Andrew Atkinson was looking for trouble one Wednesday night as police were called to investigate a disturbance he had caused at a Malta, Mont., tavern. Still on the scene at the tavern, police were then called to a nearby home where an intruder had been reported. Robert Taylor said that a man, later identified as Atkinson, had forced his way through Taylor's front door. After a fierce struggle, the 59-yeax-old homeowner shot Atkinson in the leg. Both men were hospitalized, and Taylor was released with minor injuries. Upon his release from the hospital, Atkinson was to be arrested and charged with burglary, according to Phillips County Sheriff Tom Miller. (Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, MT, 06/03/04)
When they heard two fugitives were on the loose in their Paradise Valley, Wyo., neighborhood, Eugene Summers and his stepson, Bobby Allison, armed themselves with a shovel and a gun and took a look around Summers' property. They discovered the two men hiding under a tarp in Summers' shop. One of the crooks snatched a crowbar off the wall and swung it at Summers, who responded by hitting the man in the head with his gun. When the accomplice approached Summers' stepson, Allison whacked him with his shovel. "They minded a lot better after that," Summers reported. Police arrived soon after and led the pair of criminals away in handcuffs. The men, identified as Christopher Sylvester and Joel Schott, were charged with buying and receiving stolen property and criminal entry. (Casper Star- Tribune, Casper, WY, 04/24/04)
A female employee at the Tobacco Rack was in the back of the store when she heard someone enter about 7:15 a.m. The woman looked toward the entrance and saw a man holding a shotgun, pointing it down toward the floor, and possibly loading it. The employee drew a revolver and demanded the intruder leave the store. The gunman pulled his jacket hood down to cover his face, - saying, "I'm going, I'm going," and left the premises. Police were looking for the suspect, who was wearing a baby blue, hooded jacket. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, AR, 05/15/04)
Three men entered the Mount Vernon Liquor store in Colton, Calif., and attempted to rob the store. One man jumped over the counter and approached the owner's mother, who was standing there. Fearing his mother would be shot, the owner, Mr. Lee, fired at the bandits, striking all three. Police arrived to find one of the suspects dead in the doorway. His two accomplices were apprehended and taken to a hospital for treatment. No one else in the store was injured. Despite that robbery and one the previous year, the Lees said they planned to keep the store open as they felt an obligation to their community. (The Sun, San Bernardino, CA, 05/25/Q4)
During the entire robbery, Habib Howard focused on the gun pointed at him. The intruder had entered Howard's Carryout just moments before, walked to the back, picked up a 12-pack of beer and brought it to the cash register where Howard had just relieved a female employee. Before Howard could ask for an ID required to purchase the beer, the man drew a handgun, pointed it at Howard and demanded money. Howard complied, opening the cash register and trying to back anyway. The robber demanded Howard place the money on the counter. Again he complied and then stepped back. As he took the money and began backing out of the store, the robber raised his gun. Howard responded by drawing his own gun and shooting the gunman, who fled the store. The gunman and an accomplice, identified as Jose Custodia-Mota and Alberto Martmez, respectively, were apprehended and charged with aggravated robbery. (The Blade. Tokedo, OH, 05/18/04)
A 63-year-old South Phoenix homeowner was alarmed to see his living room window shatter and an arm come through the opening during an attempted break-in. Aware of other burglaries in his neighborhood, the resident feared for his safety and fired at the intruders, killing one- identified as Ronald Freese. The other burglar, Freese's brother, Rudy, ran to a relative's nearby home seeking help for Ronald. Rudy Freese was arrested and charged with attempted burglary when he returned to the scene. He faces first-degree murder charges if found guilty of a crime that resulted in a death. (The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ, 04/30/04)
As her ex boyfriend proceeded to kick in her back door, a Manor Township, Pa., woman called police and men ran upstairs. Fearing help would not arrive in time, the woman locked herself in a bedroom and grabbed a rifle from under the bed. The man entered the home and raced upstairs where he began pounding on the locked door. When the woman's warnings to stop went unheeded, she fired a shot, injuring him. Police arrived as the man was leaving and placed him under arrest. Said one investigator, "He wasn't there to deliver flowers. She was defending herself," (Lancaster New Era. Lancaster, PA, 05/06/04)
Decency, honor, moral commitment, dedication to Freedom-all come to mind when I think of Ronald Reagan. In everything he did and was, President Reagan reminded Americans of our unique culture of individual liberty, our moral responsibilities and our love of country. He loved old-fashioned American values. He was a patriot who made most Americans proud to be patriotic, and he elevated those values for the world to see. In doing so, he elevated the American spirit.
Ultimately, his belief in liberty brought individual freedom, for the first time, to millions around the world.
At home, always, he was a gifted leader in a cultural war; a war being waged to this day; a war over the fate of individual freedom. For his leadership in that war, the NRA Board of Directors bestowed upon him our highest honor: Honorary Life Member.
When he was still in the White House, I had the privilege of working with Ronald Reagan. And I'm also proud to work with President George W Bush. The words I used to describe Mr. Reagan equally describe President Bush.
In much of the retrospective upon President Reagan's sad death in June, the media soft-peddled the mean-spiritedness that marked those forces that opposed his ideals, mocked his values and belittled his remarkable world-changing accomplishments.
But where Ronald Reagan's enemies attempted to belittle the man and his beliefs. Bush, as our president, is hated-loathed by his foes. The searing hatred the organized left now aims at President George W. Bush comes from the likes of Michael Moore-the darling of the Hollywood left-whose films are rife with blatantly anti- American sentiment.
It comes in the form of a diatribe spewed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "Bush is an incompetent leader. In fact, he is not a leader. He's a person who has no judgment, no experience and no knowledge of the subjects that he has to decide upon ... The shallowness that he has brought to the office has not changed since he got there."
But it's not George Bush, the man, they hate. They hate what he represents-beliefs that rightfully may be called "Reaganesque." It is the belief that what makes America great is its people, not its government. It is the belief that a leader makes decisions based upon deeply held convictions, not the latest polling data. It is the belief that we have the ability, the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own des- tiny. These are beliefs, I would wager, that are shared by the vast majority of Americans who exercise the right to keep and bear arms.
The hatred that radiates from these self-labeled "progressives" is stoked by the endless supply of money from billionaires such as globalist financier George Soros. Soros-who boasts he would spend his entire $7 billion fortune if he could force President Bush from the White House-was introduced by none other than Sen. Hillary Clinton as the key speaker at a recent conference. Clinton ranted that "four more years of the Bush Administration would leave our country unrecognizable."
The conference was hosted by the Soros-backed Campaign for America's Future and was labeled "Take Back America," but it might as well have been titled "Buy Back America." In describing the conference. The Washington Post's June 4 coverage was surprisingly honest, reporting that the real agenda will remain cloaked: "Most of the details of what will happen once America has been taken back can be worked out in January." The Post quoted Roger Hickey. co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future, as saying: "I've got a whole agenda that (John Kerry is not talking about... .The first step is getting rid of Bush."
You can be certain that firearms owner registration and a confiscatory gun ban are on that agenda. After all, Soros is the moneybags behind the global gun-ban movement, the Million Mom March and has funded the worst of the predatory lawsuits aimed at destroying our nation's firearm industry.
Referring to the November elections, NAACP Chair Julian Bond said that if the Kerrv team plays its cards right, "we can tell the evil empire move out or we'll move on all over you."
We. you and I-those who support Freedom-are their "evil empire. "We should be proud of that fact.
Declaring a cultural war is what the conference was really about, and eradicating our culture is what the radicals want for America's future
Ronald Reagan tore down. the Berlin Wall, the symbol of oppression worldwide but those who would "Take Back America" would create a new Iron Curtain-a cultural Iron Curtain farther dividing Americans.
These well-heeled radicals mean business. They claim to have registered a quarter million voters-We must do better.
If each of us registers two voters and ensures that freedom-loving citizens go to the polls, then the vision of America that these extremists espouse will never become reality,
In his famous "Rendezvous with Destiny" speech of 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan said, "I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers." Americans must know, because, Reagan said, "If we lost freedom here, there is no place to escape to, This is the last stand on earth."NRA members know the truth of those words-so does President George W. Bush.
It is the dream of many a hunter to pursue the infamous brown bear of Alaska. For this hunter, that dream finally came true this past May.
Actually, this was not my first Alaska hunting trip. Several years ago, my friend and fellow NRA Board member Wayne Ross took me black bear and moose hunting at his place near Talkeetna. I recall Wayne and I standing near a large bush on the muskeg one evening. "If you come out here at daybreak, there will be a moose walking across that clearing." he told me.
Wayne proved trustworthy. The next morning, I was at that clearing and, sure enough, spotted a fine moose. One shot later, I bagged the moose and was rewarded with one of the hardest working days of my life! If you ever feel the need to test your fitness level, spend the day hauling a moose out of the Alaska muck.
As enjoyable as that trip was, my desire to hunt the Alaska brown bear went unfulfilled until this year. The wait proved worthwhile, as the hunt was one my most enjoyable ever.
Mike Baker, producer of ESPN's "Under Wild Skies" television program, met me in Anchorage and we headed out for King Salmon, Alaska. This small town of about 450 residents sits on the Alaska Peninsula and hums with hunting traffic. A broad assortment of airplanes-old and new, from small Super Cubs to Jets-streams into the town's airport. Mike and I packed our considerable gear into a Cherokee-6 and headed for Jensen Field, an abandoned, but still serviceable, airstrip built many years ago by an oil exploration company.
We were met by the owner of Blue Mountain Lodge, Tracy Vrem, a veteran hunting guide and outfitter. Literally everything that man brings into this remote area comes by air, including the trucks and building materials for the few hunting camps like Vrem's Blue Mountain Lodge. We were treated to a glorious home-cooked meal prepared by Tracy's mother, Eunice. Certainly, the knowledge that we were to spend the next several days eating out of cans at our spike camp made Eunice's tare all the better. We packed our gear into Tracy's Super Cub and flew to our spike camp, located about 30 miles southeast where the arm of Becharof Lake almost touches the Pacific Ocean.
They don't call it "spike camp" because it's fancy. Ours consisted of two small dome tents with cots to keep us dry and out of the wind. We were dead-smack in the middle of monster bear country! In fact, two people had apparently been attacked and eaten by a bear a few months prior at nearby Kaflia Bay. Bear hunting in this area is serious business. Sure enough, on our very first hunting day, a huge bear walked right through our camp. Fortunately, no damage was done and the ESPN crew got some terrific footage as the bear ambled off.
The hunting in this desolate region is hard. Real hard. We spent hours working with field glasses to spot a proper bear and then decide whether we could intercept the animal. A long trek ensued over raging streams, through dense alder bushes, up steep climbs and in snow. These great obstacles to man, of course, present no obstacle at all to the brown bear. We were on his turf, on his home court, and he had the advantage. Most of these attempts were futile, and I was left tired and cold from light rain and my own hard sweat.
But even in futility, I was rewarded with the wonders of this wild land. A large wolverine squared off only 50 feet from me. He looked me over pretty well and then slowly and eerily sidled away. Every day, curious caribou walked within close range.
After several days of searching the valleys and mountainsides in the wind and rain, our assistant guide, Josh Morales, gave the alarm. A bear was headed our way, on a course we could likely intercept. Tracy, Mike and I grabbed our essentials and headed out, while Josh stayed on a high point to signal us as we closed in on the bear. We managed to get within a few yards of the animal, but just out of our sight the bear veered off down a small ravine. Moments later, we spotted him again-at a distance of what later proved to be 122 yds. Three quick shots later from my trusty Ruger .375 and my dream was finally realized-the great Alaska brown bear!