Letters To The Editor – March 25, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Firearm fact check

For the second time in about a month, there is some incorrect information concerning firearms in one of your stories, “Police raid high-profile VW grow house,” in this week’s edition. The incorrect info is attributed to Todd Dokweiler, but I notice you didn’t correct his error – assuming you recognized it as incorrect info.

Todd should certainly know better, yet many police officers know little about firearms generally. Cops are not expected to be firearms experts, but most civilians mistakenly expect them to be experts.

The AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle used by the military. The AR-15 is a civilian-legal, semi-automatic long gun favored both by police agencies and literally millions of American sportsmen. The military uses the selective-fire, fully automatic M-16A2 and its progeny, notably the M4 carbine version which is most favored by Army and Marine ground pounders.

Also, the items called clips in the story are actually magazines, the detachable ammunition holders that feed rounds to the action of the firearm.

I can’t get too irritated about that, however, as this error is common. Even some gun writers who know better call magazines clips. In case you don’t know, clips are accessory devices that permit someone to load many cartridges into an empty magazine at one time, rather than feeding them one round at a time.

The old M-1 Garand battle rifle of WW II and Korean vintage used an “en bloc” clip that loaded eight rounds of .30-06 ammo directly into the internal magazine of the rifle. With the later M-14, AR-15 and M-16 firearms, ammunition comes pre-loaded on stripper clips of 10 rounds each, in 7.62 mm NATO or 5.56 mm NATO calibers, as appropriate. The lip of the full clip is placed on the rim of an empty detachable 10-, 20- or 30-round magazine, and the whole 10 rounds are pushed down into the magazine in one move. This is a huge time saver over round-by-round loading, especially under combat conditions.

Keep up the good paper, but please factcheck your firearms info. Calling an AR-15 a military weapon is not just incorrect but inflammatory as well.

David Young


The fugly American

Yesterday spent some time in a lovely little café with Wi-Fi looking out at Lake Atitlan and the volcanoes that surround it. Normally it is a quiet place but on this time there was a loud conversation between a couple Emerald Triangle travelers that was hard to ignore.

One of them spoke for some time about how it never did learn much geography beyond Oregon and California. He explained that he has planned to walk across Mexico until he was surprised to find out how big it is. He was equally amazed to discover that Mexico and Guatemala have paved roads, schools, shopping areas and substantial houses.

Now that he is in this sweet little town on the edge of the most beautiful lake in the world he has been a little bored, mostly getting stoned and taking Valium.

Then this morning my Spanish language teacher asked me questions about the typical behavior of Americans in classrooms. It turns out they use their two hours a day of one on one instruction drinking four or five beers and smoking cigars. They seem to have absolutely no interest in Mayan culture, the ecology of the lake or really, anything but partying.

My teacher could not understand why anyone would come down here just to throw around amazing amounts of money. These teachers work hard for just a few dollars a day, I feel ashamed to have to acknowledge that these guys all come from my home town.

There are of course plenty of people here helping to organize cooperatives, teaching English to kids, cleaning up the trash in the lake and getting to know some of the amazing Mayan people who have lived here for many thousands of years. I am grateful for their efforts.

Joyce Plath



Hank’s make-believe

OK folks, it’s time, as an associate of mine would say, to break out the tinfoil hats. It’s great to see Hank Sims back in ink after what most of us would deem as a cruelly enacted and poorly designed decision by a local weekly publisher to demote the man that oversaw the rise and successful expansion of Humboldt’s weekly. Putting that aside however, the new chapter in Mr. Sims life odyssey seems to be nothing more than a role playing game of economic fantasy predictions based on, admittedly, made up numbers. With no real data, one can only push out make believe economic facts and predictions that we’d be just as well served having Sims mark up his NCAA picks and putting that in print so we can all gamble on it- or better yet, continue predicting what the Super Moon has in store for us.

Most know, the county has seen its fair share of economic hits and devastating job loss in long stable resource specific industries like fishing, timber and pulp, and thankfully most have managed to be resilient during those shrinking industries and there have been smaller entrepreneurs to step in and take up some of the slack in job creation. However, Sims would have us believe that the emerald groove is actually what has held up the local economy, and not small businesses. He takes this concept and continues with what only he could classify as its logical conclusion of eminent demise.

Seriously? I would agree with Sims that the money the growers contribute is valued in the local economy, the life blood of most consumer discretionary spending, but besides buying organic food and sushi what benefit has it brought us collectively. The taxes they pay have helped the local, oh wait, they don’t pay taxes… the money that the growers have pumped into community renovation, small block grants and school upgrades… oh wait, they haven’t put any money on renovating the community… the money they have put into local charities? I got it, how about airline tickets to Costa Rica and Hawaii… that has to have some benefit for the local economy!

Hmmm… well, one would think that someone would want to base dire economic predictions on what some of like to refer to as data. A phone call to the local economists saying, “we think…” is not basing a prediction on fact, data sets, trends… or anything most people would want to make predictions with. No, with his first blast back onto the local scene he has taken to lead the tip of the spear of fear mongering, using merely make believe hocus pocus as his staff. Have you ever wiki’d or busted out your Funk & Wagnall’s to see what “make believe” means?

The real hit to the local economy that most people grounded in economic reality are stating comes from what happens with the State, Fed and County cutbacks that are on their way based on the stated budgets and the effects of the US debt load. Those are the reductions and losses, not Sims’ prediction of the fall of the hippie pipe dream that we should all be concerned with when forecasting the fate of the local economy. I was told a while back that you can’t smoke your way out of Babylon, but I suppose we can’t blame Sims for trying.

Jonathan Speaker, local small business co-owner in beautiful Bayside

and former Hemp Fest West Organizer.

Creative punctuator seeks vessel


I am dr harry neville,i want to make a kayak reservation tour ,for my colleagues ,my self and my family totally 16persons in april 2011

please kindly get back to me with the details of the reservation ,type of kayaks,pricing and total cost as soon as possible .

i do hope also that i can pay with my credit card and can take more than a full day tour,may be up to a week.

many thanks,while i awaits your very kind response

best regards,


BCSSA,Egerton Training Ground,

BCSSA,Egerton TrainingGround,

109-113 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington,

London,UK, SW7 5LR..s


Back atcha, Harry

Dear Dr. Neville,

I’m sorry to tell you that we just don’t have any place in our area where you can paddle for a week-long trip.

Most of our coast is for experts only as you need to be able to launch and land in crashing surf, maneuver around rocks and steep cliffs, again in surf and out in open ocean, often in 20 foot swell and thick fog, although in April it will most likely either be raining or extremely windy.

We do some three-hour trips and you can pay by credit card but we either need the card here in person at the time of the event or else you can pay using Paypal.

In either case, we would need to know the height, weight, gender and shoe size of each person attending so that he or she may be outfitted.

Marna Powell, owner, Kayak Zak’s


info@kayakzak.com, kayakzak.com



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