Friday, August 19, 2022

IL: Gunfight, Retired Officer and Suspect Wounded

A retired Chicago police officer was shot in Lawndale over the weekend when he pulled a gun and exchanged fire with a pair of robbers, one of whom may also have been wounded.

Just after 4 p.m. Sunday, the 59-year-old retired cop was sitting in his car in the 3800 block of West Grenshaw Street when another car pulled up, two people jumped out and announced a robbery, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters Monday. One of them was armed with a handgun.

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FL: Domestic Defense, Girlfriend Shoots, Kills Kaylon Shaw Disarm

BATON ROUGE - A man was found shot to death along Florida Boulevard Saturday night after a domestic incident, and the family of the shooter says a woman shot her boyfriend out of self-defense. 

The Baton Rouge Police Department said 24-year-old Kaylon Shaw's body was found in a grassy area along Florida Boulevard between Sharp Road and Sherwood Forest Boulevard shortly before 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Officers said Shaw was shot and killed in a domestic incident. Family members of Shaw's girlfriend, the alleged shooter, said the girlfriend shot and killed Shaw in self-defense.

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PA: Domestic Defense, Woman Shoot Boyfriend

JESSUP, Pa. — A woman shot her boyfriend in Lackawanna County Thursday night, but he is the one facing criminal charges.

Police say the woman was acting in self-defense when she shot Eric Stepkovich at a home in Jessup.

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Monday, August 15, 2022

NICS and Gun Sales Drop slightly in July of 2022


Gun sales and National Instant background Check System checks fell slightly in July, 2022.

The Supreme Court decision in NYSR&PA v Bruen case robustly protected Second Amendment rights. As expected, gun sales dropped slightly for July 2022.

The gun sales in July were about 1.19 million, about a five percent drop from the 1.25 million in July of 2021, and 2.7% lower than July of 2016, making 2022 the fourth highest July for gun sales on record.

NICS checks total were at 2.4 million, the third highest July on record. That is a 17% drop from NICS checks in 2021. Much of the drop is from the changes in Illinois law, which greatly reduced the number of background checks conducted for Firearm Owner IDentification cards, or FOID cards. The requirement to have FOID cards is being challenged in the courts.

The trend has not been reduced much, with 2022 likely to be the fourth or fifth highest year for total gun sales. About 8 million have been added to the private stock in the United States through the end of July, 2022.

Here are approximate gun sales in the last seven years' month of July:

2016: a record 1.22 million

2017: .91 million

2018: .85 million

2019: .85 million

2020: New record for July, 1.84 million

2021: 1.25 million

2022: 1.19 million

Those numbers indicate significant uncertainty and fear in the pivotal election years of 2016 and 2020. Once President Trump was elected in 2016, stability and a robust economy resulted in lower gun sales.

With the election of 2020, uncertainty and instability returned, along with Covid 19 hysteria. With President Biden in place, instability and uncertainty replaced stability and prosperity. Gun sales soared to record levels in 2020, and have remained at a new, higher normal in 2021 and 2022. Much of the demand comes with the creation of millions of new gun owners. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates about 13.8 million new gun owners were created in 2020 and 2021. It is likely millions more are being created in 2022.

At some point, supply will meet demand, and prices of guns will drop. It already is happening for some models. 

Supplies of the Kel-Tec P17 .22 pistol seem close to meeting demand, prices have dropped on Gun Broker to the $230 range, only 15% above suggested retail price.

The Taurus TX 22 pistol on Gun Broker is going for close to the suggested retail, while the Glock 44 .22 pistol price is now well below the suggested retail.

The new Sig Sauer P322 is still above suggested retail, but several models on Gun Broker are close to the suggested retail price.

Ammunition prices have dropped significantly. Ongoing inflation makes it difficult to know if nominal prices will ever return to those seen as recently as 2019.  There is a fair amount of .22 Long Rifle ammunition available at 6.5 cents per round, mostly Orbea, Federal, Aguila, and Blazer cartridges.  

9mm ammo is available on special at 28-33 cents per cartridge.

According to the method pioneered by Newton and Zimring and perfected by Gary Kleck  in 1991, there were about 458 million guns in private hands at the end of 2020.  Since then,  the United States has added about another 23 million, and is likely to add another six million by the end of 2022.

The total number of private firearms in the United states is expected to be 487 million by the end of 2022. It may reach 500 million by the end of 2023.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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KY: Domestic Defense, Woman Shoots Man

After further investigation, officers determined Dulak was assaulting the woman in the hotel.

They said the woman took the gun from Dulak and shot him in self-defense. The woman and Dulak were in a relationship, according to police. 

Both Dulak and the victim were taken to UofL Hospital.

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Sunday, August 14, 2022

OH: Paulding County Man Shot while Tresspassing, Assaulting

“Investigator’s believe Mr. Puckett was under the influence of illegal drugs,” said Sheriff Jason K. Landers. “The property owner and his friend were presented with a stranger acting erratically and the man eventually became violent by physically assaulting someone. I don’t want to see people being shot, but I wholeheartedly believe people have a right to protect themselves and their property, and in this case, it appears to be a justified self defense situation. My investigator’s will continue to process the evidence in this case and work with the Prosecutor to determine if any further criminal charges are warranted,” said Sheriff Landers.

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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Texas, Silencers, ATF and the Supreme Court Bruen case

On July 15, 2022, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton amended the complaint filed in federal court against the Attorney General, Garland, in the Texas lawsuit against the ATF, challenging the constitutionality of the NFA and GCA 1968 to regulate privately made silencers/suppressors/gun mufflers made and kept in Texas. 

The amendment incorporates the Second Amendment decision by the Court in Bruen, which establishes a refined and clarified procedure for courts to use in Second Amendment cases.

The Texas case came into existence as part of the requirements of HB 957, which became law in Texas in 2021. From Ammoland:

In a previous article, the repeal of the Texas law and the anti-commandeering section were discussed. The likely federal test case was not.

HB 957 came from the brain of Representative Oliverson of Texas District 130, north of Houston. Dr. Oliverson is not a lawyer.  This correspondent was able to talk to Representative Oliverson about how he formed the idea for the law.

Dr. Oliverson came up with the idea to reform suppressor law in Texas because he had purchased two suppressors. He personally experienced the bureaucratic insanity it takes to legally obtain a silencer/suppressor/gun muffler in the United States.

Following the law, AG Paxton filed a lawsuit on February, 24, 2022. From AmmoLand:

The brief filed by AG Paxton is clear, the arguments are strong. The NFA restrictions on Silencers are attacked on the grounds of taxation of a Constitutional right (Second Amendment), inappropriate use of the commerce clause, and as a law that has no public safety justification.

The amendment filed on July 15, explains how the recent Bruen decision is applicable to and relevant in the lawsuit about federal regulation of silencers/suppressors/gun mufflers. Here are some of the arguments presented in the amendment. From the recent amendment to Paxton v. Richardson:

4. There is a historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons, id. at 2128, but firearm suppressors are neither dangerous nor unusual. They are in “common use,” and therefore the Second Amendment protects their possession and use.Id.

5. There is no historical tradition that can justify regulation of making firearm suppressors for non-commercial, personal use in Texas—including requirements that citizens ask permission before making a firearm suppressor, pay a $200 tax, place a serial number on the firearm suppressor, and register it.

 Some of the other arguments made:

Courts may not apply Means-Ends scrutiny to Second Amendment cases, only historical and textual arguments. The government has to prove its case; not the people claiming Second Amendment rights.   

114. Post-Bruen, courts may not “balance” the government’s “legitimate interests” against citizens’ rights, or use “tiers of scrutiny” or means-ends scrutiny when reviewing the constitutionality of statutes and regulations that regulate the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. “Instead, the government must affirmatively prove that its firearms regulation is part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms.” Bruen, 142 S. Ct. at 2127.

The government may not require advance permission to exercise a Constitutional Right.

Abuse of procedure, as mentioned in Bruen, with "lengthy wait times in processing ... applications" and "exorbitant fees", is not acceptable.

84. BATFE apparently believes that it can extend the application process indefinitely and ask for any “additional information” it wants. This includes additional information which could be used by BATFE to prosecute Form 1 applicants under the provision of the NFA declaring parts intended to be used to make a firearm suppressor are regulated as if they are already firearm suppressors.

The  government may not tax the exercise of a Constitutional Right. The 1943 case applied to the First Amendment.

113. The government cannot tax the exercise of constitutional rights. Murdock v. Com. of Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, 113 (1943). Post-Heller, taxing the making of firearms in Texas for non-commercial, personal use in Texas is taxing the exercise of a constitutional right, and is prohibited.

The amendment closes with arguments contending the amended NFA of 1934, with regards to silencers is unconstitutional. 

127. The portions of the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended, and the regulations made pursuant thereto, requiring Texans to apply for and receive permission to make firearm suppressors in Texas for non-commercial, personal use in Texas are unconstitutional.

128. Federal laws and regulations which require Texans to apply for and receive permission to make firearm suppressors for non-commercial, personal use in Texas regulate the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, which is protected by the Second Amendment. These laws and regulations do not have an historical analogue and are being put toward abusive ends. Accordingly, they are unconstitutional under Bruen. 

The response from the Biden administration uses long standing precedent in cases which expand the federal power via taxation.  It claims silencers, are not arms, and are not protected by the Second Amendment.  The arguments are, essentially these:

Federal tax are exempt from lawsuits. (anti-injunction act)

Precedents exist, before Heller and Bruen, which claim taxing powers used to register weapons are Constitutional...

Silencers are accessories, not "arms" protected by the Second Amendment. 

There is no precedent that taxes effecting the Second Amendment are unconstitutional. The precedent only applies to the First Amendment.

Texas has no standing, because the law affects individuals, not Texas as a State. 

The NFA is "longstanding", therefore is exempt from scrutiny under Bruen. 


It appears to this correspondent, the Biden administration arguments are based on cases settled before the Supreme Court handed down the Heller, McDonald, Caetano, and Bruen decisions.  Those precedents may be overturned by the Second Amendment cases.

Because a previous court declared the NFA as a legitimate taxing measure does not mean it is so under the recent decisions. 

This case may become a vehicle to show the Second Amendment is not inferior to the First Amendment. 

If the federal government can use the taxing authority to avoid Second Amendment scrutiny, the Second Amendment becomes a dead letter.


©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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TX: Domestic Defense: Woman Kills Boyfriend, claims Self Defense

HOUSTON (CW39) — A woman claimed self-defense against an abusive boyfriend when she shot and killed him in their apartment on Thursday evening, Harris County officials said.

The case was reviewed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and will be referred to a grand jury for possible charges, officials said.

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FL: Shooting at Apartment Complex was Self Defense

One person was shot and killed Thursday evening at an Escambia County apartment complex, and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office now says the shooting was self defense.

“Based on the investigation, we do not anticipate any arrests,” ECSO said in statement.

The man was shot about 6:20 p.m. at the Oakwood Terrace Apartments on Truman Avenue.

More Here

Friday, August 12, 2022

AK Bear Story of Old Groaner, The Myth Grows and Grows, Part IV

Image of Old Groaner's skull from the front. The bear's left eye arch is intact. 

Thanks to Hayley Chambers of the Ketchikan Museums for pictures of Old Groaner's skull.

In the first three segments of this series, the formation of the myth of Old Groaner was discussed.

In segment I, the original article, published in February of 1936, almost certainly written less than two months after Old Groaner was killed, is detailed. Old Groaner was killed in November of 1935. It takes time to put a paper magazine together and to print it, especially in 1936.

In segment II, the 1953 re-write and some of the major changes between the 1953 rewrite and the 1936 original article are discussed.

In segment III, the variations in the story from 1936 to 1953, to 1956, to 1986 and 1994 are covered.

In this last segment, the author speculates about the wounding of Old Groaner. The spread of the myth over time is documented.

Someone shot and wounded Old Groaner long before the Johnstones became aware of him. It appears the unknown person used a .33 caliber rifle, although there is no mention of how the bullets found in the skull were measured.  Shots placed in the area of the head to shatter the right eye arch and cheek bone often stun a grizzly bear, and they appear to be dead.  People are surprised when the bear revives.

Did Old Groaner hate men? Maybe. He feared men. The bear was very careful to avoid being seen by men, until the last event, where the dog Slasher was present.

Old Groaner was a dangerous bear. He was very large. He was suffering and in pain.  It makes for a bad temper. It seems unlikely he had hunted and killed men.

Men were seldom in his home domain near Cripple Creek. The gold fields and camps were over 15 miles upstream. The only people recorded as hearing Old Groaner were the Johnstone brothers, Jack and Bruce, and later their friend, George Lemmons.

Old Groaner's missing, rotten and broken teeth would have made it difficult for him to make quick kills on larger animals, including men. He probably survived because food, in the form of salmon, was so plentiful at Cripple Creek.

One man may have been killed by him. We will never know for certain.

As mentioned previously, LaVern Beier wrote of the event, in 2022, as he heard it from Bruce Johnstone before 1974.

In June of 1935, while Bruce was prospecting on the Unuk River, he killed a famous brown bear of the era, that had stalked him, known as Old Groaner aka the Moaning Marauder of Cripple Creek. Old Groaner had 17 bullet holes in his skull from encountering a prospector years earlier.

LaVern Beier mentioned this while he recounted the event where he had to defend himself from the first big bear who attacked him. He killed that bear in self defense, in 1974. He used a .338 magnum rifle. The .338 happens to use bullets which are the same caliber as the bullets which were found in Old Groaner's skull. The .338 magnum did not exist in 1935. The .338 magnum cartridge is much more powerful than the old .33 Winchester.

Unfortunately, LaVern misremembers both the month (June vs November) and the number of bullet holes. The skull of Old Groaner only shows 1 definite bullet hole, although there is evidence of at least two and possibly three more bullet strikes.  Only two old bullets were recovered from Old Groaner's skull.

The last bullet fired by Bruce Johnstone remained imbedded in the left cheek bone, after passing through the cranium and brain, for many years. It is not currently in the skull in the Tongass Museum.

Without the groaning and the association to the long disappeared Jess Sethington, the defensive shooting of Old Groaner is little different than the defensive shooting of the first big bear LaVern Beier had to kill, in 1974.

The Old Groaner and Moaning Maurader articles were published in the Alaska Sportsman in 1936 and 1953, respectively.

The book, "Blood on the Arctic Snow", published in 1956, is a collection of Alaska Sportsman stories.

In 1975 and later, re-writes of the "Old Groaner" mythology began to appear in other sources.

In 1975, a re-write of the 1953 Old Groaner re-write was published by Ozzie Hutchins,  as "Phantom of the Unuk Country", in the Islander Victoria B.C. Sunday.

In 1981, in the NRA Hunter magazine, a re-write titled "The Legend of Old Groaner" was published.

In 1983, Larry Kaniut devotes two pages to the Old Groaner myth, starting on page 89 of Alaska Bear Tales, based on the 1953 re-write. He starts it with: "Old Groaner was a man killer."

In 2001, Kaniut re-writes the entire 1953 re-write in "Bear Tales for the Ages", starting on page 192.

References to the myth are spread about the Internet. From Sporting Classics, there is a  rewrite of the1953 re-write:

What caused the deformity was three bullets from a .38-caliber revolver lodged in the gristle under the jaw and two .33-caliber (jacketed bullets) also in the right jaw. The five bullets proved to be Jess Sethington’s and confirmed the horror of his final moments as he desperately tried to save himself from the killer jaws of the massive grizzly.

There is a Youtube video re-make of the 1981 Hunter magazine re-write, The Legend of Old Groaner.

There is a podcast by Add Ventura, which is a re-make of the 1953 re-write. mentions an obviously misremembered version:

"He caried a British 454 webley and a Finnish made 375 H&H mag. 2 years later a another group of hunters saw a bear with his jaw broken and hanging down. he guide asked one of the hunters to put the bear out of its misery. When they approached the dead bear they found the remains of the missing guide. An autopsy was done on the guide and the bear and when they cut the bear open, they found 5 rounds from the webley all in the bears jaw and 3 rounds from the 375H&H mag in the bears body. They corener determined that the bear actually held the guide in a bear hug while the guide shot the bear straight up into the jaw."

At the, there is this misremembering:

 "Old Groaner" stalked and killed at least three people near 1950's Haines, Alaska before he was killed by a prospector he jumped. He had almost no teeth and nearly a dozen old gunshot wounds from 30-30 and 38's. Estimated 30 years old.

The myth of "Old Groaner" will never die. It is too widely spread, too much of a "it should be true, even if it is not", tale.

The original Old Groaner article, by F.W. Gabler was published in the Alaska Sportsman in the February, 1936 issue, Volume II, number 2, starting on page 16. It is a rare issue, and difficult to find.

The rewrite in the Alaska Sportsman in the March, 1956 issue, is much easier to find, as are the numerous re-writes of the 1953 re-write. It is difficult to fault subsequent writers for accepting the 1953 re-write as factual. It was presented as such.

The evidence for the event as a failure of a pistol to stop a bear attack is not credible. No evidence of the presence of a pistol was even mentioned until 30 years after the attack supposedly took place.

There is no certainty a man was attacked before the attack on the dog Slasher and Bruce Johnstone. We know for certain Old Groaner was shot, some years previously, and lived, because much of the damage from the bullets had healed.

The early reporting of the examination of Old Groaner's skull carefully mentions the .33 caliber rifle bullets. Given the added "spice" the story would have had if pistol bullets had been found, it is highly unlikely they would have been found, but not mentioned.

The 1953 re-write is the source of all future Old Groaner myths. Curiously, the "Moaning Maurader of Cripple Creek, the most famous of the stories written by Handlogger Jackson is never mentioned in his well done biography, "Handloggers".

Similarly, Bruce Johnstone, in his oral history, recorded by the Alaska Trapper's association, never mentions Old Groaner. Instead, Johnstone says he should be known for surviving the attack by three grizzly bears at once at the mouth of the Unuk river, 18 miles from where he shot Old Groaner.

Many things make the Old Groaner story noteworthy. The world record size of the bear, the groaning over three years before the bear is shot, the careful avoidance of being seen by men, while being heard.

The story is a great one. It doesn't need the addition of three .38 caliber pistol bullets under the jaw. The addition of those bullets, 30 years after an inferred attack, catapulted Old Groaner into mythological status for an indefinite period.


©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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KS: Maurice Hall, Not Guilty of Murder, Guilty of Possession of Firearm by Felon

An affidavit from the district attorney’s office explained that Hall’s bright yellow jumpsuit and a cup he had dropped at the scene led to his arrest in connection to the shooting.

During the trial, the defense raised self-defense in the case. Late Tuesday afternoon, jurors acquitted Hall of the first-degree murder charges but found him guilty of criminal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Kenosha County Supervisors Vote to Remove Ban on Guns in County Buildings

On July 5, 2022, the Kenosha County, Wisconsin, Board of Supervisors, voted 14 to 7, to remove the ban on the bearing of arms in most county-owned buildings. Kevin Matheson of the Kenosha County Eye reported on the vote. The Kenosha County Eye has graciously granted permission for this correspondent to use the images and text from the article in this article.

A famed Democrat politician once said, all politics are local. After the chaos of the riots in Kenosha in 2020, and the national attention brought about by the self defense trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Kenosha County Board has overwhelmingly voted in favor of armed self defense as a human right. From

In a bi-partisan vote just before midnight on Tuesday night, the Kenosha County Board voted 14 to 7 to allow concealed carry in most county-owned buildings. This includes taxpayers and employees. This measure was sponsored by Board Vice-Chair Erin Decker. Supervisor Yuhas proposed an amendment that passed -it directed employees who choose to carry at work to keep the firearm “on their person” and not in a desk drawer, purse, or an otherwise unattended location. Decker previously told KCE that she proposed the change because she feels that visitors to county buildings and county employees should not be denied the right to protect themselves. The “no guns allowed” signs went up in 2011 at the same time that the City of Kenosha government voted to allow guns in most City-owned buildings. Both City and County governments now have similar policies which Decker said will “eliminate confusion.”

The support for the Constitutional right to bear arms by the Kenosha County Board was affirmed with a second vote, minutes after the vote to remove the ban on arms in most County Buildings.

This was a resolution to declare Kenosha County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. It proclaimed that the board would oppose any infringement of the constitution. This passed by a slightly larger majority, 16-6.

It will take some time for the employee's handbook to be re-written, and to take the no-guns signs down from the county buildings.

There were seven Kenosha County Sheriff’s deputies at this meeting as the last meeting ended abruptly when Kenosha resident Joel Trudell was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Tonight’s meeting was peaceful and civil. Within six months, the County HR department will finalize the employees handbook and the “no guns allowed” signs will come down.

Kenosha is the third most populist county in Wisconsin, and growing fast. In 2016, President Trump won the county by 238 votes. In 2020, President Trump won the county again, with 2,700 votes, according to



Samantha Kirkman, who spent 12 years as a Republican in the Wisconsin legislature, won the election for Kenosha County executive with 51% of the vote on April 5, 2022. Seven new County Board Supervisors were elected, giving conservatives control over the Kenosha County Board for the first time in history. Gabe Nudo was then elected as County Board Chairman and Erin Decker as County Board Vice-chair. Erin Decker sponsored the measure to remove the ban on bearing arms in Kenosha County buildings.

Kevin Matheson of the Kenosha County Eye writes these elections are part of a "red wave" of conservatives being elected in 2022.

Elections have consequences. The restoration of the right to bear arms for all people in Kenosha County buildings (including employees) show how increasing majorities of the people demand their rights be preserved and respected.


Other authors have often noted how reality has a way of focusing the attention. When much of downtown Kenosha was destroyed in a wave of senseless violence, it has a way of focusing people's attention.

The newly elected Kenosha County Board is eliminating quite a few gun-free zones.

 ©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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OH: Amazon Driver Shoots Knife Wielding Man

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WXIX) - An Amazon delivery driver is not facing any charges after he shot a knife-wielding man on Sunday.

The driver was out on his route when the suspect, Christopher Roberts, walked up to him with a knife, according to Middletown police.

“Obviously, he [Amazon driver] was in fear,” explained Middletown Police Chief David Birk. “So, in defense of himself, he was able to discharge a firearm striking the individual in the leg area.”

The police report shows Roberts was suspected of being under the influence of drugs when he confronted the Amazon driver.


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WA: "Road Rage" shooting appears to have been self Defense

During the altercation, police said one of the people involved grabbed a gun from the vehicle and fired it toward a man, who was identified as a 35-year-old Federal Way resident. Investigators said the man died later from his injuries.

 The initial investigation found that it was a self-defense shooting, police said.

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NV: Yeringtion Home Owner Shoots, Killes Home Intruder Suspect

A Yerington-area homeowner shot and killed an alleged home intruder Monday morning.

After receiving a call from the homeowner, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded around 11:45 a.m. to Giorgi Lane in Mason Valley, southeast of Yerington. 

Detectives are conducting a homicide investigation and the homeowner is cooperating. The deceased man's name is not being released until next of kin is contacted.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Mural in U.S. Capitol Shows Wide Acceptance of Open Carry in 1862

In the recent Supreme Court decision of NYSR&PA v. Bruen, the court ruled the proper way to determine restraints on the exercise of Second Amendment rights was to review history and see if restraints on those rights had been widely accepted across the American polities, especially at the time of the ratification of the Second Amendment in 1791 and the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, as the Second Amendment has been applied to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The right to bear (carry) arms for protection of self and others has long been a part of American culture. The right to do so while traveling was especially elevated. Even an early colonial regulation in East New Jersey, which attempted to limit the right to bear arms, had exemptions for people who were traveling, before the regulation was eliminated. The regulation was only tolerated for a few years.  P. 6 of amicus curiae briefs on Bruen. 

In 1686, East New Jersey enacted a law providing that
no person “shall presume privately to wear any pocket pistol, skeines,
stilettoes, daggers or dirks, or other unusual or unlawful weapons,” 
and that “no planter shall ride or go armed with sword, pistol or
dagger” except certain officials and “strangers, travelling upon their
lawful occasions through this Province, behaving themselves peaceably.”3

The Supreme Court has declared the attitude about carrying arms, close to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, as especially important. A famous mural, painted in the United States Capitol in 1863, is relevant. 

The mural is "Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, by Emanuel Leutze", and is located in the West grand staircase of the House wing. It is 30 feet wide and 20 feet tall.

The mural shows 32 individuals traveling toward the West.  There appear to be 27 adults, 19 of them men, and eight women. There are five children, including two infants.

At least 12 firearms are shown in the mural, including 10 long guns and two pistols. The woman under the word "Westward" in the top border has a long gun.  A long gun is prominent in the lower left corner of the mural, a revolver in the lower right corner. There are two boot knives evident, and two bows with arrows.

The study version in 1861 had half as many firearms, five or six, none in the lower corners or in the border. On the mountaintop, there is one or two long guns. It is uncertain. There do not appear to be any boot knives or bows and arrows.

The people who supervised the painting apparently asked for more firearms, as several were added compared to the study image. 

The mural was painted from 1861 to 1862. It was painted only 6 years before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.  It is closer in time to the Fourteenth Amendment than the Dred Scott decision mentioned in Bruen, from 1857. From the Bruen decision, p. 4:

A short prologue is in order. Even before the Civil War commenced in
1861, this Court indirectly affirmed the importance of the right to keep and bear arms in public. Writing for the Court in Dred Scott v.
Sandford, 19 How. 393 (1857), Chief Justice Taney offered what he
thought was a parade of horribles that would result from recognizing
that free blacks were citizens of the United States. If blacks were
citizens, Taney fretted, they would be entitled to the privileges and
immunities of citizens, including the right “to keep and carry arms
wherever they went.” Id., at 417 (emphasis added).

The mural depicts what Chief Justice Taney noted. American citizens could keep and bear arms wherever they went.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

IN: Indiana Homeowner Howard Murphy Shoots Second Home Invader

Indianapolis, IN – A armed robbery suspect was fatally shot by an Indiana homeowner during a midnight home invasion on July 29.

It was the second time in the past eight years that Howard Murphy has shot an intruder to defend himself inside his house, WRTV reported.

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NM: Followup, Nathaniel Basset found Not Guilty in Self Defense Killing of William Buchanan

A jury acquitted Taos County resident Nathaniel Basset, 36, on murder charges Friday afternoon (Aug. 5) after a weeklong trial.

Basset was initially charged with the first-degree murder after he was accused of shooting and killing 43-year-old William Buchanan at a Carson Estates resident in August 2020. After three full days of witness testimony and arguments by the state and defense, the jury ultimately found Basset not guilty of second-degree murder or the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Basset testified Friday morning that he shot Buchanan, but claimed he did so only in self defense, or in defense of others who he thought would be harmed. After approximately two-and-a-half hours, the jury agreed.

More Here

Monday, August 08, 2022

"Old Groaner": Alaskan Bear Myth and Legend Part III, Changes over the Years

The original illustration by F.W Gabler was changed for the 1953 and 1986 re-writes of the article.

This is the part III in a series of four segments on the Old Groaner legend.

In segment I, the original article, published in the February 1936 issue of Alaska Sportsman is examined.

In segment II, the 1953 re-write and some of the major changes in the rewrite are examined.

We may never know why the many changes were made to the Old Groaner story when it was re-written by W.H. "Handlogger" Jackson and published in the March issue of the 1953 Alaskan Sportsman as "The Moaning Marauder of Cripple Creek".

In comparing accounts, the strong presumption is the closer to the original source, the more likely the accuracy of the account.  The differences between the original article and the 1953 rewrite are several and significant. An obvious one is the changing of the 1936 illustration, apparently to fit the concept of the 1953 rewrite. In the 1936 article, there were two bears. In the 1953 rewrite, there was only one. The bear shown above and in back of Old Groaner has been taken out of the illustration.

From the 1936 article:

Old Groaner, with another bear, led an attack on Bruce Johnstone when he was least expecting it.

While attacks by more than one bear are usually a sow accompanied by one or more cubs, more than one bear being present during an attack by an adult boar has happened.

Bruce Johnstone, the man who shot Old Groaner in November of 1935, had three bears, a sow, a boar and a yearling cub, attack him at the mouth of the Unuk in a well documented case about ten years later. Johnson thought surviving an attack by three bears was what he should be famous for.

The mouth of the Unuk is about 18 miles from Cripple Creek.

The area where Old Groaner was killed is a hot spot for bears. It was no surprise there might be more than one bear in the area.

In the 1936 article, Old groaner was not skinned because he was frozen, making it very difficult.

In the 1953 version, he was not skinned because the "hide was worthless" "no more hair than a hog".  The description was similar to that he gave a bear in an encounter Jackson had in 1946, as detailed in Jackson's biography on page 181.

The further in time from the event, the more suspect memories become.

In the 1956 book, "Blood on the Arctic Snow", the feature article is a re-write of the 1953 Alaska Sportsman "Moaning Marauder" article. There is a rare picture of Old Groaner before the head and paw were cut off, in the book.


Old Groaner from Blood on the Arctic Snow

The scarification of the right eye socket is visible; there seems to be plenty of fur. The dense vegetation matches the illustration by Gabler in 1936.

In "Blood on the Arctic Snow", the three pictures of the skull are shown. The caption differs significantly from the 1936 caption. Here is the 1956 book's caption for the picture of the skull:

Old Groaner's skull, shown here in front, right, and rear views, is on display in the Alaskan Sportsman museum in Ketchikan. Arrow 1, shows where the right side of the skull had been shot away. The eye socket is almost closed and the jaw hinge is separated. Arrow 2 indicates the shattered left eye arch, probably from a bullet fired in the same encounter. Arrow 3, point out the spot where Johnstone's fatal bullet entered the bear's brain cavity, and Arrow 5 shows were it lodged in the rear of the skull after passing through the brain. Arrow 4 indicates the worn and ulcerated teeth, evidence of Groaner's advanced age. Arrow 6 indicates where a bullet from a side shot had entered just above the right eye. Five bullets were lodged in the head, and presumably had been there for twelve years.

The caption is the same as in the 1953 rewrite and in the 1956 book. The skull pictures are the same in the book, but the illustration by Gabler is not included. In the book, a picture of a bear footprint in snow, an inside forest shot near the Unuk, and a landscape picture of the Unuk river country are included. In all three accounts the error in the captions of the skull pictures persists: the claim is the left eye arch is shattered. In all pictures of the skull, the left eye arch is intact.

In the 1936 article, written two months after the event, when memories and the physical evidence were fresh, it was deduced three shots were fired in the initial wounding of Old Groaner, years before Old Groaner was killed. Two old bullets were found imbedded in the head. Both were identified as .33 caliber jacketed rifle bullets.

The 1953 re-write (The Moaning Marauder of Cripple Creek), was written 17 years after the event where Old Groaner was killed, and 30 years after the disappearance of Jess Sethington. In the re-write, at least five shots were fired in the initial wounding, with five old bullets recovered from the bear's head, three of which were .38 caliber pistol bullets.

LaVern Beier is a well known bear expert who was a partner of Bruce Johnstone in his later years.  He partnered with Johnstone when Johnstone was 65 and he was 17, and for several years afterward.

LaVern Beier wrote of the Old Groaner event, as he remembered hearing it from Bruce Johnstone before 1974, then writing it down on facebook on Jaunuary 13, 2022:

In June of 1935, while Bruce was prospecting on the Unuk River, he killed a famous brown bear of the era, that had stalked him, known as Old Groaner aka the Moaning Marauder of Cripple Creek. Old Groaner had 17 bullet holes in his skull from encountering a prospector years earlier.

The number of bullets fired in the first wounding of Old Groaner grew from three to five to at least 9 (17 holes), in merely 38 years!

The article was reprinted again in 1986. In the 1986 Alaskan Sportsman issues, the 1953 reprint covers most of ten pages split between January and February issues. There are pictures and illustrations, but none of the Old Groaner skull, head, or paw. The picture of Old Groaner in the 1956 book is absent.

In the 1986 re-publication of the 1953 re-write, there are many minor edits. They seem of little consequence to this correspondent, who would have used the original rather than make minor stylistic changes.

Two things stand out. In the 1953 re-write, a grizzly bear, far from the domain of Old Groaner, causes extensive damage to the Johnstone's boat in 1933. In the 1953 rewrite, the grizzly is described as having done it in a "playful mood". In the 1986 re-print, the words "playful mood" have been removed.

In the 1953 re-write, the pistol Jack Johnstone used to finish off the attacking bear on Sulphide Creek is identified as a Luger.  In the 1986 re-publication, it is left unidentified.

In a 1994 interview of Bruce Johnstone, the dog Slasher, by grabbing Old Groaner's hind foot, allowed Bruce Johnstone time to inflict the deadly shots on Old Groaner.  In the 1994 interview, Johnstone says he used a .405 Winchester instead of a .38-72.

Without the revolver bullets, and the claim Jess Sethington owned a .38 revolver, the ties to Old Groaner and Jess Sethington become tenuous. It removes the presumption of where a person would have to be to place three revolver bullets under a bear's jaw.  The story becomes far less dramatic.

Could Jess Sethington have shot Old Groaner with his .33 Winchester, with the bear then coming to life unexpectedly, and killing him? It is possible. It is also possible some other person or Jess shot the bear and left the big grizzly for dead. Sethington could have disappeared any of many ways. As mentioned by both Gabler and Handlogger Jackson, there are many ways for a man to die on the Unuk river.

.33 Winchester rifles were not common, but they were not exceedingly rare. The writer of the 1953 re-write, W.H. "Handlogger" Jackson, owned a .33 Winchester, as noted in his biography.  The bullets found embedded in the skull were examined by the two Johnstone brothers and George Lemmons. There is no record the bullets were measured.

The story was a good one. As stories told around a campfire will, it grew and grew. In Part IV, the modern mythology of Old Groaner will be examined.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

Sunday, August 07, 2022

MI: Cody Nelson Found not Guilty by Self Defense in Shooting of Alyssa Martin

SAGINAW, MI — More than two years after a teen girl was repeatedly shot in a Zilwaukee home, a jury has exonerated the man who shot her.

Jurors in the trial of Cody R. Nelson, 20, delivered their verdicts at about 2:10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, finding the defendant not guilty of assault with intent to murder and felony firearm. The former is a life offense, while a conviction of the latter mandates a minimum two-year prison sentence consecutive to any related sentence.

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OH: Domestic Defense, Father of Woman Shoots her Ex-Boyfriend

SIDNEY — No charges will be filed against a homeowner in a deadly shooting in Shelby County this week.

A grand jury voted 8-1 against indicting the homeowner on charges, according to Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell.

Shelby County Sheriff James Frye previously told News Center 7 he expected the panel to dismiss the case because of Ohio’s new “Stand Your Ground” law that took effect in April 2021.

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Saturday, August 06, 2022

IN: Burglary Suspect Shot, Killed after Breaking into Woman 's House

An unknown male was attempting to make entry to the 56-year-old female’s residence, police said. While officers were enroute they were updated that the suspect had made entry into the residence by breaking out the window.

The female resident told dispatch she had discharged her firearm but was unsure if she had struck the male. Officers arrived on scene and located the male in the front of the residence with apparent gunshot wounds.

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PA: Man with Carry Permit Shoots, Kills 27-Year-Old in Self Defense

The 27-year-old man died at the hospital.

Police say they found a bullet from the shooter still lodged in the man's gun.

"There is a projectile presumably from the shooter's gun embedded into the gun of the decedent, and it's still there, which lends credence to the information that we received from the shooter that he was shooting in self-defense," said Pace.

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IN: 16-Year-Old Robbery Suspect Shot, Killed in Self Defense Case

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says a 16-year-old was shot and killed in self-defense in an “apparent robbery” attempt on the far east side.

Just before 4:30 a.m., IMPD got a report of a person shot on Tapp Drive near Cumberland.

The homeowner’s daughter and her boyfriend claim they were sitting in their car when at least two suspects yanked open the car door and tried to rob them at gunpoint.

Those victims didn’t want to go on camera, but say the whole scary situation lasted just a few seconds.

Police found a male who was declared dead at the scene. The Marion County Coroner’s Office later identified the deceased as 16-year-old Armohnie Preswood. Police say the teen was found armed with a gun.

More Here

Friday, August 05, 2022

NV: Followup, Shooting of Jodi Harris ruled to be Self Defense

The Clark County coroner’s office on Tuesday identified a man killed in what police said was a self-defense shooting.

Jodi Harris, 30, died June 27 at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center from gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office ruled.

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FL: Followup, Shooting of Jarvarious E. Coston ruled to be Justified

Detectives say Jarvarious E. Coston, 29, of Fort Pierce, got into a verbal argument with the victim on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at approximately 7:15 p.m. near the 2500 block of Ave. R.

According to detectives, during the argument Coston threatened the victim with a handgun.

"Fearing for his life, the victim drew his legally concealed weapon and fired at the suspect, which resulted in the suspect’s death," Sheriff Ken Mascara said.

More Here

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Houston Gun Turn in Nets 800 firearms, including dozens of 3D printed Pistols

On July 30, 2022, Houston, Texas organized a gun "buyback" event. It was the first such event held in Houston.  "Buyback" is an Orwellian term, because the guns were never owned by the government, so it cannot "buy" them "back". More properly, it was a gun turn-in event.  

According to people on twitter, at least 62 3D printed pistols were turned in at $150 each. That would be a total of $9,300 for the box of mostly plastic pistols.  The 3D printed pistols are "ghost guns" because they do not have a government approved serial number on them. 

Mayor Turner confirmed that "ghost guns" were taken in at the event.


"I've heard it all. 'Oh it's just going to be junk guns, this and that.' You don't have a solution to problems, please just sit down and let us step up, the people who are going to do the work," Finner said.

"We've taken in ghost guns. We've taken in rifles. Automatics have been taken in, and so the program is working," Turner said.

The rules, as published by the Houston government, were fairly clear. The turn-in was "no questions asked". There was no limit on how many guns could be turned in. There were no limits on how much one person could receive. From

 The prices offered at the event were fairly low: 


Filament for making simple 3D printed pistols is much less. Some estimated less than $5 worth of materials was used for the 3D printed pistols turned in. 

Materials: $300. Labor: unknown. Return: $9,300. Message sent: priceless

Other entrepreneurs and or activists were not so fortunate. On Reddit, it was reported some attempted to turn in lower receivers, but were turned down by Dallas police.

On reddit, a poster claimed Houston PD would not take lower receivers, because they were not guns:  

@GhostGcom: “Took a roadtrip to Houston for their gun "buyback." Turns out our printed/milled lowers are too spooky. They wouldn't take them because "they aren't firearms." No shit. Proof the new ATF ruling is absolute bullshit.”

The claim seems plausible.  A poster on said a group brought 40 3D printed lowers and were 10 cars ahead of him.

The line for the event has been reported to stretch for two miles. People waited for hours to move ahead. Some people gave up. The event ran out of gift cards after three hours. It was an ideal time for private buyers to move up and down the line, looking for bargains.  From

"There were some people going up and down the lines saying we will
pay you more than the city and the county are willing to pay you, with
no background checks, and mind you, it’s not necessarily illegal and
that’s a loophole in the process,” he said.  

The setback couldn’t overshadow the program’s success.

Why would responsible private buyers be a "setback"? They serve to stretch the money available to the program, taking valuable guns off the street. The owners who do not want them get more money than they would have gotten from the government. It sounds like a win-win for all concerned.

Funding was provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. From

In partnership with the Houston Police Department, officers will
conduct a Gun Buy Back Operation in the parking lot of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Depending on the type of weapon, citizens turning in firearms will be rewarded with a gift card in the amounts from $50.00 to $200.00. All firearms will be retrieved with a no-question-asked policy by law enforcement. Funding for this program was provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The ARPA of 2021 was an authorization of 1.6 trillion dollars by the Democrats and Biden administration.

At least $100,000 was expended at the event. Mayor Turner says they will be organizing an even bigger one soon.

Mayor Turner said for the next buyback event, they will double their resources.

Update: More 3D printed guns were reported turned in at the Houston event. From Twitter


Second Amendment supporters are likely to be prepared for the next event.


From twitter



 Closed the line after three hours. 


A poster on said a group brought 40 3D printed lowers and were 10 cars ahead of him. 


WA: Gunfight, Clerk Shoots 19-Year-Old Armed Robbery Suspect

An attempted armed robbery suspect was shot dead late Monday night by a store clerk in Auburn, and people in the neighborhood say they have seen a surge in crime in the downtown area where the fatal shooting happened.

More Here

KY: Homeowner Shoots Intruder who Attempted Break-in at 1 a.m.

When officials arrived on scene they interviewed two individuals. During the investigation, the homeowner said he was in bed with his girlfriend when they heard a loud noise downstairs around 1 a.m. When he went downstairs he said someone was trying to force their way into his home. The homeowner then fired one shot at the alleged intruder.

More Here

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Alaskan Myth about Old Groaner, Bears and Pistols Part II, the 1953 re-write


Picture of Old Groaner skull, left side, from Tongass Historical Society. The left eye arch is intact. Picture courtesy Hayley Chambers.

In the previous article, the story of Old Groaner, as told in 1936, was recounted. The bear was killed as it attacked the dog Slasher and Bruce Johnstone in the middle reaches of the Unuk river, in November of 1935. This correspondent differentiated speculation from claimed fact. The bear's head was brought back to Ketchikan. If the skull had been complete, it would have been a world record.  The original article was written by F. W. Gabler.

In the image above, the left eye arch is intact.  Both the 1936 and the 1953 captions claim the left eye arch is either "shot away" or "shattered".  The brain case on the left side has been shattered, presumably by the last bullet Bruce Johnstone fired, after it traveled through the brain. That bullet became imbedded in the left cheek bone, but has been lost in the intervening decades. The damage to the brain case is to be expected from this sort of wound.

In 1953, the 1936 article about Old Groaner by F.W. Gabler was re-written by W. H. "Handlogger" Jackson. Gabler appears to have stopped writing a few months after the tragic death of his wife in August of 1936. By 1953, the story had started to gain legendary status. With the re-write, the myth would be projected around the world.

In the 1953 rewrite, by Handlogger Jackson, there is no mention of a second bear during the attack. Aside from lunging for Old Groaner's throat, then being flung aside by a swipe of Old Groaner's paw, the dog Slasher paid no part in the fight, before Old Groaner was killed. In the original article, Slasher drove off the second bear. In the 1953 re-write, Slasher belongs to Jack, not Bruce. It likely made little difference as the brothers were together so much of the time.


In comparing accounts, the strong presumption is, the closer to the original source, the more likely the accuracy of the account.

The differences between the original article and the 1953 rewrite are several and significant. An obvious one is the changing of the 1936 illustration, apparently to fit the concept of the 1953 rewrite. In the 1936 article, there were two bears. In the 1953 rewrite, there was only one.

The bear shown above and in back of Old Groaner has been taken out of the picture.

From the 1936 article:

Old Groaner, with another bear, led an attack on Bruce Johnstone when he was least expecting it.

The 1936 story was told in five pages, with a large illustration and
five pictures, three of the bear skull, one of Bruce Johnstone with the
bear head, and another of the bear head and paw together. In the caption, it is clear only two old jacketed, .33 caliber rifle bullets were found embedded in the skull. The recent, final bullet fired by Bruce Johnstone is shown embedded on the opposite side. From the caption published in 1936:

Right is rear view of skull. (5) Point to fatal bullet, lodged in the skull after having passed through the brain.  This view also shows approximate location where two old bullets were removed from the gristle. Incrustation indicated they had been there a number of years.

In  the 1953 re-write, the three pictures of the skull are shown. The caption differs significantly. This excerpt shows the main difference in the caption for the pictures of the skull:

 Arrow 5 shows were it lodged in the rear of the skull after passing through the brain. Arrow 4 indicates the worn and ulcerated teeth, evidence of Groaner's advanced age. Arrow 6 indicates where a bullet from a side shot had entered just above the right eye. Five bullets were lodged in the head, and presumably had been there for twelve years.

In the 1936 article, only 3 bullets are lodged in the head, not five. One of those bullets was the finishing shot from Bruce Johnstone, which passed through both sides of he cranium and the brain before imbedding in the left cheekbone. There are indications of two more bullets hitting the skull, but they were not imbedded in it, and were not recovered.

The only old bullets recovered in the 1936 article are two jacketed rifle bullets, presumed to be .33 caliber.

In the 1953 re-write, the pictures of Bruce Johnstone, sitting with Old Groaner's head and paw, are missing.

In the 1953 re-write, there are seven events involving old Groaner, all close to the same spot, at Cripple Creek, covered in considerable detail. They were only hinted at in the 1936 article. No one actually saw the bear until the last event, when Bruce killed Old Groaner at close range. Only the two brothers and George Lemmons are mentioned as hearing Old Groaner. The brothers are recorded as hearing the bear in 1933 and 1934. George Lemmons was with them in 1935.  The only person known to have been attacked was Bruce Johnstone, when the dog Slasher was present.

The 1953 re-write is much longer than the 1936 article, with more incidents, considerable embellishment of dangerous situations, and more speculations on Old Groaner's motivations and what Old Groaner was thinking.

Some Geography: The Unuk starts in Canada and travels  about 60 miles to
its mouth on the Alaskan coast. Cripple Creek is roughly 18 miles upriver from the mouth, and is a good camping spot.  The Canadian border is about 6-7 miles upstream. Most of the mining and prospecting occurs on Sulphide Creek, shown on modern maps as Sulphurrets Creek, another 15 miles upstream of the border.

Jackson follows Gabler in spending considerable text on how dangerous the Unuk region is, and how easily people could die on the Unuk river by accident. He explains it is particularly dangerous to travel there alone.

In the 1953 version, an account of a separate bear attack many miles away from where Old Groaner was shot, is added. The year seems to be 1933.

It happened on Sulfide Creek, far from Cripple Creek. The bear starts from the opposite bank of Sulfide Creek from the Johnstone brothers. Bruce Johnstone's brother, Jack, shoots the bear with a cut down .45-70 rifle, then finishes it off as it tries to climb the bank where the men are, using a Luger  pistol, emptying the magazine into the wounded bear.

Handlogger Jackson comments the rifle, with a 14 inch barrel, might be considered illegal. (The rifle would not have been illegal in 1933. The National Firearms Act was signed in June of 1934.)  Sulfide Creek is in Canada. In 1953, in Canada, it would still be legal.

In the second half of the 1953 re-write, the Johnstone brothers leave the Unuk and come back the next year, where they again hear Old Groaner, but never see him. The account relates a battle between the bear and the dog Slasher, very close to where Old Groaner is eventually killed. The account relates close calls with a bear which is never seen.  In these incidents, Jackson writes the prospectors could tell Old Groaner was involved, because they heard groans and saw brush shake. They leave the Unuk again, with tales of Old Groaner, believing him to be harmless, but a little unsure if he was.

When the men returned to the Unuk, with their friend George Lemmons,  presumably a year later, in 1935, they again encounter Old Groaner. This time they are terrified of him and take serious measures to protect themselves from him, including building a cabin as a measure of bear protection.

Again, Old Groaner is never seen, but is heard, and much brush shaking is observed. There are several incidents recounted where the prospectors are sure the bear is going to attack them, even though they only hear the bear and never see it.  In one incident, Old Groaner is clearly deterred by gunfire over the top of the brush.

To sum up: The Johnstone brothers hear Old Groaner one night in the 1933 at Cripple Creek on the way to the Sulphide Creek gold fields. They bypass Cripple Creek on the way down in 1933. They hear Old Groaner again on Cripple Creek on the way up in 1934, and again on the way down in 1934. They and George Lemmons hear him on the way up in 1935. On the way down in 1935, they spend time at Cripple Creek and build a small cabin. There are bears in abundance. No one has seen Old Groaner. Shortly before they leave for Ketchikan, Old Groaner attacks the dog Slasher and Bruce Johnstone and is killed.

The final incident, where Old Groaner is killed, is similar to that recounted by F.W. Gabler. Bruce Johnson is making the stake to mark their claim near Cripple Creek. Bruce is alerted to the charge of Old Groaner by the dog Slasher. Slasher delays the attack enough for Bruce to grab his .38-72 rifle and shoot Old Groaner, stopping the attack and killing the bear.

The two brothers and George Lemmons return the next day. They do not skin Old Groaner because the hide is worthless with "no more hair than a hog".

In the 1936 version, they do not skin Old Groaner because the carcass is frozen, making skinning very difficult.

The author of the 1953 re-write, "Handlogger" Jackson, detailed a near fatal encounter he had with a grizzly bear in his auto-biography, "Handloggers".

On page 181 Jackson details an encounter with a bear in 1946.  He wrote the bear "had no more hair than a hog" and was suffering from bad teeth and infected wounds.  That bear was crafty and attacked them without warning. The description is remarkably similar to that of Old Groaner in the 1953 re-write.

Examining the head, the men conclude Old Groaner was a "man-hunter, a killer" because the bear had "stalked" Bruce. They decide they should have been much more scared of the bear than they had been previously.

They take the head and a paw to show how large the bear was.

When they skin the head, they find the same extensive damage to the skull, as found in the 1936 article, the same two embedded .33 caliber jacketed bullets from a rifle as found in the 1936 article ... and three bullets from a .38 caliber revolver, never mentioned in the 1936 article.

The story of Jess Sethington, the Canadian prospector who disappeared
in the area 30 years previously, who was believed to carry a .33
caliber rifle, is elaborated with considerable details not mentioned in

In 1953, Handlogger Jackson adds that Sethington owned a .38 revolver. In this version, he failed to meet with people at a pre-arranged date. Four experienced woodsmen are then said to have searched for him, found his camps up to the area where the prospectors later heard Old Groaner on Cripple Creek, and then lost track of him. They found no evidence of him or any of his gear. He was said to have a trapping concession in Canada.

The description of the search sounds much like the expedition which investigated the disappearance of Crist Kolby, written in the Alaska Sportsman in 1946. The 1939 expedition found the remains of Kolby.

In the 1936 version, the discovery of the embedded bullets and the possible Jess Sethington connection is described on page 28.

From page 28 of the 1936 article:

While cutting away the gristle in back of the large, fan-shaped bone that formed a part of the right jaw, they made a startling discovery. There, deeply imbedded in overcrusted bone, were two lead slugs. The slugs from jacketed bullets.  After a careful examination, the three woodsmen unanimously agree that the bullets were from a .33 caliber gun. 

"That reminds me," said Bruce, slowly, as he studied the glowing embers of the fire through half-closed eyes. "Do you you remember back in 1923 - a fellow by the name of Jess Sethington came in here packing a .33? He never came out. As I recall, he was a Canadian from Stewart, B.C."

From the 1953 re-write, page 34, by "Handlogger" Jackson a similar scene is described:

But most incredulous of all was the jaw. The right hinge of the jaw has been shattered, and though completely healed over on the outside, the bones around the hing were porous and sloughed away so they didn't meet. They were a dark red, still infected. Around the other skull wounds the bone was healed clean and white. Back of the damaged jaw hinge, imbedded in the skull and partly overgrown, were two bullets from a .33 caliber rifle, and in the gristle under the jaw were three bullets from a .38 caliber revolver. 

Jess Sethington, who had disappeared on the Unuk  twelve years before, had owned a .33 caliber rifle and a .38 revolver. He had been tracked up the river by his campfires as far as Cripple Creek, where all traces of him vanished. Picturing the position in which a man would have to be to place those three revolver bullets under a bear's jaw, they could guess only too well what had become of Jess Sethington.

And so the myth of Old Groaner the mankiller was formed. 

Bullets from a revolver which had never been mentioned in the 1936 article magically appeared in the 1953 account, 17 years after the event, 30 years after Jess Sethington disappeared. How or why is unknown.

In Part III the changes of the myth of Old Groaner between the 1953 re-write and later versions will be explored.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


OK: Man Shoots Intruder in Oklahoma City Home

A metro man confronts and shoots an intruder after police say he forced his way into the southwest Oklahoma City home.

According to the resident, who did not want to be identified, he hesitated to pull the trigger. 

He said after Derial Goode Jr. managed to force his locked front door open, he was stirred awake.

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AZ: Shooter Claims Self Defense in Death of James Hendrickson

Authorities arrived and found a man seriously hurt who died on the scene from his injuries. Police later identified him as James Hendrickson, 65.

Sgt. Melissa Soliz says the shooter made several statements of self-defense to investigators while he was detained and was later released pending further investigation. Video from the scene showed the passenger window of a car completely shattered with crime tape blocking off a considerable portion of the street.

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FL: Road Rage Said to have Ended in Self Defense Shooting

Police said a confrontation began in the street before it spilled into the parking lot where one driver pulled a gun.

One driver shot another driver, allegedly in self defense, and the other driver is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, according to police.

More Here

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

WI: Madison Cheap Gun Opportunity 13 August, 2022

Some guns recently purchased by private buyers in Fort Worth, Texas 

The Dane County Sheriff's Office will be holding a gun "buyback" on August 13, 2022, in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Alliant Energy Center. "Buyback" is an Orwellian term. The guns which will be turned in to the police and sheriff deputies at the event were never owned by the government, so they cannot be "bought back". 

The Alliant Energy Center is part of the Madison Coliseum complex, at 1919 Alliant Energy Center  Way. There are large parking lots with little roadside parking. The event is to start at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. $50,000 dollars has been allocated for the event. About $12,000 of the money will be used for overtime of the police and deputies.


The resolution provides $50,000 for the program - $12,000 for staff
overtime costs for the Sheriff’s Office and the Madison Police
Department, and the remaining amount will be used towards the purchase of fuel and grocery gift cards, facility use fees and supplies.

The Dane County Sheriff's department announced the following amounts will be exchanged in gift cards:

$250 for "assault rifles"

$250 for "ghost guns"

$100 for rifles, shotguns, and pistols

$50 for revolvers

$10-20 for facsimiles, BB guns, and air guns. 

It is not clear if homemade slam fire shotguns will be accepted as "ghost guns".

No walk-ups will be accepted. Guns are to be in the cargo compartments of vehicles .  The firearms are to be unloaded. Ammunition which participants desire to turn in is asked to be kept in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.  A maximum of four guns will be accepted per person. 

No soliciting (private sales) will be allowed on the Alliant Energy Center. This presents a challenge to private purchasers of firearms.

This correspondent spoke with Elise of the Dane County Sheriff's office. She agreed the definitions of the above firearms were fluid, and considerable officer discretion in payments for particular firearms was necessary.  

The Sheriff's office reserves the right to close the event early if the gift cards run out. 

This is a strong possibility. When gift cards run out at these events, people often still show up and are willing to sell firearms to private purchasers.

Madison, Wisconsin is in the heart of deer and pheasant hunting country. The area has a strong tradition of the shooting sports. Many of the people turning in guns at these event inherited the guns and have little or no knowledge of how much they are worth. 

It is likely many sporting shotguns and rifles worth hundreds of dollars will be turned in for $100 worth of gift cards. The sleeper here is revolvers. Only $50 is offered for revolvers.

Revolver prices have kept pace with inflation. Decent revolvers cost several hundred dollars.  It is likely there will be significant numbers of Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Colt revolvers turned in at the event for a few percent of what they are worth on the market.

Private buyers at these events have been resilient, persistent, and inventive. They may set up tables at the entrances to the Alliant Energy Center, for example.  Private purchase of firearms is legal in Wisconsin. Madison banned the sale of handguns for a few years, but the state legislature passed a preemption bill forbidding local governments from doing so. From a Madison police legal update in 2011: 

This is an interesting excert on how the Madison police department
viewed 66.0409 in Spring of 2011. It came from the Madison police
department web site titled Legal Update. It apparently is done under authority of Captain Victor Whal. [ ... ] So, while these ordinances remain on the books, most of them (prohibiting the sale of firearms, prohibiting the possession of short-barreled handguns, prohibiting the possession of assault weapons, etc) are unenforceable.
Officers should not take enforcement action for these ordinances. The emphasis is mine.

It appears deputies and police will prevent soliciting on the Alliant Energy property, but not outside of it.

Madison has not had a gun turn-in event in many years. Elise at the Sheriff's department said she could not remember one in the eighteen years she had been there.  In 2014, there was a similar event in Milwaukee. Some nice guns were purchased by private buyers.

Eighteen years of inherited guns may yield large numbers of good guns to be turned in to be destroyed.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.



CA: Store Owner Shoots Shotgun at Suspect who Entered Store with Rifle

Surveillance video obtained by FOX 11 shows a male suspect wearing a red and black sweatshirt and a ski mask entering the store before he points a rifle at the store owner who was behind the counter. Noticing that the man entering the store was armed, the store owner swiftly grabbed a shotgun from underneath the counter and opened fire on the suspect. The suspect is then seen fleeing the store.

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TX: Homeowner Shoots, Kills man who Threatened, Charged him

Police said on Saturday, July 30 around 11:03 p.m. , officers responded to a shooting in the 2600 block of Quinto Drive. DPD said the suspect was accused of threating to kill a homeowner, while pretending to have a weapon. Police said the suspect charged at the homeowner twice, and was then shot by the homeowner.

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Monday, August 01, 2022

Dallas: Love Field Airport Shooting on Video

Shooting at Love Airport, Dallas, TX July 25, 2022

On July 25, 2022, a woman with a history of mental problems entered Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, a little after 11 a.m. After a short time, she fired shots and was shot by a Dallas police officer within a few seconds.

From the time stamp on a body camera, Portia Odufua entered Love Field Airport in Dallas at about 11 a.m., on July 25, 2022. A short time later, she was firing rounds from a handgun into the ceiling as she was reported to be making statements about marriage and saying she would blow up the airport.

Dallas police have released a video of the event.

Odufua entered the airport with her left hand in the pocked of her hoodie/sweatshirt. She then entered a restroom. When she came out, both hands were in the pocket.

As she approached the ticket counter area, she has her right hand in the pocket. There is no audio in video. She has been reported to make statements, just before pulling what appears to be a semi-automatic handgun and firing shots above her head, at about 2:20 in the video.

At this point, a Dallas police officer was approaching, and was a few yards away from her. At the shots, he backpedals a few feet while drawing his pistol and seeking cover behind a Kiosk. He returns fire in about five seconds.

Ms Odufua is down on the floor within about 9 seconds of the first shot, at about 2:29 in the video. Fox news has reported Odufua was prohibited from possessing firearms because of her history.  From fox4kdfw:

Police say Odufuwa has been prohibited from owning a firearm since 2018 because of a prior criminal history that includes arrests for bank robbery, arson and false reporting. 

Online court records show some of the cases were dismissed, and Odufuwa was found incompetent to stand trial. She also has a history of mental health evaluations following arrests.

Police say in 2016 Odufuwa was denied the purchase of a firearm twice at a Balch Springs pawn shop due to an outstanding traffic warrant.

This event demonstrates the advantage of an armed defender being inside the event, instead of responding to a call, and having to travel to the event from another location.

The officer in this case acted quickly, firing at the threat in about five seconds. He Appears to have been alerted to Odufuwa before she started firing.

Jack Wilson in the White Settlement Church incident, was inside the scene when it occurred. Jack responded in seconds with an accurate shot that stopped the killing.

Eli Dicken, at the recent Greenwood Park Mall event, was at the food court and able to stop the killing in about 15 seconds.

In all three of these events, defenders who were on the scene stopped the violence in a few seconds. This contrasts sharply with the situation in Uvalde, Texas, where poorly led and confused police milled around for 77 minutes, unable to determine who was in charge.

They finally engaged the killer, after 21 people, including 19 children, had been killed.

No armed defender was inside the scene at Uvalde. Some arrived reasonably quickly, and then retreated.

Nothing can take the place of a good man with a gun, who is at the scene and willing to act immediately to stop the threat.

The contrast between Uvalde, where 21 were killed, and White Settlement, the Greenwood Park Mall, and Love Airport, where two, three, or no one was killed, was a good guy with a gun who was willing to use it.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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TX: Store Cler Shoots 62-Year-Old Many who Attacked Her

A justice of the peace has set bond at $250,000 for a Beaumont man accused of attacking a store clerk during a robbery Friday night.

Beaumont police say the store clerk shot 62-year-old William Coleman after he attacked her at Everest Food Mart in the 2800 block of Eastex Freeway.

Police responded to the store around 11:30 p.m. Friday. 


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IL: Woman Shoots at Group of Armed Theives, Hits 13-Year-Old

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Police said a woman shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy who was part of a group that tried to break into her car, and then pointed a gun at her, in Hyde Park Friday night.

At 7:58 p.m., four to five males were trying to break into a parked car in the 1100 block of East 52nd Street, police said.

The 34-year-old woman who owned the car confronted the would-be thieves, at which point one of them took out a gun and pointed it at her, police said.

More Here

Sunday, July 31, 2022

WA: Domestic Defense, Neighbor Shoots, Kills Man Attempting to Break into Home

There was an active restraining order agains the man who was shot.

Deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department received a call from someone saying a man was trying to break into his home and that he had shot him. When they arrived, they found a 36-year-old man dead on a back porch, authorities said. 

The homeowner was taken into police custody.

 More Here

Saturday, July 30, 2022

"Old Groaner": Alaskan Myth about Bears and Pistols, Part I of IV

Old Groaner Skull, Right side, bullet hole shows finishing shot. The bullet hole measures from .8025 inches to .6510 inches across, according to Haley Chambers of the Ketchikan Museums.

Part I. The events which started the story

In early November, 1935, at the upper reaches of the Unuk river in Southeastern Alaska, prospector, trapper, and logger, Bruce Johnstone, shot a near world record grizzly bear in self defense. The bear had been shot in the head previously, but had survived and healed, leaving the skull deformed and the bear blind on the right side. 

The skull was brought back to Ketchikan. The story was published in the February, 1936 issue of the struggling Alaska Sportsman, written by F. W. Gabler. Gabler interviewed the shooter, Bruce Johnstone.  Both Johnstone and Gabler were longtime residents in the Ketchikan area, and likely knew each other well. Included in the story was an illustration by Gabler, photographs of the bear head and a front paw, and several angles of the skull showing where bullets were found. 

This was the start of the mythology of Old Groaner. While Gabler indulged in speculation about the event where the bear had been wounded, and what the bear was thinking, the reporting of the facts was probably accurate. The event was recent, the physical evidence was fresh, and Bruce Johnstone (as later reported by a close associate) had an excellent memory.  Gabler wrote some of the best known articles for the early Alaska Sportsman. His last article in the Alaska Sportsman, known to this correspondent, appeared six months after the early, tragic death of his wife in August of 1936.

The Old Groaner story circulated around the campfires and near the wood stoves of Alaska sportsmen, residents, hunters, trappers, and fishermen. Embellishments were likely added. The definitive moment of the creation of the Old Groaner myth occurred when W.H. "Handlogger" Jackson rewrote the story for the Alaska Sportsman in 1953. 

Jackson was a friend of the editor of the Alaska Sportsman. He had been given assignments and had written articles for the magazine before. He was married to Bruce Johnstone's older sister, Ruth.  How it happened that Gabler wrote the original Old Groaner article instead of Jackson is unknown. Gabler's iconic story "The Wolf Pack" was in the first issue of the Alaska Sportsman, and was republished later. Jackson was commonly absent from Ketchikan, making a living logging, as detailed in his excellent biography "Handloggers".  It is possible he was not available.

This correspondent became interested in the story as part of ongoing research about the effectiveness of handguns used in defense against bears. The myth of Old Groaner has spread widely since 1953. It involved a strong assumption that a pistol had been used, and the pistol shots had been ineffective. I had committed to the proposition that all documented cases where a pistol had been fired in defense against a bear would be included in analysis of the effectiveness of pistols used in defense against bears.  As this researcher searched for examples of such incidents, the Old Groaner myth appeared in search after search. Old Groaner called for study, as it might qualify as one of the rare failures

Some Geography: The Unuk starts in Canada and travels  about 60 miles to its mouth on the Alaskan coast. Cripple Creek is roughly 18 miles upriver from the mouth, and is a good camping spot.  The Canadian border is about 6-7 miles upstream from Cripple Creek. Most of the mining and prospecting occurs on Sulphide Creek, shown on modern maps as Sulphurrets Creek, another 15 miles upstream of the border. 

I started searching for the original source, to see if there was enough evidence to document the incident as a failure of the use of a pistol in defense against a bear. It was surprisingly difficult to obtain a copy of the original article.  Credit must be given to Susan Sommer of Alaska Magazine and Diane Firmani of the Wassilla Public Library for their help in finding the original 1936 article. 

The article published in 1936 has quite a bit of speculation, and a significant number of facts.  The article consists of five pages in the February edition, pages 16-19 and 28, with considerable space dedicated to an illustration on pages 16 and 17, and three pictures of the Old Groaner skull on page 18, showing placement of the two recovered bullets. There are pictures of Bruce Johnstone with the Old Groaner head and paw, and a picture of the head and paw (before the skull was skinned) on page 19.  Page 28 is all text, along with an advertisement for a Winchester rifle in .33 caliber. 

Here is the pared down account, with commentary on F. W. Gabler's speculations.

In 1933, Bruce Johnstone and his brother Jack, prospected on the upper reaches of the Unuk river for gold. At Cripple Creek, they had heard weird groaning sounds, which appeared to be associated with a large bear, which they heard crashing through the brush. There were many bear tracks in the area, and no one ever clearly saw the bear they presumed was doing the groaning, although Bruce may have caught a glimpse. 

Gabler engages in considerable speculation about the bear's history and psychology, including speculation about how the bear was wounded, many years before Bruce Johnstone encountered Old Groaner. In his speculative encounter, the person who shot Old Groaner fires three shots. He describes Old Groaner as particularly dangerous because he was wounded. 

The bear seems to avoid people, distinctly avoiding being seen.

Gabler spends some time describing how dangerous the area is, and how easy it would be for someone to meet with an accident and die, especially if they are traveling alone. The Unuk river is described as particularly dangerous.

Two years later, in 1935, the men returned to the Unuk to prospect. They heard the groaning bear again, and again. As in 1933, in 1935, no one sees the bear. 

During the last days before the prospectors were to head back to Ketchikan, in early November, Bruce was preparing a claim notice near Cripple Creek, for their mining prospect, as part of finishing their work. While doing so, his dog, Slasher, alerted Bruce to a large bear, coming at them. Slasher gave Bruce just enough time to grab his rifle and shoot the charging grizzly. Bruce killed the grizzly with three shots at very close range. One through the body, right shoulder to left ham; one through the neck, and a finishing shot through the brain. It was obvious the bear had a deformed head. In the article, Gabler says Bruce heard the bear groan after the last shot, and thus identified it as Old Groaner.  During the shooting, just before Old Groaner was killed, Bruce noticed a second bear, which Slasher was engaging.

Slasher drove off the second bear. Bruce headed back to camp, and Slasher joined him.  After Bruce arrived, and told his companions what had happened, it was getting late. The men decided to leave the dead bear for the next day.

Gabler identifies Bruce's rifle as a .38-72. 

When Bruce and his companions returned the next morning, Old Groaner was frozen, making skinning the bear impractical, if not impossible. They settled for cutting off the bears head and one front paw, to take back with them.

Later, when they skinned out the head, they discovered evidence the bear had been shot before, and the skull damaged. The right eye socket had been smashed, as had the back of the right jaw. There were other indications the skull had been impacted by bullets. Most of the bears teeth were either missing, or decayed. The bone had healed years before. In the back of the right jaw, embedded in the bone, they found two old jacketed rifle bullets, which, they decided, after careful examination, were .33 caliber.  Here are the two captions explaining the pictures of the skull: 


Front view of the skull of Old Groaner is shown at left. (1) Indicated right side of skull which was shot away in an encounter with man years before. (2) Shows were arch above left eye was shot away, probably at the same time right side was shattered.

Above is side view of skull. (3) Indicates spot where Bruce John-stone's fatal bullet entered the brain cavity. (4) Badly decayed teeth indicate bear was old. Right is rear view of skull. (5) Point to fatal bullet, lodged in the skull after having passed through the brain.  This view also shows approximate location where two old bullets were removed from the gristle. Incrustation indicated they had been there a number of years.  (6) Indentation where bullet from a side shot entered just above right eye. The photographs prove that the grizzly was shot in the head at least four times before his encounter with Bruce Johnstone.

There is an error in this description. The left eye arch is intact. It is the right eye arch which was shot away, as described by Gabler. This would reduce the number of shots to three, consistent with what Gabler writes in the article. Gabler never writes the left eye arch is damaged. He mentions the cranium is shattered on the left side. He also notes the fatal bullet is imbedded in the left cheek bone. This is all consistent with the skull as it exists today, and with the pictures. 

For the fatal bullet to become imbedded in the left cheek bone, it passed through both sides of the cranium and the brain from the bear's right to left side.

From page 28 of the 1936 article: 

Jack shook his head.  "Tough old fellow, wasn't he?  Can't understand how any creature can get his head half shot off and still live." 

"And look at his teeth," exclaimed George. "No wonder he groaned! They're nearly all decayed. Bet he had a toothache most of the time." 

While cutting away the gristle in back of the large, fan-shaped bone that formed a part of the right jaw, they made a startling discovery. There, deeply imbedded in overcrusted bone, were two lead slugs. The slugs from jacketed bullets.  After a careful examination, the three woodsmen unanimously agree that the bullets were from a .33 caliber gun. 

"That reminds me," said Bruce, slowly, as he studied the glowing embers of the fire through half-closed eyes. "Do you you remember back in 1923 - a fellow by the name of Jess Sethington came in here packing a .33? He never came out. As I recall, he was a Canadian from Stewart, B.C."

In the original article, there is no mention of a pistol. There is no mention of pistol bullets. The reference to Jess Sethington is, he possessed a .33 caliber rifle, and had disappeared up the Unuk 12 years earlier. The bear's skull was measured. If the original right side bones had been present, it would have been a world record.

It is a great story. 

In part II, this correspondent will consider the 1953 re-write by "Handlogger" Jackson.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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