Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Plan to ban ranges stuns hobby shooters - GTA - Plan to ban ranges stuns hobby shooters
Rifle club members express anger at being targeted by mayor as part of campaign to stop gun violence
May 28, 2008
Jim Byers
City Hall Bureau

In one part of the Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre, a group of men and women are engaged in an innocent game of volleyball.

In another, fresh-faced children are taking a cartooning class. And, in the basement, a couple of dozen members of another club are doing what they love to do on a Tuesday night – firing guns.

Charlie Gulston, an 81-year-old who took up the sport in 1962 and reckons he's won 300 awards, is lying on his stomach and peering at a distant series of bull's-eye targets through the sights of his air rifle. On the back of his red and white jacket the words "Proud to be Canadian" are stitched in large letters.

There are 150 members of the Scarborough Rifle Club, give or take.

There are grandmothers and grandfathers, teenagers and even a 24-year-old woman, Sandy Chan, who alternates her weeknights between target shooting, ballroom and swing dancing, and horseback riding lessons.

To a man, and a woman, they're amazed – and more than a little bit angry – that politicians are looking to ban clubs from city property as part of a campaign to stop gun violence.

"I shouldn't say it," said Florence Morris, a shooting enthusiast who has brought her two grandsons and their bags of shooting medals to practise on this night, "but I think the mayor doesn't have the balls" to tackle the real issues.

Morris called the idea of banning the discharge of all firearms except those of public officials such as police "absolutely ridiculous."

"He (Mayor David Miller) is not going after the cause of the problem," she told the Star. "We're not the problem. Our guns are all locked up. They have trigger guards and they're in locked containers."

Steve Spinney, the firearms safety officer for the club, said members are only allowed to fire 22-calibre rifles that shoot "regular" bullets one at a time, as well as air rifles and air pistols that shoot small silver pellets. There are strict regulations, and the club is inspected.

"It takes 10 or 15 seconds to reload one of these," he said, showing a rifle to a reporter. "You don't go bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And we fire at a target; usually 20 shots in 30 minutes.

"We're not doing a Rambo here," he said.

Spinney shows off another gun, this one an Anschutz 8002 air rifle. It's a heavy affair with a gleaming wooden stock and shoots small pellets.

"Who takes something like this into a store" to hurt someone, he asks.

Spinney said members of the club have to pass government tests and have to take a separate exam the club administers.

In some 40 years of operation, he said the only accident he can recall at the club is when a box fell off a shelf and chipped someone's tooth.

The club's setup looks pretty much like any sports organization. There's a bulletin board with club news in one corner and a large collection of trophies on the wall. There's also a poster with the words "Target Shooting is a Lifetime Sport."

Spinney said if the club were to go out of business, he and other long-time shooters would find other places to practise their sport.

But the casual members likely would have to give up their weekly nights at the range, not to mention the annual "Christmas Fun" shooting tournament and the annual fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Chan said it would be a shame to lose the club.

"I had never used a gun before I joined last September," she said. "I really enjoy it. It's very relaxing."

Fifteen-year-old Jordan Akow, one of Morris's grandsons, said he likes the mental discipline it takes to shoot well.

"I think it helps me study for school," he said.

Spinney said members like to compete in a sport that demands extreme discipline and hand-eye co-ordination.

So why are politicians after them?

"I don't know," he said. "Maybe we're easy to find. We're in the phone book. We're visible. But don't go after us; go after the people who bring handguns into Canada."

Proposal to close ranges draws fire - GTA - Proposal to close ranges draws fire
Mayor's plan 'an insult to law-abiding citizens,' councillor charges
May 28, 2008
Sarah Barmak
Staff Reporter

With several gun ranges in operation just outside Toronto, the city's sport shooters were questioning yesterday whether Mayor David Miller's proposals to close recreational ranges and block out new manufacturers and wholesalers would really limit gun use.

Even if Miller's plan – aimed ultimately at stemming the lethal use of guns on the street – becomes a bylaw, Torontonians could still legally practise shooting by, for example, requesting a membership at the Lakeshore Arms Academy in Mississauga.

Acting Ontario chief firearms officer Tony Cooper says he doesn't think the law would ultimately affect Toronto gun enthusiasts' ability to buy weapons or use them on a range, noting that they have other options in the GTA.

"It would be an inconvenience for someone who didn't have a car. It would be a few miles further than they would normally go."

There are currently 44 licensed businesses in Toronto that wholesale, retail, manufacture or repair firearms, Cooper estimates.

The Toronto Revolver Club, founded in 1905, has its own gun range. The Forest Hill Revolver Club, which has 35 members, rents space at a gun range on Royal York Rd. that plays host to "five or six" other clubs who use it, according to the club's president, George Cormack.

And after 75 years of operation, the Canadian National Recreation Association Handgun Club still practises in a shooting gallery in the rafters of Union Station. Among its users is Avianna Chao, who will represent Canada as a pistol shooter at the Olympics this summer.

Chao's coach, Patrick Haynes, complained that the plan doesn't reflect "our shooting community."

"We're not directly related to the violence, we're not related to individuals going off on the street and hurting other people. Our sport is about safety, it's about respect for the law."

Councillor Case Ootes (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth) joined in that criticism yesterday.

"To go after gun ranges ... to ban that and say that is the cause of gun violence in the street is absolutely ludicrous," said Ootes, who trained as a sharpshooter in cadets years ago but says he no longer shoots. "It's an insult to law-abiding citizens."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Passerby shot, killed on Yonge Street

Passerby shot, killed on Yonge Street
Last Updated: Monday, January 14, 2008 | 11:56 AM ET
CBC News

Two men in their early 20s have been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder after a shooting near one of the busiest intersections in Toronto.

John O'Keefe died early Saturday morning after he was shot as he walked by the Brass Rail strip club on Yonge Street.John O'Keefe died early Saturday morning after he was shot as he walked by the Brass Rail strip club on Yonge Street.

John O'Keefe, the second homicide victim of 2008, died early Saturday morning as he headed home from a downtown pub.

According to police, at about 1:30 a.m. two men were kicked out of the Brass Rail strip club on Yonge Street south of Bloor. At about the same time O'Keefe left the nearby Duke of Gloucester pub, also on Yonge Street.

The two men ejected from the club returned and fired shots into a crowd outside, hitting O'Keefe. Seconds later the 42-year-old father was dead on the street.

Det. Sgt. Dan Nielsen said the two men kicked out of the strip club tried to shoot a bouncer and O'Keefe just got in the way.

"He was simply walking by the club. He hadn't been inside [the Brass Rail] and in fact there were a number of people in and around that particular area, some from the club, some from other locations on Yonge Street," said Nielsen.

Nielsen said surveillance tapes from the club and witness statements led to the arrest of Awet Zekarias, 22, and Edward Paredes, 23, just hours after the shooting. Both men live in Scarborough.

Nielsen said neither suspect was known to police and the gun used in the shooting was properly registered.

"In this case, I have to say, the handgun was actually a lawfully owned handgun by one of the accused. And in fact he was well aware of how to use it. He had a proper firearms licence, had been trained in safety, he knew quite well he wasn't supposed to have it out there."

Nielsen said the two suspects had been in the bar for less than an hour before the shooting and alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

Zekarias and Paredes appeared in court on Sunday and were formally charged with the first-degree murder of O'Keefe and the attempted murder of the bouncer.

They will appear again in court on Jan. 21.

Two accused denied bail - News - Two accused denied bail
Publication ban on evidence in shooting
January 14, 2008
Philip Mascoll
staff reporter

The mother of a young man charged with first-degree murder in the gun slaying of an innocent bystander covered her face with shaking hands as the 23-year-old walked into the prisoner's dock at Old City Hall courts.

Just behind her, close to a dozen family members of the man's 22-year-old co-accused tried to catch his eye.

The justice of the peace denied bail yesterday to Awet Zekarias, 23, and Edward Paredes, 22, both of Toronto.

He ordered the pair held in custody, and placed a publication ban on evidence at the hearing.

Both Zekarias and Paredes are charged with first-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old father John O'Keefe, and the attempted murder of a bouncer at the Brass Rail Tavern, a strip club on Yonge St., south of Bloor St.

Police said a shot fired at the bouncer by two men, who had been ejected from the club early Saturday, instead hit O'Keefe, who was walking by.

O'Keefe was hit in the head and pronounced dead at the scene.

Toronto police Det. Graham Gibson said last night that the semiautomatic handgun allegedly involved in the shooting was registered to Paredes, who he said is a target shooter.

Zekarias and Paredes were blank-faced while their families wept during the hearing, which ended when they were remanded in custody until this morning at Old City Hall.

Outside the hearing, Zekarias' mother and Paredes' relatives declined to speak to the media.

"No. Please, not now, no newspapers," the distraught woman said.

A spokesperson for the Paredes family said they would not be speaking to the media and took exception when a photographer took pictures of the family as they left the courthouse.

My family is a victim of the circumstances,' mother of Toronto shooting suspect says

Posted: January 14, 2008, 8:37 PM by Barry Hertz

The mother of a legal gun owner accused of murdering an innocent passerby on Yonge Street said yesterday her family is also a ‘‘victim of circumstances’’ in the case, as the Toronto Mayor renewed his quest to get the federal government to outlaw handguns.

The Post's Natalie Alcoba and Ashley Spegel report:
Yolanda Paredes, the mother of Edward Paredes, said the allegations have “been a shock for us, and I just can’t speak about it right now.”

“I am also a victim, the way my family is a victim of the circumstances,” Ms. Paredes said in a phone interview. She said her family is not prepared to speak about the death outside the Brass Rail strip club.

Edward Paredes, 22, and Awet Zekarias, 23, face one count each of first-degree murder and attempted murder after a single shot, which police allege was meant for someone else, hit 42-year-old father John O’Keefe, as he was walking by the club early on Saturday.

“What the hell is wrong with people? What the hell is wrong with people in this society? He was just going home, just going home,” Mr. O’Keefe’s girlfriend, Susan Banahan, told CTV Toronto.

Detective Sergeant Dan Nielson said Mr. Paredes was the registered owner of the handgun allegedly used in the murder, but did not have the authorization to carry it with him to the strip club. The accused allegedly intended to shoot one of the Brass Rail bouncers who had kicked them out minutes earlier.

It was Mr. Paredes who allegedly fired the shot, but Det. Sgt. Nielson said the murder was a “joint venture” between both accused. “In first-degree, it doesn’t have to be a lengthy, complex plan,” he said. Police do not believe the accused were intoxicated.

Both men were remanded into custody after making brief court appearances yesterday in front of family and friends. At one point, Mr. Paredes’ girlfriend burst into tears, and had to be comforted by his father.

Mr. Paredes and Mr. Zekarias do not have a criminal records, said Det. Sgt. Nielson. Mayor David Miller expressed his shock over the city’s second homicide, a few blocks from where Jane Creba was killed on Boxing Day 2005.

“The fact that a fairly young man legally had a gun is shocking. What does a 22-year-old in a city like Toronto need with a handgun?” Mr. Miller said. “That’s just not acceptable.”

The Mayor said he would consider expanding the numbers of closed-circuit television cameras on Yonge Street. “It’s time that together as Torontonians and Canadians we put an end to the ownership of handguns in our society.”

Mr. Paredes was a member of a private Gormley gun club called The Grange, according to James Cox, the chairman of the umbrella sporting club.

Mr. Cox said Mr. Paredes, who appears on the club’s registration as a student, had to take two firearm safety courses and eight probationary shootings before he was given a permit.

“You can transport a firearm to the range and back home again, with reasonable stops, but not drinking at the bar,” Mr. Cox said in an interview. He said supervisors keep a close watch on members while inside the club and report anyone who does anything dangerous.

The Chief Firearms Office does issue an “authorization to carry” a restricted gun to someone who proves that he or she needs it for protection, or that it is essential to their job. Police said Mr. Paredes did not have such a permit.

“I would like to believe, and do believe, that people who take the time to take the training course, get their licence lawfully, acquire their firearms lawfully, sign up in a gun club, by and large are the decent people who are really trying to do things right,” said Tony Cooper, Deputy Chief Firearms Officer of Ontario. “And it’s an anomaly when somebody goes left of centre.”

With files from Chris Wattie

Photo of a candle outside the Brass Rail strip club by Peter J. Thompson for National Post

Handgun Quick Facts

Handgun Quick Facts

· The January 22, 2004 Toronto Police Services Board Minutes reported that of the 183 identified crime guns (all types) recovered by Toronto Police, only 5 (all types) were reported as stolen.

· Lawful handguns owner obtain $5 million Liability Insurance for less than $10 per year. There have been no claims in 40 years!

· All handguns have been registered since 1934, effectively banning them from criminal possession. The law requires all legal owners, to possess a RCMP issued Firearms Licence and the individual handgun must be registered with the RCMP. All Canadian police services have access to this information.

· There are currently over 1.1 million legally owned handguns in Canada (588,000 new registry, 519,000 old registry). Of these, 230,000 are registered in Ontario to 550,000 licensed firearms owners. The average value of these handguns (including accessories) is approximately $1,000 each.

· A handgun gun ban will cost Canadian taxpayers approximately $2 Billion.

· There are 212 handgun shooting clubs licensed in the Province of Ontario (Chief Firearms Office)

· Of the 108 handguns used in Canadian homicides in 2006, only 6 (5%) were registered. In 2005, of 129 handgun homicides only 4 (3%) were registered. (Ministry of Public Safety)

· The Vancouver Police reported in their 2004 Strategic Plan Report that, “97% of the firearms (all types) seized in crimes had never been in the Canadian system.” (VPD Strategic Plan)

· In May 2007, an Access to Information request filed by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association to the Ontario government showed that no studies or documents had ever been done regarding a handgun ban in Ontario.

· Of the 1,527 firearms (all types) collected by the Toronto Police Service in 2006, only 64 (4.2%) were registered handguns. These firearms include crime guns, turn-ins and recovered guns. (Access to Information Request)

· After a complete ban on handguns in Great Britain in 1997, handgun offences more than doubled and injuries from handguns rose from 314 in 1997 to 1,024 in 2006 (British Home Office). Obviously, the ban had no effect on criminal misuse of handguns. The British Olympic Team however, now has to train in the Netherlands in order to represent their country at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

· On Nov 23, 2006, Chief William Blair testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, “What I think we're seeing now, in our latest work this year, is that close to 80% of the firearms we're seizing have in fact been smuggled across the border.”: (Ministry of Public Safety)

· On Monday, January 21, 2008, Councillor Michael Walker admitted on the “Goldhawk Live” show that “there was not a shred of evidence that banning guns from lawful owners would make the streets of Toronto safer.”

· On January 15, 2008, Councillor Michael Thompson told the Globe and Mail. “he supports increased penalties, but is sceptical of a handgun ban: "It is a great thing to say, but . . . the practical ability to enforce it is impossible

· On January 15, 2008, Tony Cooper, Deputy Chief Firearms Officer of Ontario told the National Post, "I would like to believe, and do believe, that people who take the time to take the training course, get their licence lawfully, acquire their firearms lawfully, sign up in a gun club, by and large are the decent people who are really trying to do things right". "And it's an anomaly when somebody goes left of centre."

· On January 17, 2008 OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino told the Hamilton Spectator, “ Finding out why youth are turning to gangs and guns will have better results than simply banning all handguns”. “Criminals will find guns or other weapons but society should ask, “Why is this happening?”

Ban not enough to end gun violence

Ban not enough to end gun violence

Peter Kuitenbrouwer, National Post Published: Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In inviting speakers to the city's executive committee to back his call for a handgun ban, Mayor David Miller yesterday uncorked a flood of emotion in Committee Room One. This committee is the Mayor's salon, where one can speak personally to him (albeit on a tightly controlled agenda; he had security guards throw out a man protesting a lack of shelter beds).

It was a cathartic morning, like a therapy session for locals rattled by the spray of gunfire that has claimed so many lives in town in the past few years. It was also a shock: the range of speakers make it impossible to file "gun violence" as something that happens to someone else in a bad part of town.

"I knew John O'Keefe for 20 years," said Andrea Aster. "He was my first boyfriend. He was brilliant and huge and beautiful. Think of the person you love most, and imagine they are shot dead on your safe streets."

Mr. O'Keefe, 42, died Jan. 12, shot by a stray bullet on Yonge Street after leaving the Duke of Glouchester pub. Edward Paredes, registered owner of a Baby Desert Eagle 9mm recovered at the scene, and Awet Zekarias are in jail, charged with first-degree murder.

Yesterday a dozen friends of Mr. O'Keefe held the packed room at rapt attention for more than an hour, describing the man a handgun felled. Mr. O'Keefe left behind a nine-year-old son, Iain O'Keefe-Kaufman, who lives with his mother.

Sean Daly, a friend, said, "I love you, Jennifer [his wife] loves you, we all love you, it shouldn't have happened this way."

Audette Shephard, who works in the global transaction banking division at Scotia-bank's head office, stood in her banker's suit, fronting six women from United Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere. Each lost a son to gunfire in Toronto; Ms. Shephard's son Justin Shephard died June 23, 2001, on the Rosedale footbridge. No one has been charged.

"The Canadian Charter allows us the right to walk around without being shot to death," she told the committee.

The best speech came from Abdi Warsame, 39, a spokesman for the family of Abdikarin Abdikarin, the 18-year old whose shooting death last month in Lawrence Heights was caught by a security camera.

"In Mogadishu, my beautiful city, guns are just like toys, and I don't want Toronto to become like that," he said, tears streaming down his cheek.

The call to ban guns united all races yesterday, and it was refreshing to see council working together, too: Councillor Michael Walker, a frequent critic of the Mayor, brought the gun-ban motion to the committee, and the Mayor supported him yesterday. But banning guns is hardly going to rid our town of violence, and council is ultra vires anyway in this field of federal jurisdiction.

Some speakers suggested municipal leaders should better spend their time on solutions in their control. Mothers said cuts to after-school programs in poor neighbourhoods lead kids to gangs. Mary Almeida, who raised her son in social housing near Christie and Dupont streets, added outside the meeting, "They just cut off all the programs that they had for little kids."

In one telling moment, Councillor Howard Moscoe quizzed David Mitchell, who grew up in social housing and now chairs the board of the Toronto Community Housing Corp., which owns 58,000 homes.

"Should the presence of a gun in a household be grounds for eviction?" Mr. Moscoe asked.

"What we'd be doing then is further exacerbating the situation," Mr. Mitchell replied.

The committee then passed a motion calling on Ottawa to ban handguns. Everyone felt better. A true solution to gun violence may take more work.

Miller aims to ban handguns, shut ranges

Miller aims to ban handguns, shut ranges

'I Want A Safe City'

Chris Wattie, National Post, with files from Peter Kuitenbrouwer Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

TORONTO - Mayor David Miller announced a plan yesterday that would make all handguns illegal in Toronto, effectively shut down gun ranges and make it all but impossible to manufacture, assemble or store firearms within city limits.

But critics, including one Olympic target shooter, labelled the Mayor's program as window dressing, saying it will penalize law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to curb criminal gun violence.

"This is not going to have any impact whatsoever on gun crimes in the city of Toronto," said Larry Whitmore of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, which boasts a membership of 15,000 across Canada.

The measures are contained in a report prepared by city staff that is to be presented to the executive committee next week. The report, "City-Based Measures to Address Gun Violence," must still be approved by city council, but Mr. Miller wasted no time in signalling his approval of its recommendations.

"I want a safe city," the Mayor told reporters. "The truth is guns are too easily available, and if you talk to some kids in some neighbourhoods, they tell you they want a gun to protect themselves."

Among the recommendations is one calling on council to pass a zoning bylaw to restrict the use of firearms anywhere in the city, including firing ranges and gun clubs.

The report also calls for an end to all recreational shooting on city property, "specifically, shooting ranges at the Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre (former Mid-Scarborough Community Centre) and Union Station."

Avianna Chao, who will represent Canada at this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, and who is a member of the Union Station club, called the city's proposed ban "crazy and a little scary."

"This whole thing is just extremely disturbing," she said. "They're trying to pass this off as a way to make Toronto safer … but what they're doing has nothing to do with gun violence whatsoever."

Ms. Chao, who will represent Canada in the 10-metre air pistol and 25-metre sport pistol events in Beijing, said she may well return from the Games without a place to train. She called it "ridiculous" to suggest that her small, extremely expensive target pistols could be used by criminals.

"I don't think they'd even know how to use it," she said. "They've got electronic triggers that you have to set up before you fire.… It's crazy to think they'd be used for a crime."

The gun report would exempt city police ranges, provincial or federal government facilities and "establishments operated by the Department of National Defence." The proposed zoning bylaw would be sent to a public meeting in September.

City staff estimated that cancelling the permit for the Scarborough Rifle Club will cost the city $3,155. The CNRA Gun Club at Union Station pays rent of $500.

Mr. Miller has pushed for a national handgun ban and for tighter controls at the U. S. border, and said yesterday he made no apologies about banning sport shooting. He pointed to the shooting death of bystander John O'Keefe on Yonge Street this year by a legally registered handgun.

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there's any defence for sport shooters any more," he said. "It's a hobby that creates danger to others.… Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners.

"Do we as a society value safety or do we value a hobby that creates danger? And nobody can deny that that hobby directly results in people being shot to death on the streets of Toronto."

But Mr. Whitmore called the proposed measures "absolutely ridiculous."

"The Scarborough club is rifles only: It's not even rated for pistols," he said. "There has never been any safety or criminal concerns with either of these clubs … these are single-shot target pistols and rifles for Pete's sake."

Mr. Whitmore said the Mayor is posturing to look as though he is addressing gun violence, but is doing nothing to stop the real source of illegal guns in Toronto.

"This is about the Mayor's need to be seen doing something about gun violence," he said. "But he's off on a complete tangent.… The vast majority of guns being used by criminals in this city are coming from the United States. They certainly aren't coming from legitimate, law-abiding gun owners."

Mr. Whitmore said the association will almost certainly appeal any city bylaws shutting down legal gun clubs. "We're going to be fighting this all the way. I don't see how they can be allowed to do this."

The report also calls for better monitoring of firearms crimes and their impacts and for more lobbying of the federal government to bring in a Canada-wide handgun ban.

But in the meantime, the city must act, Mr. Miller said. "If we want a truly gun-free city, we can't just ask the federal government to ban the ownership of handguns ... We have to do what's in our power."

Councillor Denzil Min-nan-Wong (Don Valley East) scoffed at the Mayor's handgun plan. "Big deal," he said. "The people that are using the guns are not going into stores and purchasing them. It helps marginally, but in terms of reducing handguns I'm not sure it will do very much."

Toronto police said last year that police have recovered weapons that were stolen from homes where they were improperly secured.

According to published reports, a 9mm Browning handgun that was once legally owned in Canada was involved in five crimes, including the 2003 murder of Toronto youth worker Kempton Howard and a shooting that blinded a TTC bus driver two years ago. It was also used in two attempted murders in Toronto and another in Durham Region.

In one six-week period in the summer of 2005, burglars reportedly made off with 84 firearms from Toronto-area homes, according to a Toronto police survey. It includes 42 pistols stolen from the Cobourg area. In October, 2005, a cache of 17 handguns was stolen from a Toronto lawyer's office.

Meantime, Ontario's Attorney-General plans to appeal to the federal government today for new measures to crack down on the flow of illegal guns across the Canada-U. S. border.

City plan would ban new gun clubs

City plan would ban new gun clubs
Zoning legislation would also be used to curb firing ranges and manufacturers


From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

May 27, 2008 at 4:59 AM EDT

New gun clubs, firing ranges and gun makers would be banned in Toronto under city anti-gun measures unveiled yesterday.

As well, two gun clubs face eviction from city-owned property under the package of 13 proposals to be debated by Mayor David Miller's executive committee next week.

"Do we as a society value safety or do we value a hobby that creates danger?" Mr. Miller said, endorsing the recommended crackdown. "That hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city."

The measures laid out yesterday mark a new direction in the city's anti-gun campaign that, until now, has focused on lobbying the federal government, so far unsuccessfully, to ban handguns.

Now the city aims to use its planning powers, such as zoning, to impose restrictions against new firing ranges, gun clubs and businesses that manufacture, assemble and distribute guns.

Existing clubs and businesses would be grandfathered under changes to the planning act that will go to council's planning and growth committee for debate on Sept. 10. Private gun collections are not covered by the measures.

The city intends to cancel a permit for the Scarborough Rifle Club operating out of the Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre, and a lease to the CNRA Gun Club that uses a firing range at Union Station.

In defending the planned restrictions, the mayor cited the Jan. 12 death of innocent bystander John O'Keefe, allegedly killed by a semiautomatic weapon registered and licensed to one of the men now charged in the shooting.

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there is any defence for sports shooters any more," he said. "It is a hobby that creates danger to others."

Legal gun owners and sport shooters see it differently.

Toronto shooting coach Patrick Haynes said Canadians who compete in international shooting competitions will be at a loss if the two gun clubs lose their city permits.

Mr. Haynes is coaching his fiancée, Avianna Chao, set to compete at two events at the Beijing Olympics.

He said she qualified for the Olympics after training at the Don Montgomery centre shooting range and now trains at the Union Station range.

"This will have a direct impact on her viability as an Olympian," he said.

Ms. Chao, an engineer with a software firm, is the norm when it comes to gun-club members, said Larry Whitmore, the executive director of Canadian Shooting Sports Association. He said lawyers, doctors and politicians are regulars at Ontario shooting ranges.

"If any [potential members] have anything in their background like a domestic call [to police], they'd be denied a licence," he said.

"All this is the mayor and his political agenda. And he's basically victimizing the most law-abiding segment of society."

Tony Cooper, Ontario's acting chief firearms officer, said approved shooting ranges and gun clubs are inspected annually, with about half a dozen complaints made each year about the province's 236 approved ranges.

In the past three years, he said he has received no complaints about either the Scarborough or CNRA clubs.

Councillor Adrian Heaps (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest), whose ward includes the Don Montgomery centre, supports the recommended permit cancellation.

Miller wants shooting ranges shut down - GTA - Miller wants shooting ranges shut down
May 27, 2008
John Spears
Robert Benzie
Staff Reporters

Mayor David Miller wants to close recreational shooting ranges in Toronto, along with giving the city power to block gun manufacturers and wholesalers from opening new plants or warehouses.

"Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city," Miller said of sport shooting yesterday, amid debate on a possible gun bylaw.

Canadian Olympic pistol shooter and downtown resident Avianna Chao begs to differ. She says that if Miller gets his way, it could mean an end to her sport – and it won't make the streets one bit safer.

Miller wants to terminate leases with two gun clubs that have shooting ranges on city property, one at Union Station, the other at Don Montgomery community centre.

Chao, who will head to Beijing this summer to compete for Canada at the Olympics, began shooting at Don Montgomery and now trains primarily at the Union range.

"When I heard about this city proposal today it just absolutely knocked the wind out of me," Chao said yesterday.

The gun debate erupted on a day when provincial Attorney General Chris Bentley and Community Safety Minister Rick Bartolucci were writing to their federal counterparts, seeking co-operation on curbing firearm violence.

"As you know, the people of Ontario continue to have serious concerns about the threat posed by guns and gun-related crime in our communities, particularly on the streets of downtown Toronto," Bentley and Bartolucci wrote in a five-page letter to federal Attorney General Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.

They asked for a three-point plan to limit gun violence by:

* Making sure federal firearms marking regulations are stringently followed so guns can be traced.
* Appointing federal prosecutors to Ontario's guns and gangs task force.
* Closing legal loopholes that let gun parts be brought into Canada.

At the same time, city staff released a report calling for a bylaw that would allow the city to restrict or prohibit the making and wholesaling of firearms in Toronto.

Only police and the military should be allowed to operate firing ranges, the report says, calling for an end to the gun club leases.

Recommendations would apply to all firearms, including rifles and shotguns. But in a scrum with reporters, Miller directed most of his comments toward handguns.

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there's any defence for sports shooters any more," Miller said, referring to the man shot in January by a stray bullet. The gun was legally owned by the man charged in the killing.

"It's a hobby that creates danger to others. Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners. It's time that we got those guns out of Toronto," he said.

"Do we as a society value safety, or do we value a hobby that creates danger?" he asked. "Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city. Those are the facts. And they're provable again and again and again."

Existing makers and wholesalers of firearms would not be affected by any new bylaw. Nor would retailers, as they're governed by federal law. The staff report says as many as 40 per cent of handguns seized by Toronto police were legally purchased but stolen from their owners.

But Chao said shutting down shooting ranges and banning manufacturers has nothing to do with safety. "Gang members don't visit these (shooting) clubs," she said.

"You have to show your licence and all the paperwork. This has nothing to do with gang violence."

Her own guns are safely stored and locked, she said. She's never had a gun stolen. "Anyone should be able to see through this," she said, "that this is the politicians just trying to say they did something, even though it will have no impact on actual gun violence. ... Why don't they go after the gangs? Why don't they go after the illegal trafficking of firearms?"

Chao said Canadian shooters are already handicapped compared with competitors because other countries let shooters train full time. If ranges are shut down, she said, "I don't know how we're expected to compete internationally."

Steven Spinney, firearms safety officer for the Scarborough Rifle Club, was also stunned by the news.

"It doesn't make any sense to be zeroing in on a gun club," he said. "We're an Olympic sport ... I'm not sure how shutting us down would help to cut the gun crime."

Participants are required to take a safety course and the club uses only single-shot rifles.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A look beyond the handgun ban - Chicago - World - A look beyond the handgun ban
Anti-gun literature appears in a Chicago school bus window April 1, 2008, after a rally to remember classmates killed by gun violence this school year and a call for stiffer gun control measures.
Chicago outlawed handgun sales in 1981. In the past week, there have been 40 shootings
April 27, 2008
Murray Whyte
Toronto Star

CHICAGO—Deputy Police Chief Eugene Williams had a tough week. Wednesday morning, a two-storey house in his jurisdiction on the South Side. Five people, shot dead. The following afternoon, two more shootings. Another that night, non-fatal, shot in the leg and back. And all of this following a hail of gunfire that had peppered the city's toughest neighbourhoods just a few days before: In less than a week, more than 40 shootings, at least a dozen of them fatal.

Williams, an affable 28-year veteran of the force, sat in his office in the blue-paneled bunker of the CPD's District 5 headquarters in South Chicago. As he managed his constantly pinging email and two BlackBerrys vibrating at regular intervals on his desk, he suggested a worrying paradox.

"The regular citizen in Chicago cannot go anywhere and buy firearms," says Williams, eyebrows raised. "And yet, in one year, in the 1990s, we had more than 19,000 weapons recovered. In one year. We've been averaging 10,000 weapons recovered every year for the last 10 or 12 or 14 years. And that's with a ban."

Toronto Mayor David Miller – who is aggressively pushing the federal government to institute a broad-ranging national handgun ban as gun violence in the city spikes upwards – please take note: The city of Chicago has a broad-ranging firearms ban in place. It has for a long time. It started with handguns in 1981, and then assault weapons in 1992. (It's worth noting that, as Williams explained the litany of recent weapons offences in his jurisdiction, one of them involved three officers being fired on by an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle.)

Chicago's gun laws are among the toughest in the country, making it and its anti-gun crusading mayor, Richard Daley, the target of gun advocates nationwide. Lobbyists like the National Rifle Association routinely campaign against what they call "Chicago-style" gun legislation; one of those campaigns, challenging the constitutionality of a gun ban in Washington, D.C., is now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

And yet, in Chicago, gunfire is a routine feature of the city's dominant criminal dynamic, a deeply-entrenched, multi-generational gang system with, authorities estimate, close to 70,000 members citywide.

Bans? "That's what people do when they don't understand the problem," says Juan Johnson – or "Big Juan," as he's fairly known in the hardscrabble neighbourhoods on Chicago's gang-infested west side.

It's mid-afternoon, and for Johnson, a mountain of a man, over six feet tall and larger around, his work day is just beginning. In the basement of the neighbourhood's Alliance of Local Service Organizations, on a rough stretch of Armitage Avenue, Johnson and Melvin Santiago, both former gang members, trade war stories.

Johnson was a high-ranking member of the Cobras, one of the area's half dozen Latino gangs. He served 11 years in prison for a murder charge that was overturned. Santiago, wiry, chatty and quick to smile, did 19 years for a gun murder he committed when he was 17.

The two men used to patrol the neighbourhood, near the axis of Logan Square and Humboldt Park, for their respective gangs. Now, they do it as outreach workers for Ceasefire, a community-based attempt to stem the violence.

No easy task here, in a region known for at least a generation as one of the city's deadliest. In 2003, when Chicago retook the dubious title of the United States' murder capital with 599, it was here – in Johnson's territory, police beat 1413 – that held the distinction of being the most lethal, with 10 killings within its 28 square blocks. Eight of them were shootings.

Since then? "The next year, zero. The year after that, zero," Johnson, whose street cred still has currency, says with clear pride. He was able to broker a peace between the two strongest warring factions, the Latin Kings and the Maniac Latin Disciples.

"Most of the time, they don't even know what they're fighting about – just that they have to," Johnson says. "There's no such thing as a gun ban. Once you've got them, you can't get rid of them. There's military hardware on these streets. There's always a way."

Indeed, in modern crime prevention, where illegal weapons flow freely on long-established routes between states and nations in the hundreds or thousands, a gun ban seems, at best, naïve. It's the Hail Mary pass, a swing for the fences, a last-minute pull-the-goalie push: When you've already lost, what have you got to lose?

That's why, in America's most violent urban patches, better ways are constantly being pursued.

"We can't take all the guns away," Santiago says. "But what we can do is change the mindset: `If somebody calls me a bitch, I have the right to blow his head off.' They don't know they have a choice. They think that's what they have to do."

Santiago is touching on a relatively new way of addressing gun violence in America: Not with sterner laws, but social interventions. A generation of rampant violence has shown, says deputy chief Williams, "that we can't arrest ourselves out of this situation. We have to be open to different approaches."

The Chicago Police Department has been using its roughest neighbourhoods as a laboratory. In 2002, with federal backing, Chicago police embarked on a program called Project Safe Neighborhoods in two of its worst-afflicted districts. Working with academics like Tracey Meares, now a professor of law at Yale on the city's west side, Williams' force embraced a novel approach: Try talking to them.

The program focused on trying to get ahead of the problem: As a condition of parole, gun offenders had to sign a form stating they understood their next firearms offence would be pushed to the federal level, where sentences are sterner and parole nearly non-existent, to say nothing of where they're incarcerated. "You wake up on Idaho," Williams says. "That means your homies aren't driving 10 miles down the road to visit."

Signing the form also obligates them to attend a forum, where they're told in no uncertain terms what can happen on their next gun conviction. Once they establish consequences, they throw them a rope: Education, emergency housing, medical attention for drug rehabilitation. The program also puts forward employers willing to give jobs to ex-offenders if they're sincere about wanting out.

"We tell them they have a choice to make," Williams says. "`You can go back to doing what you've been doing, slinging dope and get arrested with a gun and face the consequences, or you can step out of that life, and we'll help you do it.'"

In the two police districts where the program was applied, homicide rates were cut by almost half – numbers, Williams says, the districts have been able to maintain or better since. From the initial two, the model is now being applied in six of the city's 25 districts. Results are encouraging: The events of the past week notwithstanding, gun violence in Chicago has been declining steadily over the past 10 years.

With the south side now the reigning gun violence district, Williams' transfer there, from the west side, is no coincidence.

"We put a lot resources into (the west side), and we had a major impact," says Williams. Behind him, maps of the various south side districts line the walls, divided and colour-coded in gang-claimed swaths: The Black Disciples, the Four Corner Hustlers, the Vice Lords.

"Now, this is where the most difficult challenge lies," Williams says. Outside his office, a boy no older than 13 is led by an officer, his hands cuffed behind his back.

"We need to do here what we did there: Reduce the desire of young people to pick up a gun."

David Kennedy, an anthropologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, is the godfather of this approach. In 1996, when he was a professor at Harvard, Kennedy launched the Boston Gun Project, the first intervention of its kind. It reduced gun crime in the city by 60 per cent. Since then, it has blossomed to a number of cities across the U.nited States.

Kennedy views bans, like the one Miller is pushing for, as a symptom of the problem, not a cure. "For people desperately searching for a solution, it seems like it makes sense," says Kennedy. "What they don't understand is that there are better tools that don't require law to implement, and are practically cookbook and off-the-shelf."

Chicago's Project Safe Neighbourhoods is close to Kennedy's prescription (he helped advise on the project); Cincinnati's Initiative to Reduce Violence is its full manifestation. In Cincinnati, gun-related homicides spiked in 2006 to 89, more than double the annual average, since 1991, of 43.

Kennedy's research team unpacked what he calls typical trends: They identified 69 distinct street groups, comprising about 1,000 people. Of the 89 homicides, these 1,000 people – less than half a per cent of the city's population – were connected to more than 75 per cent of them.

Identifying the problem makes the solution relatively simple, Kennedy says. "If we change the behaviour of these people, we solve the problem."

Simple, but not easy. Still, Kennedy's methods have had impact: In Boston, in Chicago, and in Cincinnati, where homicides were cut in half the first year.

The solution lies not with trying to remove guns from the equation – the proverbial impossible task – but communicating to their users both consequences and options. In Cincinnati, any offender who asked for help back to a crime-free life was welcomed. In a year, 20 per cent of the 1,000 took the offer.

In Logan Square, Johnson – officially, a "violence interrupter – has a task at hand. A teenage gang member – a high school student – had been shot in the chest the night before, the victim of a rival gang member. "Now, it's my job to stop the retaliation," says Johnson, matter-of-fact.

As he slips into the street on foot, bound for some tough negotiations ("Usually, you've just got to talk them into taking a day, two days," Johnson says; "by then, they realize they don't really want to do it") Santiago cruises in his Jeep, pointing out gang borders. "That's Cobra territiory, over there is Disciples," he says, rolling slowly past modest bungalows and well-kept lawns. "You've got to know the borders, or you could be in a lot of trouble."

He rolls to a stop near an alleyway, where the boy was shot the night before. A broken box spring, the alley strewn with trash. The Eagles, an upstart faction, did the shooting here, in Cobra territory, Santiago explains. It makes the job more complicated, but not impossible.

Ceasefire, with its street-bred outreach workers, may lack the scientific basis that Project Safe Neighborhoods can claim. But still, it can claim results: In the worst police beat in America, a reduction in gun violence over four years of more than 80 per cent.

Minus the data, the message rings clear. "We're the little breath they need to rethink their actions," Santiago says. "They think they need to do this. They don't. I had a choice not to pull the trigger. I was looking to make a name for myself, I ended up killing somebody and I paid the price.

"We let them know: This is not what you want to become."

Miller seeks to ban guns with bylaw - GTA - Miller seeks to ban guns with bylaw
May 26, 2008
John spears
City Hall Bureau

Mayor David Miller wants guns out of Toronto — and he's backing a tough new bylaw that would ban the manufacture and warehousing of guns in the city.

And while Miller says handguns are the particular target of the proposed bylaw, a staff report doesn't distinguish between handguns and rifles and shotguns used in hunting.

The bylaw, proposed in a staff report, would give the city zoning powers to restrict or ban the manufacture and warehousing of firearms.

Miller said he wants to add ammunition to the bylaw as well.

And he had strong words about gun ownership, referring to the recent shooting of John O'Keefe, who was killed on Yonge St. by a stray bullet fired from a legally owned handgun.

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there's any defence for sports shooters any more," Miller said.

"It's a hobby that creates danger to others. Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners. It's time that we got those guns out of Toronto."

Miller said the focus is especially on handguns.

"It's handguns that are so easily accessible to criminals, and it's handguns that so often kill people on the streets on Toronto," he said.

"It's about a value. Do we as a society value safety, or do we value a hobby that creates danger? And nobody can deny that that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city. Those are the facts. And they're provable again and again and again."

A report from city staff urges the city to end leases with two gun clubs that have rifle ranges in city facilities.

The proposed bylaw would ban all firearms from being discharged in the city, except by police or the military.

Depleted Uranium Shells Used by U.S. Military Worse Than Nuclear Weapons

Depleted Uranium Shells Used by U.S. Military Worse Than Nuclear Weapons
by David Gutierrez

(NaturalNews) The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the U.S. military may lead to a death toll far higher than that from the nuclear bombs dropped at the end of World War II.

DU is a waste product of uranium enrichment, containing approximately one-third the radioactive isotopes of naturally occurring uranium. Because of its high density, it is used in armor- or tank-piercing ammunition. It has been fired by the U.S. and British militaries in the two Iraq wars and in Afghanistan, as well as by NATO forces in Kosovo and the Israeli military in Lebanon and Palestine.

Inhaled or ingested DU particles are highly toxic, and DU has been classified as an illegal weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has estimated that 50 tons of DU dust from the first Gulf War could lead to 500,000 cancer deaths by the year 2000. To date, a total of 2,000 tons have been generated in the Middle East.

In contrast, approximately 250,000 lives were claimed by the explosions and radiation released by the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing [of nuclear bombs] has been released from DU weaponry since 1991," said Leuren Moret, a U.S. nuclear scientist. "The genetic future of the Iraqi people, for the most part, is destroyed. The environment now is completely radioactive."

Because DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the Middle East will, for all practical purposes, be radioactive forever.

The two U.S. wars in Iraq "have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity," said anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott.

Since the first Gulf War, the rate of birth defects and childhood cancer in Iraq has increased by seven times. More than 35 percent (251,000) of U.S. Gulf War veterans are dead or on permanent medical disability, compared with only 400 who were killed during the conflict.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Orthodox Jewish youths burn New Testaments in Or Yehuda

Orthodox Jewish youths burn New Testaments in Or Yehuda
By The Associated Press

Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a
neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

"The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.

The newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that hundreds of yeshiva students took part in the book-burning. But Aharon told The Associated Press that only a few students were present, and that he was not there when the books were torched.

"Not all of the New Testaments that were collected were burned, but hundreds were," he said.

He said he regretted the burning of the books, but called it a commandment to burn materials that urge Jews to convert.

"I certainly don't denounce the burning of the booklets, he said. I denounce those who distributed the booklets."

Jews worship from the Old Testament, including the Five Books of Moses and the writings of the ancient prophets. Christians revere the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, which contains the ministry of Jesus.

Calev Myers, an attorney who represents Messianic Jews, or Jews who accept Jesus as their savior, demanded in an interview with Army Radio that all those involved be put on trial. He estimated there were 10,000 Messianic Jews, who are also known as Jews for Jesus, in Israel.

Police had no immediate comment.

Israeli authorities and Orthodox Jews frown on missionary activity aimed at Jews, though in most cases it is not illegal. Still, the concept of a Jew burning books is abhorrent to many in Israel because of the association with Nazis torching piles of Jewish books during the Holocaust of World War II.

Earlier this year, the teenage son of a prominent Christian missionary was seriously wounded when a package bomb delivered to the family's West Bank home went off in his hands.

Last year, arsonists burst into a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews and set the building on fire, raising suspicions that Jewish extremists were behind the attack. No one claimed responsibility, but the same church was burned down 25 years ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists.

‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails

From The Times
May 20, 2008
‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails
Men talking on mobile phones
Richard Ford

A massive government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public is being planned as part of the fight against crime and terrorism. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies would hand over the records to the Home Office under plans put forward by officials.

The information would be held for at least 12 months and the police and security services would be able to access it if given permission from the courts.

The proposal will raise further alarm about a “Big Brother” society, as it follows plans for vast databases for the ID cards scheme and NHS patients. There will also be concern about the ability of the Government to manage a system holding billions of records. About 57 billion text messages were sent in Britain last year, while an estimated 3 billion e-mails are sent every day.

Home Office officials have discussed the option of the national database with telecommunications companies and ISPs as part of preparations for a data communications Bill to be in November’s Queen’s Speech. But the plan has not been sent to ministers yet.

Industry sources gave warning that a single database would be at greater risk of attack and abuse.

Jonathan Bamford, the assistant Information Commissioner, said: “This would give us serious concerns and may well be a step too far. We are not aware of any justification for the State to hold every UK citizen’s phone and internet records. We have real doubts that such a measure can be justified, or is proportionate or desirable. We have warned before that we are sleepwalking into a surveillance society. Holding large collections of data is always risky - the more data that is collected and stored, the bigger the problem when the data is lost, traded or stolen.”

David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Given [ministers’] appalling record at maintaining the integrity of databases holding people’s sensitive data, this could well be more of a threat to our security, than a support.”

The proposal has emerged as part of plans to implement an EU directive developed after the July 7 bombings to bring uniformity of record-keeping. Since last October telecoms companies have been required to keep records of phone calls and text messages for 12 months. That requirement is to be extended to internet, e-mail and voice-over-internet use and included in a Communications Data Bill.

Police and the security services can access the records with a warrant issued by the courts. Rather than individual companies holding the information, Home Office officials are suggesting the records be handed over to the Government and stored on a huge database.

One of the arguments being put forward in favour of the plan is that it would make it simpler and swifter for law enforcement agencies to retrieve the information instead of having to approach hundreds of service providers. Opponents say that the scope for abuse will be greater if the records are held on one database.

A Home Office spokesman said the Bill was needed to reflect changes in communication that would “increasingly undermine our current capabilities to obtain communications data and use it to protect the public”.

Fighting illegal drugs.....

No to Illegal Drugs Print
Written by Andrew Winkler, The Rebel Media Group
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Fighting illegal drugs is the single most effective way of taking on the ruling elite and derailing the New World Order

The 600 billion dollar illegal drug trade is the Achilles heel of the ruling elite. Attacking it is probably the single most effective way of fighting the New World Order. Although the monopolistic sale of illegal drugs is not the only source of income for the ruling elite, it is the main source of finance for the 'Matrix', the evil machine that keeps the entire system together.

More than 90% of illegal drugs are sold by rogue government agencies close to the ruling elite, which explains why law enforcement all over the world has been so utterly unsuccessful at combatting them, even in police states such as Singapore. Drug prohibition is not about preventing the sale and use of harmful drugs. It is about keeping the competition out and ensuring maximum profits. Highly publicised seizures of drug deliveries and drug dealers are merely 'perception management'. They are either staged or cases of enforcing the government monopoly. Either way it is about creating and maintaining the illusion that something is been done about the drug problem.
The activities of the Matrix

The inflated profits from this government enforced, tax payer funded monopoly are used to pay for the 'Matrix' or 'shadow government'. These are parts and - mostly illegal - activities of the government that are outside of the legal and budgetary control of the elected parliament such as:

* spies surveilling lower ranked members of the ruling elite and their top executives,
* a pool of professional killers to eliminate potential whistle-blowers and others who have become a danger to the ruling elite,
* perks, bribes and other secret or disguised payments to prominent members of the Matrix amongst politicians, judges, public servants, scientists, media, sports and entertainment figures,
* false-flag terrorism,
* extremist political groups,
* research institutes, foundations, conferences,
* paedophilia and satanism networks,
* a highly developed sophisticated disinformation network,
* moles and gatekeepers in all aspects of public life.

The Matrix does not only tell the people what to think and say, how to spend their time and money. It also ensures that none of the members of the Matrix or the ruling elite dares to blow the whistle. Anybody trying to 'rock the boat' is ignored, ridiculed, vilified, destroyed or even killed by the Matrix.
Dependence on illegal drug money

All of the above is critical for the continued rule of the ruling elite and wouldn't be possible without the drug money. The reason why depriving the Matrix of the illegal drug revenue is the single most effective way of fighting the ruling elite and derailing her evil plans is that it is virtually impossible to finance the Matrix in any other way.

1. The illegal drug trade, at least in absolute figures, is the single most profitable industry in the world due to the monopoly protection. Therefor, the income from drugs cannot simply be made up by revenues coming from a different industry.
2. Raising taxes are no alternative, not only because of the amounts needed but also because of the legal and budgetary supervision coming with tax revenue, which forbids itself due to the highly illegal nature of the activities of the Matrix.
3. Even though the ruling elite as a whole might have the means to fund the Matrix privately, in practice our self-chosen rulers wouldn't be able to agree on who pays how much. The amount needed is just too high.

Cutting off the purse-strings

I suggest the formation of local anti-drug groups focusing on cleaning up one particular town or area in a two-pronged approach:

1. Information
Handing out information leaflets informing potential consumers of the role illegal drugs play in the creation of the New World Order.
2. Vigilance
Do the detective work the police is refusing to do:
- surveil notorious drug trading locations such as bars, clubs, pubs etc.,
- take pictures of the dealers with notes of date, time and location,
- establish other details like car numbers plates that could help identify the dealers,
- send the information collected to notoillegaldrugs@powerofno.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for publication on our site (optional)
- advise the police of what you have found out
- if the police refuses to arrest and prosecute the dealers, inform the local media via press release

Remember, we are not trying to establish who the people are behind the point of sale drug dealer. We already know. What we are trying to do is to curtail the ability of the ruling elite to sell illegal drugs as a means of financing their evil plans.
Abolishing prohibition

Abolishing drug prohibition would obviously do the trick of depriving the Matrix of her main source of income. Having said that, I consider any lobbying for abolishing prohibition a waste of time. Given the stranglehold of the ruling elite over public opinion, the political and the legal process, all it would achieve is endless debates with no results. The beauty of taking on the New World Order by fighting against illegal drugs is that nobody can say anything against it.


"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their
fingers crossed. Everybody knows the war is over. Everybody knows
the good guys lost. Everybody knows the fight was fixed. The poor
stay poor, the rich get rich. That's how it goes, Everybody knows" -
Leonard Cohen

Al Martin

And this is how the U.S. Treasury would handle an economic collapse.
It's called the 6900 series of protocols. It would start with
declaring a force majeure, which would immediately be interpreted by
the marketplaces as a de facto repudiation of debt. Then the SEC and
the various regulatory exchanges would anticipate the market's
decline, hour by hour -- when Japan's markets opened the next day,
what would happen when the European markets, and all the inter-
linkages of the global markets. On the second day, US Special Forces
would be dropped in by parachute in the cities where the twelve
Federal Reserve district banks are located.

The origin of these protocols comes from the Department of Defense.
This is contingency planning for a variety of post-collapse scenarios.
Those scenarios would include, obviously, military collapse, World War
III, in other words, and its aftermath. What we're talking about now
is aftermath -- how the aftermath would be handled.

One does not necessarily know how the events would transpire that
would cause the collapse, whether it's military collapse or economic
collapse. In World War III, it would become obvious -- when the
mushroom cloud started to appear over cities.

Economic collapse scenarios were always premised on the basis of a US
declaration of force majeure on debt service. It's a very extensive
scenario. The scenarios are all together, i.e., military, economic,
political and social complete destabilization leading to collapse.
Then they break down individual scenarios. In the economic collapse
scenario, the starting point would be the United States Treasury
declaring a force majeure on debt service, which is de facto
repudiation, and that's how it would be interpreted by the world's
capital marketplaces. Then the scenario goes on from there. The US
Treasury would obviously declare a force majeure sometime after the
European markets had settled down. In other words, they had gone out
on the day, which means 11:38 a.m. EDT, our time. They'd wait until
the European markets closed, and the US markets had been open for a
couple of hours. That's when they'd determine how to begin the process
of unwinding or controlling the collapse to the best extent possible,
mainly because they know that the greatest hedge pressure would be
people seeking to use other markets to hedge their long exposure in
the United States and that the US would be the biggest seller in all
the rest of the world's markets. Therefore you would want to declare
the force majeure when the rest of the world's markets closed. The
declaration of force majeure would be precipitated by the declaration
that the United States is no longer able to service its debt. That's
pretty simple. Who makes that decision? The Treasury Department. The
President does not make that decision. The Secretary of the Treasury
does. He has that authority.
You might ask -- wouldn't he have his arm twisted not to do that?

The answer is that if there isn't any money left to service the debt,
it doesn't make any difference what the current regime might want to

The day of reckoning is now coming. What has happened in the interim,
from 2001 to present, is dynamic, global economic deterioration. The
economic deterioration visited upon the United States by Bushonomics
is not a localized event. It is, in fact, global. We have a planet now
that is sinking into a sea of red ink.

The United States is consuming 80% of the planet's savings rate to
finance its debt. The central banks of Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia
are no longer the powerhouses they used to be. Their reserves have now
been substantially depleted. They can, therefore, no longer hide the
fact that they own a certain number, likely in the trillions of
dollars, of U.S. Treasury debt that isn't being serviced, because they
can't hide it through bookkeeping tricks anymore because their
reserves are so depleted.

Therefore somebody has covertly been putting demands on the Bush-
Cheney regime for payment. Why do you think 2900 metric tons of gold
is depleted from U.S. inventory since March of `01?

Why do you think that $2 billion in currency seized from Iraq last May
is now unaccounted for?

Someone is putting demands on the Bush-Cheney regime. Someone is
saying to the Bushonian Cabal that -- You've got to start servicing
this debt because we, foreign central banks, are in nations - European
and Asian - whose reserves are now nearly exhausted.

Who could be putting that kind of pressure on them?

It has to be coming from whoever is organizing this thing at the very
top, which I would tend to think has got to be most likely a cabal of
people that would involve Henry Kissinger, James Baker, George
Schultz, possibly William Simon. It would be somebody at the very top
that is familiar with how to do this. It would have to be someone
familiar with finances.

So would this be one faction of a cabal blackmailing or forcing
another faction? No, it's not really blackmailing. It's being done out
of desperation. The German, Japanese and Saudi central banks are
saying to the Bushonian cabal, You've got to start servicing this debt
because we don't have the reserves to cover you anymore. We can no
longer make it appear that the debt is being serviced because our own
reserves are so substantively depleted. Therefore you must begin to
cover this debt. If you don't, then, at some point, we will have to
publicly admit in order to save our own necks -- that we were the end
buyers of a lot of stealth debt, a lot of debt that your Treasury
issued illegally and has never serviced. That would then expose the
whole cabal.

The Kissinger-Baker faction are at the top of how this was done on the
economic side of the equation. They were not the original insiders so
much, but the managers of the conspiracy from the U.S. Treasury, to
wit, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve role-play the part.

Take Henry Kissinger. It may not have occurred to anyone why in the
last 3 years Henry Kissinger has been back in Washington more than he
has in the last 30 years. And why are all these quiet meetings in
Washington with alleged senior Bush-Cheney regime officials, as
foreign news services endlessly put it. It's because Kissinger is the
point man. He's the one that is telling them the disposition of other
foreign central banks.

Kissinger would probably also be involved in transfer or hypothecation
of any assets from the cabal. In other words, they're being stolen
from the American people by the Bush-Cheney regime and the Bushonian
Cabal, and they are being used to hypothecate, transfer, service, or
otherwise carry this debt held by certain foreign central banks.

The process of unraveling has already begun because of ever-spiraling
Bushonian budget deficits. The Bush-Cheney regime, even in its overt
policies (now they're overt political, economic, social and military
policies) is generating $600-billion-plus deficit per year, which is
consuming 80% of the planet's net savings rate.

It doesn't have the slack. In other words, it can't refinance stealth
debt by issuing more stealth debt anymore. Nor can they bleed money
out of the system like they could in the 1980s by hiding it when the
overt policies of the Bush-Cheney regime are already producing a
budget deficit of 6% of Gross Domestic Product. There is no other
mechanism that they could use anymore to hide expansion of debt that
could be used to service said stealth debt, and they are, frankly,
running out of assets that they can steal from the American people.

So the proverbial day of reckoning is coming. The Bush-Cheney regime
(and I give them credit for this) are telling the American people
what's coming, knowing the American people are too stupid to
understand. They are telling the American people about the re-
institution of the Gold Confiscation Act and the sudden scrapping of
the Treasury's emergency post-collapse gold note scheme to maintain
domestic liquidity.

David Walker, US Comptroller General and chief of the GAO has said
that should the Bush-Cheney regime be re-ensconced into power and,
hence, the scourge of Bushonomics persist, that the United States
could no longer service its debt beyond 2009. They're not hiding it
from anybody anymore. They are telling you what's happening. Now, what
does that mean? The key is in what Walker is saying when he says the
debt can no longer be serviced. I've been asked this on the radio
shows. People have noticed what Walker said because he's out in the
news more often than he used to be. It's unusual for the Comptroller
General of the United States, which is a rather arcane position, to be
out in the news so much.

It simply means that when he says the United States will no longer be
able to sustain Bushonian budget deficits, he means that by 2009, if
Bush-Cheney have a second term in office, the United States will be
consuming 100% of the planet's savings rate to finance Bushonian
budget deficits.

Therefore, if the planet can no longer generate any more liquidity to
lend to the United States, one of three things have to happen: A)
There has to be a sudden and dramatic reduction in federal spending.
There are only two places that can come from. There would have to be
an immediate $100-billion cut in defense spending, which would end any
hopes the Republicans had of getting into office for years to come
because it would destroy any confidence the NFWCs (Naïve Flag Waving
Crowd) had in them. Or you would have to scrap the multi-trillion-
dollar Bushonian tax cuts for the Republican rich, something that's
equally unpalatable.

The other option, B, as Paul O'Neill mentioned, is a dramatic increase
in the rate of federal income taxation from the current nominal rate
of 28% to 65%, which is what the Treasury Department estimated would
be required post-2009 to provide the U.S. Treasury with sufficient
revenues to continue to service debt.

The third option, or C, becomes the declaration of a force majeure on
credit service of U.S. Treasury debt by the United States Treasury,
which is tantamount and would be accurately construed as de facto debt
repudiation by the United States of America.

There are other signs to look for. They're not going to happen now,
but if Bush-Cheney is re-elected, you'll begin to see more signs that
the end is coming. I know a lot of people may disagree, but you wait
and see. If Bush-Cheney has a second term, see if they do not
institute some currency expatriation control. See if that doesn't come
in the way Nixon tried it in May-June of 1971.

In the second term, there will be some sort of currency expatriation
control in the United States, but there will also be loopholes that
will allow the large money to escape. The restrictions will apply to
the 10- and 20-thousand-dollar people. It ain't going to apply to the
10- and 20-million-dollar people. It would be self-defeating to do

When that day comes, in other words, when the U.S. Treasury declares a
force majeure on debt, it wouldn't be broad-cast on mainstream media.
There's no sense because the American people don't even understand
what it means. But the announcement would actually be put on the
Federal Reserve wire system, which would, of course, immediately be
picked up by all media outlets anyway.

The U.S. Treasury would declare a force majeure on debt after the
Asian and European markets closed, probably at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The
reason why that hour was always selected is because Asian and European
markets close. It's also the lunch hour for the markets. It's when
you're going to have the fewest people on the floor of the exchanges.
That would be the ideal time to make such an announcement.

A few seconds after that announcement was made, all United States
markets, both equities debt and commodities i.e., stock, bonds,
commodities, that have trading collars or permissible daily limits
would all be limit-offered with pools. Limit-offered means that there
are more sellers at the limit i.e., limit down, than there are buyers.

So-called 'pools' would immediately begin to form, probably a thousand
contracts every few minutes. 'Limit-offered with pools' - this is
trader language. Pools to sell 2,000 lots, 3,000 lots. That means, the
number of sellers over and above the available buyers at the limit-
offered price. That would begin to build.

By 1:00, the news would begin to sink in because it would take awhile
before panic selling would arise from the public. This news is being
released at lunch hour.

A lot of the American people initially would not even understand the
temerity of the news. You would see professional selling first, and as
that professional selling intensified over the afternoon, the SEC, the
CFTC, NASDAQ, and various market regulatory authorities would begin to
institute certain emergency market protocols. This would be the
installation of the so-called 'declaration of fast market conditions,'
for instance; the declaration of 'no more stop orders,' the
declaration of 'fill at any price,' etc. in a desperate bid to
maintain liquidity.

That first day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and related indices
on a percentage basis would lose about 20% of their value by the close
of business that day. The real impact would come overnight when the
American people found out what this was all about and when it was
explained to them.

At 7:30 a.m. EDT, the Tokyo markets would open, and no price would be
affixed for probably three or four hours into the session due to the
avalanche of selling. Once prices were established, the government of
Japan would close all of its financial markets. Europe would not even
open. All European governments would close all capital exchanges the
next day.

The United States would, in order to accommodate global electronic
trading, attempt to open the market on the second day, which they
would do, regardless of price, just to maintain some liquidity. At the
end of Day Two, the Dow Jones and related indices, would have lost two
thirds of their value, and prices would be set accordingly.

On Day Three, the New York Stock Exchange, the SEC and other related
agencies would recommend to the United States Treasury and the Federal
Reserve that all markets be closed. That would be on the morning of
Day Three. Eleven a.m., the Federal Reserve would then order all
domestic banks closed. All of the twelve Federal Reserve district
banks would (30 minutes later) have special U.S. forces parachuted in
and around them to secure whatever gold bullion reserves they had

Day Three, 9:00 p.m., the President of the United States would declare
a state of martial law. All financial transactions would come to an
end. The Treasury would act to formally de-monetize the U.S. dollar
and declare it worthless.

This would be totally unprecedented. In the past, collapses have been
temporary and have been brought back up. But what we're talking about
now is the end.

These protocols that I'm referring to aren't even all that secret.
They were publicly available all through the Clinton era. These are
Treasury protocols that were instituted mostly in the late 1970s when
the Treasury and Federal Reserve began to feel that it was important
to have an emergency-collapse protocol in place.

What precipitated the timing of this was the inflationary spiral of
the late 1970s. The U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve were both
concerned that this inflationary spiral, which was occurring not only
domestically but globally, might lead to a global, uncontrollable
hyper-inflation that the Federal Reserve or major central banks could
not stop by traditional means, i.e., by raising interest rates and
contracting money supply.

There was also the recognition, of course, that global central reserve
bank bullion inventories had been so depleted over the previous 30
years that any re-institution of a species currency, even on a
temporary basis, and even within a regional or individual nation-state
basis, was no longer possible.

This is an analogy. In a military scenario, it's like the President of
the United States pushing the final red button -- the commit button.
The Treasury Secretary of the United States has a similar mechanism.
It's called the yellow button, the commit button. The Secretary of
Defense has the same system. This is what happens. Computer program
starts to institute these protocols. Imagine the complexity of trying
the manage all this. I think it's going to happen all simultaneously.
There are hundreds of different agencies involved, both domestically
and internationally. In order to maintain liquidity for as long as
possible, it has to be extremely well-coordinated, and there must be
existing collapse protocols that can be used.

The reason I was familiar with them was because I used to see the U.S.
Treasury 6900 Series Collapse Protocol, 6903, 6904 there'll be A, B,
and so on which keyed in to the Department of Defense to be
incorporated within the Department of Defense's own World War III
scenario and various types of military/ political/ social instability/
war/ pestilence, chaos, etc. scenarios.

All federal agencies had individual collapse protocols that ultimately
got coordinated through the Department of Defense. Obviously, the
Department of Defense would be the ultimate coordinator because it
would need to have special forces available, on a stand-by basis,
ready, that could quickly parachute into areas all over the country,
into the cities particularly, to secure federal properties and assets.

And that's literally how it would begin. By the end of the third day,
it would be all over -- a state of martial law. We're not talking
about war, now; this is just economic collapse.

There's no military implication here, no political, no social
implication or policy directive thereunto. This is strictly economic
collapse. By the end of Day Three, effectively, all banks in the world
will be shut down, all paper currencies will become valueless. Martial
law would be declared. There would be no continuing transactions, at
least for a period of time, of commodities. All providers of fuels and
foods would be shut down automatically.

They have this in great detail too. U.S. Department of Defense Special
117th Assault Unit would parachute in to seize control of the cattle
yards in Oklahoma City. This is how well it's planned. In other words,
economic collapse would automatically involve expansive military
action and control.

By the end of the third day, when you no longer have a domestic medium
of exchange, you have to have secured food and fuel stocks. You've got
to have troops that have secured distribution points where there is
food and fuel stocks, warehouses, tanks, etc. Otherwise people are
just going to go get them, and the people have to know that if they
try to go break into that store and steal that loaf of bread, they're
going to be shot.

Protocols for environmental disasters are called 'scaling-circle
scenarios.' 'Scaling circles' is a Department of Defense euphemism.
It's also used in FEMA, OEM and other emergency management services.
In environmental catastrophes, which are going to become national or
global, it's got to start someplace. It's going to start in one very
small, specific area. Therefore what happens is that the immediate
force containment is the greatest in the first circle, to try to
contain the spread of the disaster and keep it within that circle.

The environmental problem, to whatever extent it's possible, before it
spreads, will be neutralized or mitigated, in order to keep that
catastrophe within that circle, or, if it is likely that it is to
escape that circle, to attack whatever it is in such a fashion as to
mitigate its strength and its ability to contaminate or otherwise
affect other areas.

In the case of earthquakes, for instance, affecting the west coast,
beginning at Mt. Rainier and moving southward -- that's a different
type of scenario. That does not include as much Department of Defense
involvement. It includes separate protocols, wherein mostly FEMA and
OEM act as the senior coordinating agencies between municipal, county
and state disaster and containment, which is called Disaster and
Containment Units. Federal troops would only be brought in for the
purposes of maintaining control.

In a military or economic collapse situation, National Guard units
would provide any spare help they could in combating whatever the
problem is. Federal troops would be used in order to have the specific
authority simply to shoot anyone. There are plans for all sorts of
scenarios. The economic-disaster scenario is the one I always found
the most intriguing because it is the one that is least understood by
the American people.

Military control would be necessary when lines begin to form at the
banks, people trying to access their money. But that wasn't even
anticipated as a big problem. Lines would form at the banks, but it
was not even envisioned until sometime on Day Three because the
American people wouldn't get it. It would be announced that the stock
markets are down 2000 or 3000 points, and since we've always been
taught they'll come back, the people would still be buying stocks.

You could count on everybody remaining in ignorance all the way down
because the American people have never been taught Economics 101. The
American people wouldn't realize the full extent of it until the
markets were closed on the third day, or until the time when they went
down to cash a check and the bank was closed with soldiers out in
front. Then they would go down and see the gas station's closed. They
see the local supermarket has been shuttered, and there's federal
troops in front of it. Then they might begin to catch on. And remember
-- it's not just federal troops. In emergency-collapse protocols, even
before the declaration of a formal state of emergency or a state of
martial law, the local military authorities within any given county or
jurisdiction have the ability to essentially militarize anyone, that
is, any civilian. This would be more than just deputizing civilians.
It's federal. In other words, they would have the ability to
militarize and give military authority to a civilian force. This would
include not only police and the sheriffs and state police, but all
local law enforcement that exists below the state level would be
immediately militarized. They wouldn't take just anybody like they did
in Iraq. It would be like the military when they call for volunteers.
Then they'd have everybody and their brother-in-law volunteering,
waving around the American flag and so on.

You've got a lot of pickup-driving guys in this country with the gun
racks in the back and the Confederate flag flying. So you start waving
the American flag in front of their face and say, Hey, you're going to
get your chance you always wanted -- to fit your potbelly inside an
army uniform and carry a gun and shoot people. How appealing would
that be?

And besides, if you do this, then you're going to get to eat.

In other words, this is how it would unfold over three days, but, in
fact, very few Americans would know what to do about it or how to take
any precautions. They wouldn't have a clue because they don't
understand enough about economics to know what is happening. So that's
what it is -- Economic Armageddon. If the Bush-Cheney regime is re-
installed into power, that is effectively what Comptroller General
David Walker is saying.

In conclusion, since there is very little the people of the United
States can do to protect themselves. We're not going to make any
suggestions of how to protect yourselves because there's very little
you can do.

We could tell you to go out and buy gold coins and bury them in the
coffee can in the back yard and go to your nearest survivalist store,
but, frankly, that's useless. In the last analysis, it's a lot of
hype. There is very little the average US citizen could do.

The only thing that can prevent this, as the Comptroller alluded to
when he was asked by Barbara Walters, How do we prevent reaching the
problem by 2009? He said simply, "A change of regimes."

So how do you prevent it? Don't vote for Bush and Cheney -- and hope
that Bush does not use his emergency powers to cancel or postpone the
election by edict, powers which you, the flag-waving citizens, have
given him.

All flag-waving citizens, be warned. If you want to vote for Bush-
Cheney again, make sure you got plenty of Spam on hand.

Here's an interesting and humorous aside. A couple of days ago, Hormel
Foods, which makes Spam, announced that in the last six months there
have been record sales of Spam in the United States the survivalists'
food of choice. After all, they pride themselves on the fact, as the
spokesman for Hormel said, "It is the only food product you can buy
with an expiration that's 50 years."

When everything goes to hell, when all that man has created has turned
to dust again, the final legacy is going to be Spam. It will be the
last surviving item -- when the anthropologists of 20 thousand years
from now are digging sites and they see these enormous mountains of
unopened cans of Spam They'll have monuments to the past out of Spam.

So if Bush-Cheney has a second term in office, there will be some sort
of currency restriction, like Nixon did in 1971. On April 13, 2004,
Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary John Boine talked about potential
currency restrictions. He used the word that's going to fuel the
flames of the survivalist and gloom-and-doom collapse people.

It's very, very telling that the U.S. Treasury may institute a
restriction on the amount of U.S. dollars that can be converted into

Furthermore, he intimated (and I suspected that this was coming,
although this wouldn't actually become law until Bush-Cheney was in
office for second term one way or another) that the Bush-Cheney regime
determines that the Gold Confiscation Act gives to Treasury the power
for so-called forced disclosure of gold holdings.

I'm not quite sure of the language of the Gold Confiscation Act from
1933. It just says, "compelled", as in citizens are lawfully compelled
to redeem gold for script. I don't think there was any such provision,
which he was inferring that there is. That was FDR's "Raw Deal" of
1934, when people were coerced into giving up their gold. But nowhere
in this act does it specifically authorize the Treasury to mandate
citizens to report their gold holdings. So if this gets any press at
all, particularly within the circles of gold bugs and so on, watch

Furthermore, on Washington Journal they were talking about how FEMA
has recommended to the Office of Homeland Security to have increased
restrictions regarding citizen hoarding of long-term food and fuel
supplies. That's pretty sinister too.

What they're talking about is the purchase of long-term so-called
stores of survival food. FEMA was talking about some sort of
restriction preventing people from accumulating food stores; putting
it simply, that's what it means. The second point was to increase
restrictions that already exist.

FEMA was recommending even tighter restrictions on citizens building
their own private property underground storage tanks for the purposes
of long-term storage of fuel. The real intent of this is is threefold:
a) to restrict citizens' ability to hoard food; b) restrict citizens'
ability to hoard long-term storage of fuel; c) the forced
identification of citizens to reveal food and fuel stocks they may be

And that, in my opinion, is the real essence. The Bush-Cheney regime
was scared of having the FEMA angle put into the equation because they
knew what it means and how people would interpret it.

They have tried to use environmental legislation to restrict people's
ability to build fuel storage facilities on their own property -- to
get around what the true intent of that was.

But the bigger picture is that if you start to limit citizens' ability
to hoard fuel and food and shake them up by potential forced
identification of gold holdings or forced redemption.

In other words, what you don't want is citizens who have the ability
to store a lot of food and fuel and to own gold because they would be
able to resist state control in the future.

You've got to have every citizen on a rationing card to control the
civilian population. You can't have citizens out there hoarding food
and fuel because then people can say to government,"I ain't taking a
rationing card, baby, with my national ID card. I don't have to. You
can't control me through food and fuel and ever-worthless paper

I used to make fun of these people. But now, things have come full
circle on this debate. The Bush-Cheney regime is making it
increasingly clear through their small changes in policy. Not a lot of
people monitor these decisions, but I do. And the pattern is becoming
increasingly clear.

In fact, I would believe that those of the survivalist mentality (the
food, fuel, the gold coins in the coffee can in the back yard) people
who think that way will be ultimately vindicated - if George Bush has
a second term in office.

People should quit making fun of them because they would be vindicated
- even though they were all burned out, twenty-dollared to death,
buying books and tapes, and discredited by mainstream media. It may
sound like a hollow victory, but it won't be a hollow victory for them
- them that's got the Spam...

U.S. shooters feel pinch as ammo costs soar

U.S. shooters feel pinch as ammo costs soar
Mon May 19, 2008 8:12pm EDT

By Tim Gaynor

TOMBSTONE, Ariz (Reuters) - Gunslinger Bob Krueger blasts away at his outlaw rivals at a tourist show in this storied Old West town, although rising ammo costs may force him to choose his shots.

Krueger and his gnarly band of pistoleros are among millions of shooters, hunters and even lawmen across the United States feeling the pinch as sky-high metals prices and demand from wars abroad are driving up the price of bullets.

Ammo prices for many popular guns have more than tripled in the last three years, driven in large part by surging demand for metals in rapidly industrializing China.

As the Asian giant becomes wealthier, millions of tons of copper, lead and zinc, which are also used to make bullets and brass shell-casings, are being snapped up.

Shooters, gun dealers and sheriffs say the impact has been further aggravated by competition for limited ammo stocks with the U.S. military, currently fighting wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Everybody is feeling it," said Krueger, a Stetson wearing cowboy whose show blasts through hundreds of rounds of blank ammo each week at Six Gun City in Tombstone.

"If things get bad enough, we may all just get one bullet each," he said, to laughter from his grizzled buddies.


Dealers complain that the cost of rifle ammunition has doubled and even tripled in the past two years, with similar increases for some hand gun ammunition.

Lynn Kartchner, a gun shop owner in nearby Douglas, Arizona, says he now pays $250 for a case of 1,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition, up from $80 two years ago, while a box of popular 9 mm shells has jumped to $17 from $10.

"Price rises have been accompanied by scarcity for certain kinds of ammo," Kartchner told Reuters in his shop, which is packed with rifles, pistols and shooting paraphernalia.

"There isn't as much variety, and a lot of people snap up whatever they can get their hands on," he added.

Increased costs and competition for ammo is also being born by police forces across the United States, among them the sheriff's department in Cochise County on the Arizona-Mexico border, which faces incursions from armed smugglers and even bandits from south of the line.

Last year the department faced a four-month delay acquiring rifle cartridges and had to dip into ammo reserves, rousing the concern of Sheriff Larry Dever.

"We do face people in this environment down here who are heavily armed, sometimes with higher capacity armaments than we carry," Dever said.

"The last thing we want do is find ourselves in a situation where we are not training sufficiently so that (deputies) can maintain those very important proficiencies," he added.


Demand for metals is tipped to stay strong in China for the next decade.

Cowboy shows and lawmen aside, high ammo prices are being shouldered by millions of target shooters and hunters across the United States, many of them working people on a limited budget.

"If you have three of four children, and they all go out on a hunting trip, the cost of ammo can be a bit of a burden," said Luis Hernandez, a keen deer, bird and varmint hunter from Douglas.

To keep costs low, many hobby shooters are now scouring gun shows, gun shops and the Internet in search of cheap ammunition, which some then buy in bulk and hoard against further price rises.

Others either shoot less, switch to smaller caliber ammunition such as .22 which is cheaper, or are increasingly turning to reloading their old shell cases.

"The main saving is in the brass casing, which is the most expensive part," said Hernandez, who reckons on saving up to $20 on a box of some premium rifle cartridges by reloading.

Other shooters and dealers are holding out hope that ammunition manufacturers will develop cheaper alternatives.

"High cost drives innovation," said Kartchner. "There has been some interest in plastic or aluminum cartridge cases in the past, so I'm hopeful they will come up with something. We'll just have to see."