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Thread: Former Kirkland (WA) man headed to prison for Cold War weapons cache

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Anybody know anything more about this? There's lots of stuff to ponder, including how he got hold of most of the stuff he was hoarding, whether or not any statutes of limitations are still viable, is it worth going after the others after all this time, and most importantly of all to me - how come he forgot to pay the storage rental fee in this day of electronic bill paying?
    stay safe.
    skidmark
    -------------------------
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/theblotter/2009663664_man_headed_to_prison_for_belle.html?syn dication=rss


    Former Kirkland man headed to prison for Cold War weapons cache

    John de Leon

    -- From Times staff reporter Ian Ith:

    To everyone who knew him, Ronald Struve was not the kind of man who would one day be arrested by federal agents and, at age 67, be sent off to prison for four years on weapons charges.

    He was the jovial bachelor uncle, the eccentric, introverted pack-rat who loved his pet birds and fed the wild critters who came to his back porch. For four decades, he went to work every day as a court stenographer, and even shared a rental house with a King County sheriff's deputy for awhile.

    But during the decades of the Cold War, Struve also sincerely believed that it was only a matter of time before the Soviets or the Red Chinese came storming onto American soil to conquer our way of life. So quietly, Struve collected an arsenal and stuck it away in rented storage lockers in Bellevue and Spokane: grenade launchers, dozens of grenades and machine guns, plastic explosives, silencers, blasting caps and detonator cord.

    The Cold War ended, of course, and Struve quit worrying so much. But he just couldn't bear to part with his collection.

    Then one day he failed to pay the bill on the Bellevue locker. Someone bought the contents at auction. Struve's secret was out.

    This morning in Seattle, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman sentenced Struve to 48 months in prison, three years of probation and mental health counseling, saying, "The bottom line is people simply should not have these things and that's why we have laws against them."

    "Your collections have put other people at risk for decades," she said.

    Struve pleaded guilty in March to one count of possessing plastic explosives and four counts of possessing unregistered firearms. In return, the government dropped more than 100 other counts against him.

    When agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms first searched the Bellevue locker in November, 2008, one veteran agent said, "In all my years, I've never seen this sort of firepower in one place."

    They tallied two grenade launchers, fifty-four grenades, six big blocks of C4 plastic explosive, 37 machine guns from the Vietnam-War era, among other weapons. One of the grenades had been "dud-fired," meaning someone had pulled the pin and it could potentially still go off with a mere jiggle. Many of the items turned out to be stolen from the military long ago.

    The agents also found more weapons in a locker Struve rented in Spokane. When they arrested Struve at his Spokane home, they said he told them he might use the weapons "some day," against "the enemy."



    U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

    Some of the weapons seized from Ronald Struve's storage lockers.

    Prosecutors asked for a 63-month sentence this morning. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods said in court papers that Struve's arsenal "to say the least, was capable of inflicting deadly force on a devastating scale."

    What if there had been an earthquake or a fire, Woods wondered. What if the person who bought the locker's contents at auction had been a little rougher when moving all the boxes home? What if a criminal had broken in and stolen the stuff?

    "The scope of the arsenal in this case was simply breathtaking," Woods said. "Quite simply, this was one of the largest arsenals for one person in this region's history."

    But Struve said he never meant to hurt anyone.

    In a letter to the judge, Struve said he started collecting weapons on the black market in the 1960s, while the Vietnam War raged. "As a young man, I became an anticommunist and that influenced my thoughts and beliefs," he wrote. "I thought there was a strong possibility we (the U.S.) would be attacked by the Russians/Red Chinese."

    But as the years went by, Struve said, he has been "modifying and tempering my beliefs and thoughts about world events and politics in general."

    Even so, he was devoted to his collection, and figured it might be worth something, he wrote. He tried to keep the weapons safe, he said. And he emphasized that he never fired any of them.

    "I am not a violent person and have never knowingly hurt another person," he wrote.

    And his family and friends eagerly backed that up.

    His nieces and nephews recalled "Uncle Ronnie," the guy who showed up for every family get-together, the guy whose habit of collecting everything from old magazines to war paraphernalia to pet birds was endearing, not worrying.

    "He is a bit eccentric, but harmless," his niece, Tanya Fresquez of Las Vegas, wrote to the judge. "I beg of you to see that he is harmless."

    And his former roommate, retired sheriff's captain James O'Brien, recounted that when the two shared a house in Kirkland many years ago, the raccoons and squirrels made a nightly pilgrimage to their backdoor for Struve's handouts.

    "Ron has always been a quiet, friendly and caring person, close to his family in California," O'Brien wrote. "Ron is a good person who had made some bad choices."




    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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    tyranny, he needs those weapons to fight his own government who will throw him in jail and ruin his life for never hurting anyone.

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    I wish I had those weapons

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    Regular Member Batousaii's Avatar
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    DJ_Amish wrote:
    I wish I had those weapons
    Ya, i'd be pizzed if i won them in an auction and had the government siezed them ...

    :celebrateOMG Look what I WON !!!!!!!! SICK !!

    :shock:NOoooooooo..... dont take my toys away !!!

    Not fair! - i want my mommy!!

    .............. I'm going home.... this sucks ........

    It would defiantly be the cycles of rejection or something like that.

    NOTE: ... pay the bills orbad things happen ?

    <jokes>

    Serious note: At least the courts realised it was in a patriotic effort and reduced alot of the sentance. I dont think he had evil intentions, so i'm glad that was (or seems to have been) adressed as such. I cant blame anyone for wanting to protect American soil against invation, and, durring that era, tensions were high, many people were a bit hyped on the cold war too. Ya know there are still usable 1950's bomb shelters out there, so i think that it shows he's not the only one who was scared of that stuff.

    :?Bat
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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed excepting arms about which U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman [declares], "The bottom line is people simply should not have these things and that's why we have laws against them.""

    There, that would certainly have satisfied our Founding Fathers, will certainly cover any matters of SCOTUS and I can't imagine why it wouldn't be fine withe the entirety of the sovereign population of these United States.

    :?
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    What if there had been an earthquake or a fire, Woods wondered. What if the person who bought the locker's contents at auction had been a little rougher when moving all the boxes home? What if a criminal had broken in and stolen the stuff?

    What if.. what if... the commies really DID invade?WHAT THEN HUH??

    This man was doing what he saw as his patriotic duty...to be prepared to defend his country... and for this you put him in jail.

    Burro-sphincter.:X

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    You know.......I felt bad for this guy when I read this in our local paper. Poor guy forgets to pay a bill and his great collection is discovered. A tax stamp (if that is what it is) would have covered his automatic weapons and except for the great campfire starting material he would have been good to go.

    I bet a good many people on this forum have many guns and a pretty good stockpile of ammo whom if our liberal neighbors knew about would consider us to be "extreme in our obsession" to say the least.

    Sounds like a nice guy. Sorry to see him get in trouble.
    THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Washington didn't use his right to free speech to defeat the British, he shot them.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent -- it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
    --George Washington,
    first U.S. president

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    Among this huge list of concerns about the loss of our liberty revisited in this story, one that particularly sticks out for me is the casually noted requirement to undergo mental health counseling, as if exercising a fundamental human right, and arguably a noble and patriotic act (despite unconstitutional laws) is some kind of mental illness... Is it always diagnosable or clinical paranoia simply to feel a need to be prepared for the worst, and act accordingly?

    How long until anyone with even a minor fiream infraction is automatically categorized as deviant/deranged by the psychiatric community, and therefore added to the already outrageous B.S. used as an argument for even more legislative control?

    I mean up until recently homosexuality was considered a serious Mental Illness, and could be used legally as a reason for stripping a person of liberty property, and the pursuit of happiness thing.. and though not legally, often "justified" in removing someone's right to live...

    Authorities can already put an involuntary hold on any citizen for a 72-hour "evaluation" what's to stop them from committing a person who has an "illness" relating to anything big brother deems socially "dangerous"?

    Just a thought. It bothers me.


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    Campaign Veteran OlGutshotWilly's Avatar
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    Erus wrote:
    Among this huge list of concerns about the loss of our liberty revisited in this story, one that particularly sticks out for me is the casually noted requirement to undergo mental health counseling, as if exercising a fundamental human right, and arguably a noble and patriotic act (despite unconstitutional laws) is some kind of mental illness... Is it always diagnosable or clinical paranoia simply to feel a need to be prepared for the worst, and act accordingly?

    How long until anyone with even a minor fiream infraction is automatically categorized as deviant/deranged by the psychiatric community, and therefore added to the already outrageous B.S. used as an argument for even more legislative control?

    I mean up until recently homosexuality was considered a serious Mental Illness, and could be used legally as a reason for stripping a person of liberty property, and the pursuit of happiness thing.. and though not legally, often "justified" in removing someone's right to live...

    Authorities can already put an involuntary hold on any citizen for a 72-hour "evaluation" what's to stop them from committing a person who has an "illness" relating to anything big brother deems socially "dangerous"?

    Just a thought. It bothers me.
    +1 and very well written.

    To be held on a 72 hour commitment you have to demonstrably present a threat of imminent harm to yourself or others. Hmmmmmmmm, I think that puts us right in the crosshairs eh?

    I've read of several of these types of "collections" over the years and am always amazed by the reporters slant that anyone who has any collection of guns or ammo beyond what *they* deem a "reasonable person should own" is an obvious threat to society.

    Used to be you walked into a family members house and the gun collection was in the front living room in a nice wood and glass cabinet and it was considered normal. I haven't seen that in many years. Sad comment on society.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Washington didn't use his right to free speech to defeat the British, he shot them.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Government is not reason; it is not eloquent -- it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
    --George Washington,
    first U.S. president

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