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Re: [WarOf1812] Parks Canada checks

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  • David Webb
    Hi John, Without knowing where event this was, I cannot really comment on who this person was that you encountered, but am sorry that you did not feel that the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 31, 2003
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      Hi John,
      Without knowing where event this was, I cannot really comment on who
      this person was that you encountered, but am sorry that you did not feel
      that the person who conducted the inspection was competent. You might have
      spoken with Kevin Fox, the area historic weapons person who was almost
      certainly at this event, if indeed this was at a Parks Canada historic
      site. Raising this concern at the time might have been more helpful. If
      you still wish to contact him, his email is Kevin.Fox@....
      Appearances can be deceiving. I know one "sweet young thing" who works
      for Parks in the area. She is an experienced shooter and re-enactor, and a
      member of the WW2 era Perth Regiment. It might be possible that you were
      being tested by the question, since the Brunswick Rifle is also a
      percussion cap weapon, and this person should have been aware of that. She
      may have also been puzzled to see a percussion weapon if this was a War of
      1812 event.
      The way Parks is set up, (at the risk of sending everyone to sleep) is
      that each site has a "Historic Weapons Supervisor" who must follow the
      national standards in the directive and technical manual, but can also
      establish his/her own additional and at times stricter procedures in order
      to react to local situations. For example, we have minimum standards for
      ranges, but there is nothing to stop a site person from establishing a
      larger distance between the audience and the show. The site supervisors
      must pass a national course every few years in order to maintain their
      certification. There are three staff people presently at Fort Wellington
      who have passed this course. I can personally vouch for all three, since I
      have been one of the course instructors for quite a few years.
      As far as weapons checks go, at my site this is a basic, and hopefully
      quick check to ensure that the weapons are in acceptable working order, as
      a re-enforcement for unit checks that can also take place. Each individual
      shooter is also legally responsible for safety, and should be checking
      his/her weapon before use. I prefer to monitor a unit inspection and
      re-enforce the existing chain of command. I have to trust you on the field
      anyway, and have to presume, but also monitor, a basic level of unit
      competence. If you ever go to one of the huge national US Civil War
      events, you will find that unit checks are the only ones that take place,
      and normally these suffice.
      I am not sure just how much weapons experience is needed to conduct the
      above check, but I have always assigned this role to the most experienced
      staff at the events that I have been responsible for. Was this inspector
      unable to verify that your firearm had a half cock or safety, and that the
      barrel was clear, and the stock intact, etc?
      You should not expect your site person to react to each and every stupid
      thing that every person might do with a firearm. At the end of a long day,
      I might miss your particular act of lunacy, I'm only human. Also, I may
      choose not to react to everything at the time. Loss of muzzle control is
      not that uncommon at events--I really do not like it, but I will not
      necessarily ream out every event participant that does this. It could
      occupy my entire weekend. With a few hundred participants at an event,
      one would need a team of inspectors to watch every weapon in use. If the
      "young lad" was in your group, and since you saw this loss of muzzle
      control, you certainly could/should have spoken out. There will always be
      newbies at events, and it is up to those with experience to help them along.
      Groups and individuals are often fairly good at pointing out the truly
      dangerous/incompetent. It is very important that a site person knows when
      other participants have concerns about an individual or group. Of course
      all of us tend to be blind to the faults of our own group and most critical
      of our neighbours. I include myself here.
      Quite a few Parks Canada staff are experienced re-enactors, and weapons
      owners. Some are hunters and sport shooters, and one is an instructor for
      the national firearms course and a weapons "verifier." Some of us have
      military experience, a few are serving reserve officers. Some of the above
      could be described as "sweet young things."
      The bottom line is that it is in everyone's interest to have safe
      events. A truly bad accident could damage this hobby, and even change the
      firearms legislation. One day it might be the case that no one will "have
      to humour" Parks Canada staff because nobody will be able to play in our
      backyard!
      --David Webb,
      From a slightly charred Fort George, a Parks Canada site.

      At 09:50 PM 31/07/2003 +0000, you wrote:
      >I was at an event last year in the eastern end of Ontario and was
      >subject to a check by a Parks Canada staffer. She was a sweet young
      >thing who obviously knew bugger all about firearms. She asked one
      >young lad to bring his rifle over and as he did so his muzzle passed
      >within inches of the faces of several re-enactors. She didn't utter
      >a word of caution or admonition to the kid. She also asked me to
      >explain a cap lock musket to her. Her total experience in firearms
      >was firing a round from a Brunswick rifle at Fort Wellington.
      >Hopefully not all Parks Canada staff are like this individual. I
      >think we are better off checking ourselves with our own safety
      >officers. I know many re-enactors have had military service or are
      >hunters or sport shooters as well, but if we are going to play in
      >Parks Canada's backyard I guess we have to humour them.
      >John Whiteshirt
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of
      >square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS
      >of square miles...
      >
      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
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