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By Larry Pratt
July 14, 2012

Forest fires that raged through Southeast New Mexico this June threatened life and property -- and well over 200 homes were actually lost.

Ruidoso is the population center of Lincoln County -- a town that was especially threatened by the flames. Unhappily, a fire break had not been cut because of Forest Service threats to arrest villagers if they did.

Many of the residents of Ruidoso disregarded the evacuation order, choosing instead to stay and protect their homes. For those who have read my previous reports from Ruidoso, they will not be surprised to learn that one of the refuseniks included Dr. Ray Seidel.

A Forest Service agent went through the area to see if there were any who had not left. Many had not, and others refused even after threat of arrest. A Fire Service agent unconstitutionally trespassed on Seidel’s property, walking in without any court order.

Seidel was threatened with arrest when Seidel said he was staying to protect his property. Upon hearing the threat, and repeating his refusal to leave, Seidel put his hand on his holstered .45 and informed the agent that he had 30 seconds to get off his property.

For another 10 seconds the officer jabbered. Breaking into the stream of threats, Seidel told the Forest Service agent that he had 20 seconds left. The agent stopped speaking, took a long look of amazement at Seidel, turned and left.

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Once in his vehicle he was heard on an open radio channel to say, “That guy is going to burn.” It is to be hoped that the agent was referring to the danger of the fire rather than arson.

Thankfully, Seidel won the bet with the fire -- he and his property prevailed unscathed -- and he defended his liberty against Big Brother.

But Seidel was not alone. Many residents gathered in armed force and went through Forest Service roadblocks -- including firefighters who were initially prevented from getting to threatened homes. The Feds were quite prepared to let people’s homes burn instead of putting out the fire.

The firebreak will be cut shortly. Have a nice day, Smokey.

� 2012 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 300,000 members. GOA is located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151.

Either Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.

Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:

E-Mail: [email protected]

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Forest fires that raged through Southeast New Mexico this June threatened life and property -- and well over 200 homes were actually lost.