Recent comments

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    "Or perhaps you'll take it upon yourself to interpret a particular situation you decide is unlawful, thus justifying your need to provide defense?"

    Among your snide questions, this one's the winner. As to when I decide a situation is unlawful, it's really easy. As a CHL holder (and indeed as a citizen), I am permitted to use lethal force when faced with "imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm". This is what the law allows. You will not even know I carry a gun until that happens.

    "Why do organized gun ownership concerns always seemingly resort to fear when searching for supporters?"

    Funny. We use facts showing that crime is real, that the police have no obligation to protect us, that regular citizens have proven quite capable of defending themselves, and that CHL holders have a remarkable record for safety. It is the opponents who seem to come up with "fear" as evidence of a problem (see plaintiffs).

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Warren,

    The questions you have on the Second Amendment were taken up earlier in '08 by the Supreme Court, and their treaty on the history, analysis and legal status of both the questions and the Amendment are published in their ruling, D.C. vs Heller..

    This ruling says it better than I can, it's on the formal public record, and it's from the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Paul - If you've ever visited a Park that is largely wilderness, like North Cascades, and compared it to the experience of say visiting Yosemite Valley or the developed areas of Yellowstone, I think you would quickly see the difference. Wilderness designations involve making a tradeoff in favor leaving a place virtually untouched, and against further development of things like tour roads, National Park Lodges, and developed campgrounds that help make National Parks more accessible to broad segments of the American population. When a wilderness is designated, the wild splendor of the place is left almost completely untouched (for example, you can't even put trail signs up in wilderness areas) and provides an unmatched experience for those who go there. On the other hand, it does often mean that fewer people will go there, due to the lack of facilities and the more difficult access.

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 45 weeks ago

    It may not be such a reach, Kurt. Most of the larger units have a cadre of relatively well paid employees who have a vested interest in building new infrastructure. These range from contracting officer and Trail Foreman to Landscape Architect, Chief of 'Maintenance', and beyond. Many no doubt sincerely see a need, or many needs, but some are careerists looking to fill the eye of their supervisor or congressperson. The regional offices are especially well stocked with this type.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Ted:

    The CNN poll you referenced, as worded, concerns the right to own guns. It did not ask respondent's interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, specifically where and when it would be appropriate to carry legally owned and loaded firearms. That's a big difference.
    I see where you're going though: one can always find a poll or statistic to support their viewpoint. But the poll you quote does not pertain to the point I made.

    Perhaps you could help me understand how legal ownership, as provided for in the 2nd Amendment, implies that one can carry a fully loaded legally owned gun on Federally owned and protected lands wherever and whenever one chooses? The specific word that confuses me is "militia", and how the 21st Century issue of gun owners wanting to keep a fully loaded at their side at all times while walking Federally protected lands relates to that concept.

    Let's all take a look at dictionary definitions of the word "militia".
    - a military force raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
    - a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, or emergency law enforcement.
    - a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.
    - all able-bodied citizens eligible by law for military service.

    Some questions for everyone:
    Will you need to have your gun on you while hiking the Grand Canyon in the event you are called to service while on vacation?
    Or perhaps you'll take it upon yourself to interpret a particular situation you decide is unlawful, thus justifying your need to provide defense?
    If you're no longer eligible for military service, will you keep your gun at home?
    Were the framers of The Constitution concerned with contemporary issues of possession, purchase, and transportation?
    "A well regulated Militia..." Where's the regulation in letting gun owners carry wherever they choose?
    Why do organized gun ownership concerns always seemingly resort to fear when searching for supporters?

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Preoccupation with the economic crisis certainly played a role, but it was still somewhat surprising that Congress failed to pass its now seemingly standard end-of-session omnibus public lands bill. Even with the economic crisis, this probably would have still have passed but for the objections of Senator Coburn of Oklahoma. Sen. Coburn objected to a number of provisions, including the earmarking and overall price tag of some of the projects included, closing off certain Forest Service and BLM Lands to further energy exploration, and concerns regarding both the price tag of the new National Heritage Areas included and the possibility of new National Heritage Area designations interfering with private property rights.

    It is interesting to note, however, that both Senator Coburn and environmental groups both objected to at least one aspect of the bill - a plan to spend to transfer land out of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on the Aleutian Peninsula to eventually facilitate a multi-million dollar road project to replace the existing ferry access to an airport for residents of a small town. (sound familiar? - different town, similar story.)

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Wow..cute comic! And is that the way we as U.S. citizens should see it? That we cannot go and visit a national park without feeling bodily threatened and in need of a firearm?
    My husband & I have visited numerous parks, and the day when I don't feel safe...we'll be staying home!

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Warren Z.,

    Warren said:

    "So... let's take all of the discussion about "lobbyists" out of the argument, and get back to the issue."
    Warren, Kurt elevated the lobbies to a central position in his leading article here. His objection to the role of the NRA (lobby) is that their (lobbying) role improperly tipped the national lawmaking process. His elevation of the role of lobbies is entirely appropriate: They have been key & primary players - both pro & con - throughout the life of the issue under discussion. Largely, "lobbyists" are "the issue".

    Warren said:

    "Let's get real here. The majority of the general public, the professionals, and the legislators don't think this ruling is lawful, necessary, or prudent. Enough said. [emph. added]"
    On the contrary, actually: "Majority in U.S. poll support gun ownership rights"
    "Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they believe the Constitution guarantees each person the right to own a gun, according to a poll released Sunday.

    In all, 65 percent said they thought the Constitution ensures that right, and 31 percent said it did not. The question had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3 points.

    Men and people living in rural areas were most likely to say the Constitution guarantees the right to own a gun.

    Nearly three quarters of men (72 percent) said they believed so, versus 26 percent who did not. More than half (58 percent) of women said they believed so, versus slightly more than a third (35 percent) who did not.

    That question had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 4.5 points.

    Among rural dwellers, 73 percent said they agreed, versus 64 percent and only half (50 percent) of city dwellers who thought the same."

    On the matter of public views regarding firearm ownership, a large majority is consistently supportive.

  • Fake USGS Site Urges Evacuation of Yellowstone National Park   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Everytime I hear "someone created a fake website", I think "here's a guy who should probably get away from his computer and walk in the woods once in a while."

    Although, I admit, I think this might be the year I finally visit Yellowstone. Ya know, before it blows up and what-not. After that it'll be damned hard to find lodging!

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 45 weeks ago

    OK, makes sense I suppose. Thanks for that!

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • National Park Quiz 36: Management   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Jeez, Barky, I can't get eleven correct myself! I demand a recount.

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Barky, no, it's not exactly empty rhetoric. While the areas in question have been "managed" as defacto wilderness, that's not the same as being officially designated wilderness. Which means that if someone down the road decided to build a road into or through a portion of the defacto wilderness, or put a backcountry ranger cabin there, or who-knows-what that's currently prohibited in officially designated wilderness, and somehow got NPS approval, they could.

    True, it's probably a reach that anything would happen to these defacto wilderness areas, but you never know....

  • National Park Quiz 36: Management   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Wow, only got one wrong (including the bonus questions). My best showing yet! Sadly, one I got wrong (the Craters of the Moon) is one I actually visited. I thought the City of Rocks was the jointly managed recreation area, being a haven for recreational rock climbers. Are you sure that's not the correct answer? ;-)

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    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    So... let's take all of the discussion about "lobbyists" out of the argument, and get back to the issue.

    As Kurt wrote earlier: "The public agrees: of the 140,000 people who voiced their opinion on this issue during the public comment period, 73 percent opposed allowing loaded, concealed firearms in the national parks, according to NPCA tallies." And that was during an intentionally abbreviated (by the Bush Administration) comment process, that also masterfully managed to ignore the necessary NEPA compliance process. If put through the full legislative process, this ruling would most likely NOT have seen the light of day. And the Bush Administration knew that.

    I think the public comment statistic shows that if left up to a public vote, an essential part of the democratic process, concealed carry in the Parks would not be allowed. Are these 73% all blindly following the political agenda of some unknown evil bent on ruining the fine fabric of our nation by chipping away at our God-given, er, I mean our Constitution-given rights?

    Let's get real here. The majority of the general public, the professionals, and the legislators don't think this ruling is lawful, necessary, or prudent. Enough said.
    Sorry gun owners, but sometimes you just don't get your way. Will you now raise your militias to force your views on the rest of us?

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Help me out here: why is a wilderness declaration of regions within an existing national park really matter? I understand that declaring other lands as 'wilderness' affords them protection from development, road building, etc., but aren't lands within a park already protected?

    I guess I'm asking why this bill is anything more than empty rhetoric in some cases, like the act "designat[ing] 90,000 acres of wilderness within Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks", etc.

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

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Mr Wade: I previously commented that the "survey" to which you refer is not scientific; it seems based mostly the respondents' feelings rather than scientific data. I pointed out that it was more akin to a questionnaire than a scientific survey, and I listed some of the problems with gathering data online.

    ... the survey we did ... provided ample indication from a significant number of current and former employees of the NPS that the risk would increase.

    Could you please direct me to the data you collected? Is it posted on the CNPSR website? Or maybe you could answer a few questions:

    What were the methods of data collection?
    Exactly who was surveyed?
    What does "ample indication" mean?
    To what does "significant number" equate? Do you have raw numbers and/or percentages?
    How many and/or what percent didn't think the risk would increase?

    Thank you in advance.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Bill,

    I understand that it is a little distasteful to see your organization mentioned, much less categorized with Exxon or NRA. But I did not say that CNPSR are liars, thieves or otherwise disparage them, only bringing forward that they are a "lobby", like a large number of other such groups that 'work' the government.

    Its no different than discussing lawyers. Many of us have developed a reflexive snarl when we use the 'L-word'. However, there is a wide range in the ethical footing in the lawyer-population: Some are indeed scoundrels, while others are quality people. Yet, we don't hear 'nice' lawyers object, "Don't call me a lawyer", because some lawyers are nefarious. Lawyers are lawyers - and lobbies are lobbies.

    When and if we pass laws to reduce the influence of lobbying upon the government, the controls enacted will not be applied "using the legal definition of lobbying". Rather, a lobby-control law will be applied on the basis of actions & relationships, whether an entity meets a particular legal definition or not.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a lobby.

    We have groups who engage in lobbying-activities, but do not register as or meet the formal definition of a lobby. If we passed a law that controlled only those groups that are registered or meet the technical definition of a lobby, then the day after the law comes into effect, every since lobby in the country would suddenly be reorganized as an informal body outside the "legal definition", and all lobby-activities would proceed, 'business as usual'. Hmm?

    I think we ought not lose sight that lobbies we like & approve are just as much a part of the 'issue' and 'problem' of lobbying, as are those lobbies we think stink.

    And, they will be controlled under the law, the same as those we don't want mentioned with.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Bill Wade
    Chair, Executive Council
    Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

    Ted -

    I object to you categorizing CNPSR as a lobbyist in the same breath as Exxon. The law requires an organization to register if it has lobbyists. CNPSR is a non-profit 501c3 and has to report on any "lobbying" it does, in order to retain its non-profit status. Last FY, using the legal definition of lobbying for non-profits, we "lobbied" about 2% of what we were legally allowed.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    NRA "drives" laws through Congress.

    When involved in a conflict or struggle, folks need to know who the opponent actually is, if they are to take effective actions. The problem is, folks very commonly react toward figures & entities other than the source of their grievance. Sounds weird - and often is! - but it's true.

    The boss comes into work and gets on everyone's case, all day long. The real source of the boss's irritation is his wife, but he's treating the crew at work like the enemy. Then when he goes home, he kicks the dog, for good measure. This is the classic case of "redirecting" frustration to a less-threatening or less-dangerous figure (if he lights-in to his wife, he only digs himself in deeper).

    This is called "displacement", in Psych 101.

    In our present case, it is better to hang the blame for the new gun-law on the NRA, because the real 'culprit' is that American citizenry as a whole, who strongly support gun rights. That's really why we have the new guns-in-Parks rule: Because elected Representatives know taking positive actions to correct erosion of the Second Amendment pays generous dividends, next time elections come around. They don't need the NRA to figure this out, or know what to do.

    To rail against America as a whole, and try to paint the vast masses in some vaguely nefarious shade, is too big a bite to gnaw off and choke down. But here's the NRA - and handy to the scene of the 'crime'. "Damn s.o.bs - always subverting the American government..."

    Frankly guys, I think Capitol Hill can stand on its own against the NRA ... and they're not really into handing out Legislative powers to let lobbies "drive" law-making.

    Legal action based on "emotional appeal"

    Asserting in a lawsuit that something that we don't like is increasing the "risk" of bad things happening is extremely common. It's "emotional" because the suit says there is something "scary" about the activity we don't like, that there is something to "fear", and we want it stopped. Fear is an emotion, so to "appeal" on such a premise to the Court is an "emotional appeal".

    Disrespecting the NPCA and the CNPSR

    These people are just lobbyists, same as the NRA. They have no more business doing what they do - and no less - than the Exxon lobby has doing what it does. They're just a group acting on behalf of a particular point of view. The test of this assertion will be, when & if we finally manage to pass real lobby-reform laws to brush-back the lobby-horde, the NPCA & CNPSR will find themselves toeing the same line that Exxon & NRA surrogates are put behind.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 45 weeks ago

    Bill Wade
    Chair, Executive Council
    Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

    Well, Frank the facts are these: the entire Executive Council of CNPSR, duly elected by the members, voted unanimously to support this suit. And, while I suspect every single person in CNPSR doesn't agree 100 percent, the way our organization runs is that the membership allows the EC to make the decisions on their behalf. Not unlike the country does business; however, not one single member has yet to notify me that they disagree with the suit, and we've been discussing it for some time now. So, I have no clue where you get the idea there is some internal dissent.

    As to the risk, you know very well something like that is hard to quantify; but the survey we did resulting in the report referred to on our website; and that we submitted to DOI, provided ample indication from a significant number of current and former employees of the NPS that the risk would increase. That's exactly what we said.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Bill, it's "Kurt.";-)

    That aside, I'm not at all in favor of crooks. But the system as it's currently running is working if you believe the crime stats for national parks.'Nuff said.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Ted Clayton:

    To categorize a lawsuit brought by the NPCA and the CNPSR as an "emotional appeal" is patronizing to say the least. To disregard the professional experience that many of their members have in park/resource management is to belittle the value of their experience. And to disregard their professional assessment of the situation (because it doesn't agree with yours) is unnecessarily disrespectful.

    Concerning President-elect Obama, what exactly is his "nature", as you so dangerously phrase it?
    It will be interesting to see whether or not he takes on this particular ruling, his support for the 2nd Amendment notwithstanding. (If his eventual decision doesn't completely jibe with your interpretation, will you still see him as a "supporter"?)

    And: Do you really think the NRA does not exercise it's considerable political clout whenever possible? That opinion is beneath your demonstrated intellect, don't patronize the forum please.
    If you are sincerely unfamiliar with the breadth and reach of the NRA I suggest you go take a look at the NRA website, and you'll get an idea of just what that organization can and will get themselves involved in.

    Bill Woodard:
    Just how many "crooks" have been responsible for crimes within the National Parks so far? The no-carry situation in National Parks has been in effect for decades, and I'm just not familiar with how many crimes have occurred in our Parks that could have been prevented by law-abiding gun owners. Can you share your source and statistics for your assumptions? Or at least some sort of comparable precedent that would support the need for this ruling?

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Not only that, Kurt, but Senator Crapo, R-Id, admits that the NRA drafted the letter that Senators signed and sent to Kempthorne. I think Ted is underestimating the capacity of the NRA to drive campaigns like this.

    But, as you point out, so what? Does it surprise anyone? My only question is why did they wait so long? They had 7 1/2 years of a friendly admiinistration. Maybe they waited so long so that it would be a last minute deal that their allies in the Department could get through without going through the normal rule-making processes, shortening the public comment period and ignoring the NEPA compliance processes. And does it surprise anyone that groups who think more guns in parks is a bad idea would challenge the rule?

    Rick Smith

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Kirk: Why are you in favor of crooks, who never have or had paid any attention to any law be the only ones to carry concealed firearms in the national parks? When any organization or business support a law that does not allow a citizen with a concealed weapons license to carry a gun for protection is telling the crook it is ok to rob and kill the unarmed citizen.
    Sorta dumb isnt it -- considering what it take to get a concealed weapons license. You mention illinois as a non concealed weapons state. Question: how many people are killed by guns in illinois that says "it is ok for the crooks to carry weapons but not for the law abiding citizen. Dumb really dumb illinois the crook free state.

    [Ed: This posting, originally all in caps, was edited to sentence case. Come on folks; let's quit "shouting"" at each other.]

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 46 weeks ago