'with a state-only Guard response, Governors retain their constitutional authority and control'
JFQ/ issue 51, 4th quarter 2008'
The article below is too long to post ---but it is a very good description of balance between HOMELAND SECURITY as a Federal agency and state sovereignty and state national guards which are supposed to be that WELL-REGULATED PUBLIC MILITIA. Please GOOGLE to see the struggle that will be lost in defending our state sovereignty ---as states like MD and CA identify as SANCTUARY STATES----meaning the entire state is a FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE which means it operates free from Federal, state, and local jurisdiction. A US CITY DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE already acts outside of Federal and state laws---- any STATE GUARD would fall under the jurisdiction of HOMELAND SECURITY which heavily tied to NSA/CIA/DIA. Even our local FBI agencies report to CIA.
So, if a TRUMP is installing as head of CIA or FBI leadership moving further and further right wing---being more and more brutal----that is what policing and security will look like in US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES like Baltimore.
GUN CONTROL IS BEING WRITTEN BY GLOBAL BANKING 1% NOT TO PROTECT 99% OF WE THE PEOPLE BUT TO END 2ND AMENDMENT AND RIGHTS OF US CITIZENS TO OWN GUNS.
Our states are of course closest to what was drafted in US Constitution to being that WELL-REGULATED PUBLIC ARMED MILITIA.......and it has been PUBLIC for 300 years.
'with a state-only Guard response, Governors retain their constitutional authority and control'
JFQ/ issue 51, 4th quarter 2008
Command and Control of
Military Forces in the Homeland
Jeffrey w. burkett
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey W. Burkett, ANG, is a
National Guard Plans, Policy, and Programs Advisor,
North American Aerospace Defense Command and
U.S. Northern Command.
To serve in the National Guard is to accept a dual mission. You can be called on to defend the country against enemies abroad, or to protect lives and property here at home in times of local emergency.
—Richard B. Cheney
Our state national guard in modern history reflected that early US Constitutional policy of WELL-REGULATED PUBLIC MILITIA. What was in colonial America country folks having their arms for protections of all kinds-----being that PUBLIC MILITIA-----300 years created almost a century ago what is now called our state national guard. As this article states----the duty of our state guard was always protecting 99% of US WE THE PEOPLE at HOME----natural disaster, loss of vital infrastructure, global gun and drug cartels undermining our local communities.
We see MOVING FORWARD in 1960s------VIETNAM was an illegal war so it was called a POLICE STATE. This article let's us know this is the first time a state guard was sent to active wars overseas-----it was INDIANA.
When our state public militia merged into our Federal US military actions it became DEREGULATED at state level and controlled more and more by Federal Department of Defense. Flash forward to CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA----that merging of state public militia with Federal public military then MOVES FORWARD to PRIVATIZATION OF BOTH.
OUR US CONSTITUTION AND IT'S WELL-REGULATED PUBLIC MILITIA WAS ILLEGALLY ATTACKED DURING ROBBER BARON EMPIRE-BUILDING TODAY HAVING ALMOST ALL OUR US PUBLIC MILITARY PRIVATIZED TO GLOBAL PRIVATE MERCENARY CORPORATIONS.
International Guard: How The Vietnam War Changed Guard Service
April 25, 20157:33 AM ET
Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday
The Vietnam War changed the National Guard.
During that conflict, joining the guard was seen as a way to avoid the draft; during America's recent wars, the guard and reserve made up nearly half the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You can trace the transformation of the guard back to the few units from it that did go and fight in Vietnam. And ahead of the 40th anniversary of the end of that conflict, several former guard members — who are also Vietnam vets — met up at the Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post in Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis.
Around a table there, they remembered their paths to Vietnam.
'Find A Way Out'
In 1968 Bob McIntire was a college student in Indianapolis, having trouble paying tuition. When he dropped a few courses at Butler University, the draft board called.
"When we got done with the physical the guy there said, 'you've got usually about 90 days to find a way out, if you've got a way out,' " he says.
Back then, the National Guard was one way out: You could serve without going to war. So McIntire looked for guard and reserve units. Most were full, but a unit in Greenfield, Ind., would take him — if he agreed to train as a paratrooper.
"I lucked out by joining the National Guard and signing up to go airborne," he says. "It's the only way they were takin' anyone."
But unluckily for McIntire, he landed in one of the very few National Guard units sent to Vietnam: Company D, 151st Infantry. In all, several thousand guardsmen — out of a total of hundreds of thousands — eventually were deployed.
Sent To The Jungle
McIntire says he was so sure that he wouldn't be deployed to Vietnam that he didn't realize he'd gotten orders until he heard it on the radio during a lunch break.
"I couldn't believe it," he says.
Lt. General William Peers, second from right, talks to an officer of the National Guard's 116th Combat Engineer Battalion of Idaho Falls, Idaho, at Phan Rang, South Vietnam, Saturday, September 18, 1968. At the time, many saw the National Guard as a way to get out of the draft, but eight units were ultimately sent to Vietnam, including the 116th Battalion.
AP Next thing they knew they were just northeast of Saigon, at a base in Bien Hoa. It was just before Christmas in 1968.
They were sent into the jungle in teams of six to set up ambushes until they were picked up by chopper pilots from the regular army.
Mike Slabaugh remembers a patrol in April 1969, when he traded positions with another member of the unit — a guy named Bob Smith.
"He wasn't there for 20 seconds, he got shot in the head," Slabaugh says. "And uh, we carried him to the chopper and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but it was — he was gone."
Four men from his unit, including Smith, died during the year they saw combat. Their guard unit was one of the most decorated of the war: Its soldiers earned 19 Silver Stars, among the military's highest awards for valor.
Their experience is almost unique.
President Lyndon Johnson never wanted to call up the guard: Sending those units to war could turn the public against what the White House and Pentagon — in the early days — hoped would be a short conflict.
"It would publicize the war, it would make the war, economically, more difficult — two things that Johnson did not want to do," says Andrew Wiest, professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. "This war was going to be quick — and quiet."
But, Wiest says, after the draft ended in 1973, the Army had little choice.
Paving The Way For A Change
Gen. Creighton Abrams, who commanded U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972, wanted to ensure the guard was not sidelined in future conflicts.
"He felt that one of the great failings of the Vietnam War was that the National Guard was never called up, and the nation was never engaged," Wiest says.
So the Pentagon began to knit the guard with the active-duty military; key specialties like combat engineering or air refueling are now built into guard units.
That unit from Indiana actually paved the way for what was to come.
"Been a lot of things written about the Indiana Rangers, because it did work — we were successful," says Gary Bussell, one of the Vietnam vets at the VFW Hall. "But it was the first step into trying something like that."
All of the Indiana veterans say they watched how guard troops and active duty soldiers worked together in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a small victory for the men sitting around the table, borne of a war they wished they hadn't had to fight.
While the movement during Vietnam War to our US state guard was an act of DESPERATION as US anti-war protests rolled with 99% of WE THE PEOPLE not wanting to be drafted into illegal wars. So, global banking 1% pols went to our well-regulated public state militia.
'So the Pentagon began to knit the guard with the active-duty military; key specialties like combat engineering or air refueling are now built into guard units'.
BUSH/CHENEY of course placed illegal endless wars on steroids and with it CHENEY is in national media telling us our local state public militia should not be home protecting our communities they were being paid to fight and fight they would overseas. Clinton 1990s brought state guards into BOSNIA -----BUSH/CHENEY took what were mostly local citizens wanting to serve their communities ---NOT WANTING TO BE WARRIORS----and made them WARRIORS on tours over decade long. No warning in changing of duties-----contracts of service no longer held -----BUSH/CHENEY was taking our well-regulated local public militia to being PRAETORIAN GUARDS for global mercenary military corporations.
We use the MEDIEVAL term PRAETORIAN GUARD because it does a great job in showing how today's policies of merging our state guards and US public military then taking all the above to private military corporations
VIOLATED OUR US CONSTITUTION 2ND AMENDMENT OF NO STANDING ARMY AND OUR LOCAL PUBLIC WELL-ARMED MILITIA HAVING GUNS TO PROTECT OUR 99% OF WE THE PEOPLE.
A Praetorian Guard is a privately owned militia supported by the OLD WORLD MERCHANT OF VENICE GLOBAL 1%........it does not meet with our US CONSTITUTION as public militia and violates our 300 years of not allowing STANDING MILITARY.
THIS IS THE GORILLA-IN-THE-ROOM GUN CONTROL POLICY FOR REAL LEFT SOCIAL PROGRESSIVES AND FOR ANY GROUP CALLING ITSELF ANTI-WAR.
Major National Guard Call-ups
1994 to 1996 - Haiti (Uphold Democracy) - President Bill Clinton activated 845 Army National Guardsmen by PSRC: Executive Order 2927 on Sept. 15, 1994. Mostly special forces and military police units were deployed.
1995 to 1999 - Bosnia (Joint Guard/Joint Forge/ Joint Endeavor) - President Clinton deployed the National Guard again on Dec. 8, 1995 through PSRC Executive Order 12982. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 19,093 reservists have or are serving in the Bosnia. Of the 19,093, 13,000 deployed voluntarily.
1998 to 1999 - Southwest Asia (Southern Watch) - On Feb. 24, 1998 President Clinton mobilized the National Guard for Operation Southern Watch. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 1,756 reservists were called involuntarily, 8,000 have volunteered.
1999 to Present - Kosovo (Allied Force) - On April 27, 1999 through PRC: Executive Order 13120, President Clinton mobilized 4,000 voluntary reservists and 5,628 involuntary reservists. As of Nov. 22, 1999 3,420 Air Guardsmen were called; 2,132 have deployed to Kosovo during the conflict. The first Army Guard unit called for Kosovo was the 852nd Rear Area Operations Center from Arizona with 39 people.
2001 to Present - Homeland Defense/ War on Terrorism (Noble Eagle/ Enduring Freedom) - A total of 9,600 National Guard men and women were already on duty across the country on Friday, Sept. 14, when President George Bush approved an order to call up as many as 50,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve. That number included 5,000 members of the Army National Guard and 4,600 members of the Air National Guard, according to the National Guard Bureau, serving because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
As of March 26, 2003, 98,464 Army and Air National Guardsmen were mobilized in support of operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom: 79,985 Army Guard and 18,479 Air Guard.
2003 to Present - Iraq (Iraqi Freedom) - On of March 19, 2003, more than 138,000 Guardsmen had been notified, mobilized and deployed in the buildup for a possible war against Iraq.
By September 2004, nearly 52,000 guardsmen and women were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan - about one-third of the total force.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 225,000 Guardsmen have been mobilized or deployed
Deployment of our state guard went from mobilizing to protect our shores and riot control to being enfolded into global mercenary military corporations---Clinton set the stage and Bush/Cheney made it a standard. GUN CONTROL is reversing the privatization of our US military and bringing back control of our local state militias to protecting 99% WE THE PEOPLE in our communities. One of the problems with responding to HURRICANE KATRINA was overseas deployment of our state guards which should have been ready to serve and protect our public against NATURAL DISASTERS.
We read the US ARMY account of response by our state public militia to this HURRICANE KATRINA as though they did their usual best while US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE were aghast at the inability of what WAS INDEED a fine civil response team to organize immediately and that was because our state guard units were skeleton crews rotating out for active duty overseas. So, enter our NEW US WELL-REGULATED PUBLIC LOCAL MILITIA------outsourced brought - together at the last minute POLICE SWAT TEAMS.
If this sounds like a third world developing nation response ---as in SOMALIA ----you would be correct.
'But this time "Rummy" opposed sending in active-duty troops as cops. Dick Cheney, who was vacationing in Wyoming when the storm hit, characteristically kept his counsel on videoconferences; his private advice is not known'.
So, our state guards are now referred to as ACTIVE DUTY TROOPS------on call for illegal wars overseas and BUSH/CHENEY do not want to deploy our public militia to protect the 99% US public.
We have during BUSH/OBAMA MOVED FORWARD POLICE SWAT TEAMS replacing what was a local police and local state guard----and those SWAT TEAMS are increasingly tied to global military and police security corporations.
National media made BUSH THE DECIDER and CHENEY THE INCOMPETENT sound like buffoons----when they were simply MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE US having no well-regulated public militia-------with OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% KINGS AND QUEENS having a standing army inside our US sovereign states.
The Government Response to Katrina: A Disaster Within a Disaster
By Evan Thomas On 9/18/05 at 8:00 PM
SWAT police armed with machine guns patrol downtown New Orleans after reports of looting following the hurricane. Rick Wilking/REUTERS
Editor's note: This article ran on September 18, 2005, and examines President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina.
It's a standing joke among the president's top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the President of the United States, or, as he is known in West Wing jargon, POTUS. The bad news on this early morning, Tuesday, Aug. 30, some 24 hours after Hurricane Katrina had ripped through New Orleans, was that the president would have to cut short his five-week vacation by a couple of days and return to Washington. The president's chief of staff, Andrew Card; his deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin; his counselor, Dan Bartlett, and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, held a conference call to discuss the question of the president's early return and the delicate task of telling him. Hagin, it was decided, as senior aide on the ground, would do the deed.
The president did not growl this time. He had already decided to return to Washington and hold a meeting of his top advisers on the following day, Wednesday. This would give them a day to get back from their vacations and their staffs to work up some ideas about what to do in the aftermath of the storm. President Bush knew the storm and its consequences had been bad; but he didn't quite realize how bad.
The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.
How this could be--how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century--is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.
President George W. Bush has always trusted his gut. He prides himself in ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine. He has boasted that he doesn't read the papers. His doggedness is often admirable. It is easy for presidents to overreact to the noise around them.
But it is not clear what President Bush does read or watch, aside from the occasional biography and an hour or two of ESPN here and there. Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty. After five years in office, he is surrounded largely by people who agree with him. Bush can ask tough questions, but it's mostly a one-way street. Most presidents keep a devil's advocate around. Lyndon Johnson had George Ball on Vietnam; President Ronald Reagan and Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, grudgingly listened to the arguments of Budget Director Richard Darman, who told them what they didn't wish to hear: that they would have to raise taxes. When Hurricane Katrina struck, it appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth: that the state and local governments had been overwhelmed, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not up to the job and that the military, the only institution with the resources to cope, couldn't act without a declaration from the president overriding all other authority.
The war in Iraq was a failure of intelligence. The government's response to Katrina--like the failure to anticipate that terrorists would fly into buildings on 9/11--was a failure of imagination. On Tuesday, within 24 hours of the storm's arrival, Bush needed to be able to imagine the scenes of disorder and misery that would, two days later, shock him when he watched the evening news. He needed to be able to see that New Orleans would spin into violence and chaos very quickly if the U.S. government did not take charge--and, in effect, send in the cavalry, which in this case probably meant sending in a brigade from a combat outfit, like the 82nd Airborne, based in Fort Bragg, N.C., and prepared to deploy anywhere in the world in 18 hours.
Bush and his advisers in his "war cabinet" have always been action-oriented, "forward leaning," in the favorite phrase of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They dislike lawyers and sometimes brush aside legalistic (and even sound constitutional) arguments. But this time "Rummy" opposed sending in active-duty troops as cops. Dick Cheney, who was vacationing in Wyoming when the storm hit, characteristically kept his counsel on videoconferences; his private advice is not known.
Liberals will say they were indifferent to the plight of poor African-Americans. It is true that Katrina laid bare society's massive neglect of its least fortunate. The inner thoughts and motivations of Bush and his top advisers are impossible to know for certain. Though it seems abstract at a time of such suffering, high-minded considerations about the balance of power between state and federal government were clearly at play. It's also possible that after at least four years of more or less constant crisis, Bush and his team are numb.
The failure of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina worked like a power blackout. Problems cascaded and compounded; each mistake made the next mistake worse. The foe in this battle was a monster; Katrina flattened the Gulf Coast with the strength of a vengeful god. But human beings, beginning with the elected officials of the City of New Orleans, failed to anticipate and react in time.
NEVER MENTIONED THE DEPLOYMENT OF OUR STATE GUARD TO OVERSEAS WARS AS THE REASON FOR LACK OF RESPONSE.
Congressional investigations will take months to sort out who is to blame. A NEWSWEEK reconstruction of the government's response to the storm shows how Bush's leadership style and the bureaucratic culture combined to produce a disaster within a disaster.
Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, didn't want to evacuate. New Orleanians have a fatalistic streak; their joyful, jazz-blowing street funeral processions are legendary. After many near misses over the years since Hurricane Betsy flooded 20 percent of the city in 1965, longtime residents prefer to stay put. Nagin's eye had long been on commerce, not catastrophe. A former executive at Cox Communications, he had come to office in 2002 to clear out the allegedly corrupt old guard and bring new business to the city, which has not prospered with New South metropolises like Atlanta. During Nagin's mayoral campaign, the promises were about jobs, not stronger floodwalls and levees.
But on Saturday night, as Katrina bore down on New Orleans, Nagin talked to Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center. "Max Mayfield has scared me to death," Nagin told City Councilwoman Cynthia Morrell early Sunday morning. "If you're scared, I'm scared," responded Morrell, and the mandatory order went out to evacuate the city--about a day later than for most other cities and counties along the Gulf Coast.
As Katrina howled outside Monday morning and the windows of the Hyatt Hotel, where the mayor had set up his command post, began popping out, Nagin and his staff lay on the floor. Then came eerie silence. Morrell decided to go look at her district, including nearby Gentilly. Outside, Canal Street was dry. "Phew," Morrell told her driver, "that was close." But then, from the elevated highway, she began seeing neighborhoods under eight to 15 feet of water. "Holy God," she thought to herself. Then she spotted her first dead body.
At dusk, on the ninth floor of city hall, the mayor and the city council had their first encounter with the federal government. A man in a blue FEMA windbreaker arrived to brief them on his helicopter flyover of the city. He seemed unfamiliar with the city's geography, but he did have a sense of urgency. "Water as far as the eye can see," he said. It was worse than Hurricanes Andrew in 1992 and Camille in 1969. "I need to call Washington," he said. "Do you have a conference-call line?" According to an aide to the mayor, he seemed a little taken aback when the answer was no. Long neglected in the city budget, communications within the New Orleans city government were poor, and eventually almost nonexistent when the batteries on the few old satellite phones died. The FEMA man found a phone, but he had trouble reaching senior officials in Washington. When he finally got someone on the line, the city officials kept hearing him say, "You don't understand, you don't understand."
Around New Orleans, three levees had overtopped or were broken. The city was doomed. There was no way the water could be stopped. But, incredibly, the seriousness of the situation did not really register, not only in Washington, but at the state emergency command post upriver in Baton Rouge. In a squat, drab cinder-block building in the state capital, full of TV monitors and maps, various state and federal officials tried to make sense of what had happened. "Nobody was saying it wasn't a catastrophe," Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu told NEWSWEEK. "We were saying, 'Thank you, God,' because the experts were telling the governor it could have been even worse."
Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, a motherly but steely figure known by the nickname Queen Bee, knew that she needed help. But she wasn't quite sure what. At about 8 p.m., she spoke to Bush. "Mr. President," she said, "we need your help. We need everything you've got."
Bush, the governor later recalled, was reassuring. But the conversation was all a little vague. Blanco did not specifically ask for a massive intervention by the active-duty military. "She wouldn't know the 82nd Airborne from the Harlem Boys' Choir," said an official in the governor's office, who did not wish to be identified talking about his boss's conversations with the president. There are a number of steps Bush could have taken, short of a full-scale federal takeover, like ordering the military to take over the pitiful and (by now) largely broken emergency communications system throughout the region. But the president, who was in San Diego preparing to give a speech the next day on the war in Iraq, went to bed.
By the predawn hours, most state and federal officials finally realized that the 17th Street Canal levee had been breached, and that the city was in serious trouble. Bush was told at 5 a.m. Pacific Coast time and immediately decided to cut his vacation short. To his senior advisers, living in the insular presidential bubble, the mere act of lopping off a couple of presidential vacation days counts as a major event. They could see pitfalls in sending Bush to New Orleans immediately. His presence would create a security nightmare and get in the way of the relief effort. Bush blithely proceeded with the rest of his schedule for the day, accepting a gift guitar at one event and pretending to riff like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business."
Bush might not have appeared so carefree if he had been able to see the fearful faces on some young police officers--the ones who actually showed up for roll call at the New Orleans Second District police headquarters that morning. The radio was reporting water nine feet deep at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles streets. The looting and occasional shooting had begun. At 2 o'clock on the morning of the storm, only 82 of 120 cops had obeyed a summons to report for duty. Now the numbers were dwindling; within a day, only 28 or 30 officers would be left to save the stranded and fight the looters, recalled a sad and exhausted Capt. Eddie Hosli, speaking to a NEWSWEEK reporter last week. "One of my lieutenants told me, 'I was looking into the eyes of one of the officers and it was like looking into the eyes of a baby'," Hosli recalled. "It was just terrible." (When the AWOL officers began trickling back to work last week, attracted in part by the promise of five expense-paid days in Las Vegas for all New Orleans cops, Hosli told them, "You've got your own demons to live with. I'm not going to judge you.")
At emergency headquarters in Baton Rouge, confusion raged. Though more than 100,000 of its residents had no way to get out of the city on their own, New Orleans had no real evacuation plan, save to tell people to go to the Superdome and wait for buses. On Tuesday, the state was rounding up buses; no, FEMA was; no, FEMA's buses would take too long to get there... and so on. On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Blanco took her second trip to the Superdome and was shocked by the rising tide of desperation there. There didn't seem to be nearly enough buses, boats or helicopters.
Early Wednesday morning, Blanco tried to call Bush. She was transferred around the White House for a while until she ended up on the phone with Fran Townsend, the president's Homeland Security adviser, who tried to reassure her but did not have many specifics. Hours later, Blanco called back and insisted on speaking to the president. When he came on the line, the governor recalled, "I just asked him for help, 'whatever you have'." She asked for 40,000 troops. "I just pulled a number out of the sky," she later told NEWSWEEK.
The Pentagon was not sitting idly. By Tuesday morning (and even before the storm) the military was moving supplies, ships, boats, helicopters and troops toward the Gulf Coast. But, ironically, the scale of the effort slowed it. TV viewers had difficulty understanding why TV crews seemed to move in and out of New Orleans while the military was nowhere to be seen. But a TV crew is five people in an RV. Before the military can send in convoys of trucks, it has to clear broken and flooded highways. The military took over the shattered New Orleans airport for emergency airlifts, but special teams of Air Force operators had to be sent in to make it ready. By the week after the storm, the military had mobilized some 70,000 troops and hundreds of helicopters--but it took at least two days and usually four and five to get them into the disaster area. Looters and well-armed gangs, like TV crews, moved faster.
In the inner councils of the Bush administration, there was some talk of gingerly pushing aside the overwhelmed "first responders," the state and local emergency forces, and sending in active-duty troops. But under an 1868 law, federal troops are not allowed to get involved in local law enforcement. The president, it's true, could have invoked the Insurrections Act, the so-called Riot Act. But Rumsfeld's aides say the secretary of Defense was leery of sending in 19-year-old soldiers trained to shoot people in combat to play policemen in an American city, and he believed that National Guardsmen trained as MPs were on the way.
The one federal agency that is supposed to handle disasters--FEMA--was dysfunctional. On Wednesday morning, Senator Landrieu was standing outside the chaotic Superdome and asked to borrow a FEMA official's phone to call her office in Washington. "It didn't work," she told NEWSWEEK. "I thought to myself, 'This isn't going to be pretty'." Once a kind of petty-cash drawer for congressmen to quickly hand out aid after floods and storms, FEMA had improved in the 1990s in the Clinton administration. But it became a victim of the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences. After 9/11 raised the profile of disaster response, FEMA was folded into the sprawling Department of Homeland Security and effectively weakened. FEMA's boss, Bush's close friend Joe Allbaugh, quit when he lost his cabinet seat. (Now a consultant, Allbaugh was down on the Gulf Coast last week looking for contracts for his private clients.) Allbaugh replaced himself with his college buddy Mike Brown, whose last private-sector job (omitted from his official resume) had been supervising horse-show judges for the International Arabian Horse Association. After praising Brown ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of job"), Bush last week removed him from honchoing the Katrina relief operation. He was replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen. The Coast Guard was one agency that performed well, rescuing thousands.
Bad news rarely flows up in bureaucracies. For most of those first few days, Bush was hearing what a good job the Feds were doing. Bush likes "metrics," numbers to measure performance, so the bureaucrats gave him reassuring statistics. At a press availability on Wednesday, Bush duly rattled them off: there were 400 trucks transporting 5.4 million meals and 13.4 million liters of water along with 3.4 million pounds of ice. Yet it was obvious to anyone watching TV that New Orleans had turned into a Third World hellhole.
The denial and the frustration finally collided aboard Air Force One on Friday. As the president's plane sat on the tarmac at New Orleans airport, a confrontation occurred that was described by one participant as "as blunt as you can get without the Secret Service getting involved." Governor Blanco was there, along with various congressmen and senators and Mayor Nagin (who took advantage of the opportunity to take a shower aboard the plane). One by one, the lawmakers listed their grievances as Bush listened. Rep. Bobby Jindal, whose district encompasses New Orleans, told of a sheriff who had called FEMA for assistance. According to Jindal, the sheriff was told to e-mail his request, "and the guy was sitting in a district underwater and with no electricity," Jindal said, incredulously. "How does that make any sense?" Jindal later told NEWSWEEK that "almost everybody" around the conference table had a similar story about how the federal response "just wasn't working." With each tale, "the president just shook his head, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing," says Jindal, a conservative Republican and Bush appointee who lost a close race to Blanco. Repeatedly, the president turned to his aides and said, "Fix it."
According to Sen. David Vitter, a Republican ally of Bush's, the meeting came to a head when Mayor Nagin blew up during a fraught discussion of "who's in charge?" Nagin slammed his hand down on the table and told Bush, "We just need to cut through this and do what it takes to have a more-controlled command structure. If that means federalizing it, let's do it."
A debate over "federalizing" the National Guard had been rattling in Washington for the previous three days. Normally, the Guard is under the control of the state governor, but the Feds can take over--if the governor asks them to. Nagin suggested that Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the Pentagon's on-scene commander, be put in charge. According to Senator Vitter, Bush turned to Governor Blanco and said, "Well, what do you think of that, Governor?" Blanco told Bush, "I'd rather talk to you about that privately." To which Nagin responded, "Well, why don't you do that now?"
The meeting broke up. Bush and Blanco disappeared to talk. More than a week later, there was still no agreement. Blanco didn't want to give up her authority, and Bush didn't press. Jindal suggested that Bush appoint Colin Powell as a kind of relief czar, and Bush replied, "I'll take that into consideration." Bush does not like to fire people. He told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to go down to Louisiana and sort out the various problems. A day later FEMA's Brown was on his way back to Washington.
Late last week, Bush was, by some accounts, down and angry. But another Bush aide described the atmosphere inside the White House as "strangely surreal and almost detached." At one meeting described by this insider, officials were oddly self-congratulatory, perhaps in an effort to buck each other up. Life inside a bunker can be strange, especially in defeat.
What we see in this article is of course the exact description we shout over and again------OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% FREEMASONRY now has our local well-regulated public militia pretending to be everything from religious------charitable-------education corporations-----this is RACE TO THE TOP privatization of our US public K-12 as well at work......
These are what have existed overseas for several decades in FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES ---they are private global military, security, and policing corporations with their own SWAT TEAMS and they are replacing what was our local well-armed public militia with local country men from every MIDDLESEX village and farm to be up and to arm.
We are sure almost all of these men are not from our local communities------and yet they are the ones with the GUNS -----with the ability to KILL A MAN-----SHOOT FIRST ASK NO QUESTIONS. US public schools are fighting this GUN CULTURE as our students weakened by family crises or depressions take this WARRIOR way out----the solution for ending gun violence in our local public schools----
IS STOP MOVING FORWARD US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES AND THE FAR-RIGHT WING, AUTHORITARIAN, MILITARISTIC, EXTREME WEALTH EXTREME POVERTY LIBERTARIAN MARXISM.
In only a few decades 300 years of US Constitutional definition of our local well-regulated public militia was allowed to DISAPPEAR.
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
How a Police SWAT Team Becomes a Charitable Corporation
Written by Gregory A. Hession, J.D.
Government agencies have developed very clever ways to hide their acts and paperwork from their bosses, the public. Some of them do it by staying deep in the shadows, such as the CIA or the National Security Agency (NSA). However, a group of regional police agencies in New England, which operate Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams and are armed with machine guns, armored BearCat vehicles, and other military equipment, have done it by styling themselves as non-profit “religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational” corporations in order to avoid disclosure of their records.
These agencies are called “Law Enforcement Councils” (LECs), which evoke images of fraternal cooperation between police departments. In most of the country, that is what they are: regional groups of police departments who band together — and often incorporate — for legislative lobbying, getting funding grants, sharing information, and coordinating between jurisdictions. Some of them share equipment such as traffic speed machines.
Only in Massachusetts have these LECs subsumed their police SWAT and other militarized operations, such as locking down the City of Boston after a bomb explosion during its marathon, under the shield of non-profit corporations in order to avoid public scrutiny.
When the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tried to get the documents of one such group, the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement council (NEMLEC), which is made up of 58 police departments in northeastern Massachusetts, NEMLEC used the excuse that they were just a small non-profit charitable, religious, or educational organization and not a pubic entity, and thus were not subject to freedom of information requests. Never mind that each officer in the SWAT team is a public employee, is paid by public funds, operates publicly owned vehicles and equipment, and works on public safety missions.
The ACLU then sued NEMLEC to obtain their records, under the open records law in Massachusetts. However, NEMLEC has continued to oppose disclosure of the records in court, and has moved to dismiss the lawsuit. “NEMLEC can’t have it both ways,” said an attorney for the ACLU. “Either it is a public entity subject to public records laws, or what it is doing is illegal.”
Each member police force of a Massachusetts LEC is required to pay dues to the organization of many thousands of dollars per year. These dues are paid out of public funds. Certainly they run their policing operations by their public authority granted by the state and each city or town. In other words, they are public employees, doing their public work and getting paid by our taxes.
NEMLEC’s response appears to be a recent change in the purpose of its non-profit charitable corporation status. NEMLEC was founded 40 years ago in 1974, according to Massachusetts secretary of state documents. When it started, it was probably a bunch of police chiefs meeting to swap stories and give each other awards. Perhaps only recently did the group figure out that their non-profit corporation could also serve as a shield to protect their SWAT and military-like activities from disclosure to the public.
Why does this matter? Because these cops raid homes and kill people — sometimes the wrong people, sometimes innocent children. They use heavy armored personnel carriers, and serve “no-knock” warrants on drug houses, where they use automatic weapons and flash grenades.
As public employees, the records of their activities should be open to the public, and individual police departments have always had to produce them. But because the police departments have consolidated their SWAT teams under these regional “Law Enforcement Councils,” they can hide their most violent, most controversial operations under the protection of a charitable corporate veil.
According to a June 26, 2014 article in storyleak.com, SWAT raids have increased from 3,000 a year to over 80,000 a year in the last three decades. Media bring daily reports of drug raids on homes that were mistakenly targeted, and where police sometimes injure or kill innocent persons or pets.
Most of these SWAT raids, conducted by officers armed to the teeth and carrying smoke or flash grenades and battering rams, are part of the so-called “drug war.” Although law enforcement theoreticians are well aware of the ample historical evidence that prohibition does not work, we have continued to use this drug war pretext to ramp up the militarization of local police and to perpetrate a siege mentality in many urban areas.
We should not forget our last experiment with prohibition of liquor, some ninety years ago, which ran from 1920 to 1933. H.L. Mencken, the “sage of Baltimore,” writing during that period, reminds us what a horrible flop it was and how it ended up doing far more harm than good despite the best intentions of “dry” reformers:
Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.
Modern police departments have changed from a “protect and serve” model to an “us versus them” mentality and culture. In the new model, citizens have become enemies of the state, and “officer safety” is the primary concern, not the rights of the people. Officers are trained to escalate at the slightest perception of a threat, and will bring criminal charges of resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, or disorderly conduct with little provocation.
In that highly charged police-state atmosphere, it is critical that citizens be afforded the opportunity to see public records about police SWAT activities, regardless of whether the police style themselves a “charitable” corporation. Hopefully, the lawsuit filed by the ACLU will succeed in piercing that barrier, and the result will be more accountability by police and fealty to the Constitution in their operations, because they know they are being scrutinized.
If we look at the two US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES on East Coast MOVING FORWARD global corporate campuses and global factories for only the global 1%------we see two GLOBAL HEDGE FUND IVY LEAGUE CORPORATIONS central in ROBBER BARON frauds in Boston and Baltimore ----HARVARD AND JOHNS HOPKINS with a SLOGAN made main-stream during an act of violence BOSTON STRONG/BALTIMORE STRONG is NYC STRONG-----is global Foreign Economic Zone militarized policing, security, and surveillance MOVING FORWARD DEEP, DEEP, REALLY DEEP STATE. As this comment by a ACLU infers-----99% of US WE THE PEOPLE have no control over these private militias having the GUNS while our rights to own guns in US are being DISMANTLED.
'with a state-only Guard response, Governors retain their constitutional authority and control'
'The ACLU then sued NEMLEC to obtain their records, under the open records law in Massachusetts. However, NEMLEC has continued to oppose disclosure of the records in court, and has moved to dismiss the lawsuit. “NEMLEC can’t have it both ways,” said an attorney for the ACLU. “Either it is a public entity subject to public records laws, or what it is doing is illegal.”'
So, do we continue to MOVE FORWARD where our US public K-12 schools see more frequent violent actions as more of our US 99% are pushed to poverty with no means of employment the answer we will be given is -----K-12 SCHOOLS NEED TO BE INSIDE GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUSES WHERE PRIVATE SECURITY AND POLICING have the guns to keep our children safe.
We want to be clear as well------these local SWAT TEAMS called part of our police departments are controlled by HOMELAND SECURITY---not our local public police department. As civil unrest and civil war created by those dastardly 5% to the 1% unfolds ------these will be the far-right wing corporate fascist troops fighting against what national media will call LEFT MARXIST REBELS-----just as happened in LATIN AMERICA, MIDDLE-EAST, AFRICA, AND SOUTHEAST ASIA.
IF WE ARE FORCED INSIDE A 'FORT' THEN MOVING FORWARD IS CREATING SOCIETAL STRUCTURES THAT ARE VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY WRONG.
Does ‘Boston Strong’ Mean Anything Anymore?
Three years later, is our rallying cry just a hollow slogan?
By Kyle Scott Clauss · 4/17/2016, 5:00 a.m.
On April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated, killing three spectators and showering hundreds in white-hot shrapnel.
On April 17, two applications were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase “Boston Strong,” for use on clothing and accessories, by Kerim Senkal of Allston, and Born Into It of Woburn, better known as Chowdaheadz, purveyor of all sorts of New England merchandise emblazoned with shamrocks and Citgo sign mockups.
“I’m just a regular blue collar guy trying to make a quick buck,” a candid Senkal told the Daily Mail at the time. Both trademark applications were abandoned by the following January.
Quite a bit has changed in the three intervening years. Boston has a new mayor, and Massachusetts, a new governor. The Red Sox haven’t sniffed competence since Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy at the finish line on Boylston Street. The One Fund, set up to aid survivors and their families in their recovery, announced it would begin dissolution after distributing millions to those hardest hit by the tragedy. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty in federal court and sentenced to death following months of grueling testimony from those who lost limbs and loved ones to the blasts.
Meanwhile, what has become of our rallying cry through all the unspeakable horror? Has “Boston Strong” been commercialized? This question, posed with some regularity, has become relevant once again with Mark Walhberg and Jake Gyllenhaal‘s upcoming films about the marathon bombings. Is it possible that “Boston Strong” was inherently marketable, and hence why it stuck so prodigiously? And better yet—does any of that matter?
The phrase “Boston Strong” was virtually nonexistent on the internet prior to spring 2013, and Google Trends shows a spike in search traffic related to it each April since. Three of the top five search terms in this time were related to T-shirts—and for good reason. Just two hours after the blasts, Emerson College students Chris Dobens and Nick Reynolds created the now iconic blue and yellow “Boston Strong” shirts, which raised more than $1 million for the One Fund.
“We were sitting there kind of stunned. Not necessarily sad, because you don’t process everything until hours or days later. But we knew we had to do something,” Dobens says. “So we started thinking of these messages of solidarity—what could get people to come together and help each other and support each other? And so I started saying this phrase, ‘Stay strong, Boston strong,’ in kind of the same light as ‘Army Strong’ and ‘Country Strong,’ because they have such huge followings and huge communities. … We ended up shortening it to “Boston Strong” because it was short, sweet, to the point, and it really conveyed the message we were trying to make.”
Dobens, who will graduate from Emerson in just three weeks, still has a dozen or so “Boston Strong” shirts laying around his home, which he gives to friends who have fallen on hard times as “something to hold on to and know that they’re appreciated.” He and Reynolds briefly considered trademarking the phrase, but decided against it. The optics, Dobens says, would have run contrary to their mission.
“The reason why we didn’t was because if we trademarked it, there would be this perception of, ‘Oh, they’re trying to make some money off of it,’ which is a really hard perception to fight,” he says. “So we kept it very public, because if people saw that we were not in this for the money, then we’d be more successful. And we still live by that to this day. Neither one of us have ever profited off those shirts.”
Spotted in Logan Airport. / Photo by Kyle Clauss
Others did not share Dobens and Reynolds’ Jonas Salk-like approach. The day after the citywide manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev kept thousands of Bostonians in their homes, three different men in Brockton; Oxford, Connecticut; and New Port Richey, Florida, applied for trademarks on “Boston Strong.” Two days later, Jim Koch’s Boston Beer Company applied for a “Boston Strong” beer trademark. Two coffee companies, Meahuna Coffee of Tewksbury and the New England Coffee Company, filed similar applications for their wares in the following weeks.
“It was before my time at the company, so unfortunately I do not have details on what the previous team had hoped to do with the trademark,” New England Coffee brand manager Melissa Gilreath said in an email. Like Chowdaheadz and Senkal’s, these applications were all abandoned in 2014.
Even without a registered trademark, repeated use seems to have catapulted “Boston Strong” into the same stratum of bumper sticker truisms as “Yankees Suck!” The phenomenon is not unlike the process by which maraschino cherries are mass-produced. Natural, plump Royal Ann cherries are bleached with a solution of sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride, then soaked in dyes, flavorings and preservatives and passed along to the consumer. What started as something organic, from the gut of every Bostonian who can fog a mirror, has been processed and stripped of its authenticity.
This year, Boston Marathon runners will be welcomed into the home stretch by this ‘Boston Strong’ sign painted on the Bowker Overpass. / Photo by Carly Metz
It’s entirely possible there are two Boston Strongs.
There’s the chest-thumping slogan emblazoned on tourist-bait for sale beside unofficial Harvard sweatshirts at kiosks scattered across Logan Airport and Faneuil Hall, analogous to “I Love New York” shirts.
Then there’s the sublime solidarity that was on display throughout the week of the bombings: at candlelight vigils across the city that saw non-believers stand arm-in-arm with the devout; in the misty-eyed glances shared between Green Line passengers as their train glided through a darkened Copley station; and in the crowds of thousands that gathered in the Common the night police captured Tsarnaev in Watertown.
“‘Boston Strong’ is our city’s resilience and spirit that carries us forward in good times and bad,” says Mayor Marty Walsh. “‘Boston Strong’ embodies our love for our city and its people, and what makes Boston the greatest city in the world.”
The phrase was never about our collective machismo or sports prowess. It was about how we persevered when we were hurting most—when we shook off our New England chill and cared for one another.
“Boston Strong, to me, is much more than that T-shirt and just the simple phrasing. It’s been a lifestyle for me, helping people and being there for others in a variety of different ways, in my personal life and even in the community,” Dobens says. “Having had that experience, and being able to start a movement like that, it’s just changed my life. It’s made me a much more positive person. It gives me hope in humanity, that others are there to help each other. It’s just a really positive message that I hold very close to my heart.”
We will end this week's discussion on GUN PUBLIC POLICY by reminding our US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE what makes the US GUN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD? It is our US Department of Defense and its flooding of third world nations with military weapons in what are the largest CACHES of weapon distribution in world history. We have shouted that OBAMA and HILLARY as Secretary of State dropped one of the largest military cache of weapons in Africa/Middle-East in modern history. We KNOW that is the start of global gun trafficing and we KNOW these US military weapon networks come back to our US cities and rural towns.
No doubt, Latin American gun cartels are manufacturing their own guns to carry into US------but this is where GUN CONTROL STARTS. We can take every single gun from our US 99% of citizens right wing or left wing and with US Department of Defense ----now almost totally PRIVATIZED ------deliberately distributing weapons to create civil unrest civil wars----we will see these conditions grow in MOVING FORWARD US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES----and no local civil justice agency will have any voice in these issues.
What will tougher gun control laws directed at our 99% of US CITIZENS do to stop the flooding of global military weapon markets by global private military contractors?
We KNOW the difference between ORIGINATE inside US----and the process of US gun manufacturers now with global factories overseas selling weapons then brought back into US.
'The United States is likely the most prevalent source of weapons for the increasingly violent cartels'.
We have known these few decades after US Congress allowed US gun manufacturers to take create global factories overseas ----and tied them to supplying global military corporations---that those weapons hitting global gun cartel distribution would bring those guns back to US cities and rural America----ergo, soaring public school shootings............BELGIUM OUTSOURCES TO THIRD WORLD FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
'Since then Winchester rifles and shotguns have been produced at associated factories in many locations around the world'.
Where are Winchester firearms manufactured?
Boston College International and Comparative Law Review
This is Gun Country: The International
Implications of U.S. Gun Control Policy
THIS IS GUN COUNTRY: THE
INTERNATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF U.S.
GUN CONTROL POLICY
Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the largest providers of illicit drugs to the United States. They have also grown to rely on advanced, high-power weaponry and to use their nearly military-grade armament to maintain control over smuggling corridors, and local drug production areas. Cartels are also linked to nearly 40,000 deaths over the last five years, many of which were committed with guns originating in the
The United States is likely the most prevalent source of weapons for the increasingly violent cartels. The U.S. government estimates that nearly ninety percent of all weapons used in the drug war originate in the United States. An analysis of current gun control policy in the United States and Mexico suggests this
is likely the case; Mexico has particularly strict gun control laws in contrast to the relatively lenient gun
control regulation in the United States. Both countries have implemented domestic policies aimed at reducing the southward flow of arms into Mexico, yet so far have had little success.
This Note argues that arms trafficking has been facilitated by current U.S. gun control policy, and it will likely continue without a foundational shift in either U.S. or international policy. It’s a terrible problem. They
have to do something about it.
—The Honorable Robert Gottsfield
Despite one of the world's toughest gun control laws-----it is the CIVIL SOCIETY CULTURE OF FAR-RIGHT WING, MILITARISTIC, AUTHORITARIANISM.
Hmmmm, China is fa-right, authoritarian, militaristic extreme wealth extreme poverty LIBERTARIAN MARXIST-----and top gun manufacturer in the world as global gun corporations in FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES have their guns MADE IN CHINA.
Staring Down the Barrel: the Rise of Guns in China
In a Nation That Bans Guns and Celebrates Them, Armed Criminals and Hunters Pose New Problems for Authorities
James T. Areddy
Updated Oct. 14, 2008 12:01 a.m. ET Shanghai -- China's weapons laws are among the world's toughest. Its blanket ban on private ownership of rifles, pistols and even gun replicas is a core tenet of social policy. Still, a gun culture is taking hold.
China Struggles to Enforce Gun Control
Even as official statistics show overall crime in China declining, a string of splashy gunfights and murders, along with a rash of gun-factory raids and smuggling busts, points to a change in how crime is committed. (Oct. 14)China may be freer from gun crime than many nations, and official statistics show overall crime on a continuous down trend. Yet, these days, reports about gun crimes turn up as often as several times a week even in the tightly controlled state-run media. The reports are often brief, without much follow-up as cases progress. Still, the splashy gunfights, murders, gun-factory raids and smuggling busts that get reported contrast with China's zero-tolerance stance on guns, and point to changes in criminals' behavior.
But the trend is about more than crime. Guns are now fashionable in paintings and movies, while Chinese-language Web sites and glossy magazines cater to gun buffs. And legal shooting clubs in cities let customers fire away at targets for a fee. Bored with golfing, some affluent businessmen slip into the countryside for hunts.
Even as China's government seeks to keep guns off the street, and shields its massive gun-manufacturing business behind state-secrets laws, it helps stoke the public imagination about guns. Schoolchildren learn to salute the flag shouldering imitation rifles, while state media celebrate the heroism of military and athletic marksmanship.
"In the 1960s, shooting was for national defense," said Xie Xianqiao, a former amateur shooting coach. "These days, shooting is entertainment."
Erosion in China's gun controls reflects the Communist Party's slow retreat from most people's daily lives. Chinese increasingly spend their free time as they want. The Party also has less power to control the supply of guns at a time when the wealthy are looking for protection and recreation, and criminals are searching for an advantage.
The main source of guns appears to be lax control of gun factories and theft from arsenals. China is one of the world's largest gun manufacturers -- for the export market and for its security forces. Older guns are left from past wars and a time when hunting was common. The police have also busted workshops that forge guns and bullets by hand inside China. Meanwhile, people illegally import replicas -- exact-looking imitations of guns.
The government holds gun-surrender drives, appealing to citizens with posters in subways to turn in arms with no questions asked, or even for cash. A six-month campaign this year netted 79,000 guns, 1.8 million replica guns and 5.75 million bullets, the Ministry of Public Security said last month. A similar effort in 2006 turned up 178,000 guns and 638,000 replicas in four months.
A particular frustration for Chinese authorities is the proliferation of fake weapons, such as the ones destroyed by Shanghai police last year. Associated Press Authorities report on gun seizures in order to demonstrate their ability to control the flow of weapons. But the effort backfired in July, when three journalists were injured after a gun misfired during a police news conference on illegal weapons in Nanchong, Sichuan.
Yet gun crimes continue to grab headlines. Early last year, a man in the northeast went on a rampage with a homemade pistol, killing five family members and neighbors. In September 2007, a young Guangzhou man was found guilty of using a replica gun to rob a bank customer of $218,000, and drew a 19-year prison sentence. In December, a guard at a munitions dump machine-gunned a colleague over a chess match. Two days later, he was killed, too, in a shootout with police.
Guns have also been a factor in this year's unrest in China's remote Tibetan and Muslim regions. A policeman was hit six times in an April incident that authorities described as a "gun battle" that left him and a Tibetan insurgent dead.
The Ministry of Public Security says its police increasingly face armed and aggressive suspects. Most Chinese police aren't armed, and they sometimes are provided little more than a uniform to do their job. An emerging market for bulletproofing underscores the need. At a police-gear trade show in Beijing last April, bulletproof vests bearing Chinese police logos were on display, along with bulletproof BMWs and Jaguars. DuPont Co. showed the protective qualities of Kevlar.
Like other technologies, guns have a long history here. Chinese invented gunpowder more than a thousand years ago, and soon developed one of the first guns, called a "fire spear." Rifles were widely available by the late 19th century, when war and revolution began engulfing the country. In 1938, as the Communists battled the Japanese and the ruling Nationalists for control, Mao Zedong made his famous remark that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" -- foreshadowing strict gun laws the Communists later imposed.
Gun control was introduced in 1966, after children aiming a Spanish rifle at sparrows near Tiananmen Square shot out a window in the Great Hall of the People, according to an official history of the Ministry of Public Security. Authorities grew more vigilant after the violently suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989, and after rapid economic growth began to spur social tensions.
Earlier this year, police checked illegally owned guns in China's Henan province. Newscom The government imposed the current rules in 1996, forbidding the private manufacture, sale, transport, possession, import or export of bullets and guns, including replicas.
Possession of a single gun is grounds for a prison sentence of as long as three years, and the penalty for a gun crime often is execution. In July, a Shanghai man drew a prison sentence of 12 years, and his wife 11 years, for possessing three guns and 600,000 bullets, plus peddling weapons on the Internet.
Chinese authorities say they dealt with 4,666 gun cases last year. Officials often respond to sensational gun crimes in the U.S. and elsewhere by affirming the need to maintain tough laws.
With guns often hard to buy, some criminals forge them instead. Late last year, Shanghai police responded to a call about a robbery in progress at a gritty scrap yard. According to a police spokesman, officers spotted a man fleeing the scene and yelled "freeze," but he pulled a crude homemade pistol from a bag.
Witnesses say the suspect was brought down after a gunfight that had shots echoing all around the neighborhood. A police spokesman said the suspect, identified as Tang Qingjie, was shot in the leg by an officer. He said Mr. Tang had never managed to fire his weapon, which in a police photo appeared to have been soldered together.
The handling of Mr. Tang's case also offers a possible indication of why gun crimes in China seem so rare. They sometimes aren't highlighted when criminal charges are made public. When Shanghai prosecutors formally arraigned Mr. Tang in September, they alleged he committed robbery -- a serious charge but not one that automatically suggests use of a weapon.
Speaking generally about Chinese law, a court spokesman said evidence of a gun can be introduced during a robbery trial. But criminal trials in China aren't always open to the public, and evidence can be suppressed.
The Communist Party lauds marksmanship enough to give freshmen college students basic training in it. Shooting produced a national hero for China in 1984, when Xu Haifeng became the country's first Olympic gold medalist by winning the 50-meter pistol event in Los Angeles. At this year's Beijing Games, China won five of its 51 gold medals in shooting events.
Beijing's support for the sport has helped spur a rise of hobby enthusiasts. The government has sanctioned businesses such as the Shanghai East Shooting Club, a former bomb shelter where customers can have a drink and fire a variety of weapons. Owner Zhang Jiewei says his clients are looking to relax.
But increasingly, gun fans are gaining access to guns -- and hunting illegally. In rural Anhui province last year, a group of wealthy businessmen, gun-club owners and former army officers organized wild-fowl shoots. Feasting on game cooked in a spicy brown sauce, one of them toasted, "Guns have brought us together."
Gun buffs can turn to Small Arms, a twice-monthly glossy magazine that claims 60,000 subscribers. The Beretta M9 semiautomatic pistol "is classic," said Zheng Zhoujian, an 18-year-old reader. "I envy people in other countries where guns are legal."