Dumb ATF Question

Hi Folks:

As some of you already know, this month I'm publishing a new book titled "Amateur Rocket Motor Construction", so, of course, I'm interested in the interplay between the proponents of amateur rocketry and the government.

Amateur rocketry and high power rocketry are both wonderful and educational hobbies, and they help keep the public interested in science and engineering. I am, in fact, AMAZED at the number of my neighbors who've seen the Discovery Channel documentary, "Rocket Challenge", and I've been pleasantly surprised at their level of interest. In a democracy like ours, public appreciation of these subjects is an important factor in maintaining funding for NASA and the military. So my simple and possibly stupid question is, why does the ATF want to stop amateur and high power rocketry? Why would ANY government agency want to stop these hobbies? A logical response would be for the government to ENCOURAGE these hobbies.

I've read some recent posts suggesting that the ATF is trying to manufacture artificial "evidence" proving that amateur rockets and high power rockets are dangerous. If this is true, what is their motive? We are good people, they are good people, we're all Americans, and we're all on the same side. The ATF is staffed by some VERY intelligent people, and in the face of the facts I've state above, their behavior doesn't make sense.

David Sleeter/Teleflite Corp.

Reply to
David Sleeter
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Good people drive vans, use diesel fuel, fertilize their plants and wear tennis shoes. That doesn't mean bad people aren't going to try to use those items to their advantage. Unfortunately it appears the ATF has gone beyond their charter of regulating explosives.

Joel. phx

Reply to
Joel. Corwith

In the private sector companies fight to grow market share. In the public sector an agency can only grow by an act of congress or by increasing the scope of a law or rule - regulation. Hobby rocketry must have looked like an easy expansion. Notice how they are now trying to grow into the transportation area at the expence of an other agency. I've always had difficulty compehending the mine set of beaurocrats. Gary Deaver



Reply to

Along the lines of Deavers comment, success in the private sector is generally measured by profits. In the public (gov) sector its ALL perception. These days, its very important that an agency like the BATFE be PERCEIVED to be doing its job to protect the public, just like its important that the airport security personnel be PERCEIVED to be assuring your safety in the air.

Making little old ladies remove their shoes, while studiously avoiding closer examination of young arab males, is supposed to increase this perception, and it matters not one iota to the management that it does nothing for real security. A private company whose profit was directly tied to their ability to pevent attacks at the lowest cost would be far more effective.

Same applies to BATFE. They are trying to use APCP to create the impression in Congress that they are doing their job. If they thought they could get away with regulating deisel and fertilizer, they would try. They only real reason they are going after rocketry is that they feel they can succeed, not because APCP or amateur rockets pose any real threat.

PS: You should have entitled your post "Question about the dumb ATF", as the one you used might be interpreted to mean you thought your question was dumb - obviously not what you meant.

Reply to
bit eimer

I guess I'm in the minority on this issue. I think that at the top of the ATFE bureaucracy there are people who actually believe that APCP is so dangerous that it needs to be regulated. Unfortunately, they are so convinced in their thinking that they refuse to listen to any other viewpoint, or even admit that honest people could even have a different viewpoint, or realize that scientific evidence could show them to be wrong. (IMO this is typical of the current top US gov't officials, but that's not really relevant here).

Below this very top layer everyone is just "doing my job", because they know that rocking the boat will get them in trouble, but won't actually change anything.

At the level of field agents, every one that I have met in person or talked to over the phone has been an intelligent and reasonable person, just "doing my job". Some of them appeared to agree with me that regulating APCP was a waste of their time, but wouldn't come right out and say so (see previous paragraph). I realize that not all field agents are this way (or that all field agents are even "intelligent and reasonable"), but I think that it is fairly common.

Summary: I don't see evil intent, as some do. I do see some 'empire building', but don't see that as the primary problem. Mostly I see beauraucatic inertia, and the refusal to admit that some past decision might have been wrong.

// Alan

Reply to

ATF opinion means nothing in a court of law.

They AIN'T rocket scientists!!!

Reply to

Others have already made good replies.

Remember that ATF's actions against rocketry have been proceeding at a glacial pace. It's taking them a decade and a half to get around to regulating motors over 62.5 after stating they wanted to. Thinking up new ways of regulating rocketry seems to be an occasional hobby at ATF HQ. Hardly a crusade.

It basically boils down to, "It's the stupid bureaucracy." The personnel might be smart, but all bureaucracies are stupid by their very nature. Stupid like a a fungus, that is.

Reply to
Kenneth C. McGoffin

please snipped-for-privacy@email.me (Alan) wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@news.comcast.giganews.com:

I think it has less to do with any sincere belief to that effect than it has to do with their CERTAINTY that any admission that they had mistakenly classified APCP would set a fatal precedent.


Reply to
Leonard Fehskens

*Excellent* point, Len.


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