There is a Safety Procedure for reenactments in state parks that says this: Park visitors will not be permitted to handle any loaded or edges weapons.
The following photo took up a large portion on the front page in the local section of Monday's paper.
The accompanying article was actually very good, and we enjoyed it.
First off, we were concerned about the age. The leaders of the group assured us that all the leaders were trained NRA blackpowder instructors, and trained the young soldiers in safety and handling of the muskets. And that the training was taken seriously, and they were kept under tight control. That these young soldiers were better controlled and safer than some adults at other annual reenactments were, and that many reenactments have participants like these. This I agreed with. I observed them before the event and was confident that they were safe and proficient. These kids do a great job. The park has several staff who are also trained NRA instructors, and agreed with the leaders. The leaders said that they are permitted under their organizational guidelines and with close adult supervision. The problem was not the kids. They did excellent. We were short of reenactors, and would not have been able to hold the advertised battle reenactment without their help. Everyone was really impressed with the kids.
The problem was that after the battle was over on Sunday, one of the adults allowed park visitors to fire muskets. When we asked this young soldier why he let this other kid handle and fire the musket, he said that Mr. ______ said that it was okay.
When I approached this adult about letting park visitors fire muskets, he had a very unusual reply. This adult who claims to be a NRA instructor, said that I was not being creative enough and that I have to be flexible, and that rules were made to be bent. Those were the exact words.
Well you can only bend so far until there is a limit, and the limit was reached. The next day this photo appeared in the local paper, and that was it. We decided that this was enough, and that there will be no more battle reenactment at this park. It is over for good.
This may affect other parks, but I do not know if that will happen. This careless action by this one adult who is suppose to be a trained NRA blackpowder instructor, had forever canceled our event. And it may cancel other events when the state gets wind of it.
This adult said he will complain to the state legislators. Go ahead. I cannot see what he can justify when the park safety procedures clearly state that, Park visitors will not be allowed to handle any loaded or edged weapons. You should have known better, and I don't know how much plainer it can be. Why don't you be creative and explain to me how you can be flexible and bend this rule? Yes, you are a NRA instructor, but are you also an eye doctor in case a burning ember goes in a kid's eye? Are you a paramedic if someone was injured? Are you a lawyer who can talk your way out of this? You told me how you complained about a park to the legislators and the next year you came back and they were kissing your ass, but it will not happen with us.
You said that we “dis-invited” you from next year's event, which I assume that it is because we did not allow you to let park visitors handle loaded weapons. You got it wrong. We did not “dis-invite” you. You are always welcome to return if you can comply with the state park Historic Weapons Firing Demonstration Safety Procedures. If you feel that these are too restrictive and you are unable to comply, then I am sorry to hear that, and wish you luck elsewhere.