Friday, December 28, 2012

38 elementary school children and 6 adults killed in Bath Michigan school.

I was looking to verify that the number one murder weapon in the United States is the common baseball bat, number two is a knife. I was not able to verify those two items as fact. I'm also not sure where bombs fit in as a murder weapon. As you probably know, I get easily distracted, so that is probably why I got hung-up on the following article.

Article from Wikipedia:
The Bath School disaster is the historical name of the violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan that killed 38 elementary school children and six adults, and injured at least 58 other people. Kehoe first killed his wife, fire-bombed his farm and set off a major explosion in the Bath Consolidated School, before committing suicide by detonating a final explosion in his truck. It is the deadliest mass murder in a school in United States history.

Andrew Kehoe, the 55 year old school board treasurer, was angry after his defeat in the Spring 1926 election for township clerk. He was thought to have planned his "murderous revenge" after that public defeat and he had a reputation for difficulty on the school board and in personal dealings. In addition, in June 1926 he was notified that his mortgage was going to be foreclosed. For much of the next year, a neighbor noticed Kehoe had stopped working on his farm and thought he might be planning suicide. During that period, Kehoe purchased explosives and discreetly planted them on his property and under the school.

Kehoe's wife was ill with tuberculosis, and he had stopped making mortgage payments; he was under pressure for foreclosure. Some time between May 16 and the morning of May 18, 1927, Kehoe murdered his wife by hitting her on the head with a blunt object. On the morning of May 18 at about 8:45 a.m., he set off various incendiary devices on his homestead that caused the house and other farm buildings to be destroyed by the explosives' blast and subsequent fires.

Almost simultaneously, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing many schoolchildren. Kehoe had used a timed detonator to ignite dynamite and hundreds of pounds of incendiary pyrotol, which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers gathered at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and used a rifle to detonate dynamite inside his shrapnel-filled truck, killing himself, the school superintendent, and several others nearby, as well as injuring more bystanders. During rescue efforts at the school, searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol connected to a timing device set for the same time as the first explosions; the material was hidden throughout the basement of the south wing. Kehoe had apparently intended to blow up and destroy the entire school. 

 Well... A gun was used in this story, but only to set off another bomb. The common denominator of all the violence and murder is the perpetrators mental condition. We need to spend more time ferreting out and dealing with mental instability.   There was also a school attack in China where a man used a knife. He killed or injured 22 kids.

For what it's worth....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun control?

    All people of any compassion what-so-ever are suffering over the latest insane shooting of innocent people and especially innocent children, infants really, at Sandy Hook School. What possible motive could there be to kill an innocent child? As we anguish, we look for solutions and ways to prevent these kinds of tragedies in the future. It occurs to us that the massacres were committed with guns. The simple solution to the problem is to ban guns right? What a wonderful world it would be if there were no guns. Students of history know that there was no violence back before there were guns. Nobody had a gun, so there was no such thing as murder or mayhem. No killing, no murder, no rape, and especially no massacres. You would need an automatic weapon to commit a massacre, right? Of course I'm being facetious. I'm trying to be a bit ridiculous to get you to see my point with an open mind.

    To me, any attempt at gun control is a bit ridiculous. I have really done a lot of thinking about this so don't stop reading now, you might like my conclusion.

    I believe that we all know the the problem is insane people, people that act out their insane philosophies. They somehow think that what they are doing will make themselves important in history, or in someway teach someone an important lesson. There is no rational thought in their heads. They develop a plan and implement that plan with a fierce sense of purpose. Their weapon of choice has little to do with their fuzzy thinking.
    The Unibomber used bombs to deliver his message. Osama Bin Laden used large passenger jets. Timmy Mcvey used a truck load of fertilizer. Jim Jones used poisoned cool-aide to commit his massacre; that and a heavy dose of religion. Religion is a whole different category of weapon, untold rape and murder have been implemented by religion. I'm not saying ALL religion is bad, but I'm sure you get my point. If guns were banned the insane would find a way. Think of all the murders that happen in prisons. The murders that happen in prison are made from the simplest of hand made weapons. The insane really don't need guns.

    I was raised with guns, so I have no reasonable fear of them. I have always thought of a gun as a tool. I enjoy games of shooting skill like target shooting. We had many guns on the ranch that I was raised on as a child. I was raised on all of the gun safety rules and how to handle them. We were taught that "a gun is always loaded". We knew that was not literally the case, but a good practice. If you always thought of a gun as being loaded you would not be tempted to point it at anyone or pull the trigger. You could never be sure whether someone else had used the gun and left in loaded. "Gunpowder and alcohol don't mix", basically means that if you've been drinking, you should not use a gun. You never chamber a round of ammunition while heading to your hunting ground. After you are on the hunting ground, you chamber a round then leave your safety on, and your finger off the trigger. You only took the safety off when you had a target, you only placed your finger on the trigger when you wanted to shoot. You never handed anyone a loaded gun, you always cleared it first. When somebody handed you a gun you always made sure that it was clear of ammunition. I could go on about gun safety lore that all of us kids were raised with.

 A gun was simply another tool that you had to handle safely. There were safety rules for axes, buzz-saws, slopping the hogs, being around dangerous cattle. I could go on but I hope that you get my point.

Now for the reason that I made this post. Somehow there are people out there that think that this would be a safer world with gun laws. I can think of many circumstances that I would need a gun to protect myself, my property or my family. If our government should become corrupt, I think that owning a fully automatic weapon would be a good idea. If the Jews that were massacred in Germany had weapons they might have been harder to round up and haul off. Remember ,Hitler was an elected official. Elected in much the same fashion that we elect our leaders. I know, again that is far fetched reasoning, until you remember that Hitler's party killed five million plus innocent men women and children. Do you think that they could have succeeded against a well armed militia? We never know what tomorrow might bring us.

Or, what would happen if we have complete economic collapse. I won't outline any scenarios for you, I might scare myself along with you.

So, I want reasonable, sane, people to have guns and be well armed. I DON"T want insane people, nor criminals to have any kind of weapon. Not even a spit-wad. That has not been working out well for me. The government that we depend on to take care of us seems to be failing to take care of the insane and keep them safe and away from the rest of society's innocent people. We see far too many insane massacres. Most of them were by well know mental cases with documented mental problems and drug use, both prescription and illegal drugs.

The thing that I fear most, is that the domino theory will apply and they will ban assault weapons, then all semi-automatic weapons, then hand guns, then rifles and shotguns. Soon we will be a gun less society, where criminals will have guns, because, remember, they are criminals. We will be defenceless, they will walk into our houses with impunity. Don't say that won't happen, because just down the street from me a house was robbed at gunpoint. The man was shot in the head, but survived. So, home invasions are already happening. I know of at least two families where the thugs broke into the wrong house. I also know that most everyone in Humboldt County knows someone whose house has been invaded.

So, my final thought is about gun laws. If the people think that passing laws against guns will solve a problem they are sorely mistaken. No cop wants to be in charge of taking weapons away from people. There are far too many weapons out there, and far too few jails to fill with gun law violators. It won't work. But... go ahead, put your foolish laws on the books, and see what good it does. I won't even say I told you so.... I promise. I might even vote for it, just to hide and watch what happens.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Laytonville sawmills of the '50s

We have had a small discussion about a sawmill located north-west of the new Laytonville high school. Ross Sherburn identified it as the Sulphur Creek Lumber Company. I remember the mill operating before the '55 flood, but I believe that the '55 flood either took it out or damaged it heavily. According to Ross' mill history book, the mill closed in '56. Maybe they rebuilt and struggled to survive after the flood but failed. The times were tough for sawmills back then, especially mills that had problems, and there is no problem like a flood. Most of the sawmills were built near creeks or water because they needed water for their log ponds. A lot of sawmills were lost in the floods because of that fact.

 Trying to find the name of this mill caused me to wonder about other mills that were scattered about the valley. There were three other mills around the lake. There was the Jack Crawford mill, the Sherburn-Ford mill owned by Ross' dad, Shine Sherburn, and Frank ford. There was the Lakeside Lumber Company, that was built right on the lake. They even used the natural lake as a log pond. I'm not sure how they handled all the flooding. I think that they were high enough that the mills weren't bothered that much, but I really don't know.

 On out the Branscomb road, four or five miles, was the Ben Mast Lumber Company. The mill got it's water from huge artesian springs on the property. The Mast mill was larger than most mills around the valley. They cut a lot of redwood lumber. He was able to make his fortune by building the only plainer mill in the valley. Not only did he plain his own lumber, most of the mills in the valley would send their lumber through his mill to have it surfaced. The Mast plainer mill also produced redwood siding lumber. It was a very modern  mill by 1950's standards. Ben Mast owned everything in his lumber operation from the saws that cut the timber to the logging equipment, the trucks that took the logs to the mill, the mill, the plainer, to the trucks that hauled most of the lumber to San Francisco.

South of Laytonville, on Davidson Lane(?), was the PH&E lumber company. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember the trucks that they used. The trucks were GMCs with Detroit Diesel engines in them. They sounded different than any other trucks that I had heard. I remember the lope of the idling engines. They would rev up, then fall back against the engine speed governor. Then they would rev up again. They would idle like someone was goosing the throttle every few seconds. They said that you didn't dare let them run out of fuel, because it you did, the speed governor would lock wide open and the engine would blow-up. Wow, pretty dramatic!

At the north end of the valley, about three miles south of Black Oak Ranch was the Ben L. Branscomb Lumber company. The mill was owned by my uncle Ben. I remember a lot about that mill. The mill was powered by Caterpiller engines. The head-rig engine was the largest V-8 engine that I ever saw. Ben had a log pond. He fed the pond off the log deck with a Skagit triple drum cable loader. The head rig was two large over and under circular saws with insert saw bits. He had an adjustable gang saw edger, a trim saw and a burner for the trimmings. He had his lumber surfaced at the Mast mill.

I can't remember the name of the mill across the street, east of Ben's mill, I believe that there was two of them. I know that they had a pond, because my cousin Roy and I used to catch bull frogs out of the pond after the mills closed.

The mill that I would particularly like the name of was a mill at the very south end of Long Valley on the west side of the highway. It was in a small canyon right beside the 101 highway. I used to know the name of it, but it slipped my mind. I didn't worry about it too much because I thought that someday it would jog back into my head.... But alas and alack... it didn't.

Maybe Ross knows, he has that book. It was before Robin's time, so she probably didn't know about it. It was about a half mile past Red Buck. I had a friend who's father, Cotton Stein, was the bookkeeper there. My friend's name was Royce Stein.

Anybody know of other mills?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How high's the water Mama

Well... I don't want make fun of people. Especially people that have never seen the water this high before, because it has been awhile since it has been this high. The river was clear over the road at Kimtu. Apparently that's a big deal nowadays. It used to be pretty routine to see water that high. The people that live in kimtu are pretty used to driving through some water up over the road, but not so much anymore. The water being over the road at Kimtu made photos in all of the important blogs and most of the local papers. It came as a little surprise to me that it was "news". Hmmmm....

The river has been moderately high, but not close to flood stage for a few years now. The river used to reach flood stage at least once or twice every year. I figur' it's global warming, that's what causes everything now. Global warming has been going on for close to 200,000 years, so you should expect to see things getting be really bad, shouldn't you?

Last year, or maybe sooner, I was musing about the moderate rainfall that we have been having and how clean the river was getting. All of the old traditional fish resting holes were clearing out, the gravel was moving out to sea, and the light rain was not causing too many great slides like we used to have every winter. I boldly stated the river was looking good and we could expect some pretty fabulous fish runs. (you could look it up)

The river was full of fish this year, but we had some pretty late rains and the run was delayed a little. When the fish finally got enough rain to head upstream, the water was not high enough to make it up some tributaries, so most of the fish spawned in the mainstream. I'm not sure how the spawn will fair in the high water we are having now, but it must be very destructive to the fish roe. The good thing is that there were thousands of fish spawned in the Eel river this years. (yes thousands!)

It is strange what mother nature will do. The old tradition fish resting hole under the bridge below Garberville, on the way to the airport, was full of salmon. Some reports said up to 200 fish at one time. The resting hole is not nearly as good as it was when the local folks saw it before 1964, but the salmon still choose to rest there. It must be genetic.

This year, environmental groups were having their praises sung for their great work in restoring the fish runs. Again, don't get me wrong, we need people to be concerned about the river and the fish, and we especially need people with the autority to stop fish habitat destruction. However, having seen the whole cycle, it was Mother Nature that caused the two major, and several minor floods that destroyed the quailty of the river fish habitat. It was also Mother Nature that brought the resting holes back.

I wish that I knew how this year's spawn is doing.

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