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A proposed training firing range for the State Police is under fire itself by the residents of Powhatan who are against it.
Powhatan no place for gun range
By Michael Paul Williams
Published: June 10, 2010
That was a refrain Tuesday evening in response to a Virginia State Police plan to build a firing range off bucolic, historic Old River Trail in northern Powhatan County.
"What were you thinking when you decided it would be a good idea to construct a firing range this close to our church?" asked Danielle Lipscomb of Shiloh Baptist Church, which she said would be two-tenths of a mile away.
Shiloh -- which, a speaker noted with irony, means "place of peace" in Hebrew -- would have an 81-lane firing range as a neighbor if Virginia State Police move forward with this project near Deep Meadow Correctional Center.
The church was founded in 1866 by 70 former slaves. At first they met in a private home, then under a brush arbor, before building a log cabin church, according to a sign placed at the church by the Michaux-St. James Foundation, which obtained a scenic byway designation for Old River Trail.
Shiloh moved into a frame church that burned in 1898. It was replaced by the current white-frame structure near Old River Trail and Monte Road. The church's membership includes descendants of those freed slaves. A mural behind its pulpit depicting the Lord over the River Jordan was featured in a 1942 piece in Life magazine, garnering national recognition for Powhatan artist Julien Binford.
Lipscomb fears that the sound of gunfire will punctuate her church's weddings, funerals and Bible study. "I leave you with one question: Would you want a firing range this close to your church?"
The 350 or so folks at the meeting at the Powhatan Village Building could hardly be considered an anti-authoritarian fringe. Their ranks included veterans, hunters and gun enthusiasts who peppered their remarks with respect for law enforcement and the Second Amendment.
But armed with facts, figures and a focused fury, they made clear their disdain for the site of the proposed law-enforcement training center, which also would be used by the FBI and Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Department of Corrections. Speakers said the gunfire would upset cattle, reduce property values and endanger residents with stray rounds.
"I support law enforcement, and I understand the need for a range like this," said speaker Moe Marchetti. "But I don't support stupidity."
You could hardly accuse Powhatan residents of not-in-my-backyard selfishness. Their backyard already contains Deep Meadow, Powhatan Correctional Center, Powhatan Reception and Classification Center, and Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center -- not to mention several other correctional facilities across the James River in Goochland County. Powhatan has done its part for law enforcement.
In the face of resident outrage, four representatives of the state police looked pinned down in a corner of the auditorium, in dire need of backup. By evening's end, Del. Lee Ware, who represents Powhatan, said he would voice his objections to Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Later, outside Shiloh at dusk, it was so quiet you could almost hear the blink of the fireflies. Disturbing this peace with bursts of gunfire would be criminal.
The proposed location for this firing range is wildly off target. The state police need to withdraw this plan.
" It's cool, I got this !!! " "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." Captain John Parker
No more catchy slogans for me...I am simply fed up...4...four...4...2+2...
Proud Navy Dad
Proud CNU Dad
It's not like they'll let us lowly taxpayers use it.
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