POL A Bristling Standoff Rattles Gun-Friendly Vermont

20Gauge

Has No Life - Lives on TB

PAWLET, Vt. — Fear has gradually spread in the town of Pawlet.

In the hills west of town — which is where the trouble started — the houses are remote, separated by wind-scoured stretches of cropland. Those people are the most jittery.


Some of them have installed cameras with infrared lights so they could pick up figures that might be moving in the dark around their houses. A few have invested in bulletproof vests.

None of it makes them feel entirely safe. Michelle Tilander, 63, a retired physical therapist who moved to West Pawlet 10 years ago, said she had written a letter to be opened in case she or her husband should be hurt or killed.

“The police come in, they’ll find that envelope and they’ll know who to question,” she said.

She is talking about Daniel Banyai, a 47-year-old New Yorker who, attracted by Vermont’s relaxed gun laws, bought 30 acres in this rural town of around 1,400 and transformed it into his dream project, a training camp where visitors could practice shooting as if engaged in armed combat.

Whether those fears are warranted is a question that has preoccupied Vermont law enforcement for months. Certainly, the dispute has escalated over three years from a zoning matter into something more combustible, as Mr. Banyai resisted the town’s demands to dismantle his weapons training facility, Slate Ridge. Anonymous threats to his opponents have appeared online.


He has argued that his project is protected under the Second Amendment, and, over social media, has called for fellow gun rights advocates to back him up.

“I’m never leaving this land,” he said in an interview. “And I didn’t ask for this war to start, but I’m going to see it through. I want to see through my victory because I bought this land free and clear.”

These collisions do not typically happen in Vermont, whose lenient approach to guns grew out of a centuries-old culture of hunting and farming. But just as school shootings have shaken those shared assumptions, so too have the belligerent public politics of the Trump era.

The State Police have resisted stepping in, saying they do not believe Mr. Banyai has violated any Vermont state law. But a January court order set the stage for confrontation, ruling that Mr. Banyai must stop using Slate Ridge for training, and the town is now seeking a permanent injunction that could culminate in foreclosure.

“The question is, kind of, how does this end?” said Jessica Van Oort, 44, a Pawlet shop owner who serves as chair of the town’s planning commission.

For stretches of the last year, she added, the tension in the town seemed to merge with something larger happening in the country.

“Everybody in the nation has become quite aware of the threat of armed insurrection,” she said. “It’s not foreign to anyone in the U.S. to think of people who have guns and want to defend their freedoms and don’t feel that the laws apply to them.”

A stranger comes to town
Mr. Banyai, a stocky man from upstate New York with a bushy, untrimmed beard, presented himself to Pawlet’s development board in 2018 as “a veteran who is passionate about guns.” He was mysterious about his past, alluding to overseas service in the Middle East but refusing to offer any details.

His goal was to open a tactical weapons training site featuring as few limits as possible, allowing firearms banned or frowned upon in other places, he said in an interview this month. He chose Vermont specifically because it allowed “constitutional carry,” or carrying a weapon without a permit, he said.

He was aware that similar projects — like a gun range planned for the town of Warner, N.H. — had been blocked by community opposition, and sought to avoid that outcome. His predecessor’s mistake, he said, was trying to obtain licenses from the town before starting operation.

“He went to ‘Let me ask for permission,’” Mr. Banyai said. “Here, I asked for forgiveness.”

In front of the building he uses for instruction, Mr. Banyai flies the flag of the Green Mountain Boys, the militia formed in 1770 to keep out land surveyors from New York, then a British province.

On his land, in facilities he said cost $1.6 million, visitors can re-enact a range of field exercises — a suburban house, for home invasions; a large open space surrounded by berms, for carjacking and vehicle assaults; and shipboard structures, for high-seas piracy. Months of protests, he said, have made such exercises relevant to many Americans.

“People are more believing the hypotheticals with all the rioting,” he said. “People are getting more conscientious of, you know, how do I defend myself?”

He said that most of his visitors came from states with more restrictive gun laws, like New York and Massachusetts, and that he allowed a militia to train at the site, though he would not identify it. Mr. Banyai said he had selected the plot in West Pawlet because it was isolated and would not disturb the neighbors.

That turned out to be wrong.

Ms. Tilander recalls an afternoon in 2018, when she and her husband, Paul, were sitting in their backyard, and began to hear a kind of shooting they had never heard before.

The Tilanders are gun owners themselves; for years, they belonged to a sportsmen’s club, enjoying afternoons of target shooting followed by convivial steak dinners. What they were hearing from Mr. Banyai’s land was something entirely different.

“All of a sudden, we hear ARs — several ARs — going off, all at the same time, over and over and over,” she said, referring to variants of the AR-15 line. “Paul just said, ‘What is going on around here? It sounds like Vietnam.’”

‘Everybody’s afraid of him’
The neighbors mobilized against Mr. Banyai’s new weapons range in the usual way. They complained about the noise. They circulated a petition. They showed up at meetings.

One adjoining neighbor “explained that as an owner of a horse stable they have a lot to lose, that they do not want to live through a war, and that they were there first,” read notes from a town development board meeting in 2018.

One reason they were irritated is because Vermont’s land use law, known as Act 250, is notoriously burdensome, requiring permits for anything built for a commercial purpose.

“People do get bent out of shape when you are flouting the rules everyone else is following,” said Merrill E. Bent, the town’s attorney since the summer of 2019. “They’re like, wait a minute, I had to get a permit for my chicken coop.”

But over the months that followed, the zoning dispute turned into another, less familiar kind of problem.

It turned out Mr. Banyai had no desire to win over the town. Instead, he fought back tenaciously in court, arguing that his weapons site did not require land use permits from the state because he did not charge for admission. At a town meeting, he accused town officials, without evidence, of corruption, homophobia and membership in the Ku Klux Klan. He made it clear he would not back down.

“If there’s two types of people in this world — people that are strong and people that are weak,” he explained in an interview, “I’m among the strong percentage.”

Threats against the complaining neighbors began to appear on Slate Ridge’s Facebook page, unsigned and cryptic, alongside right-wing memes and ominous photographs of stockpiles of weapons.

In 2019, the feed featured a picture of the Tilanders’ house with the caption, “Many of you ask how can I get closer to Slate Ridge. Some people living close are leaving. Here is the house the folks are moving out of. The property will be available real soon.”

Other threats targeted Mandy Hulett, who lives next door to Slate Ridge. Posts called for the “eradication” of the Huletts and listed their home address, and asked followers to find an S.U.V. “to shoot up and then blow up,” and specified the make and model of the car the Huletts had given their teenage daughter.

Mr. Banyai has said he does not write or supervise the postings. Last month, however, a judge granted Ms. Hulett a two-year stalking order against Mr. Banyai, noting that although Mr. Banyai denied controlling Slate Ridge’s social media, “the court did not find that testimony to be credible.”

An investigative news outlet, VT Digger, picked up the story, and the neighbors looked into Mr. Banyai’s past. An Army spokesman confirmed that Mr. Banyai had served briefly in the 1990s, showing up in records as a private, the Army’s lowest rank.

More recently, he had legal troubles in New York. In 2018, court records showed, he had been banned from the campus of Pace University, where he was pursuing a master’s degree in homeland security, for threatening an assistant dean. In 2019, he pleaded guilty to a class D felony charge of criminal weapons possession, and is awaiting sentencing in that case. He has filed a motion to vacate his guilty plea, said his lawyer in the case, Anthony C. Cillis.

His New York pistol permit has been suspended pending the outcome of the case, according to the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office.

But in Vermont, the efforts to shutter his training site seemed at a standstill. Ms. Tilander said she believed the main reason was that Vermont’s law enforcement bodies, from the town level up to the state, were fearful of an armed confrontation.

“Nobody wants to go in there because everybody’s afraid of him,” she said. “We’re 99 and nine-tenths percent sure from everything he said, he has a big cache of heavy-duty weaponry and explosive material.”

In fact, in a state that has long relied on voluntary compliance, the problem of Slate Ridge seemed to fall between jurisdictions.

The state’s Natural Resources Board — which requires permits for any commercial development — refused to send its inspectors to Slate Ridge because of concerns that Mr. Banyai might be dangerous, and in 2018 and 2019 asked law enforcement to take over the case, said Evan Meenan, associate general counsel for the body.

The State Police refused, explaining that land use has never fallen within their responsibilities. Since then, the State Police have also investigated at least 10 complaints against Mr. Banyai without finding information to warrant any criminal charge, said Michael Schirling, the state’s commissioner of public safety. Fear, he said, was not a factor.

The police “are in fairly regular contact with folks there, as result of a number of investigations that occurred,” he said. “I haven’t heard anyone make that assessment.”

For his part, Mr. Banyai dismisses the suggestion that he would ever use force against the police, who he says are “already scared to death of me.” He says he has regular visits from the police, as well as the F.B.I. and A.T.F., who enforce federal weapons laws.

“I tell police all the time, if I have to come into handcuffs, call me, I can come down or I’ll just meet you at the gate and surrender myself,” he said.

In recent weeks, he has made the conflict into a political cause, declaring his candidacy for town selectman under the motto “Make Pawlet Great Again.”

‘No safe room’
Whatever the outcome of the dispute, it has already left its mark on Pawlet.

Last February, Slate Ridge’s Facebook page invited followers to attend the town’s Select Board meeting with weapons and trauma kits; the meeting was canceled because of the coronavirus, but some of the town employees were deeply shaken.

Later, the feed published a photograph of Pawlet’s Town Hall, a plain wooden-framed structure that has stood since 1881.

“No Alarm, No Security Camera, Single Pane Windows, No Deadbolts, 30-40 Minutes Police Response Time, Dead Zone For All Cell Service, No Safe Room,” the caption read, and went on to list the names of six town employees who work there.

In March, the town clerk requested funding to install security cameras in the building.

Ms. Van Oort, who is running for the Select Board, said it dawned on her gradually how heavily the town relies on a spirit of voluntary cooperation.

“The real difficulty is, when someone just decides not to obey a civil law, what happens?” she said.

Indeed, no one knows what will happen, later this spring, if the court injunction is made permanent and Mr. Banyai is asked to dismantle his gun ranges and pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines to the town.

Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, a former Progressive state representative who has urged the state to intervene, drew a parallel with the Jan. 6 events in Washington, when “what everyone thought would be a cranky protest” deteriorated into violence.

“That’s the kind of escalation that I’m afraid of,” he said. “There’s a Thomas Jefferson quote, something like, ‘There’s nothing I trust more than an individual citizen. There’s nothing I fear more than the mob.’ But where is that line?”

Many say the conflict has drawn neighbors closer together — the Biden voters and the Trump voters — in the shared desire to return the community to an earlier, more peaceful state. But it is also true that something in the town has hardened.

If Mr. Banyai does eventually leave the area, Ms. Hulett said, the neighbors are considering taking up a collection to buy up the property where Slate Ridge stands, to ensure that the gun ranges are never used again.

“After having this experience, you don’t want a random neighbor moving in there,” she said.

She said she now looks at Pawlet, where her family has farmed since the 18th century, as an excessively trusting place — naïve, in the way that small towns are. Or that is what it was, anyway.

“I think we all kind of let our guard down,” she said. “We’re just not equipped to deal with people like him.”
 

20Gauge

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Long story, but in the short term this guy is an Ahole for disturbing his neighbors. They were there first not him. As such he should be sensitive to their concerns.

Regarding the building permits, it is a business, so there are some standards that should be met.
 

Squib

Veteran Member
Well, not sure what to make of this...

Setting the guy up so when the state ‘has’ to go in Waco style, then no one will say anything but thanks.

Could be the guy is unstable, but so far he’s offered to surrender himself, so no need for a Ruby Ridge thing.

Could be the neighbors are just clannish and don’t want anyone else to come into the inbred closed New England town.

I don’t trust a place that makes you get a ”permit for my chicken coop!” Whats that about?
 

Blacknarwhal

President-Elect
Other threats targeted Mandy Hulett, who lives next door to Slate Ridge. Posts called for the “eradication” of the Huletts and listed their home address, and asked followers to find an S.U.V. “to shoot up and then blow up,” and specified the make and model of the car the Huletts had given their teenage daughter.

Mr. Banyai has said he does not write or supervise the postings. Last month, however, a judge granted Ms. Hulett a two-year stalking order against Mr. Banyai, noting that although Mr. Banyai denied controlling Slate Ridge’s social media, “the court did not find that testimony to be credible.”

Later, the feed published a photograph of Pawlet’s Town Hall, a plain wooden-framed structure that has stood since 1881.

“No Alarm, No Security Camera, Single Pane Windows, No Deadbolts, 30-40 Minutes Police Response Time, Dead Zone For All Cell Service, No Safe Room,” the caption read, and went on to list the names of six town employees who work there.
Reminds me of a small child in a car's backseat, hovering a fingertip fractions of an inch from a sibling. "I'm not touching you!" says the child in belligerent glee. Because, indeed, the child is not touching anyone.
 

20Gauge

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Reminds me of a small child in a car's backseat, hovering a fingertip fractions of an inch from a sibling. "I'm not touching you!" says the child in belligerent glee. Because, indeed, the child is not touching anyone.
Yep Aholes for sure.
 

Squib

Veteran Member
Long story, but in the short term this guy is an Ahole for disturbing his neighbors. They were there first not him. As such he should be sensitive to their concerns.

Regarding the building permits, it is a business, so there are some standards that should be met.
Could be, but then again, we have a rifle club in a neighboring county that’s old...I’m talking 100+ years old...

When they built out in the middle of nowhere, for decades there was no complaint...

Then as some wealthy built houses closer...knowing all the time where they were building, now they complain and want to shut it down...

Its like people who buy or build next to an airport then try to shut it down because of the noise...what did you think you’d hear?
 

night driver

ESFP adrift in INTJ sea
Well, not sure what to make of this...
I don’t trust a place that makes you get a ”permit for my chicken coop!” Whats that about?
Well, in a LOT of small towns, you DO need a permit to erect something like a chicken coop if you are selling the eggs, since it is a commercial endeavor. You also need a permit for a garage if you are repairing cars for pay.


The town fathers and mothers should simply wait for him to be sentenced NY and eminent domain his land as an attractive nuisance or simply a public nuisance...
This is how my home in Central NY would have done it.

Hell, not THAT long ago you needed to have a permit for a pool, in or above ground, and the permit for THAT required a 4 foot fence, child resistant lock on the gate and a mil buck liability umbrella since it was LEGALLY (at the time) considered an attractive nuisance, attracting kids.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Could be, but then again, we have a rifle club in a neighboring county that’s old...I’m talking 100+ years old...

When they built out in the middle of nowhere, for decades there was no complaint...

Then as some wealthy built houses closer...knowing all the time where they were building, now they complain and want to shut it down...

Its like people who buy or build next to an airport then try to shut it down because of the noise...what did you think you’d hear?
But in this case, the quiet neighbors were there first.

Still, except for the fact the guy sounds like a classic hair trigger asshole, the pearl clutching (OMG! They're shooting ARs! Run!!!!) from the neighbors is ridiculous. There is a Rod and Gun club about 1/2 mile from our farm. Three times a week, it sounds like they are recreating the Battle of the Bulge there... everything from 22s and shotguns to ARs and at least a couple big .50s. So what? It's the sound of freedom!

Summerthyme
 

Dobbin

Faithful Steed
Owner has long been an advocate of "individual rights." His comment has long been "If you must have a government, keep it local - and keep it under control."

As such, and as a long stander in town, he's never had a problem with either his Honor Wagon Garden, or his "Campfires."

The Honor Wagon Garden falls into the "agricultural zoning" that 90 percent of the town falls under including domiciles. The "Campfires" fall under "private party" denomination - Owner does not charge for this, but does solicit "donation."

Much like a church does around here for a wedding I imagine?

Still, that business of "individual rights." And what if one's right to shoot a gun interferes with one's campfire - as in "ruin the ambiance?" Owner is quite proud of the fact that when one is at the campfire, no other house lights can be seen in the distance through the trees - even in winter. But gunfire would be another matter.

The articles does not say, but is "schooling in warfare" a non-agricultural pursuit? Hunting and use of firearms is probably agricultural, but a school with paying customers might not be. And what of a system of "donation?" Like Owner's campfire?

In Owner's view, it is quite possible for a town to "forbid" a non-agricultural use in an agricultural zoned area. This is what Zoning Rules are for - to separate competing use. Or a town could even bar non-agricultural "impact" on adjacent agricultural areas. As in - the Town as regulator of the zoning COULD cause a "cease & desist" on impact. This akin to "fence viewers" who manage the fence demarcation between properties - their condition, their positioning, their encroachment. The point of the fence being a separation of use: one might be privacy. Another might be to keep horses penned in.

Still, that business of one's right versus another. If one's right to shoot a gun and make noise interferes with a neighbor's use of his property ambiance, THIS is where the courts step in and (hopefully) decide a path which allows both parties the maximum amount of freedom the situation allows.

Building houses IS the New Hampshire way. Owner rues the day when an adjacent property goes up for sale and is subdivided for house lots. He does know it will happen eventually - and it might affect his "campfires." Still, building a house is another's right - and since housing is considered "agricultural" in this portion of the world, Owner will probably have to accept it.

This gun school issue sounds like it will go to a town vote - the town will issue a "cease & desist" - the issue will go to Court - and a decision will be rendered, hopefully of "maximum freedom."

Sometimes the courts are not nearly so visionary.

Well, a lot.

Dobbin
 
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greysage

Veteran Member
Followed the man on Fb. I think his page was/is called Slate Ridge. Something was odd about his page. He was constantly trying to rally support for his thing but honestly I had no idea what his deal was. Or what he was talking about. It could very well be he just didn't know how to use the platform or communicate well.
I'd almost say he's been trying to set this up. Something is off. It was almost like he knew it'd get here to this. Maybe it's just me and he's a good dude.
He's been in to it with the town officials and neighbors. He's run some 'contractor training.' Built what sounds to be a nice range.
The whole thing has a stink. Maybe just a strange odor.
First off, why the heck would you move to Vt. from NY for gun rights. Vermonters right to arms have been in shitter for 3 full years now. I sat in the State House and watched it happen.
Local Vermonters don't care for out of staters. The communist transplants don't care for gun owners (or local red neck types).
Stay away from Vermont unless you're one of the types that are against White people, America, and the Constitution.
 

Squib

Veteran Member
Yeah, that’s why I posted at first, ‘Not sure what to make of this’

As D.B. Cooper said, sounds slanted, but most are these days...

Summerthyme rightly said also, “but in this case, the quiet neighbors were there first” which is a huge thing...

Then again, with all the threats...something should be actionable...

Also, that the guy built without any permits - I can see that being a big problem...

Just another ugly outsider vs insider spat sure to get ugly...
 

Blacknarwhal

President-Elect
Then again, with all the threats...something should be actionable...
Threats? What threats? Where was there a threat?

Just because they wanted to ventilate and then blow up an SUV of the exact same make and model as the one belonging to the teenage daughter of one of their biggest detractors, that's totally not a threat!

Just because they listed the myriad security weaknesses of the town hall along with a list of who's working there at the time, that's totally not a threat!

Also, I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you!
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
I suspect this guy has no idea how small, traditional towns work. Dunno about him being from "Upstate" NY... his attitude is pure New Yawk Shitty.

If he'd gone in with a decent, even humble attitude it could have made a world of difference. He needed to hold an open house or barbeque for the town board and all neighbors within hearing distance. He could have explained a reasonable philosophy of self defense and shown what they teach and why.

He could have easily defused the concerns of a majority.

Instead, he's making veiled (but pointed and obvious) threats on Farcebook and in general proving he's an asshole. I wouldn't want him or his "school" within 50 miles of where I lived.

Summerthyme
 

mecoastie

Veteran Member
Looking at the article the picture of his range doesn't have much for a berm. Or at least the angle of picture makes it look like there isn't much of a berm. I have been to a number of shooting schools and training areas and they all have massive berms. If I was the downrange land owner I would be a little nervous.
 

Sid Vicious

Veteran Member
The real lesson in this is to be heavily armed and the government will be afraid to **** with you. The town could have also worked with the guy to set some hours of operation.
 

jed turtle

a brother in the Lord
Long story, but in the short term this guy is an Ahole for disturbing his neighbors. They were there first not him. As such he should be sensitive to their concerns.

Regarding the building permits, it is a business, so there are some standards that should be met.
Looks like it is not a business:

” turned out Mr. Banyai had no desire to win over the town. Instead, he fought back tenaciously in court, arguing that his weapons site did not require land use permits from the state because he did not charge for admission. ”

guess he should have built his place right next to that Muslim combat training place back in NY state...
 

greysage

Veteran Member
Yeah, that’s why I posted at first, ‘Not sure what to make of this’

Then again, with all the threats...something should be actionable...

Also, that the guy built without any permits - I can see that being a big problem...
If I recall correctly, he called for volunteers to help with building the range. From the classroom to the earth moving for berms/backstops. He got the help too. And nothing wrong with volunteer help and donations to do such a thing. Whether or not permits were required I don't know.

It's also odd with all the claimed threats and claimed happenings that .LE never arrested anyone. I was under the hopeful impression maybe the cops thought the neighbors were exaggerating or lying.

Haven't followed since maybe last spring so recollection is foggy. Another thing is, I never saw the local gun community even talking about the place.
 

night driver

ESFP adrift in INTJ sea
Guy figures anything north of the Tappan Zee bridge is Upstate...

He's clueless.

College (Pace) is in Westchester and his CCW is from Duchess counties.

He's likely NEVER lived in a townn of under 10K people. 1500 person villages are DIFFERENT, dude.

took my mom 65 years to ecome "welcome" in Waterville. Dad it took a bit less because he coached sports. They BOTH taught.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
Well, not sure what to make of this...
I don’t trust a place that makes you get a ”permit for my chicken coop!” Whats that about?
You said it all right there, Squib; any place which is over-regulated to that point is no place for any liberty-loving person. People who convince themselves that they're so open-minded and tolerant until someone else comes in who doesn't think like them, then that goes out the window.

On the other hand, this guy (in this write-up, at least) comes off as a complete asshole, as folks have already opined, whether true or not. When moving into some place with a different idea, it behooves someone to work to fit themselves in to the community and throw them some bones before things get to this point.

I'm getting to where I dislike this term, but some "community outreach" would've been helpful here. 20/20 hindsight, I know. Instead of threatening posts on the company's Facebook (of all the idiotic things a person could do, this one takes the cake), how about some "Dear neighbors, we will be conducting firearms training Tuesday - Friday, mostly between the hours of ...." Apologies in advance for any inconvenience and as you know, all training will be conducted with the utmost safety, etc. etc.?

And early on in the process: "Dear neighbors, those of you who live on properties adjacent to Slate Ridge, are cordially invited to an open house this upcoming (name a couple days) at one of the country's premier training facilities for a complete tour. In addition, you will be allowed to receive free training after which you will be qualified to not only safely and confidently handle firearms but will be able to pass the fundamental lessons of this training to your children or friends as you choose. Lunches will be provided and if the weather permits, an evening campfire with hot dog roasting and s'mores .. yada yada etc. etc."

I think greysage's and summerthyme's comments are important and right on. Why the heck in Vermont, of all places?
 

Sid Vicious

Veteran Member
After reading around people in the area have posted. This is a non story. It's just a few Karen's complaining. His threats are basically memes. The town has a stoplight and people shoot all the time not just him.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
It's also odd with all the claimed threats and claimed happenings that .LE never arrested anyone. I was under the hopeful impression maybe the cops thought the neighbors were exaggerating or lying.
It's obvious this was a one-sided story with an pre-set agenda. "Gun-friendly Vermont"? puh-leez...

It's just as obvious there's two sides. As you point out, the troopers seem to have no issue with things and he appears to have good relations with them. It would be interesting to hear their unvarnished opinions but I imagine they'd be pretty close to ours. If the guy treated his neighbors with the same respect as he did police officers, this whole mess probably wouldn't have been a story.

I think the larger issue on this story is that this is just the continuation of the effort to criminalize all of us who own firearms and believe in the value of training and practice. All it takes is an outlier like this to lose solidarity, and to begin to marginalize the whole population of that group by hardening people's minds to the desired narrative.

This just shows us how it's done. This isn't about Slate Ridge and its neighbors at all IMHO.

ETA: Changed the word "beginning" above to "continuation".
 
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vestige

Has No Life - Lives on TB
It's obvious this was a one-sided story with an pre-set agenda. "Gun-friendly Vermont"? puh-leez...

It's just as obvious there's two sides. As you point out, the troopers seem to have no issue with things and he appears to have good relations with them. It would be interesting to hear their unvarnished opinions but I imagine they'd be pretty close to ours. If the guy treated his neighbors with the same respect as he did police officers, this whole mess probably wouldn't have been a story.

I think the larger issue on this story is that this is just the beginning of the effort to criminalize all of us who own firearms and believe in the value of training and practice. All it takes is an outlier like this to lose solidarity, and to begin to marginalize the whole population of that group by hardening people's minds to the desired narrative.

This just shows us how it's done. This isn't about Slate Ridge and its neighbors at all IMHO.
Nailed it
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
Aside from all of the other issues, doesn't it seem like 30 acres is a bit small for doing live-fire battle training or whatever he was trying to do? I could see target shooting on that amount of land, with proper backstops. But it seems like training people for actual fighting would require backstops all around the property, because you couldn't always be shooting in just one direction.

He doesn't sound like a very thoughtful or considerate person to have for a neighbor, in any case.

Kathleen
 

Luddite

Veteran Member
So he purposefully buys inside an incorporated town, then plans on getting forgiveness not permission.

THEN, chooses to be overtly belligerent.

He is probably "playing for the wrong team".
Any law-abiding liberty minded American would be an IDIOT to go near his "training site".
 

20Gauge

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Looks like it is not a business:

” turned out Mr. Banyai had no desire to win over the town. Instead, he fought back tenaciously in court, arguing that his weapons site did not require land use permits from the state because he did not charge for admission. ”

guess he should have built his place right next to that Muslim combat training place back in NY state...
Good point!
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
He is probably "playing for the wrong team".
Any law-abiding liberty minded American would be an IDIOT to go near his "training site".
I think you're on the money. There are wheels within wheels turning here. greysage pointed out earlier that this whole thing has had a particular odor about it that wasn't right. It almost sounds as if this guy is being intentionally belligerent for some larger purpose. Could someone be that obtuse?
 

colonel holman

Veteran Member
There are people who live for personal conflict. They live lives of self-imposed misery. They just have to have an enemy, be it a neighbor they have to bully over property lines, or a local selectman who didn’t vote right, a sibling or three who he hasn’t spoken to in 10 years. And heaven help the ex-spouse who will forever live in fear. I see it often. He fits that. Add some serious OCD as seasoning and you get a dangerous individual.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
I worked with a guy like that once. He had to have a soapbox - otherwise he was a miserable human bean.
 

db cooper

Veteran Member
Aside from all of the other issues, doesn't it seem like 30 acres is a bit small for doing live-fire battle training or whatever he was trying to do?
You have a valid point there. Our state has a rule where you cannot hunt within 440 yards of a residence, which is 1320 feet, or a quarter mile. A 30 acre plot, if square would be about 1143 feet x 1143 feet. Now this is Vermont, but still a military grade round will by far exceed a quarter of a mile.

I do not have a problem with hunters if they are close to our property. I will approach them armed and ask them to leave if we feel threatened. They always do.
 

Illini Warrior

Has No Life - Lives on TB
sounds to me like his set-up could have been done in an old abandoned industrial works - probably a better overall situation for him and all involved - could even got a shot at some new biz start-up $$$$ ...
 

Sicario

The Executor
Instead, he's making veiled (but pointed and obvious) threats on Farcebook and in general proving he's an asshole. I wouldn't want him or his "school" within 50 miles of where I lived.

Summerthyme
On the other hand, if he were Muslim operating a training camp, they wouldn't be saying a thing.
 
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