ruling, I in no way meant to infer that Brady was the leader of any organized coalition opposing this ruling. (I apologize if the Brady Campaign is in fact not the first entity to do so.)
    However, I find it poetically fitting that a his organization sits on the side of the fence opposed to the ruling.

    I too support the Constitution, Ted, including the Second Amendment, as it was written. But I do not support politically manipulative legislation and idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution to suit the needs of a few while ignoring the consequences to the larger society we live in.

    As for the rest of your comments on my opinion as written, your own constructive logic says more about your ideas than I could ever improve on.

    While picking apart one of Frank N's comments did you really compare gun owners to the victims of Jim Crow laws?? Do you really think not being able to carry a loaded gun wherever you please puts you in the same civil arena as an entire race of people that are discriminated against because of the color of their skin? Gun owners are "separate but equal" because the NPS does not interpret the Constitution as narrowly and idiosyncratically as you do? How large a coalition could you build using that argument? How many elected officials will bring that particular argument to the fore in defense of legal carry in our parks? I look forward to watching your progress.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Ted:

    The Libertarians are an ineffective political delusion

    Are you speaking of the political party or the small-l libertarian philosophy of government? If you're talking about the third party, then I would agree that big-L Libertarians are ineffective at making inroads in America's corrupt, one-party system. (Dispute my use of "corrupt", but how else would you characterize Democratic and Republican collusion to keep other parties' candidates out of the presidential debates?) If you're calling the libertarian political philosophy to be "delusional", please clarify. Are you calling Thomas Jefferson, the rule of law, sound money, and Constitutional government "delusional"? If so, what does that even mean?

    they certainly never had the wherewithal to force it upon us

    Of course. Because libertarians don't believe in initiating force against others, nor does the philosophy accept using the State to use force against others. Democrats and Republicans, however, seem to have no qualms using force and coercion to reach their desired goals.

    Here's an unfolding case in point, and it even involves the NPS.

    Frank N:

    Park rangers are law enforcement professionals who, as a part of their job, are required to put themselves into possibly confrontational situations. Hopefully, as a park visitor, you are not doing that.

    And hopefully, as a park visitor, others--such as poachers, intoxicated campers, and thieves--won't put me in confrontational situations. As long as the possibility for confrontation exists, no matter how unlikely, and as long as government officials carry weapons, law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their constitutional rights to self-defense in vast open land where the nearest help can be hours away.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    What everyone seems to be missing is the fact that the rule is aligning with State law. Why should Washington DC be deciding on my ability to Carry in Yellowstone. Shouldn't it be the state, for which it is located, be making the rules. If you are legally able to carry in your state, a National Park should not be exempt. And we are not talking about just "ANYONE" carrying a gun on their person, but about those who have been trained to handle a firearm, had detailed State and Federal background investigations, and have to re-apply and certify at regular intervals. In addition, we are required to be up on all current gun laws, for any and all States we carry in. We go to the range regularly, and in most cases practice more than most law enforcement. The Criminals don't care where you are, or abide by the laws or rules governing anything. Personally, I think it is about time we are aloud to protect ourselves and our families. It is not about hunting, it is strictly about self-preservation. When the talk about 125000 comments to the negative, I would figure there were many times more positive (just from the couple of forums I personally belong to). I hope the court sees through this ruse and strikes it down post haste.

  • What's Driving All The Shaking At Yellowstone National Park?   5 years 35 weeks ago

    It's all Bush's fault!

  • Wanted: Expert on Lassen Volcanic National Park   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Snowshoeing can be done almost anywhere in and around the Park. Because we are so lucky and live nearby, we, use the main road, from the Southwest entrance off State Hy-way 36. We snow shoe up to the Sulphur Works, and we have cross-country skiied, taking the kids. We also use logging roads out of Chester, esp. up Feather River Dr. and the Lockerman Canyon Rd, up above the Chester Cementery. We have always enjoyed seeing wild critters or their footprints, and birds, that are migrating. Dress warm, take water, and packed lunch. Sunscreen, We see lots of people having tailgate parties, at this entrance, and fun in the Snow, but it is the Southern Cascades, Drive safely, bring chains for your tires. The weather can change quickly. Don't hesitate to talk to Rangers, the hearty souls have signed in a do snow camping, and we see people up at the Lassen Peak itself in winter. Those be the EXPERT type persons. Don't forget the camera!

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Warren Z. said:

    "I applaud the Brady Campaign for leading the opposition to [the new Parks' firearm regulation]."

    I am aware that there are various 'forces' & 'camps' in the gun-opposition line-up, but I have not seen anything that communicated to me that the Brady entity is recognized by other gun-control groups as their leader, or that Brady acts as de facto leader of the field. Is your characterization of Brady as the leader actually meant to be descriptive? If so, can you provide a reference that independently makes this clear?

    Warren Z. thinks the new Parks' gun-regulation was:

    "... obviously created to politically placate the gun owners lobby."

    Hmm. There is a powerful gun-lobby, of course. Has been, for many decades. The lobby per se is able to do some things, but like other comparable lobbies, they spend much of their time & effort generally greasing the wheels of politics. Most fellow gun-owners that I know, however, view the NRA etc as basically a more politically-agreeable Greenpeace or Sierra Club, in that we take it for granted that the real object of NRA's passion (and all other such lobbies), is themselves.

    Owning a gun does not make me or most others so brain-dead as to imagine that, like the Brady group, their main promotional objective isn't themselves. It is. They're in politics, for the politics. They are their own stock in trade.

    I think you'd do better, digging a little deeper for a more-realistic explanation of how the new Parks' gun-regulation came to be.

    More realistically, a very large constituency of voting Americans support the Second Amendment, and it is their clout at the ballot box that our Legislators are primarily responding to (as they should) rather than any "lobby".

    Warren Z. plays fast with the facts:

    "The NRA may have taken on the issue of legal loaded gun carry in the National Parks back in 2003, but the current administration didn't touch it until the last few weeks of their time in power."

    Those who have been watching the process know that it is of several years duration, and describing it as happening in "the last few weeks" of Bush's tenure is hyper-rhetorical, at best.

    Warren Z. makes a major sub-plot of painting the problem as "Libertarians". Sir, I've been following the Libertarian platform since JFK was running circles around it ... and neither I nor anyone else has ever seen them make a going concern of it. The Libertarians are an ineffective political delusion, and whatever is haywire with the country, they certainly never had the wherewithal to force it upon us. Venting at Libertarians is tilting at windmills. (Besides, what happened to the Neocons?)

    Warren Z. tempts me:

    "The National Parks have managed to survive without allowing legal carry of loaded firearms for DECADES."

    And now, they can survive & thrive with firearms, in overdue lawful compliance with the Constitution, for CENTURIES.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Frank N, this is probably the story you're recalling considering crime stats for the national parks.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Frank N. started off with:

    "the Supreme Court in their decision specifically stated that nothing in that decision should be construed to prevent reasonable restrictions on guns (presumably airports, federal buildings etc.......why not federal land/parks?)"
    No "presumably" about it - the Court did explicitly acknowledge that no Right is without limitations, including the Second Amendment. However, the terminology they used in discussing limitations ran to words like "longstanding" and "traditional" situations, naming examples like the mentally ill, felons, schools and federal buildings. In their treatment of limitations on guns, the Court made quite clear that this would not be a 'loophole' by which the gun-opposition is going to create or elaborate barriers to the armed citizen.

    Frank N. then stuck his foot in a gopher hole:

    "Further, nothing in the current (previous?) [Parks firearm] law prohibited the possession of a firearm in a National Park, only the possession, and ready availability, of a LOADED firearm."
    I'm surprised to see you make this error, Frank. This is exactly the 'clever tactic' that got Washington D.C.'s law hung out to dry. "No-no, no-no! We're not saying you can't have guns - just that they must be disabled & make inaccessible!" Get a grip, Frank: The Second Amendment is not about allowing people to have unloaded weapons stashed away where they can't readily get to them. This is precisely the not-clever trickery that D.C. sabotaged itself with. An argument like this is known as a "sophistry".

    Frank N. correctly noted:

    "Also there is no way of knowing whether the make up of the Court will be the same if and when such a case would come up."
    True. First, D.C. vs Heller was in fact a close call, a split Court ruling. Second, we have a new, historic President promising "Change".

    However, hopes that Obama will act on behalf of the more-Liberal point of view really should be fading by now. There were always clear-enough signs that he intended to set aside even his own left-leanings, to implement his "Change" by leading the country as a whole, and demure from championing one partisan platform - even that to which he himself is by nature inclined. Now that we have watched him fill most of his Cabinet, and take other measures that have often dismayed the Left Wing, appealing to the hope that the new President will exert himself to 'tip' the Court seems decidedly unjustified.

    Frank N. repeats:

    "As I said above, its not like the whole National Park thing is a new concept. We have 72 years of gun free experience that has worked."

    The longevity of an inappropriate regulation does not 'make it ok'. I previously responded to this argument with the mild example of Washington D.C., which also 'got away' with depriving the citizen of effective armament. Since my mild rebuttal did not show you the folly of this argument, I will use a more-impressive example.

    In formal legal & ethical terms, depriving a group of citizens of the clearly-stated Constitutional Rights by making 'clever' regulations which have the (intended) results of making the Right unavailable to the group, was very much in reality the way that "Jim Crow" operated.

    "Jim Crow" was a clever set of regulations & laws put in place in some parts of the United States, to keep Negroes in a subordinate social position. Blacks plainly had certain rights under the Constitution, etceteras, but by 'inventing' tricky laws to prevent them from exercising their Rights, some parts of the Country held Negroes subservient in society, for nearly 100 years after they had become legally equal to Whites.

    Because the Nation launched a major project to dismantle the Jim Crow barriers, and the Court was a chief player in this project, the legal & ethical similarities between Jim Crow and "obstructive" laws such as those of Washington D.C. and those of the Parks that were put in place in such a manner as to forestall people having & exercising a Right guaranteed them quite plainly & prominently in the Constitution, will not be missed.

    The subversive gun-regulations of the Park System of the last 72 years are neither as egregious nor as harmful overall to the nation as was the Jim Crow system. However, they are indeed "subversive" of the Constitution, in the same manner as were the Jim Crow laws.

    Finally, Frank N. makes his case that Parks law-enforcement will have a more-difficult time, if citizens are allowed to have operational guns. Being a cop is one of the tougher jobs in society ... but other jobs are even more dangerous, causing more injuries and more fatalities, and much larger numbers of ordinary citizens serve as workers in these roles. It's tough being a commercial fisherman; it's tough doing your job for the Army in Iraq; it's tough doing your job in the coal mines of Virginia, or with the logging industry in Oregon - and it's dangerous work in those jobs, more dangerous than Park law enforcement. Overall, law enforcement is the 10th most dangerous job, put a good chunk of America more in the line of deadly fire than cops.

    Another option that might make better sense that trying to maintain a fragmented independent Park enforcement, is to hand over enforcement-duties in some Park units to the cities, counties & States in which they are embedded. These jurisdictions already have fully-developed police-systems, and are often, probably usually, better-prepared to do what needs done on Park turf, than the Park itself.

    The way the new concealed carry Parks gun regulation was worded to put the basis of firearms-authorization with the local jurisdiction (the State & County) in which the Park is located, is suggestive that we might be headed in this direction. In many Park-situations, I think this would be an overall enforcement-improvement.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    "Also, look at the statistics for violent crimes in National Parks and Monuments which has been constantly escalating and you'll see that they aren't nearly the safe haven that the anti-gunners make them out to be.".....Ralph F.
    Kurt, is it possible for you to re-post those statistics, or at least point to them with a link to your previous post?
    Warren, you took the words right out of my keyboard with your last post. No matter which side of this issue you may find yourself, it is indeed a sad statement about our society that ANYONE (any individual) cannot feel safe in a National Park surrounded by families on vacation, children and nature's wonders, without the security of a loaded weapon pressing against their side.
    I truly believe that where you stand on this issue has a lot to do with how you were brought up, and all the arguing in the world is unlikly to change very many minds. I have mentioned before that I was brought up in the inner city. Friends of ours who owned a neighborhood market were killed with guns. They had guns of their own, and police determined that it was attempting to pull those guns that resulted in the shootout that resulted in their deaths. Drug deals, prostitiution, gang wars.....you name it, occurred outside my bedroom window at night as I was growing up. Still, my dad did not believe in guns and would not have one in his house. He did believe in an ounce of prevention: strong doors and locks, and an alarm system that he put together himself that could be heard six blocks away. Except when testing, it never went off and we were never the victums of a serious crime. Many of our neighbors who had guns were. In fact I think that's why. A gun was far more valuable to steal than an old TV set.
    Now, someone raised in a rural setting where guns were an honored family tradition, tools used to keep coyotes away from the hen house, put meat on the table and maybe target shoot with dad on a long summer evening; someone who had never been sent to buy a gallon of milk only to be the first to find close family friends shot full of holes, lying in an ocean of their own blood, are going to have a vastly different attitude toward them than I, and I understand that.
    It's not that I think that National Parks are suddenly going to turn into shooting galleries. Indeed, if you have a permit you are likely to be responsible (though I DO think that poaching is likely to increase somewhat). Rather it is that overwhelming sense of sadness that Warren speaks of. The feeling that we would be losing something very dear to a lot of people. That sense of innocence, of special-ness, of isolation, real or imagined, from the rest of the world, that parks provide.
    Warren says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I say, If it ain't broke, don't break it!

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Kurt, Bob, Jim, Chance, etc--

    Thanks for all you do to keep us up-to-date on NPS issues. NPT is a "must visit" when I open my conputer. It is a fascinating mix of points of view on how best to preserve and protect the areas of the National Park System. Happy New Year to you guys and the readers of this site.

    Rick Smith

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I echo the sentiments: thanks for all the work around Traveler. You do a great job with the site, it's definitely on my own "most viewed" list. Have a happy New Year. :-)

    =========================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    How sad and cynical to feel that the only way one can be "safe" in the world is to carry the ability to harm or kill another person.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    I applaud the Brady Campaign for leading the opposition to another unnecessary ruling that was so obviously created to politically placate the gun owners lobby.
    Jim Brady, himself a victim of gun violence, did not give in to fear as a result of the assault he suffered. He did not join the Libertarian-ruled gun-owners lobby (a morally and politically courageous choice) to create for himself a false sense of safety in what had become for him a dangerous world. He and his organization seek and support SENSIBLE gun laws and legislation.

    The logistics of allowing legal carry of a loaded firearm in a National Park Service site (with it's many public access Federal buildings, and individual State carry laws to be considered) will add too much to the already over-worked protection Rangers plateful of responsibilities. And THAT reality will undermine the safety of our parks. It just doesn't make sense to create multiple additional responsibilities for these fine Rangers that are already spread too thin.
    The Bush Administration knew this, or at least Kempthorne and Bomar did, that's why they waited until the final hour to push this ruling through.

    It just amazes me that the members of the gun owners lobby, usually a very independent and politically astute community, cannot see this new ruling for what it is. The only reason Kempthorne, President Bush, et al. created this ruling was to try and build a little political capitol for the Republican Party while it still could. That's what I call a political agenda.
    The NRA may have taken on the issue of legal loaded gun carry in the National Parks back in 2003, but the current administration didn't touch it until the last few weeks of their time in power. Doesn't that tell us something? Or is the gun owner lobby ignoring this slight just because we think we're finally getting our way?
    Face the reality: even President Bush and his political cronies, Libertarians in Republican Clothing each and every one of them, wouldn't support the "I'll take my loaded gun anywhere I damn well please" trend until they could do so in hit-and-run fashion. Because they realized that in a larger socio-political sense, the legal right to take a loaded legal weapon anywhere and everywhere we please just doesn't make logical sense for our parks , our communities, or our nation.

    It also amazes me how so many comments we read concerning this issue (on this blog and elsewhere) have an unspoken undercurrent of racism. And so far I appear to be the only reader of this blog to mention it.
    Let's all be very careful when we compare Big City gun owners to Country gun owners, because this comparison carries with it multiple levels of sociological factors (such as economic stratification, civil equality and justice, and political manipulation/exploitation of communities) that must all be addressed and throughly discussed.
    For instance, how do so many guns get into the hands of "gun-gamers" in the Big City? Where does that supply chain start? What messages are Big City residents getting from the media that tell them guns are the only way to exercise power in their lives? Why do the Big City residents feel so powerless in our society? What economic factors are at play? Why do those economic factors exist?
    It's just too easy to rely on simplistic comparisons of City vs. Country (another way of saying Liberal vs. Conservative) when discussing the issue of lawful gun carry, and the resulting conclusions of such a simplistic comparison are potentially very very racist.

    Ultimately I guess I'm just old-fashioned. Adjusting to change can be good when warranted for the betterment of the whole.... but I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    The National Parks have managed to survive without allowing legal carry of loaded firearms for DECADES. And the millions of visitors that pass through their gates every year continue to enjoy their visits despite the absence of a legal rationalization for having a loaded gun tucked into their belts while they look at the birds and the bees.
    Why change that? Just so the Republican Party can politically placate a relatively small portion of the population that feels their "rights" are being infringed upon?
    There are no violations of societal civil rights involved in this specific issue. This ruling doesn't make sense for society as a whole, and and for the National Park Service in particular. To support a political agenda of so few at the expense of violating the democratic principles upon which our country was built just doesn't make sense.

  • Happy New Year from the Traveler!   5 years 35 weeks ago

    Kurt, Bob, Jim, et al-

    Thanks for all your hard work! I'm in awe of the steady stream of well-written articles on this site. Thanks also to those readers who take time to comment. Whether I agree or not, the various posts are usually informative & sometimes challenging. Happy New Year to all!

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 35 weeks ago

    As I have posted before on this topic, guns are not the one's to blame for crimes. It is the illegal type people that will carry and use them that makes crimes with guns a problem. I have been in law enforcement and do not have a problem with people carrying a firearm to protect themselves. I understand...trust me I do that it will make the Rangers jobs a little more difficult, but it is a law abiding citizens right to carry a firearm for protection. I am currently in Great Smoky Mountains NP and have been hiking all over the park, haven't needed a firearm yet, but would feel alot more safe and secure if I had one with me. A law abiding citizen will not be one of the people you have to worry about carrying, hence the fact they are the one's who actually have permits and usually years of training in the use of firearms. As with alot of the NP's, there are alot of illegal activities within the park lands across the country, including drugs, alcohol...and etc. I know here there are several thousand acres that people use to grow marijuana and area's that people use to make moonshine in homemade stills. So if you think the NP's are free from illegal types of people than you need to think again. As for me, if I run into some of these people, I want to be able to protect myself at least somewhat. I know they will do the same to protect the locations of their illegal activities.