The National Gun Debate: One Man’s Thoughts

Welcome back. While I was in Tulsa this past weekend for one of his big gun and knife shows I caught up with Rex Kehrli, the owner of R&K Gun Shows. From what I could find out Rex has one of the largest gun and knife sales companies in the country with shows going on in cities from coast to coast and often overlapping. He is a veteran in the industry with over thirty years of experience organizing and promoting these shows. Given the ongoing debate in the country I was interested to hear his thoughts about gun control and here is what he told me, in his own words. Please note that these are Rex’s ideas and opinions, not necessarily mine or those of the Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise.

“In regards to the recent shootings and terror in our country, we must get together and ditch the emotion in favor of rational thinking. As a society we must eliminate gun free zones- a gun free zone sign says to the bad guy come here, it’s easy to kill us. These attacks happen in these areas for a reason: no deterrent.We should have a dedicated entrance at every school, one entrance. IDs should be checked along with a police officer presence. In addition a limited amount of teachers should have training as armed responders. I can’t understand why the teachers’ union is against this. We do this in our courthouses protecting far less numbers of people.

Metal detectors should be installed at the dedicated entrance. These practices will eliminate the mass casualties. We should also look at doing this at any large assemblies of people. Evil seeks easy opportunity and when it finds it, it will act. America has the best police and military in the world. We can hire these quality people to protect our children for $25-$40 per hour, not to mention that some retirees may do this on a volunteer basis. This is a minimal price to pay to protect our society’s most precious resource.

In closing, every tragedy (of this type) has one thing in common-mental health. This must be aggressively addressed. These people aren’t getting the help they need and they are slipping through the cracks. In the case of the Florida tragedy people saw things and reported them but the FBI and law enforcement failed to follow through. This is a passionate issue but a slow, methodical discussion addressing these issues will be the most productive. Unfortunately in our society after every tragedy we are bombarded with politicians trying to advance their own addenda. We must move beyond this.
In regards to changing the age for purchasing a firearm to 21, I am firmly opposed. In my opinion, we cannot ask our heroes in the military to take up arms to defend us without granting them their second amendment rights.”

Rex Kehrli

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…


The Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City

Welcome back. The Oklahoma City fairgrounds otherwise known as State Fair Park, was packed this weekend with a youth livestock show that was underway. Hundreds and hundreds of stock trailers filled the parking lots around the livestock barns and that’s not all that was going on. There was a huge car show in the new Bennett Event Center and as I walked through the parking lot outside of that building-which was also full- I saw car tags from around the country. As you can imagine there were people everywhere and there were even more events. The state high school basketball playoffs along with a large antique show were up and running and in yet another facility there was a big gun show which was where I was. Friends, people were parking on the grass, across the street and down the block as a steady stream of visitors came to the fairgrounds and I’m happy to report that with all the thousands of folk attending the various events there were no problems.

If you’ve never been to State Fair Park here is a little history about the place. I found that the original fairgrounds were established in 1907 primarily as the site of the annual Oklahoma State Fair. Today’s fair park sits on a 4440 acre property in the western part of Oklahoma City. Many new facilities have been added over the years to attract horse shows, rodeos, concerts and athletic events and now the fairgrounds hosts a wide variety of other events.

I had been hoping to get an interview with the national promotor who was putting on the gun show but he had five other shows going on around the country and he missed the one in OKC. However he confirmed that he plans to attend his big gun show at the Tulsa fairgrounds this weekend and said that we could talk then about his thoughts on firearms.

All in all things went well this weekend and as always when visiting OKC, I made a point of going to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I usually find something new and exciting every time I’m there and I wasn’t disappointed this time. A new large exhibit of paintings caught my eye along with a special area where seldom seen items from the museum’s storage were displayed. From there I moved on to the John Wayne exhibit which is a particular favorite of mine and then more paintings. I finished up my tour in a long hallway filled with bronze busts. These sculptures depict the people whose leadership and contributions were instrumental in getting the museum started. Among the thirty or so people included in the exhibit is one who most of you have probably heard of. His name was Kenneth S. Adams but he was better known as “Boots” Adams. In just seventeen years he worked his way up from a position as a warehouse clerk to the presidency of a major oil company, Phillips Petroleum. His story is still well known in Bartlesville and hopefully as time goes by it won’t fade away. Check out The Boots Adams Story at the local library and I guarantee you won’t put it down.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………….

Coffeyville,KS and the Dalton Gang

A little history of the old west….

Welcome back. Coffeyville, Kansas where back in 1892 the Dalton gang tried to rob two banks at the same time and if you haven’t heard it didn’t go well. There is a museum dedicated to the bank robbers in downtown Coffeyville right where it all happened and I learned that every October the town holds Dalton Defender Days, a big festival commemorating the event. The museum and the festival are well worth a visit but there is a lot more to this town. The Brown Mansion alone is worth a trip to see this elaborate 1900s era home and its gardens. Then there’s the Coffeyville fairgrounds, a beautiful piece of property where many different events are held throughout the year including the big Interstate Fair and Rodeo. Coffeyville Community College is also in the center of town and that’s where I was this past Friday and Saturday attending the 2nd Annual Interstate Farm and Home Show.

Going to these types of events always gives me the chance to visit with folks and look around in whatever town I happen to be in. In this case my walk through downtown Coffeyville and around the campus of the community college turned up more than one piece of interesting history about the town. Founded in 1869, Coffeyville was the first trading post you came to after leaving Indian Territory which later became Oklahoma. Today that small trading post has been turned into quite the industrial center. Coffeyville Resource produces 100,000 barrels of refined oil a day and also has a large nitrogen fertilizer plant making them one of the town’s largest employers but John Deere, Acme Foundry, Cessna Aircraft and a handful of other companies all play a big role in the community.

Many may remember the flood of 2007 here in Coffeyville when a third of the town was underwater after the nearby Verdigris River went 10 feet over its banks. This natural disaster was covered by all the national networks but friends from what I could see this past weekend there is little sign of flood damage now. From its historic downtown area to its many beautiful period home this community in the southeast corner of the State of Kansas has a lot to offer. I will be looking forward to the Third Annual Farm and Home show next year and you might just put it on your calendar as well. Want to know more/ Check with their Chamber of Commerce– that’s what I do when visiting a new town.

This coming weekend I’ll be back in Oklahoma City where I’m putting together a story about gun shows. R&K Shows out of Iowa is one of the largest in the country and they are having a show at the Oklahoma City fairgrounds. With all the conversations currently going on about guns, I’m hoping to get an interview with the owner of the show.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…………….

The Choctaw People in Durant, Oklahoma

Discovering a great Las Vegas style resort in Durant….

Welcome back. I’ve just come back from a beautiful place that offers great food fromaround the world along with big name live entertainment the likes of which a person seldom gets to see. Shows with performers like Rod Stewart, Kid Rock and Willie Nelson all take place in what they call the Grand Theater and friends they don’t call it grand for nothing. On this trip I stayed not in my tent or RV but in a 700 room hotel where Mickey Gilley has a saloon and live county music hall. The complex also includes a top of the line spa, mineral baths, a big conference center and several other restaurants.You might think I’ve been in Branson, Missouri or maybe Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where Dollywood is. I’ve been to both places and written about them as you regular readers know, but this story is not about them.

On U.S. Highway 75, four miles south of Durant, Oklahoma not far from the Texas border sits the Choctaw Casino and Resort and when I say resort I mean resort. In my travels I usually don’t get this sort of pampering but I have to admit I could get used to staying at a place like this. However I’d come down to Durant not to be treated like a king but to learn more about the Choctaw tribe itself and their story is quite interesting to say the least.

The first tribe to walk the Trail of Tears to their new lands in Indian Territory (later Oklahoma) on September 27, 1830 the Choctaws signed the Treaty of Rabbit Creek. This was the biggest transfer of land to a Native American tribe by the United States government in history and judging from what I saw last week, the tribe has done well over the last 188 years. I found out that fourteen of the famous World War II Indian code talkers were Choctaw and today there are over 223,279 members of the tribe living in Oklahoma. The tribe is headquartered in Durant and led by Chief Gary Batton. They have ten thousand eight hundred and sixty-four square miles in the southeast corner of the state which encompasses ten and a half counties. The tribe supports local municipal projects such as the construction of new roads and bridges and they also operate their own hospital in the area. Like many other tribes in the state, the Choctaw have casinos,eight of them to be exact, and although I only stayed at the Durant location I understand all the properties are worth bragging about.

If you’re like me and you don’t gamble, the Durant casino offers many family friendly activities including several indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a bowling alley and a kid’s play area as well as a multi-plex movie theater. All in all it was a very amazing place and definitely one that I would recommend for a visit when you’re in the area or just need a get-a-way.

This week keeps me close to home as I head up to Coffeyville, Kansas for the big Interstate Farm and Home Show. The weather looks good so I hope to see ya there. If not,

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road……………..