First came the Inspector General’s (IG) inspection. IGs are the guys they send out from D.C. to see if you’ve complied with the accumulated tonnage of orders, regulations, requirements and general odiosity from the Corps. Usually IGs were bearable, since the inspectors knew they would eventually go back to the operating forces and didn’t want to annoy their once and future comrades too badly. In fact, I wouldn’t have worried at all, except that I’d recently disposed of several hundred classified documents by shredding, and had inadvertently shredded the destruct roster as well, and had no way of accounting for anything.
Fortunately, I did have my master sergeant, aka “Top,” a gent whom nothing had bothered since the Korean War, not even getting invited to those up close and personal “tactical” atom bomb tests of the 1950s nor two subsequent Vietnam tours.
Inspection day dawned with visions of Portsmouth dancing in my head. I sent my scuzziest lance corporal out with a six-by (truck, to you) full of unauthorized gear, with orders to drive around the base until the inspection was over. He returned two weeks later and, when asked about the truck, replied, “You mean I had a truck with me?” But that’s another tale.
The IG team”all friends of Top’s”skipped the crypto vault and headed straight for my field radios: the old AN/PRC-25 backpack variety. You see, the telephone-style handset had a couple connectors inside. Upon sufficient bouncing about, they’d come loose, touch, and short out. So the Corps had issued a technical instruction to epoxy the connectors in place. Unfortunately, there was no epoxy in the supply system, and no one was allowed to spend the 89 cents or whatever on their own. So the IG team set to unscrewing mouthpieces. If you hadn’t epoxied the connectors, they wanted to know why you’d violated the order. If you had, they wanted to know where you got the glue.
Top offered to explain it all to them over a liquid lunch at the staff club. Apparently, he did. And I was safe … until getting stuck at the VIP table at the Camp Pendleton Passover Seder.
Now, as you can imagine, Jewish Marines weren’t all that common back then. Originally I’d had no intention of making the Seder, but the base Jewish chaplain importuned, and I figured the Reb, as the other chaplains called him (not always respectfully), had enough tsuris without hosting yet another unattended gala. As it turned out, a couple dozen folks blew in, including the base commanding general and the First Marine Division commanding general, and their ladies … two couples with even less desire to be there than I.
A few minutes into the pre-meal rituals, I noticed that the generals and their ladies were imitating everything I was doing, liturgically meaningful or not. So I started making up traditions. They kept copying. Why, they asked, are we doing it this way and everybody else is doing something different? Oh, I assured them, that’s the Ashkenazic custom. We’re going Sephardic. Up at the officiating table, the Reb was turning colors, red to yellow to green, and back again.
We came to the commemoration of the Ten Plagues. Usually, you either dip your finger in your wine glass as each Plague is named or you spoon a bit of wine onto your plate. I started us on finger-dips for two Plagues, then shifted to spoons for two more, then had them banging spoons on plates for two Plagues after that. At this point, they noticed the Reb choking on Plague No. 7 and realized what was going on. Fortunately, generals can never admit they’ve been snookered by lieutenants. That, or they were at least as dinky dau … and/or far more gracious … than I.
Probably just as well that it ended when it did. I was getting ready to walk them around the table for Plagues No. 8 through 10.
Several weeks later, I did have people walking around a table.
Back then, there was racial tension. Lots of racial tension. So the Marine Corps decided that everyone should have Human Relations (HumRel) instruction, 20 hours worth, spread over five mornings. Unfortunately, I was hanging around the battery office, looking for my early-release papers, when the quota for a HumRel trainer came in. So they shipped me off to a weeklong instructors course. I graduated first in the class, having gotten a 98 on the true-false test, and they sent me back to teach the gun bunnies what was to become known as sensitivity.
We had a text. Actually, an “Our American Values” quasi comic book. In the 1960s, most basic manuals had gone comic book, including the M-16 rifle disassembly and maintenance guide (Chapter One: “How to Strip Your Sweet 16”), but that’s another story. First four sessions, we sat around a conference table and reacted to the drawings and balloons.
“What do you think, Private Smith?”
“What do you think, Corporal Jones?”
“Oh, I agree with Private Smith.”
Fridays were different. That’s when we discussed conditions at the local base, including self-segregation, interracial sex, dapping (elaborate black-power handshakes), et cetera. When we got to the dating stuff, the scrawniest brother at the table made a comment about white male sexual prowess, as explicit as it was uncomplimentary. The nearest Caucasian immediately reached over and began acquainting his head with the tabletop, and there ensued several minutes of mass violence and general bad manners.
Once was nasty enough. When it happened the second cycle, I figured there was a pattern emerging. So did my captain. So did my colonel. So did a general or two, who suggested via the chain of command that a bit more decorum, and no more incident reports that had to go to headquarters, might be nice. Especially if I wanted to avoid being held on active duty for the investigations, which might take forever. So Thursday evening before my final class, I called the area guard shack.
“This is Lieutenant Gold. I’ll be teaching sex education tomorrow and would like the reaction force standing by.”
Next morning, 20 or so Marines sat around the table, revving up. I announced the subject, then opened the door. In marched a dozen Marines in riot gear. They surrounded the table and made not a sound, save for a discreet tapping of their batons on the wall behind them.
We had a fascinating seminar, an open, genuine, and informative exchange of views. I subsequently spent 14 years as a college professor. Would that all my classes had been so … well received. L&P
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced legislation Wednesday that would abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after they enacted a rule that would make pistol stabilizing braces illegal for anyone without a certain license.
The legislation, titled the “Abolish the ATF Act,” would totally eliminate the ATF immediately after the bill is enacted. Gaetz introduced the bill after the ATF announced they would make gun owners face the possibility of being charged with a felony if they do not register their firearms with the stabilizing braces.
Gaetz said that the House GOP has the ATF in their “crosshairs.”
“House Republicans have the ATF in our crosshairs. The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on their repeated actions to convert law-abiding citizens into felons. They must be stopped. My bill today would abolish the ATF once and for all,” Gaetz said in a statement.
READ THE LEGISLATION HERE:
In June of 2021, Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also introduced legislation that would abolish ATF if signed into law, which Gaetz was a co-sponsor of. The Daily Caller first obtained that legislation, titled the “Brian A. Terry Memorial Eliminate the ATF Act.” The bill was named after Marine and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a gunfight after a group of armed men attempted to rob smugglers who were transporting drugs from Mexico to the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE: Marjorie Taylor Greene To Introduce Legislation That Would Abolish The ATF)
The Caller also broke the news of legislation introduced by Republican Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall in the Senate that would protect Americans’ second amendment rights from the ATF-proposed registry for firearms with stabilizing braces. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Roger Marshall Introduces Legislation Pushing Back On ATF Attacks On 2nd Amendment)
Democrats have been focused on passing legislation that would stop gun trafficking, ban the import, sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of high-capacity magazines, raise the purchase age for certain rifles from 18 to 21 and promote safer storage of guns.
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker quickly became furious when what appears to be a majority of Prairie State county sheriffs announced they will not enforce the state’s new restrictive gun control law banning so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines.
According to MyStateLine, the new law requires current owners of affected guns to register them with the State Police. It also bans the future sales “of about 100 different semi-automatic pistols, shotguns, and rifles.”
Pritzker, who speedily signed the legislation, had a fit when sheriffs began telling their constituents they won’t enforce the ban. According to WGN and WTVO, “As are all law enforcement all across our state and they will in fact do their job or they won’t be in their job,” Pritzker told reporters.
But Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, which is preparing to file a federal lawsuit against the new law, told Ammoland News in a telephone conversation sheriffs are elected, and Pritzker cannot fire them.
“I don’t know how much (the resistance by sheriffs) will play into” the lawsuit scenario, Pearson said.
But he does know how the public is reacting, and up and down the state, “people are furious.” Since Pritzker signed the legislation—HB 5471—Pearson said the ISRA office telephones have been “ringing off the hook.”
In addition to banning future sales of semiautomatic firearms, the new law bans .50-caliber firearms.
KSDK News reported Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen and Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl posted on their department Facebook pages they will not enforce the law. McMillan accurately predicted his decision would get plenty of concurring opinions from other Illinois sheriffs. Sheriff Kahl said he believes the new law violates the Second Amendment.
Likewise, according to MyStateLine, Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana, Lee County Sheriff Clayton Whelan and Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle shared the same sentiments. In their statement, they said HB 5471 “is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment.”
ShawLocal.com reported that DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Sullivan, among others, issued a statement drafted by the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.
“As the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official,” Sullivan said, “[I] proclaim that neither myself nor my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we be arresting or housing law-abiding gun individuals that have been arrested solely with non-compliance of this Act.”
As it turns out, Illinois is not the only state where sheriffs are fed up with gun control laws pushed by governors. Out in Washington State, where Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are calling for an “assault weapon” ban, the Washington State Sheriff’s Association issued a letter declaring, “We…believe the proposed restrictions will serve to erode constitutionally protected rights without addressing the root causes of violent crime. We are particularly concerned with the proposed so-called ‘assault weapons ban’ and ‘permit to purchase’ laws.
“Restrictions that shift focus from offenders to law-abiding citizens send the wrong message and erode constitutional guarantees upheld by the United States Supreme Court,” the letter adds.
“The Governor’s proposed legislation is also inconsistent with Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution, which mirrors the language of the Federal Second Amendment,” the sheriffs say. “The new proposals to restrict gun ownership would further infringe on rights that have been clearly and repeatedly established.”
Pritzker and Illinois Democrats call their new law the “Protect Illinois Communities Act.” County sheriffs now saying they won’t enforce the law’s provisions evidently believe this law’s title is wholly erroneous.
Published reports quote Ogle County’s VanVickle, who observed, “This appears to be another rush to judgment on a bill that was introduced with very little oversight and very little public review.”
Concurring, Stephenson County Sheriff Steve Stovall stated, “There is so many unknowns, it’s another one of those laws that passed that they put unrealistic expectations out there, and there is no way to follow those things up.”
Pearson, at the ISRA offices, told AmmoLand one development in the aftermath of Pritzker’s bill signing is that his organization’s membership numbers are climbing. Every year, ISRA sponsors an event in Springfield, the state capital, that attracts several thousand gun owners. This rally and march are called IGOLD, and Pearson said this year’s event, scheduled March 29, will likely see a record turnout if current emotions continue running high.
As noted by KSDK News, Madison County Sheriff Jeff Connor and Tom Haine, the county’s State’s Attorney, issued a joint statement that noted, “…We expect a strong court challenge to HB 5471 in short order. We trust that this legislative overreach will not stand. In the meantime, we remain focused on reducing violent crime. Therefore, pending further direction by the courts, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will not expend its limited resources to check whether otherwise law-abiding gun owners have registered their weapons with the State, nor will the Madison County Sheriff’s Office be arresting or housing otherwise law-abiding individuals solely due to non-compliance with HB 5471.”
Writing on Facebook, Stephenson County’s Stovall summed it up: “Let me be clear, this piece of legislation will do nothing to make our communities safer! Criminals don’t follow the laws. That is what makes them criminals. This unconstitutional legislation infringes on our 2nd Amendment Rights, which makes any enforcement of HB5471 contrary to my oath of office.”
Pretty soon, that sentiment will likely be at the heart of ISRA’s promised federal lawsuit.
About Dave Workman
They had more character than most people that I have met! Plus they were mega women magnets. Grumpy
OTTAWA — Deep into preparations to compete next month in the Netherlands, Canadian elite-level pistol shooter Kim Britton can’t help but worry for the future.
“I envision a point where to me, even though I love it, it’ll be too challenging to pursue,” she said.