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Letters and email from readers about Backwoods Home Magazine and the BHM website


Archive for March, 2011


Travelers’ Gun Rights

Monday, March 28th, 2011

A recent article in the April 2011 American Rifleman Magazine (p.77) was an unpleasant shock.  Apparently, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Gregg Revell, a Utah man who was arrested in transit for “possession of an unlicensed handgun” in New Jersey.  He had been on a flight from Pennsylvania to Utah when he missed a connecting flight in New Jersey, his luggage was re-routed to Newark, and he had to retrieve his luggage and stay overnight in New Jersey.  He was transporting his handgun unloaded and locked in his checked luggage, in compliance with the federal Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA).  Although the charges were later dismissed, the Utah resident spent 10 days in jail before he could post bail.  His civil rights lawsuit was dismissed by the US Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, because the gun was “readily accessible” to him while he stayed overnight in the NJ hotel – thus the FOPA did not apply to him while he was in New Jersey.

The Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal, so this ruling stands in the 3rd Circuit.  This decision should concern every gun owner who travels cross-country, who might be forced to spend a night in some anti-gun state such as NY, NJ, IL, and others.

I drive every year from Idaho to Ohio, passing through the State of Illinois.  I carry my firearms in Illinois in compliance with the FOPA, unloaded and locked in a hard case in the trunk.  In the past, I have stayed overnight at various motels in Illinois, always bringing my firearms into the motel room to prevent their theft from my vehicle.
I now realize that, without an Illinois firearms owners ID card (FOID),   I could be breaking the law in Illinois by having my firearms “readily accessible” in my motel room.  My choice would appear to have them “readily accessible” to me, probably in violation of Illinois law, or to have them readily accessible to criminals by leaving them outside in my vehicle.

I have decided on a third option:  I will never again stay overnight in any motel in Illinois.  I will stop in either Iowa or Indiana, depending on the direction I am traveling, and plan on driving completely through the People’s Republic of Illinois in one day.  Marksmen traveling through other anti-self defense states (NY, MA, NJ) should plan to stay overnight outside of those states – otherwise they risk arrest and the loss of their 2nd Amendment rights.

I would suggest you pass this warning on to all Backwoods Home readers, and advise them to let the Chambers of Commerce in Illinois and similar states know that we will not patronize their overnight accommodations until those states cease their attacks on our rights recognized by the 2nd Amendment.

Peter Humm

You’ve hit upon the best way to reply to these attacks against our rights — by withholding our money from the bastards doing the attacking.   — Dave


Telemarketing column

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Hi there,

I just read the article written by John Silveira called Why I’m nice to telemarketers and I had to write you a quick message to thank you. I work as a outbound call centre agent (which is what we telemarketers like to call ourselves haha) almost a year ago, and unless you’ve worked as one yourself I’m not sure you understand how much we appreciate people like you. We talk to a lot of unhappy people every day, and we truly do appreciate those who let us finish our little speech and politely decline. My coworkers and I actually brag to each other about the nice people we talk to.

So thank you for being nice to telemarketers and for writing an article about it.




How to shoot a handgun accurately by Massad Ayoob

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I really enjoyed this article, short and good. I never really knew how to shoot and it helped a lot.

Aubrey E. Ritchie


Error in article

Monday, March 28th, 2011


I have recently discovered your excellent magazine and will subscribe as soon as finances allow. I have two comments about your March/April 2011 Issue.

First as a long time handyman I couldn’t help but notice an error in the article by Len McDougall [Drive your own freshwater well]. The author refers to joining two pipes with a nipple when in fact you would join them with a coupler. The nipple is any length of pipe shorter than one foot with external or male threads on both ends. The coupler is a length of larger pipe with internal or female threads. I know this is nit-picking but if a novice would go to his local hardware store and ask for a 4-inch nipple he would not get home with the required parts.

My second comment is on the editorial concerning local government to which I say “hooray” You were right on the mark. I have visited your community and thankfully had a wonderful experience, but I am very familiar with similar situations.

The answer you seek is to get involved in politics at some level. You believe that the Chief of Police works for you as a citizen but in truth he answers to the local elected body of government, they are after all the people that can and will fire him.  They in turn answer to the voters. But only every two or four years or whatever your election cycle is. This has the effect of the Chief acting in the manner that he believes will keep him employed as long as possible.

An unfortunate scenario that often occurs is that a well-meaning new comer runs for office, is elected and promptly begins to try to change things to the way it worked where he came from. Or someone with a particular axe to grind attains office to get his way on an issue. The only way to affect the actions of your Chief is to become active in politics at some level.  You may run for office or actively support someone running that has a like mind as you. Write letters to the editor of your local paper and attend meetings of public interest. Never let someone run unopposed, even for positions such as school board or water commission, it gives them the attitude that they are untouchable. In Short political apathy is the tool that politicians use to run over the common citizen.


Neal J. Ward (ex-Chief of Police)

Mr. ward is correct about the misnamed pipe connector. It is generally called a coupler or coupling.

I’ve updated the online version with the correct part name.



A New Use for Old Tires Article

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I just wanted to say that this was EXACTLY what my husband and I were looking for on how to utilize old tires!

We have a piece of land that has been vacant for about 10 years. People have been throwing their old tires there for years and we were perplexed on how to properly dispose of them and really wanted to recycle them. This is saving us hundreds of dollars and offering us some peace of mind in being environmentally sound and organic with our gardening.

Thank you!

Lindsey McClure


Defunding government is a sensible voter solution to reigning in local government

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Great commentary.

Here in the Arizona Outback, my county is broke, too. Only problem, with 1 out of 10 voters now a trough feeder in one form or another, there’s no one left to do anything about it.  It’s just a sickening mess, government employees doing little more than time for pensions.



Tsunami/Earthquake issues

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

To the good folks at BHM,

I hope that all of you came through the recent tsunami in good shape. You have previously done some stories on tsunami preparedness in Gold Beach. How did those plans hold up in the face of the real thing? We are hearing very little about how Oregon and Washington fared and the California reports seem unbelievable. (No injuries in California and two million in damages yet we see news photos of 250-500 thousand dollar boats capsized or sunk at their moorings in marinas.)

The news from Japan seems to show that the Japanese programs worked. Sendai (closest city to the epicenter and struck by a 30″ wave) has a population of close to one million and Tokyo has about 30 million people, yet the national estimates are 500 -1000 dead and 2500 injured. Incredible. Would the US do as well?

I’d like to see some articles on the US preparedness plans (official ones). We in Arkansas worry about the New Madrid fault and we are having swarms of small quakes near Greenbriar, Arkansas. If the New Madrid lets go, Memphis, Tenn will probably be devastated and will draw most aid efforts leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves. Sound familiar?

I’ve been a subscriber for a while and wish I’d bought a lifetime subscription back when you still sold them!  Keep up the good work.

Scott Timmons
Hensley, Arkansas


The tsunami waves from the Japanese quake were small on the Oregon coast with light damage, except for some boat and dock damage in local harbors. The local tsunami sirens worked as planned. My family evacuated to our mountain home, in accordance with the plan we’ve had in place for a few years. We are well prepared to hang out at our house for months in the event of any emergency.

I’m very impressed by the Japanese people in the wake of this catastrophe. I think the people in my area of Oregon would behave the same. If need be, I could shelter and feed another 20 neighbors at my mountain home, and I think others in my area would be similarly ready to assist their neighbors.




Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Hoping the Tsunami sweeping across the ocean leaves you all safe and dry. Been thinking about you and your staff all night.

Jamie Allen

Thanks for the concern. We’re fine. We closed the office and the family evacuated Gold Beach. No damage in GB but we’re pretty wary.



So sorry to hear about tidal wave at Gold Beach!

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

I hope you are all well at my favorite magazine!

I read every issue cover to cover and I think that you are all like family.

More than family, because my family does not share all the views that I share with you.

May your survival mind set have protected you from this disaster.

And, of course, we all wish the best for the people in Japan and others that suffered this disaster.

Douglas S. Basberg


Dave’s recent columns and complainers

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This country has been on the wrong track for well over 2 centuries, yet some Republicans and Democrats remain oblivious to the fact that their political party leaders are responsible for what has happened in recent decades. The letter writers who complain about Dave’s political views going too far should examine their premises. Contrary to the naysayers; I’m of the opinion that Dave, John, and O. E. McDougal don’t go nearly far enough, for they appear to believe that restoring Constitutional government is possible and desirable.

Before some of you dig out your pitch-forks in preparation for attack: Let me inform or remind you that the ratification of the Constitution had its strongest opposition from the most liberty-minded people back then! Patrick Henry of “Give me liberty or give me death” fame, when asked why he refused to attend the constitutional convention, declared:”I smell a rat!” I also recommend the reading of the anti-federalist papers.

My disagreement with this view stems from principles that perhaps they have not yet considered. I am a strong believer in the Non-Aggression Principle, which means that I take a moral and principled stand against force, aggression, and power: nobody, with or without badges or ballots, has the right to agress on any other. We live in a violence based society because we have always had a violence based government.

Had the founding leaders truly believed in freedom for all, then they would have set up a voluntary societies similar to the church congregations that many of them were members of, which raises funds via voluntary donations. Instead, they imposed upon us a coercive government with the power to rob us. Indeed, not long after the ratification of the Constitution, President George Washington led an army to Pennsylvania to rob people that wished to keep their whiskey, which for them was a form of currency. This became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Alexander Hamilton and his ilk claimed that they needed the revenue to pay off government debts. If it is immoral for a gang down your street to rob a store for the purpose of acquiring enough money to bail out a jailed friend, then it was also immoral for a group of people that call themselves “the government” to rob people for the purpose of repaying investors. The citizens didn’t consent to the loan, and saddling them with the debt ex-post facto was also wrong. The debt could have been paid for by the sale of land, or the debt could have been defaulted on.

There is no question that the people who attended the constitutional convention were highly educated and very intelligent. How is it then that such sharp lawyers, judges, and politicians would include language into the constitution that imposes a death penalty for treason, yet imposes only slaps on the wrists of the ruling class for violating “the supreme law of the land?” This cannot possibly be a mere accident! Indeed, President John Adams and the Federalist congressmen passed the Sedition Act, which was clearly unconstitutional, during the founding generation; yet they were not even impeached, let alone imprisoned or executed. Therefore: we should not cast blame at our fellow tax slaves for failing to remove today’s tyrants from office since our forefathers could do no better with a much smaller government that lacked today’s weaponry. Isn’t it amazing that the very minarchist document which was supposedly intended to limit government led to the most powerful government in world history in so little time?

Improving the Constitution would be of no use because we would have to babysit the government 24/7 in order to make it behave; so why replace it once the government collapses? There has never been a moral government in this world, nor will there ever be one! The very second that a government becomes established; there becomes 2 classes of people: the ruler(s) and the ruled. The belief that government is needed because mankind is evil is erroneous thinking. “If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.”-Robert LeFevre

Positions of power attract busybodies and evil people, and power corrupts even otherwise good men. No man should have power over another in a moral and free society!

Genuine free-market solutions to problems is the moral way of solving problems and filling wants. Natural Law is easy to understand and is explained at the Lysander Spooner website link below.

So, what should lovers of liberty do? Free yourselves! Freedom is mostly a state of mind! Most decisions made by people every day are anarchic in nature despite the state’s existence. I used to be a statist conservative republican, but my thirst for knowledge drove me and drives me toward self-improvement and gradually toward wisdom. I can state from personal experience that the truth will set you free!

Here are some free educational resources for your consumption:

and most certainly BWH’s very own columnist Claire Wolfe:

Please folks; educate as many people as you can. If this government were to collapse today, the masses would foolishly promote an election to choose representatives to form a reincarnated state to replace the one that just failed.

Brian Mast
Abolitionist from Stover, Missouri


Defunding government

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011


I will start with the statement that I have read your magazine since its inception many years ago. Our lives have been tested in similar manners, divorce, child rearing, attempting to start over again ect. This is why I find it shocking that you advocate the throw the baby out with the bathwater solution so many have… I expected better..or at least  a fair chance, you see Dave, I AM ONE OF THEM a good for nothing fat cat rich public employee.

I would love to make 30+ dollars an hour and all those FREE MONEY BENEFITS I would sure like some body to show them to me.

I did get a raise this year Dave, a whole .25 cents an hour  didn’t get a raise the last 3 years though.

My” golden parachute “retirement from the state I work for after 30 years of loyal service will be about 785 a month.And that is it, if our Governor doesn’t decide to give it to the teachers union, which means you guessed it… screwed again.

Yes… the joys of working for “the people”. I guess I could be bitter about it, but hey with all the millions in free benefits who could complain?

What do I do you ask?  I am a nurses aide on a Maximum Security Ward of a Mental Institution. And we all know how well DEFUNDING mental health has been working on that problem don’t we Dave?

My whole point is there are services that are necessary if not popular and the people who step up to do these jobs don’t really need to be demonized by an editorial that may be true in Oregon is not necessarily true every where else.

A one size fits all approach is one that rarely fits any. And while I have enjoyed your publication for many years and do agree with you on most things I have to draw a line Dave….. Sorry you have been defunded.


Bruce E. Blankenship


Articles in the recently issued magazine

Friday, March 4th, 2011


Thank you for the articles on the Morels and Propagating Plants. The scope and details (including pictures) in these articles is exactly what was on my “to do” search list.

Please consider an article on how to find ginseng? Other people, who have since moved on, have had our permission to harvest morels and ginseng on our property. With full retirement around the corner, we are interested in both activities.

Again, thanks.

Alice Riffle
A subscriber for many years


Getting the State Out of Marriage

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I liked your article. I would only add that marriage confers many rights to couples, which is why the “gay marriage” and “poly marriage” debate matters. There are state and Federal estate laws, laws about who can make decisions for someone who is incapacitated, laws governing retirement plans, etc. that grant special privileges to married couples. The state does have an interest in these matters, as you mentioned, in the role of arbiter. Poly marriage presents unique problems in that several spouses of the deceased/incapacitated would make the arbiter’s role more difficult, especially if they didn’t agree unanimously on a course of action. That does not mean that the government has the right to decide who can and cannot marry, just that they have an interest in the union.


Jeff Yamada


De-funding Government

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

I agree with this article whole-heartily. Boohoo that they have to return to a sheriff, judge, etc. Lets force them to return to the government established by our Constitution. The majority of the County was not run by paid officials, but volunteers, right down to the Grand Juries where you were truly tried by a jury of your peers. Not people randomly selected, but your local townspeople, the people that knew you, knew your circumstances and basic character. When true justice prevailed. If the local citizens thought a law imposed by the City/County government was unjust, the defendant walked. That is how we kept Government at bay. Not many people are aware that Grand Juries is the 4th branch of government. Our fearless leaders have kept that from public education. They even went as far as to impose State Constitutions that state only a Superior Judge can order a Grand Jury. This disgusts me because our founding fathers gave us this branch of government to avoid corruption.

Our local police and courts have become a revenue generating corporation. I would like to know why the police are stationed along the roadsides just waiting to pull someone over, yet when you call them, they take over an hour to show up to help you.

My old City pulled something similar a few years back. They did their “Wetlands study” in our neighborhood which resulted in a local farmer losing their land. Two years after forcing this family off their farm and land, they built an 8 bay Metro Bus Transit Station on the property.(What happened to the protected Wetlands?) On a humerous note, their plans were delayed for two years because city workers didn’t know what to do when they discovered an underground bomb shelter on the land while excavating. Not more than 3 months after this big grand bus terminal was built, the City put a gas tax hike before the voters. When the voters voted against it, the City punished us by stating, “Because we did not win the gas tax hike, we can no longer afford to run all of our buses” So to this day (6 years later), A family lost their homestead, but in it’s place is 4 acres of paved asphalt where only one bus runs two times a day.

Revulsed yet? I am…Government at it’s finest.

I am so happy to finally be in a small community where they watch over their officials. If they try to pull the wool over our eyes, you can rest assured, they will not survive the next vote. We have people sitting in on every County Commissioner meeting, every City Council meeting, and the like. Our only problem? The other side of our state is so citified, they pay no attention, and unfortunately, they have many more people who carelessly vote for the Legislators.

Misty Foster
Colville, WA


Dave Duffy’s Article “Defunding government…”

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011


I only rarely have the opportunity to “Surf the web”, despite the fact that I’m employed in the computer industry. I happened upon Mr. Duffy’s article quite by accident.

I must say that even though I live across the country in New Hampshire, I find his sentiments, as well as his reasoning and experience, to be quite common. Things are handled here in New Hampshire much differently than they are in Wisconsin, but even their woes seem to be touching all.

I truly believe that Mr. Duffy has touched upon the fundamental issue; the “People” vs. “government”. There seems to be an attitude of superiority among “government employees”. This attitude permeates every area of public service, from the governors, to the cops, to the fire-fighters, to the administrators, to the clerks, to the folks that collect the garbage in town (in those towns where such collection is part of the tax-payer funded services). Thankfully, here in New Hampshire, things are not as outwardly contentious as in other parts of the Country, (at least not in my locale), but we have our issues.

The economy has cost the private citizens our jobs, our homes, our retirements (which for many of us means we no longer have _ANY_ retirement funds left), and in some cases, our very families. While the private sector has been burdened more and more to support the top-heavy structure of our government at all levels, the government employees have remained (until now) arrogantly secure in their futures. Well, the economy has finally reached them.

While certain emergency and safety employees are certainly worth more than they are paid, they can only be paid what we can afford. Even then, they must occasionally be reminded that “Public Servant” does _NOT_ mean that the “Public” is their “Servant”.  Regardless of the particular position of any government employee, whether law-enforcement, fire-fighter, or clerk, it is the job of the government employee to preserve and protect _OUR_ way of life, not the other way around.

I know, this email is far longer than it should be… It’s far longer than I initially intended… Please accept my apologies for that. I just felt compelled to express my sentiments to Mr. Duffy and let him know that, while different parts of the country may outwardly express the sentiment differently, I believe he has rather eloquently expressed, and defined, the primary issue of this Nation’s discontent.

Well done, Mr. Duffy.

All the best.

Al Hitchmoth
New Hampshire



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