SCOPE Annual Banquet Followup
The weather outside was wet but 200 people braved the rainstorm to hear Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North speak at SCOPE’s annual banquet on Saturday the 16th. This year’s event was held at Breeze’s in Utica.
Prior to the banquet, Oliver North posed for pictures with attendees and signed autographs as a large crowd enjoyed the opportunity to meet living American history and also “rub elbows” with other Second Amendment supporters. Many people had the opportunity to talk, personally, to North and hear stories about his life experiences.
Colonel North entertained the audience with stories about his own military service in the Marines, his deep Christian faith and his role as a father and grandfather. He volunteered that he gave a Bible, a compass and a shotgun to his children and grandchildren, on their birthdays, as things to guide them through life.
He talked about the difference in American attitudes between the days after 9/11 and today and then praised those who enlisted in the military right after 9/11.
North pulled no punches in criticizing the Afghan pullout debacle. He expressed his concern about whether Joe Biden was mentally up for the job of President but expressed even greater concern that it is Kamala Harris “sitting in the wings”.
North weaved references to SCOPE in his speech, quoting our mission statement and the principles we follow. He had obviously done his homework on SCOPE.
Showing that he was as on top of current gun control issues as he was when he was President of the NRA, he also talked about the absurdity of several laws being proposed or enacted and how they are meant to chip away at the 2nd Amendment. He called upon members of the audience to get active in opposition to those laws and contact their representatives.
In a question-and-answer session after the speech, he answered several questions from the audience. When asked about Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, he explained that Joe Biden was apparently advised by his military advisers to leave troops in Afghanistan until after everyone and everything were out. North then asked: If so, who was it that advised Biden otherwise? Who was pulling the strings behind the scenes?
When asked about the way Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stu Scheller has been treated for remarks critical of the way the Afghanistan evacuation was held, Colonel North explained that Scheller had violated Marine Corps’ regulations but the way he is being treated is way out of line.
In a surprise at the end of the speech, Colonel North donated $500 to SCOPE and challenged the audience to match it. Sixteen people responded positively, in an unexpected - but happily received - fund raiser.
Colonel North’s speech was videotaped and will be made available for chapters to use.
Several politicians also attended to show their support of the 2nd Amendment and SCOPE: NY State Senator Ed Rath, Congressional Candidate Joe Sempolinski, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, Assemblyman Joe Angelino, Lewis County Sheriff Michael Carpinelli and Oneida Count Sheriff Rob Maciol.
Many attendees enjoyed the tour of the Remington Arms factory. One of the tour attendees, Tracy Marisa, described it this way: “Earlier in the day, many attendees took advantage of the opportunity to tour the Remington Arms factory in Ilion, a few minutes’ drive from Utica. Management as well as other employees volunteered their time and expertise to guide us on an over-1/2-mile walk through the four-floor historic facility. Plant manager Bob Skinner started things off with a brief history of the company founded by Eliphalet Remington and continuing down to the present day, when the new owners have taken up the mantle of Remington Arms and returned to Ilion from Alabama”.
“RemArms is not producing any handguns at the moment, but they are making rifles and shotguns for both the general public as well as police and military uses”.
“Without giving away any trade secrets, our tour guide took us through many of the areas necessary to turn blocks and tubes of steel into Remington firearms: milling, broaching, hammering, adding sights, polishing, heat treating, coating, assembly, test firing, and boxing. Many of these processes are “robotic” in the sense of being computer-controlled, but there are also benches where craftsmen assemble guns by hand”.
“Attendees were also able to visit the Remington Museum. It has been (and at least for now) closed to the public, but was staffed by volunteers and opened especially for us SCOPE members. It contains everything from historic guns and an 1880s bicycle (yes, RemArms made bikes at one time, too), to a video of the manufacturing processes in the factory and original paintings produced for advertising purposes by famous American illustrators such as NC Wyeth”.
“All in all, the visit to the plant and museum were well worth the time and effort. Kudos to our SCOPE organizers as well as the RemArms folks who gave up their Saturday so we could have an informative and enjoyable field trip”.
The banquet, itself, was a success because of the efforts of Gene Nolan and Kandee Tabor in organizing it, Marsha Devine in putting together the program and numerous volunteers doing the behind-the-scenes work. As always, our chapters and Sue Maressa continued to step up.