Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Susan’s gunner

Al Diamon

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is not going to vote for any sort of meaningful gun-control legislation.

Not now. Not ever.

The reason is simple: Collins is totally owned by a rich guy who makes guns for a living. His name is Richard Dyke, and he’s spent a lot of money over the decades supporting Collins’ political endeavors, reviving her career when it faltered and making sure he has a pawn in place to see that the weapons he manufactures remain legal.

As a result, the most extreme position Collins will ever take in response to the recent rash of mass shootings is when she told Politico in August that Congress and the president had to do “something” about all that killing.

Does that “something” include closing the loophole that allows criminals to buy guns at shows and in private sales without undergoing a background check? Any chance it involves strict limits on high-capacity magazines? How about a ban on the sort of semiautomatic firearms favored by those intent on slaughtering innocent bystanders?

No, no and no.

Collins met Dyke years ago, when she worked as a Senate staffer, and she must have impressed the guy. He made a handsome donation to her unsuccessful 1994 bid for governor, even though she was given little chance of winning. Immediately thereafter, he established the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business at Husson University in Bangor. The center’s first director was a down-on-her-luck politician named Susan Collins. When that same Collins ran successfully for the Senate in 1996, Dyke and his family and friends were among her biggest contributors because, according to a posting on Daily Kos by Joan McCarter, he liked Collins’ “pro-gun stands – including her support for overturning the ban on certain assault weapons.”

And why did Dyke want that?

Perhaps because at the time, he owned Bushmaster Firearms in Windham, a company that made semiautomatic firearms (the same kind that was later used in multiple sniper murders in Washington, D.C.), and Dyke would have liked to get into the business of selling fully automatic weapons, too. Maine Times once described Dyke as “Gun dealer to the world,” noting that he shipped weapons everywhere from “Sri Lanka to Syria,” although Dyke was quick to note that he couldn’t legally market firearms to individuals overseas, just to repressive governments. After 30 years of doing that, he sold the company, which was turning out 9,000 guns a month, to a private equity firm for a cool $76 million (he had paid just $241,000 for it back in 1976).

That left him with lots of extra cash to purchase politicians.

In 2011, Dyke decided he missed making guns and started Windham Weaponry to produce his own brand of semiautomatics. Naturally, Collins attended the grand opening and contributed a gushing mess to Dyke’s self-published (and ever-so-humble) biography, “Richard E, Dyke: Just a Man from Wilton, Maine.”

“Dick’s personal story is so heartwarming,” Collins is quoted as saying. “Through sheer determination, smarts and hard work, he has made an extraordinary life. I so admire that! He didn’t come from family advantages, but did it the old fashioned way. He has been enormously successful but has never forgotten his roots.

“And that’s the heart of Dick Dyke. A heart for Maine.”

As far as Collins is concerned, supporting serious gun control legislation would be like putting a bullet through that sweet Maine heart.

Not to mention that fat Maine wallet.

Shoot off comments to aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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29 Responses »

  1. Or could it be she is actually standing up for her constituency who is happy to own guns, particularly those semi automatics with high capacity magazines? I would guess that most of the readers of this site, (although most, like me usually ignore your drivel ) own an "assault" rifle, and most of those folks wont be giving them up any time soon. The only people intent on a gun grab in this country are politicians who want to own and rule us all, and the sheeple that will follow them into the abyss.

  2. Thank God there are still a few ppl around who understand and support the Second Amendment - our constitutional right, and one which we won't compromise on.

    The scale of the Bushmaster operation pales when compared to the Bloomberg, Soros and Tom Steyer-type liberal billionaires who have purchased the Left side of our government. A huge proportion of whom aren't even Americans.

  3. Collins will not vote for any meaningful gun control, because there is no such thing as meaningful gun control

  4. I truly believe the best way to stop mass shootings, is a nationwide law similar to the one passed in Marrieta GA in the late 80's. In other words, requiring every adult, unless prohibited by law, to be armed all the time. Not only would it deter potential mass shooters, but, it would also take a bite out of crime.
    Every time I see someone openly carrying a firearm, I thank them.

  5. When will people understand that it's not guns killing people....it's people killing people. Whether it be with bombs, drugs, guns, knives, etc.

  6. So Glad to hear a local boy from poor , liberal, socialistic Maine had the guts and stamina to make it in such a welfare state !!
    Someone who actually worked his way up !! More power to him and anyone like him & to Senator Collins for helping us with keeping our gun rights !!

  7. Al, you are like every other leftist when it comes to guns, blissfully ignorant.

    Richard Dyke bought the bankrupt Bushmaster in 1976 and sold it in 1990 to Quality Parts Company who was then bought by Cerberus and then Freedom Group the company that owns Remington, Dyke just stayed on as CEO. In 2011 Freedom Group decided to move Bushmaster to New York and lay off all the workers in Windham and mothball the factory, Dyke bought the actual plant(he already owned the land) and since his non-compete had expired he started Windham Weaponry and hired all of the workers back.

    The DC snipers stole the gun from a shop in Washington state, which was held accountable for failing to comply with federal law that states, "All firearms kept on the premises shall be locked in such a manner as to prevent theft in the following ways: A cable or chain through the magazine wells if equipped or through the trigger guards, in a locked display case." What the DC shooters did with it after they stole the gun is wholly on them, as is the case with every shooter.

    And what is a high capacity magazine? Because 15-30 rounds is considered standard capacity by the BATF and the National Firearms Act for magazine fed semiautomatic firearms. And you can't believe anything the internet or media says, Sutherland Springs church shooting, November 2017, Wikipedia says: "Police recovered 15 empty magazines that were capable of holding 30 rounds. Authorities stated Kelley fired approximately 700 rounds in 11 minutes." Ok I call BS, 15 30 round magazines hold 450 rounds, so what did the shooter do, carry 250 loose rounds in his back pocket and stop to reload 9 magazines? It takes 4 minutes to fire 330 rounds, That's 11 mags, so figure 6 minutes for 15 mags(accounting for shooter fatigue and mag location, tactical vests only hold 8 mags) that's 10 minutes, and reloaded and fired 9 more mags in a minute, that can't be done, no matter who you are. His weapon was a standard off the rack, non military-standard AR clone made by Ruger and sold most places for less than $600. Oh and BTW, had the military given his criminal history to the FBI for the background check that is required by federal law, the shooter would not have been able to buy the gun from a dealer, and since he was dishonorably discharged as a convicted felon in a court of military justice, he was prohibited from owning firearms in the first place. The Parkland shooter used 10 round mags, he didn't even buy standard capacity mags.

  8. Locked & Loaded, Over Regulated and all others. As usual, you folks are on target (excused the pun). We need to protect our rights. Liberals Beware, we are going to stand up for the Constitution and our God-Fearing Nation.

  9. Picky, picky. Al you are supposed to be a libertarian. Try broadening your historical research to points closer to the center than Media Matters.

  10. I thought the NRA once gave Janet Mills its "A" rating. So she must have received money from Mr. Dyke as well. And I assume that the Grand Turkey of Eagle Lake must have received and extra-large donation as well. Surely, there couldn't possibly be any other reason for failing to pass these mysterious and ever-undefined "meaningful" gun laws.

  11. Al... are you on the payroll of the DNC or get 'dark money' for writing all your lopsided views? Time has come for you to release your tax return....

  12. In an interview with Japanese Admirals and Generals it was stated that the only reason they did not land troops on California, Oregon and Washington beaches right after the attack on Pearl Harbor was the fact they knew most American Citizens owned firearms and would put up an overwhelming resistance to any foriegn invasion....Thank your gun owner today for you not speaking Japanese and you Grandparents dying in some prison camp in Los Angeles California or Augusta Maine.

  13. I always read Al's columns on the Daily Bulldog, because his columns usually do two things; they make me laugh, and they make me think. (Even when I don't agree) Well, this column didn't make me laugh at all, and it made me think that I better vote for Susan Collins. None of the amendments in the Bill of Rights is a suggestion.

  14. Remember the song by the Beatles,,.
    "Happiness is a warm gun"
    Now how's "that" for being out of context.
    No worse than this ridiculous article..

    I'm definitely voting for Collins now..

  15. Lets compare things that are similarly in abundance in the US and break them down by parts.
    There are 325 million people in the US, 220 million known guns, 280 million registered passenger vehicles, in 2017 murders and non negligent homicides where a firearm was used were 10,982; 7,032 were handguns, 403 were rifles, 264 were shotguns. There were 41,100 vehicle related fatalities, 16,000 were children 15 years of age and younger, 30,000 were 16-24 and the rest were 25 and over.

    You must be 18 or older to legally buy a firearm, there is no age requirement for buying a car(there is for entering a binding contract so they have to pay cash). Anybody even convicted felons can buy a car, convicted felons can't however legally own a firearm. Firearms can be owned by everybody(unless prohibited) and operated by everyone, as can cars(there are no prohibitions on vehicle ownership).

    Here a last fact for you, from 1927 to 2018 there have been 217 people killed in school mass shootings, between 1957 and 2018, 465 high school and college students have died on the football field due to sport related injuries.

  16. MOAR GUNZ!!! sez the "sporting" crowd.

    But anytime anyone brings up the "well regulated'' part of their favorite amendment, all of a sudden they're mute about That!

  17. @zaphod
    Only socialists (aka the democratic party) pull two words out of a full sentence to try to change the meaning of the sentence. Not to mention actually reading other documents that might clarify the sentence or the writings of the founders who wrote the sentence.

    “The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

    “And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.”
    – Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788

    “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.”
    – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28

    “[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”
    – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28, January 10, 1788

  18. Zaphod, There are over 20,000 gun laws in the US at the federal, state and municipal level, that's pretty well regulated. I implore you, please name just one of those laws that has ever prevented a murder or violent crime, just one out of 20,000. Because I can cite one thing that has prevented 3,000,000.

    And you have to have a basic working knowledge of the second amendment, here broken down by clause:
    "A well regulated Militia", this is a state right not an individual right, the state's militia is called the Maine National Guard. "Being necessary for the security of a free state." The words free state in this particular context has a dual meaning, the first is a state's right to protect itself against invasion, insurrection etc. the second meaning is an individual's right to protect themselves and maintain a free state(free state means not in bondage or beholden to a tyrannical government.) "The right of the people to keep and bear arms." This also has dual meanings, the militia is made up of ordinary citizens, so in order for the state to maintain its militia the people have to keep and bear arms, otherwise the federal government could order the militia to disarm and disband. And the second meaning is an individual's right to keep and bear arms pursuant to self protection. "Shall not be infringed." this simply defines what can't be done by anybody should they try to remove or change any of the clauses contained in the 2nd Amendment.

  19. There are correct points on all sides of the issue, I think. Certainly European countries with strict gun laws have a lot fewer gun crimes, and far fewer mass shootings. Gun control can save lives. That's proven absolutely when one compares different countries, their levels of gun ownership, and gun violence.

    But it's also true that autos kill more people than guns do (though they are much more important for our economic well being). And despite having lots of guns around, Farmington and rural Maine are very safe - guns aren't the primary cause of violence. The total difference between here and Europe is not just gun control laws, but also social economic variables - they generally have a higher overall quality of life than we do.. The only thing I completely disagree with is the notion everyone should be armed. That will almost certainly make matters worse, and globally an armed society is usually a violent society. I don't have a gun, and I feel totally safe. I don't want one. Also, if there were, say, a mass shooter in a movie theater and a bunch of people had guns to protect themselves, soon they'd be shooting at each other not knowing who started it. Could get bloody.

    I would like to think that reasonable people can come up with regulations that might make it harder for people to be able to commit mass killings and to limit violence, but which would not infringe on basic gun rights, including those of collectors. It's legitimate to be concerned about gun violence, it's also legit for people to want to protect their gun rights. There has to be a way both sides can find some common solution that may not be optimal for either side, but which both (or 90% of people on each side - there is always a small core that sees compromise as bad) can live with. I tend to be skeptical of gun control, but one has to admit that too many people are able to get guns for mass shooting and violent crime.

    Oh - the claim about Japan not attacking because people were armed was long ago proven totally bogus.

  20. Scott Erb, Mass shootings and gun bans have no correlation, prior to 1996 Australia had no mass shootings to speak of, prior to 2019 New Zealand had no mass shootings. Norway has tough gun laws yet it saw the mass slaughter of 77 people in 2011, France has tough gun laws yet it saw the mass slaughter of 138 people in 2015, in 2016 and 2017 the murder rate in London with knives was higher than the murder rate of New York City with all means. There are 18.8 million veterans in the US, 2 million have a mental illness, should we prohibit ALL veterans from owning firearms? 325 million people in the US, 5% of people aged 18 and older have a mental illness, and do you think that the other 281 million should be punished for it? No amount of background checks will ever detect intent. The Vegas shooter was months amassing his legally purchased firearms and accessories, the El Paso shooter drove for 2 days before committing his crime with a legally purchased firearm. the Parkland shooter had over 40 visits from law enforcement, Florida had red flag laws in place at that time, they weren't enforced. Of the 20 mental health providers I have contacted had a combined 410 years in the profession, none of them could recall Maine's blue paper(our currently enacted red flag law) ever being used, all 50 states already have similar legislation, in Florida it's called the baker Act, in California it's called form 5150, in Illinois it's called getting 405'd.

  21. I am always interested that many discussions, including this one, always turn into some political dem v reps tale. Why is that? HB, while you bring up some good points I believe that you are stretching your 2nd Amendment explanation a bit. Not that far, but far enough to support your argument. As for the deaths - car v firearm - let's pose a hypothetical: if there were NO firearms how would gun deaths compare to car fatalities? And what is the obsession with people not wanting to simply have a brief waiting period for a background check for firearm sales? Sorry for being practical, but sometimes I get that way. And for gun shows ???????

    I would also say that the main point of Al's article is the fact that Collins is bought and paid for like most politicians. "Man of the Year" with Robin Williams suggested that politicians have patches similar to NASCAR drivers to display their sponsors. Think it would be a good idea to extend that to the political arena.

  22. Ozerki, An answer to your hypothetical question using real world facts, in 1927 a man in Michigan killed 22 people at a school without firing a single shot, he blew it up. In 2016 in Nice France a man killed 85 people with a truck, he plowed into them, if there are 220 million known guns, then one has to ask, how many unknown guns have been on the blackmarket, probably millions.

    Scott, Australia's rape rate pre 1996 was 6% lower than ours, they make it harder for people to own guns, the rape rate is 8% higher than the the US and when comparing the US to other countries, one has to take into account the major differences in the US vs the other country. The population of Australia is 25 million, Florida has 22 million, in 2017 Florida had 8100 rapes, Australia had 25,000. 75% of the shootings in the US can be traced to just a handful of cities, Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago to name a few. America as a whole is one of the most safest countries in the world and the freest, in the UK and Canada you can be fined or jailed for calling the queen an old bag, imagine how full our jails would be if insulting President Trump were an arrestable offense. In Norway it costs 59 ore($.06usd) per minute for cellphone use, it costs 113 Krone to go to the movies($12usd), in Norway and Denmark the cost of living is 40-50% higher than it is in the US, in the UK it's 20% higher, grocery prices are lower than the US but so is the monthly pay, we pay about $30.00 for a pair of Levi's, they pay 56quid($70usd), so no the quality of life in other countries is not better by far than it is in the US. In the UK with its national healthcare the normal income tax on 25,000pnds is 19%(the US it's 13%) the Medical tax in the UK is 12% in the US it's 1.4%. In France if you earn 25,000franc you pay 31% in tax, 40,000 it's 42% and a whopping 60% if you earn 100,000franc, can you imagine what would happen if the cashiers at Walmart who earn $25,000 a year had to pay 31% instead of 13%?

  23. Don’t ya luv how the same few, the Zaps, the Scotts, and the Maries always come to the table with other countries this and other countries that, and pull little bites of the piece argued and build a case with sound bites and news feeds that are “by design and default “ filtered to take your search and fact checking in their direction with the “help” of Google and Facebook engineered search engine...
    Nuff Said...

  24. Ok let’s play along...so using one of their favorite countries to cite and of course using their favorite site, Wikipedia; In Australia, under...”massacres” and using the period pre their “infamous Gun Ban”, lives taken in the 25 years before the Port Arther massacre (which was what prompted the all out ban, (for the less informed), and excluding the actual event, was 121 deaths. Now, let’s look at the 23 years period after the massacre and the subsequent ban, they had 128 deaths...Nuff Said...

  25. I'm a proud gun owning Democrat. I don't believe that any good can come of gun control. Politicians just want to make the impression that they're doing something, knowing full well that they accomplish nothing. Full background checks seem sensible, but firearms represent a large investment to many, who would lose profits to retailers. These are legal investments for hard-working Americans. It seems that most gun crimes I hear about are committed by felons with stolen guns. What will newly minted felonies stop that current laws don't. I do believe that gun security is an issue we should address. Too many minors getting hold of parents guns, too many stolen guns, too many proven dangerous felons outside of prison. Best of luck to all of us.

  26. I am a gun owner. I grew up in a family of gun owners. I have no problem with guns in general, except there needs to be some laws controlling the access to some of them, just like we have with motor vehicles. Arguing that "Gun Control" will take away all your guns is like saying laws controlling cars and driving will take away your car. We DON'T WANT YOUR %^&!!! guns: we want sensible laws to control them, like we have for cars and driving! That's all I want.
    Don't warn me about the slippery slope of gun control: laws CAN be changed. We had a ban on assault weapons (Brady Law) for a while and it expired. If it was made initially without the time limit it could have been repealed. That's the way our system works. I do think since it says, "well regulated" that it allows some regulation. That's what they said, and until it's amended (it wasn't part of the Constitution, it was an amendment) "well regulated" allows some regulation.
    Using the philosophy of absolutely no gun control laws consider the guy who wants to have a nuclear bomb: it could be considered an "arm" and be protected under the Second Amendment as well? Is that what we want?
    That's not what I want. I own guns but I also vote. I will vote for those in favor of reasonable gun control laws. Want my definition of "reasonable"? If you are on the No Fly list you should be on the No Buy list. Private gun sales to avoid background checks? Many people have been murdered by side stepping background checks. A terrorist on the list can go to someone in their city and buy a gun? That seems crazy to me. When I turned 18 my brother gave me a pistol and we went through a licensed dealer. No big deal at all and the price was reasonable.
    I'd consider our society safer if we had reasonable laws to control them, like we do with our cars. Go ahead and have your hunting rifles,pistols, etc. I honestly don't want you hunting gun, or your target shooting gun. I just want people who are bad actors from using guns against innocent people. If you think you need an assault rifle (why are they not called a defensive rifle?) to keep you safe at night in your home you need some more target practice with a normal gun. It also isn't going to "protect" you from the government. They have way more firepower and aren't kept "in check" by the threat of your weapons.They are kept in check by your votes.

  27. Move On, technically the "ban" didn't actually ban anything, it was purely feel good legislation, "assault weapons"(used simply for argument sake) and machine guns have been restricted since 1935, the 1994 ban listed specific characteristics that a gun had to have in order to be banned and they were," Must have the following, a flash hider, a detachable magazine, a bayonet lug, a pistol grip, and a select fire switch", the made for civilians AR-15 only has two of those things, a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, therefore it did not get banned because it didn't meet all of the parameters set forth by the law. The process for owning the full autos is long and intensive, you need a background check done by a dealer who has access to the BATF so they can do a basic background check and that can cost anywhere from $20-$50, that's first, a current photo and all ten fingerprints, then you send all that and non refundable $200 to the BATF, who then take your already passed background check and check it two more times in even greater detail, this may take anywhere from 6 months to a year, then if you pass they send you your permit to buy title 2 weapons, that's to buy, not to sell. The government can't really ban any guns, which is why no guns are actually banned, the government banning the AR-15 would be like the government banning the Chevy Corvette, they can't prevent you from owning a Corvette without due process, they can't stop you from owning an AR-15 without due process either.

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