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Posted: 2/12/2002 12:09:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/12/2002 12:14:57 PM EDT by Turok]
Here are two articles from the Aero-News Network [url]www.aero-news.net[/url] about the Federal Government trying to take a deactivated WWI artillery piece from an 85 year old man. [b]Beware Feds' Intentions[/b] Though 'Military Confiscation' Law Failed, Some May Still Try to Enforce It A WWI-era cannon has been on the lawn of Henry Marek's home in Ludington (MI) since 1947. Mr. Marek, 85, once a scrap dealer, told us, in an exclusive ANN interview, that Sr. Special Agent Thomas J O'Connor, from the Defense Department's Defense Criminal Investigation Service, stumbled into their lawn ornament quite by chance. Marek told us there was an unrelated trial going on nearby, and that O'Connor was in attendance. "That was Tuesday," Marek continued. "He was going by, and saw it." It's not hard to see. It's been in his front yard for fifty-four years, and then some. Marek, in 1942, had acquired this 105mm howitzer and its carriage as part of a big scrap haul. "The WPA had this scrap drive," he said. "We bought this lot of scrap, and this was in it. We had to produce a certain amount of scrap for the Army." He ran into trouble with the junked, hefty field artillery: "We didn't have anything to cut it up with," he said. He sold it as scrap when he got drafted; but he never got called up. After the war, he found it again, and bought it back from the other scrapper. It had, long before he got it even the first time, been rendered useless. Marek said he "...got it, already welded up. Then we welded it up some more." Some of the welding was to repair some cosmetic damage, too, as the old iron was rusting pretty badly. The 2700-lb cannon was inspected in the 1960s, by the FBI -- that time, the investigators noticed the breech had been welded shut, and the chamber had a hole in it, and, using powers of deduction honed by years of careful study, determined that the old field piece wasn't a danger to anyone that it didn't simply roll over. Now, that's changed. Emasculated or not, paranoid busybodies want to seize anything that even looks like a gun. The de-mil job didn't impress O'Connor, who, according to a local story, refused even to inspect it. He was full of authoritarianism to Marek and his wife, who is 84. "He was quite... not very pleasant; but the State Police were very nice," Marek related. "He [O'Connor] told us he could just take it." -= continued =-
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 12:12:00 PM EDT
Oh -- there's one other thing: the Mareks also have a single shell for this artillery. It's not that it could ever get into the barrel, its breech's being welded shut and all; but a field artillery shell isn't a toy. They took care of that, too: "The State Police had the shell for that cannon for about three weeks," decades ago, Mr. Marek told us. Even though it looked safe, and had been through a fire, the police still wanted to double-check. When they gave it back, it was certified-safe. As to the howitzer, it's survived over 80 years, since it was forged at the Watervliet (MI) arsenal in 1918. Marek says he hates to see it just destroyed, which is what the DoD gauleiter says he wants to do. Marek asked if he could donate it to a museum -- and they couldn't answer him. [Idiots like these agents probably haven't ever heard of museums, as they seem to have gone through their whole lives eschewing any kind of learning. Strong opinion to follow --ed.] Why are we telling you this? (editorial) The reason we're telling you this, in an aviation publication, is that you need to know there are people in the federal government who won't stop until they are certain, in their power-driven brains, that they are in control of every weapon in the universe. Somehow that makes them feel better! In the meantime, these same 25-watt "authorities" try every year to slip enabling legislation through Congress, letting them have carte blanche to seize any and all military equipment -- including your warbird, your library of assembly and repair manuals, your old flight suits and new surplus camo, your Civil War musket, the VFW's old Duck, your museum's field radio -- and Henry Marek's lawn decoration. Nowadays, they don't even care whether there's a law that lets them do this -- the vile provision was deleted from the final bill, through your efforts, for the past two years (for one example, see, "Armed Services Chairman Vows to Save Warbirds; ...and All Kinds of Other Militaria. Why Do We Have To Do This Every Year?," 11-01-01, ANN -- ref S.1438, Section 1062, the Defense Authorization Bill for fiscal 2002). With this mentality, and this respect for the law, the question may need to be asked: do we want them to have weapons? --TK -= Next article =-
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 12:14:02 PM EDT
[b]Fed Hassle Over Howitzer[/b] Yesterday, we brought you a story of what can happen, if the Defense Logistics Agency gets its way, as it surely will try again to do, in getting the equivalent of Section 1062 inserted in to the Defense Authorization bill next fall. You may recall that would allow the DoD to abrogate any contract it had ever executed, and seize or destroy any previously-DoD-owned equipment, including your warbird, your flight manuals, your repair books -- or other military stuff, like your Civil War musket, the VFW's field radio, your local museum's Duck -- or, in this particular case, an 85-year-old's WWI-era 105-mm howitzer, that's been a welded-up lawn ornament for over fifty years ("Beware Feds' Intentions; Though 'Military Confiscation' Law Failed, Some May Still Try to Enforce It," 02-11-02, ANN). On Monday, I tried to contact an immediately-irate Sr. Special Agent Thomas O'Connor at his Defense Criminal Investigation Service office in Des Plaines, (IL) to get his side of the Marek cannon-seizure story. First, he said he didn't know anything about the cannon in our story, and asked where I got his name and phone number. I told him it was on the business card he left with the Mareks. Abandoning for a moment his first line of denial, he then said, "The government's not taking anyone's cannon. Who said we're taking that?" I told him the Mareks got that impression -- that he said he could take it. O'Connor shot back, "You don't quote anyone's statement unless you're there. I resent that." He hung up. I called back immediately, he answered, and I started by trying to sound friendly: "It's me again, Ti---" He cut me off, saying, "Who's 'me?'" I finished my sentence, "...Tim Kern, the news editor at the aero-news network," and then said, "I'd like to get your comment on the story we already wrote." He said, "No comment." I double-checked. Not wanting to misquote him, I asked again, saying "No comment?" He confirmed: "No comment." Then he hung up again. So, after first denying that he even knew anything about the cannon, and then calling the Mareks liars, he still refused to give me his side of the story. Hey -- I tried; but, well, he's the government, and I guess he doesn't have to be civil to anybody. Here is a picture of the fellow: [img]http://aero-news.net/news2002/0200/images/MarekCannon0202a.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 12:20:06 PM EDT
It's welded shut for goodness sake!!! Who would want to 'cut it open' to try to load and fire. If you did get it open to load, the heat from welding/cutting might have been enough to weaken the breech. If it fired that one round, you would have 'boom' and I don't mean the shell launching, but the cannon going up.... why don't they just pour some lead down the barrel or cement. That should be enough.....
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 12:24:28 PM EDT
i don't live in the area anymore, but i remember seeing that cannon several times as i was growing up. damn shame they can't leave the guy alone. i think the gubmant guy was just pissed about having to go to court and needed sometinhg to do.
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 12:33:57 PM EDT
notice in the newspaper clipping the article just to the left about the treasurer missing money. and we're supposed to trust the government?
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 1:14:16 PM EDT
Michigan, ehhhhh??!! [>:/] I'll bet you that ol' geezer is using that piece as a "punt gun!" [:(!] Nobody needs a WWI howitzer for duck hunting! [;)] DaMan
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 3:01:39 PM EDT
Hmmm....welded breech, with a hole drilled in it? Bet that thing would make one hellacious black-powder muzzle-loader! [}:D] For ease of access, the original article can be found at [url=http://www.aero-news.net/news2002/0200/021102.htm]here[/url] about halfway down the page.
Link Posted: 2/12/2002 3:09:13 PM EDT
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