Ghost Town incident should be taken seriously

Nov 12, 2013

A man was shot at Ghost Town in early July during one of the staged gunfights for which the amusement park has become known.

While blanks have been used in the skits since they first started in 1964, something went amiss and Robert Bradley, the man who has been part of the gunfights since they started, was seriously wounded. He still has metal fragments lodged in his leg and plenty of questions about how something like this could happen. Here we are in mid-November and seemingly little progress has been made in the investigation.

All the seasoned gunfighters quit the day after Bradley’s injury and were replaced by all new gunfighters who continued the choreographed fights as if nothing had happened.

While a complaint to the North Carolina Department of Labor spurred an investigation by the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Division, it didn’t seem like much was being done by the Maggie Valley Police Department until this past week.

A N.C. Department of Labor spokesman originally said the investigation should take four to six weeks, but the department legally has up to six months to complete an investigation. No one at the DOL can tell us why the investigation wasn’t wrapped up as quickly as first expected and the Maggie Valley Police Department can’t say anything about an ongoing investigation except that detectives are looking at it as an accident.

Bradley was not contacted by the Maggie Valley Police Department for questioning until Nov. 7. Tim Gardner, the gunfighter who shot Bradley, said on Nov. 7 that he was interviewed by the state but has not been contacted by the police department.

There are enough unanswered questions about how a blank can leave pieces of metal lodged 3 inches into a man’s thigh that the investigation should be taken seriously.

If the state is only checking to see if Ghost Town had adequate water, first aid and trained personnel, why is the inspection process taking so long? Why haven’t the key players in the incident been interviewed before they forget what really happened that day?

Was the ammunition confiscated to see if there were other problems?

We wwexpect all agencies involved to take this issue seriously and to review the evidence without favoritism to one party or the other. If Ghost Town is to survive and thrive, employees and visitors need to feel safe when they are on the mountain.

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