At least one citizen was up to something else.
This person or group of individuals was breaking into the quarters of William A. Doyle American Legion Post 236 on Highway 95 south of Calvert City.
The perpetrator or perpetrators stole six vintage military rifles.
It’s quite likely they had some knowledge of the weapons. Their presence at the Legion Post was hardly a secret.
The M1 Garand, a semi-automatic 30.06-caliber weapon, was the primary combat rifle used by the U.S. military during World War II and later in the Korean War. The stolen weapons were used by the Post 236 Honor Guard, which provides military rites on request at the funerals of veterans.
Most recently, they were fired on Sunday afternoon at Mount Kenton Cemetery in Paducah at the funeral of Bill Farr, 85, who served in the Navy in World War II and the Korean War.
Mr. Farr’s funeral was the 188th at which the Post 236 Honor Guard has used them. This is the fifth year for the Guard to serve, firing a 21-gun salute (three rounds by each of seven shooters) and performing other ceremonies of traditional military tribute to fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
While the weapons have a measure of intrinsic value as collector’s items, or for enthusiasts who wish to have a historic semi-automatic assault rifle for their own hunting, target-shooting or other legal purposes, they are not by any definition rare or exotic or particularly valuable items for fencing.
Tom Vasseur, commander of the Honor Guard, estimated the value of each weapon at as much as $1,000 on the legal market.
Legion members had painstakingly restored the weapons to a ceremonial quality, sanding and refinishing the stocks in black, coating them with Polyurethane, fitting them with white slings and rebuilding the actions. Honor Guard members load their own blank cartridges.
The weapons do not belong to the Post. They are on indefinite lease from the U.S. Government.
They were secured by four locks, enclosed in a gun safe.
The theft apparently is too insignificant to be of interest to the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, but it’s stain on the character of whoever stole the rifles. Anyone who has knowledge of what happened and doesn’t come forward with it is just as deficient in character and integrity as the thief.
As economic times get worse and worse, we’re sure to see more and more lawlessness. Too many people will turn to crime rather than work for or do without what they need and want.
Adversity reveals character.
Or the absence of it. n