A Browning 1919 machine gun was the unlikely find of divers in Seatac, Washington, who were participating in a “clean sweep” of Angle Lake Park in Saturday, July 26, 2014.
Being a reasonable and sensible people, Seatac officials immediately sought to determine the worth and condition of the antique firearm, so that they could better determine its possible historical significance to museums, or perhaps sell it to collectors in order to raise funds for domestic violence and other police-sponsored programs.
I’m totally kidding.
Their actual plans are to melt this piece of history into scrap for a useless hippie art project.
When complete, the trash recovered filled the back end of a Parks Department Flat Bed Service truck. Content were mostly litter, cans and bottles but also included a few unique finds recovered from under the water. That which included half a wooden boat; a complete lawnmower; plus a Browning 30 caliber machine gun acquired adjacent to the fishing docks at the public park.
The police were dispatched to investigate the find and although the gun was no longer in working order, regulations required that the officer recover the weapon with claims that it would be included in the Peace Brick Program where confiscated guns are meltdown into bricks.
Yes, it appears that Seatac’s very important peace brick program—designed to mimic Seattle’s program, which “feature(s) quotes from Seattle children about gun violence and how it affects them,” is the best use this bunch of savages can think of for a piece of American military history that somehow ended up in the depths of the lake.
While the police determined that the gun wasn’t in working order, it doesn’t appear that they have made an attempt at this time to determine the gun’s history, including whether or not it was a transferable firearm, or determine if it had any specific or general historical significance.
Even in non-working condition a transferable 1919 with a viable right sideplate (the part the ATF considers a machine gun) could be worth many thousands of dollars on the collector market as the basis for a rebuild that would be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. Similarly, the World War II and Korean War-era firearm could be very useful in the collection of a history museum recalling the sacrifices of the so-called “Greatest Generation” and the following “Forgotten War.”
It would be a shame to see this piece of military history melted down to become part of some sentimentalist hippie anti-gun propaganda.
Let’s hope someone in Seatac realizes the worth of the antique that they seek to destroy, and that saner heads prevail.