While the Seattle Times is talking about the continuing heat wave this weekend, there’s a storm brewing on the horizon for recreational shooters at a popular northeast Pierce County shooting spot, and slobs with guns are a big part of the problem.
U.S. Forest Service officials are under increasing pressure to close this traditional shooting site, located along Road 70, off Highway 410 southeast of Greenwater. Some people living in a nearby development have been complaining about errant shooting, and it’s time for gun owners to start policing their own ranks to get rid of the slobs, or face a possible shooting closure.
Last weekend, a new sign was posted, encouraging people to shoot responsibly and clean up their mess. Within two days, the sign had been used by some jerk(s) for a target, and State Rep. Chris Hurst just happened to have a camera to record the damage. He supplied the image above.
Hurst is a gun owner and hunter. He’s not a happy camper, and neither is District Ranger Martie Schramm, who had the sign put together based on a prototype supplied by this correspondent some weeks ago.
Next Tuesday evening, a meeting will be held in Enumclaw at the Department of Natural Resources building, 6:30-7:30 p.m. It is doubtful that the slob who shot the sign to bits will be in attendance, but there will be responsible shooters, and one of the things they may discuss is how to catch the creeps whose bad behavior could ruin recreational shooting for everybody.
There is no excuse for this vandalism. It’s not a form or protest over government regulation of the Second Amendment. It’s boorish behavior with firearms; the kind of thing that could lead to a stiff fine for destruction of government property.
Who would do this kind of damage? The authorities would be delighted to find out. Don’t be surprised if somebody considers placing hidden game cameras where they just might catch the culprits in the act for investigation and prosecution.
The Tacoma News Tribune’s forecast for the weekend suggests that a lot of people not interested in Seafair might retreat to the forests to beat the heat. If they bring guns along, they better be careful. Someone might be watching.
The demand for a shooting closure at the Road 70 site is serious stuff. In an exchange of e-mails with Hurst, he told this column that he has found used propane canisters blown to bits with high-power rifle rounds where there was no backstop. He noted how garbage has been left by slobs in many areas, shot to bits. Earlier this year, some responsible gun owners did a clean-up and removed lots of garbage from the Road 70 site, but the slobs have brought more.
The sign destruction convinced Hurst that some action is necessary to “get these idiots under control.”
This isn’t just a problem for one ranger district in Western Washington. The trashing of public land by a relative handful of careless or deliberately destructive fools with guns is a dilemma facing public lands managers all over the west. There have been problems in Colorado, Arizona, Montana, Idaho; anywhere someone thinks they can get away with dumping “garbage targets” that include everything from old computers and televisions to washing machines and even old cars.
Aside from the fact that some of that stuff has toxic components, it is destructive to the environment. Responsible gun owners tell people that the national forest is not your dumping ground. That land belongs to everyone.
The authorities want to know who the slobs are. If you are in a recreational shooting area and find some of these jerks, write down a license number, or capture an image on your cell phone camera without placing yourself in harm’s way, or make like you’re posing for a selfie and capture a license plate in the background. Contact the local sheriff or ranger district.
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