Here are memories of a fun club to be in, and of its leader who was to become involved in a notorious event that was anything but fun.
The story comes from Donald J. Berg, formerly of Fargo and now of Brookings, S.D.
“In 1955, as a 12-year-old sixth grader,” Don writes, “I was a member of the Fargo Junior Rifle Club.
“The organization was sponsored by the National Rifle Association.
“The NRA provided .22-caliber heavy barrel rifles, shooting jackets (if I recall correctly) and ammunition for the club.
“The 50-foot rifle range was located in the basement of a business in the central downtown Fargo area.
“I can’t remember, unfortunately, who some of the other club members were, but I certainly remember the instructor: Kenneth B. Muir, who at the time was a Fargo Police Department officer.
“Under his tutelage, I shot my way through the pro-marksman, marksman, marksman first class and sharpshooter levels, using prone, seated, kneeling and standing positions.
“Of course, proper firearms handling, range safety and related topics were emphasized. Ken Muir was a by-the-book instructor.
“I think our target practice was a weekly evening occurrence.
“Ironically, 11 years later, in the fall of 1966, I would be in a basic combat training company at Ft. Lewis, Wash., using some of the instruction I had learned at the Junior Rifle Club.”
“Officer Muir left the Fargo Police Department and joined the U.S. Marshals Service as a deputy,” Don writes. “He eventually was promoted to U.S. marshal for North Dakota.
“Then on Feb. 13, 1983, near Medina in Stutsman County, N.D., Marshal Muir and a deputy marshal were killed in a shootout with Gordon Kahl, a tax protester who had violated his probation for a 1977 tax evasion conviction.
“Along with Kahl were two others, all of whom were members of a group called Posse Comitatus.
“Kahl was killed by enforcement officers in Arkansas four months later.
“Forum reporter James Corcoran published an acclaimed book on the Gordon Kahl case, titled ‘Bitter Harvest.’”
Yes, those who lived in the area in 1983 well remember the infamous shootout at Medina.
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