The NRA & the Sierra Club Should Be Friends

Abstract nature is replacing the real thing as a nation of couch potatoes hikes through the World of Warcraft and views natural wonders by the miracle of television. Hunters, the most dependable conservationists, are declining in number and numbers of National Park visitors has dropped 24% since 1995. If you want to be alone in the woods, you may get your wish.

People, who do not actually get out into nature, do not put their feet on the ground, feel the air in their lungs and the weather in their face, will not appreciate it, People who do not walk over the land will not know the territory; they will not understand it and they will not develop the capacity to love it for what it really is.

Anyone interesting in the environment should be concerned that many people just will not care. We need to recruit a next generation of conservationists. Kids used to be unavoidably thrust into nature in their own backyards and parks. No more. One author fears that children suffer from nature deficit disorder. Kids do not go outside much anymore for unstructured play. The deer ticks or the other bugs could get them. It is worse. Frightened parents, misguided regulators and our litigious society has either driven kids indoors, where the little fatties sit in front of electronic screens, or into highly organized activities where they follow adult scripts.

Lovers of the environment often are split into two camps: preservationists and conservationists. The first group wants to set things aside and protect nature from humans; the second thinks humans should use nature’s bounty wisely and sustainably. There are some sources of friction between these groups, but a much bigger area of shared interest. Membership need not be mutually exclusive. Aldo Leopold and Izaak Walton believed in preservation, but did some hunting and fishing along the way and would appreciate a well run tree farm.

The NRA & the Sierra Club can be friends. They used to be. The guy who wants to shoot those whitetails or mallards in the fall sure is interested in making sure the woods and wetlands are healthy the rest of the year. He can also be easily persuaded that some places need to be preserved even from his own sustainable harvest activities. Certainly the preservationist also understands that hunting is a necessary management tool for any environment influenced by humans (which is almost every environment).

Consider the alternatives. When you make forestry or hunting difficult, responsible people stop doing them. This opens the way for the quick profit & run away operations, development and fragmentation of forests and range land. When you refuse to set aside the really unique natural communities, you not only lose them, but you also (again) open the way for the quick profit & run away operations, development and fragmentation. In other words, conflict among those who love nature leaves the field open for those who do not.

So whaddawedo? Do you want ideological purity or a healthy environment? If we do not cooperate, we better get used to walking through those great and perfect forests in our own personal virtual realities. We can all have exactly what we want. Sony and Nintendo will bring it to us in the comfort of our living rooms ... but it won't be true.

Posted by Jack at February 25, 2007 9:30 PM
Comments
Comment #209700

Jack:

You imply the NRA is made up of hunters? Maybe some, but lots of other folks who just want to own guns and play war.

There are many places where the tenor of hunting is changing, and not for the better. I was raised by a hunter/as a hunter, and am married to one. My husband won’t go out any more because of how they hunt around here. There is a lot being lost, I don’t know how to explain it, but the ethics sure aren’t what I was taught.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 25, 2007 11:23 PM
Comment #209701

Woman

Maybe that is a problem. Hunting used to be a big part of life, generally accepted by almost everybody, and there was no particular difference between hunters and “environmentalists” or conservationists.

I think you are also speaking to the main thrust of the post. People are separated from nature.

Posted by: Jack at February 25, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #209705

Conserving nature for all of us to enjoy is a very different thing from using it as a preserve, in order to kill its creatures for pleasure. While the “sportsman” may kill for sport, the animal does not die in sport; it dies in earnest.

Anyone reading this knows in their heart, killing animals for “sport” is wrong.

Now, I understand hunting to put food on the table. I’ve eaten bunny rabbits that were hopping around thirty minutes prior, because in that time & place, that was a pefectly acceptable way of putting food on the table for a family. Many hunters do just that with their kills. I also understand “wildlife management”- a fairly hilarious use of the word “management”- to cull herds, where the natural balance between predator and prey is out of whack due to disease or overpopulation.

But I suspect most people hunt to satisfy instincts which we all have a moral obligation to try to rise above.

So while preservationists and hunters may share a concern for the outdoors, they do it for completely different, incompatible reasons.

Want to get outdoors and enjoy the thrill of the chase?

Bring a camera.

Posted by: phx8 at February 26, 2007 12:01 AM
Comment #209706


Nearly all of the large tracts of land around here have been bought up by rich city people. During deer hunting season, they and their friends pour in here by the hundreds swelling the population of the small town by a factor of ten. Their idea of hunting can best be described as a cattle drive using four wheelers. They take some of the meat with them when they leave, but dozens of headless carcasses are left behind to rot. The great white hunters. The main reason there are so many deer is because the first thing they do is clearcut the timber, providing ideal habitat. Most of them don’t give a damn about conservation.

Posted by: jlw at February 26, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #209707

Phx8

People will not live in close proximity to large numbers of big predators such as cougars and probalby wolves. W/o these, deer population get out of hand. We also have some introduced species, such as wild pigs that are always out of hand. Even cute animals such as beavers (rats with flat tails) can cause great damage if left alone. If hunters do not manage these herds for sport, you will have to hire somebody to do it for money. The animal will be similarly dead.

I personally do not hunt because I cannot shoot worth a damn. I have hunters on my land. They eat most of what they kill (I think) but if they did not they still would have to kill certain numbers of deer to keep the population in check. We had to trap out beavers and nobody eats beavers (or even much uses the fur anymore).

The hunters can take their cameras too. I do not care if they take the picture before or after they shoot the deer.

Animals are on the land and part of the environment. You can keep the general population healthier by taking out some individuals. That is the management and the word fits. It is similar to the way you might thin flowers in the garden or trees in the forest.

Hunting is a positive good. There are bad hunters, but as a group they perform a very valuable service to us all.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 12:27 AM
Comment #209708
But I suspect most people hunt to satisfy instincts which we all have a moral obligation to try to rise above.

Well, that only makes sense if you’re a vegetarian. Then (for you) this as a moral issue, but if you’re not a vegetarian, I think that hunting is actually a very positive activity because it means you’re directly involved in what (for lack of better term) we might call “the cycle of life.”

It’s not more “moral” for an animal which has known nothing but captivity to be calculatedly killed for your food.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 26, 2007 12:32 AM
Comment #209712

That brings up two ways in which we are divorced from nature. In one of the ways, we are divorced by technology. Rather than spending recreational time outside, many rely upon technology for recreation, especially the upcoming generation.

The other way is more of a philosophical divorce, the dualistic perception that humanity differs from animals in kind, rather than degree.

Personally, I believe animals and humans differ in degree, and that there is no “soul” which differentiates humans from animals, or that both share the same “soul”, if you prefer. Both possess the same energies which make them sentient.

So I am well aware that few people see things the same way as me. An innate part of the dualistic Christian perception is the whole idea that nature is there for people to exploit. But really, this is an interesting thread, and I am not out to derail it with vague ruminations on the nature of existence.

Loyal Opposition,
Some of us are vegeatarians, some not, and no doubt we are all part of the circle of life (if you are an optimist), or the circle of death (if you are not). Where I have a real problem is with the killing creatures for pleasure. Personally, I spent a lot of time hunting a long time ago, killing animals for “sport,” and unlike Jack, I happened to be an excellent marksman. There was a gunrack in my bedroom, and the junk drawer was full of ammo. But if I regret any past action, it is for killing animals for “sport” when I was young. It was an expectation of that time and place, and I was young. As I grew older, I came to realize it was wrong.

I am not going to convince people not to hunt, or to shun gun ownership. I understand it is deeply interwoven into our culture and even the 2nd amendment of the Constitution. I would, however, urge people to look long and hard at the motivations for their actions.

Posted by: phx8 at February 26, 2007 1:48 AM
Comment #209713

Numbers dropping in our national Parks? AMEN! HALLELUJAH BROTHER!

Ever since our Dept. of the Interior decided to 1) charge an admission fee to national parks after I already paid taxes to support them and 2) to use some of their new found use fee revenues to ADVERTISE visitorship to those parks, I began attending less and less.

Count me in that 24%, ABSOLUTELY!

Big Bend National Park was heavily enforced and rarely crowded prior to the changes instigated by Reagan/Bush administrations. After the changes (user fees and advertising) the park became a nightmare for those seeking solitude and peaceful respite with nature most especially around the time of holidays and school breaks. This in turn resulted in trashing of the parks, and crime skyrocketed afterward in Big Bend including its very first murder and attempted murders within the park.

I went to Big Bend for the first time in almost a decade 2 months ago. I was warned of the dangers of camping too close to the Mexican border and to not leave the campsite or vehicle with valuables in it. I never saw a ranger the entire time I was there. This was unheard of before the Reagan/Bush days when any backcountry camping permit would normally find one visited by a Ranger on horseback over the course of their first two days there.

I did find the park relatively clean on this last visit (compared to previous visits over holidays), and if that is a result of user fees paid upon entrance to the park, then that is an excellent use of the user fees. But advertising Big Bend for Spring Break parties was NEVER an acceptable use of user fees and still isn’t, as far as I am concerned. Trying to pack the parks with urban humanity is a defilement of our national parks system and an undermining of their original purpose.

In fact, America’s entire concept of sending the majority of her population on vacation during the Spring School Break and summer months, creates such congestion and mounds of trash and litter and erosion of switchbacks on trails, that maintenance has become a far more costly issue for the government and parks management.

Our vacation seasons should be spread as evenly as possible throughout the calendar year which would provide enormous positive net benefits for our society, our parks, our employers and businesses. It is time folks began lobbying for a 12 month school year with flexible vacation times dispersed throughout every month of the year. The benefits from such a move would be enormous.

The school year is a throwback to our agricultural family farm economy which ceased to exist well over a half century ago. Yet, to this day, we still build business, government, and travel plans around this system which no longer exists. Why is America so afraid of growing up and letting go of what no longer works? It is an amazing and very costly phenomena of our society.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 26, 2007 2:27 AM
Comment #209716

David

Of course you have the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush days.

I have a national park pass. I think it cost $50 for the year. I do not consider that onerous. In fact I am happy to pay for it since it goes for a good cause and it has to be one of the best entertainment values there is

I understand your desire to be alone in the woods. We all like to have the path uncrowded. The problem is that people are not using the resource and when they stop using it, they will stop thinking it is imporant. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon when somebody wants to defend a national park, nobody will care.

The other problem is lack of understanding. I am constantly trying to explain forest ecology to city people (of which I am one too BTW, but I own a forest & study the subject) who think that if you just leave it alone (i.e. negelect it) everything will be fine. It is almost a faith based system. Because they do not go into the woods deeply themselves, they just do not understand that changes that have taken place in the last centuries. If we leave things alone, we will have a landscape dominated by kudzo vines, Asian longhorned beetles, paradise trees and lots of mud and poor water quality. It will support few of the values they claim to want.

Unmanaged nature is not an option in most of the U.S. anymore. Man is interfering every day. We can do it well or poorly, but we can no longer just let it be.

Have you ever been to Bolder Co? People there are very nice and many love nature. Most do not know that they live in one of the best human managed nature areas in the country. It is the product of water projects, forestry plantings etc that were done reasonalby well a long time ago so that nobody thinks they are not natural. This should be the kind of thing we create.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 9:41 AM
Comment #209718

Jack, most folks who support our national park system have made little use of them, having visited them only a handful of times in their lifetimes.

So, your postulation that overuse is necessary to support the park system is not valid. I have never been to Mt. Rushmore nor the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, and likely never will visit them. I support their preservation nonetheless. This is true of most Americans and parks they will never visit.

I am speaking specifically to purpose and management of those purposes. If preservation is the primary goal in Big Bend, (which it is BTW), then limiting, regulating, and overseeing the impact of visitors is mandatory. Big Bend is largely Chihuahuan Desert. Desert environments are fragile, especially to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and campfires. Human waste becomes a serious management problem in a park so vast as to make Porta-potties and trash bins impracticable and an eyesore.

The vast majority of visitors pack out what they pack in and are responsible. Oversight and enforcement are necessary for the remaining visitors, especially the younger college Spring Break crowds, whom I have seen totally trash a camping area as if it were a literal pig sty.

Big Bend has sites for the more urban and less adventurous visitors complete with porta-potties, water spigots, and parking areas. And this is a very good thing, because it makes management of congregations and use far more efficient. It is the backpack and remote areas that are most vulnerable and require the greatest oversight. The Park’s system has improved and holds permit holders responsible with fines for the condition of their camping area.

This is so, only because the number of Park Rangers have been increased after a long 2 decades of decreasing their numbers. Each park is unique and requires unique management techniques and priorities. I am pleased to see that such decentralization of administration of our national parks, begun in the late 1990’s is slowly coming to fruition.

However, budget cuts appear to be on the table, again. And that is not good news.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 26, 2007 10:08 AM
Comment #209719

David

The vistors to the parks is only a symptom of the disconnect with nature. I do not want to parks overrun with vistors. I prefer all visitors to be well behaved. I just want more people to have authentic nature experiences and it seems to me that this is less and less the case.

The book on the nature deficit makes a good point. I grew up in a city, but I spent most of my time outside playing by rivers, lakes and in the local parks. You are in constant contact with the ground, grass trees etc. Many of today’s kids never even wear out a pair of shoes because they so rarely walk and sometimes no child is left outside.

They get their appreciation for nature by watching movies or video games. They are no longer participants. They think of nature and man as separate and often hostile. It is just wrong.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #209722

Jack,

“If we leave things alone, we will have a landscape dominated by kudzo vines, Asian longhorned beetles, paradise trees…”

That wouldn’t be because we (Americans) introduced them into an environment they didn’t belong in, would it?

I do agree with the “concept” of the RESPONSIBLE hunter as a conservationist. Unfortunately there are those “hunters” out there that are neither. Some people shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a weapon of any sort, regardless of their motives.

While I do own guns, I don’t hunt (I don’t feel the need), though I do target shoot.
I have written here before about my brother in law. He is the embodiment of Jack’s concept of a hunter. He hunts deer with a rifle and a bow, and he takes whatever he hunts home. He isn’t some liquored up yahoo that just goes out to shoot something (anything?), and go home.

He is the type of hunter I can respect. The environment thrives under this type of hunter’s stewardship.

I was taught from an early age to leave the forest better than I found it, and I make sure to tote out not just my own, but other people’s trash as well.

I abhor the use of four wheelers and snowmobiles in our forests and National Parks, not because of the vehicles themselves, but because of the irresponsible morons that ruin it for everybody with the damage they leave behind.

We Americans need to take more responsibility for our surroundings, and not just use up the resources we’ve been given to enjoy.

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #209725

Jack,

The Hunter and the Hugger should be friends/
oh, the Hunter and the Hugger should be friends…

I have no problem with hunting when it is carefully managed. It can be useful for controlling overpopulation.

As someone pointed out, it is silly for people who buy meat from the supermarket to say that hunting is immoral. A hunted deer has a much better life than a factory-farmed cow or pig. And the deer has a sporting chance.

I don’t see eye-to-eye with the NRA on gun control laws, however. The whole business about need armor-piercing bullet to go hunting gets tiresome.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 26, 2007 11:44 AM
Comment #209727

Jack

I grew up in a small town here in Illinois. Some of my fondest memories center around warm summer days spent climbing trees, building tree houses, hiking out into the woods adjacent to town to hang out with my friends. We had forts, explored, built dams in the creek, camped out and enjoyed campfires and gazing at the stars on cool nights. At the time it was not so much our love of nature that attracted us so much as it was a place of our own to be alone, explore, imagine and grow away from the eyes of adults. But those experiences did evolve into a great love and appreciation of nature that I enjoy to this day. Part of the woods eventually turned into a now failed golf course left to return to nature or probably subdivision eventually. The rest now has no trespassing signs and owners that are willing to prosecute. I did manage to enjoy that woods with my sons for a few years before developement and privacy took those rights away. As a result they too have grown to appreciate nature and its value in this world.

I think there are a myriad of reasons that probably the majority of children of today do not get those same types of experiences. Number one being that both spouses work in most households and probably at least one of them is going to work a weekend or part of the weekend. This combined with domestic chores and running the kids back and forth to funtions does not leave much time for outdoor activities. If the children are young they spend much of their time at a daycare center or a sitters house. In our day most mothers did not work. Their primary role was raising the children and domestic duties. As a result chores that were kept up with on a daily basis now have to be done on weekends. I think many parents see the Xbox as a way to keep their children at home rather than on the streets looking for or maybe just bumping into trouble. A psuedo baby sitter of sorts, allowing the parents unfettered time to take care of domestic business. Most, when challenged, would probably deny this. But sadly I think it is most likely the reality.

As for hunting, it personally has never appealed to me. My father bought me a rifle for Christmas when I was about 14 years old. We went rabbit hunting and I managed to shoot one the first time out. I felt no excitement or sense of accomplisment. All I felt was remorse for taking the life of something that had every right to live. I do not have a problem with people who hunt. I understand that it is the result of an evolutionary process and a necesary part of wildlife management. I know many hunters and realize there are varying reasons why they enjoy it. Some sadly simply enjoy the thrill of killing. Others enjoy the challenge. Some enjoy the solitude and use it as reasoning to get outdoors. Some like the meat and fill their freezers on most years. Many like it for all these reasons. The only ones I have a problem with are those who actually enjoy the kill and that feeling of domination. Fortunately they are in the minority.

Posted by: ILdem at February 26, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #209728

phx8,

I don’t really see a big distinction between hunting for pleasure and eating meat. We could all have a healthy, inexpensive diet without killing animals. We eat meat because we like the taste. In other words, we get more pleasure from eating dead animals than from eating vegetables. When we buy meat from a supermarket (which I do!), we are basically contracting out the killing of the animal. It is not pretty but that is the truth.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 26, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #209729

Several people have written that it is sad to kill an animal for food. Yet, they will kill a plant to eat. What’s the difference, someone is killing something that once was alive?

Posted by: tomh at February 26, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #209732

Rocky said: “Some people shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a weapon of any sort, regardless of their motives.”

Yeah, like Tricky Dickey Cheney. He’s a trick shot alright. Fortunately, so far, he only shoots his friends.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 26, 2007 12:46 PM
Comment #209733

Jack said: “They get their appreciation for nature by watching movies or video games. They are no longer participants. They think of nature and man as separate and often hostile. It is just wrong.”

If its wrong, Jack, then you must advocate for more responsible development of residential neighborhoods. I know you would not prefer government to mandate safe open undeveloped areas for every residential development area, but, just how would you incent developers to include such play and recreation areas within residential areas, or adjacent to them?

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 26, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #209734

Jack said: “The visitors to the parks is only a symptom of the disconnect with nature. I do not want parks overrun with visitors. I prefer all visitors be well behaved. I just want more people to have authentic nature experiences and it seems to me that this is less and less the case.”

I agree entirely. Extend the school year to 12 months and make field trips to nature zones and school sponsored national parks camping ventures part of the biology science curriculum. America is capable of that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 26, 2007 12:53 PM
Comment #209736

I understand the joys of hunting for I used to hunt. I understand the pleasure of holding a rifle and making a well place shot. But too often a well-placed shot did not result in instantaneous death, which distracted from the whole experience. For those that like to hunt I understand their enjoyment that they receive, but for myself it was no longer a skill or a mindset that I had the heart for. I’ve also replace my rifle with a camera, and I find that I derive more pleasure now than ever before.

As far as preservationist embracing organizations such as the NRA, perhaps at one time I could be convince of that, but not anymore. Recently Jim Zumbo a respected and well renowned hunter and conservationist spoke out against the use of assault rifles while hunting. Specifically he assailed the use of assault rifles while shooting prairie dogs. He referred to assault rifles as “terrorist rifles” and forwarded the belief that “assault rifles had no place among our hunting fraternity.”

I agree with Jim Zumbo that slaughtering animals by spraying them with bullets is not hunting or that it requires any skill consistent with hunting. But evidently the NRA does not agree, their response was swift and unyielding. Jim Zumbo’s TV show, his ties to Outdoor Life magazine and endorsement deals with Remington, Gerber Knives amongst others has been terminated due to the outcry from the NRA membership.

The NRA stated this is what happens to anyone, including a “fellow gun owner, who challenges the right of Americans to own or hunt with assault-style arms.” I for one would disagree with the NRA or any organization that would call using assault rifles as hunting. Any organization that supports the use of Assault rifles while hunting, I believe forfeits any credibility as a viable source to be consulted or included in the discussion of conservation.

Posted by: Cube at February 26, 2007 1:22 PM
Comment #209739

Hunting is a vital part of wildlife management these days because a lot of predators have been killed off because like Jack said folks don’t want to live around cougars, mountain lions, wolves, and such. And I really don’t blame them. It’s bad enough that my grand kids have to worry about rattlers and moccasins while out in the woods or even in the pastures and fields without adding the predators above to the list.
I’ve hunted sense I was a kid and while I do enjoy it the biggest reason I hunt is for food. The hunters I have a problem with are the sport hunters. I’ve found that most these guys don’t care about the environment and don’t want the meat from the animals they kill. The just want that 8 point rack for their trophy case and so they just take the head and leave the rest to the deer to rot. Most these are the city folks and most don’t have any idea of hunting safety.
Reckon maybe Chaney is one of these sport hunters?

David

Our vacation seasons should be spread as evenly as possible throughout the calendar year which would provide enormous positive net benefits for our society, our parks, our employers and businesses. It is time folks began lobbying for a 12 month school year with flexible vacation times dispersed throughout every month of the year. The benefits from such a move would be enormous.

The 12 month school year doesn’t benefit the most important institution in our society. The family. In most the school districts that I know of that have the 12 month school year they intentionally put siblings into different cycles. The family can’t take a vacation without pulling at least one of the kids out of school. And the school districts try their best to discourage this to the point of failing the student pulled out of school (the student has missed to much school) as it results in less state and federal money for them.
The results have been less time the family can spend together and weakens the family structure. How does this help any?
But I do understand tour problem with the way the parks are being handled. We went out to Yellowstone a couple years ago. It sure has gotten worse sense we were there back in the 80s. There was about twice as many folks there and they didn’t seem to mind throwing their trash on the ground. They caught a guy trying to put something in Old Faithful one night. Something that no one would have thought of in the 80s.
Smokey Mountain National Park is also getting worse. It’s getting to the point that the bears will bust out windows of cars with folks still in them to get to the food they know is going to be there. This is because folks are feeding them even though it’s against the law. Crime is also up there.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2007 1:50 PM
Comment #209741


Our nation as a society has never respected nature. It is our enemy and must be subdued. It is a part of our manifest destiny. We call the destruction of nature progress, we call it development. We must multiply and fill up the Earth with men. It is a mandate from the old man himself, at least in one version.

Posted by: jlw at February 26, 2007 2:42 PM
Comment #209744

Not much of a dog in this fight for me, but I do feel there is a substantial difference in hunting on the one hand, and eating meat that has been raised for slaughter on the other. The farm animals from which we get most of our meat would not even exist outside our domestication of their species. There were bred and are fed solely to give us food. Without our care and feeding, they would not exist. It is hard to argue that behavior that allows them to exist is immoral from their standpoint.

Wild animals, on the other hand, have no such symbiotic relationship to man. They breed, feed, and roam on their own without our help (outside of trying to preserve their habitat from our encroachment, of course). We can survive perfectly well on our domestic stock. Thus, making sport of hunting them, even if you eat them, seems immoral to me.

I know that the majority of hunters disregard the distinction I make, and I believe it is their right in a free society, at least to the extent that they don’t hunt a species to rarity or extinction. This is just my personal ethical code and one that led me, like phx8, to give up killing wild animals, even though, like him, I was an excellent marksman. I only ask that the thoughtful hunter think about the distinction I make and try to come up with a more rational justification for their sport than pointing to a non-hunting meat eater and saying, see, you’re just the same.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 26, 2007 3:08 PM
Comment #209747

Jack,
NRA and the Sierra Club can’t be allies because of the Sierra Club’s efforts to ban hunting and restrict access to public lands.

womanmarine,
“own guns and play war”? There are some people like that on the lunatic fringe. I’ve never met an NRA member who fits that description. The ones who do aren’t in the NRA.

Woody Mena,

“I don’t see eye-to-eye with the NRA on gun control laws, however. The whole business about need armor-piercing bullet to go hunting gets tiresome.”

All centerfire rifle ammunition and a lot of pistol ammunition will penetrate the soft body armor worn by police officers. (it’s bullet RESISTANT, not bullet PROOF) The armor piercing bullet thing is a red herring. It’s not about saving cops’ lives. It’s about banning ammunition and hunting. Any “armor piercing bullet” ban would ban about 90% of ammunition.
Any ammunition that’s powerful enough to hunt big game is of necessity “armor piercing” as defined by the anti gunners.

Cube,
Jim Zumbo was pilloried for his anti gun stance.
He didn’t understand that the 2A isn’t about hunting until Ted Nugent straightened him out. He also displayed an elitist attitude (my pretty gun’s ok, your ugly gun isn’t). People like Zumbo have caused great harm to the pro gun cause. NRA’s leaders didn’t jump in til he had already been soundly thrashed by the rank and file.
Where does that “slaughtering animals by spraying them with bullets” come from? Oh, wait-it’s ignorance.
I and several of my friends hunt with ugly semi automatics-what the anti gunners call assault weapons. They aren’t. Assault rifles are selective fire, ie, fully automatic. (machine guns)
Just because a rifle is capable of rapid fire doesn’t mean it can be used effectively that way. To hunt you still have to aim. I’ve never used more than 2 shots to kill a deer in my life.
Likening owners of military style semi autos to terrorists is what really got Zumbo in trouble. According to the Supreme Court’s Miller decision, guns that “have no utility for military or militia use” aren’t protcted by the 2A. That’s why they upheld the ban on sawed off shotguns. I disagree. All guns are protected, no exceptions. Failure to understand that is why Zumbo is unemployed.

Posted by: traveller at February 26, 2007 3:24 PM
Comment #209749

Jack, I think you are promoting a fairly sterile notion of what happens when a group goes hunting: tags purchased, over populated herds culled, food supply for self-sufficiency, the environment sustained. The reality, all too often, is that an ill-trained group of guys, consuming a lot of alcohol, goes out and blasts every thing in sight. If you’re hunting in Arizona for white tail and see a snake or desert dove or quail on the ground, you take a shot. Doesn’t the recent “shooter” Cheany experience tell you anything? Do you really think that a man with a known drinking problem would just have a single beer at lunch and go hunting?
Also, the NRA is not about defending the rights of the individual to own a gun, it’s about defending the rights of Colt, Remington, et al to SELL the gun. Remember, Jack, it’s almost never about principle, it’s about money.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 26, 2007 3:32 PM
Comment #209750
I believe everyody in the world should have guns. Citizens should have bazookas and rocket launchers too. I believe that all citizens should have their weapons of choice. However, I also believe that only I should have the ammunition. Because frankly, I wouldn’t trust the rest of the goobers with anything more dangerous than string.
. Scott Adams —————- Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 26, 2007 3:46 PM
Comment #209751

Cube
An assault weapon is one that can be fired in fully automatic mode. One squeeze of the trigger and it fires until either the trigger is released or it runs out of ammunition. I don’t know of any hunter, and I know quite a few, that uses assault weapons for hunting. They aint practical and only a complete idiot would use one for hunting.
The reason that a lot of hunters use a semi automatic weapon (one shot per squeeze of the trigger) for hunting is in case the first shot doesn’t kill. They can get the second shot off a little faster and there’s a lot fewer wounded animals running around. Semi automatic weapons ARE NOT assault weapons. Even if Clinton’s ‘assault weapon ban’ claimed they were.
I own three assault weapons. I don’t use them for hunting or home defense (a .38 handles home defense very well). I just enjoy shooting them and only fire them at a range nearby that is set up to handle them.
Another form of hunting that I started a few years ago and enjoy is bow hunting. Takes a little more savy and skill.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2007 4:02 PM
Comment #209753

I think there is an interesting connection between the domestic pro-gun position of this administration and the terrible problems we are having in Iraq. I don’t know it for a fact, but I suspect that one reason that there are so many weapons in Iraq is that the administration could not philosophically embrace the practical course of disarming the Iraqis to the extent possible in the post-war period. Come to think of it, since gun ownership is so widespread in Iraq, shouldn’t the violence and crime be much lower than here? Maybe we are seeing the result of wide spread gun ownership?

Posted by: charles Ross at February 26, 2007 4:12 PM
Comment #209754

charles
Anyone even caught with alcohol on their breath and carrying a weapon should be jailed whether their legally drunk or not. Even if they are the Vice President of the United States.
Weapons like cars are not toys and NO ONE should be operating either even after just one beer.

Also, the NRA is not about defending the rights of the individual to own a gun, it’s about defending the rights of Colt, Remington, et al to SELL the gun. Remember, Jack, it’s almost never about principle, it’s about money.,/blockquote>

How can someone exercise their right to own a weapon if no one has a right to manufacture and sell them?

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #209755

charlie ross,
That stereotype doesn’t hold up well to reality. The kind of boobs you describe are rare and soundly condemned in the hunting community.
As a lifelong hunter I know that Dick Cheney’s accident can happen to anyone, no matter how careful. Your implication that he was drunk isn’t supported by the facts.

“Also, the NRA is not about defending the rights of the individual to own a gun, it’s about defending the rights of Colt, Remington, et al to SELL the gun. Remember, Jack, it’s almost never about principle, it’s about money.”

This time it IS about principle. The NRA IS about defending individual rights. Defending gunmakers’ right to sell guns (an individual right itself) is an integral part of defending our individual right to own guns and I for one heartily endorse it. Without gunmakers we wouldn’t have guns.

Dave1-20-2009,
“rest of the goobers”? hmmm, revealing! lol

Posted by: traveller at February 26, 2007 4:25 PM
Comment #209760

Rocky

The Spanish introduced the horse and the wild pigs. The Asian longhorn beetles came recently in shipments of Chinese goods. One of the reasons we have problems with bugs is because we have banned the use of DDT. The world is very complex. As an American, I do not think we bear special responsibility, but all humans can and must manage their environments. Since ancient times, humans have been involved in the environment. Some people believe ancient man is responsible for the warmer climates we have had since the last ice age, as clearing of forests introduced enough greenhouse gas to keep the world from tipping back into an ice age a couple thousand years ago.

The bottom line is that I agree re responsibility. We cannot pretend that we can ever leave nature alone. Some places can be MANAGED as wilderness; other places should be preserved as possible. But most of the land must be managed for production of something.

Woody

What if you run up against an armored deer?

David

My wife is on various housing boards that determine local development. She always works to get more open space in cooperation with development. Local jurisdictions should, and usually do have the right to regulate. The trouble is that this is often done wrong. For example, we should not build on wet areas or low areas, but people like to live there, so we make exceptions and even provide subsidized flood insurance.

The other problem is that people want to come to a place and then close off everybody else at someone else’s expense. If you want the use of somebody’s land, you should be willing to pay for it, not just make a rule saying he now cannot develop land, cut trees etc.

Finally, we should have the right to farm and do forestry. Farms sometime literally stink. People move next to them for the view, but dislike the activity that goes on.

Re field trips - this would also be a non spontaneous trip TO nature. It is a good idea, but not enough.

Charles

Somebody has to shoot the deer. Let me give yo an analogy. I spend a lot of time cutting down trees that I will not use for wood. They are too much trouble to move, so I just let them rot. I do not cut for sport. It is a lot of work, but I have to do itmake the forest heathier. Otherwise the pine beetles or root fungus will take them all. That means cutting down trees. The same goes for animals.

I also want hunters to have the incentive to create habitat. MOST people do not live up to any ideals, but there are many people who own land and are good stewards. Hunting is an important part of any good management. Saying that man caused the problem is a true but useless statement. Saying that we can just leave things alone now is just wrong. Man IS in the nature management business and cannot get out of it.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #209761

well, I’m just putting some thoughts out there, the cyniscim in them may prevent them from being 100 % accurate. I do know enough about hunting to know that it is often not as portrayed by pro gun organizations, a sanitized dudley doright, out with his son to make that perfect, one shot kill version.
Traveller, your statement that Cheney being drunk is not supported by the facts is not supported by the facts! He shot his companion in the afternoon, went back to his guest house and refused to go to the hospital or be interviewed by the police.
Traveler, If you were hunting and shot someone in the head, a friend no less, wouldn’t you at least have the decency to go promptly to the hospital to see to the victim’s welfare? (that is, if you had nothing to hide).

Posted by: charles Ross at February 26, 2007 5:03 PM
Comment #209762

Have any of you anti-2nd Amendment and anti-hunting people on here ever been hunting?
Contrary to all your stereotypes, hunting is actually a very effective way of gathering food and establishing a sense of personal responsibility.
You don’t wake up at 4 a.m., drink a bottle of Jack Daniels, walk 2 or 3 miles killing everything in sight and then climb a tall tree so that you can shoot the first unlucky fawn that pokes its head up. Granted, 1 or 2 percent of the hunters may act like this, but as with most other things in life, the vast majority do not behave in such manner.
Most hunters, through teachings and experience, are the most firearm safety conscious and pro-environment people around. We also do not hunt because of some primitive bloodlust that must be satisfied or because we are heartless bastards who enjoy killing things.
I can put 70+ pounds of good, healthy meat in my freezer for a buck or two. Can you do that with a visit to your local grocer?

The Sierra Club types walk around their little city parks and think the woods I hunt in are no different. They are wrong. Their way of life is way different than my way of life. I respect that, they do not.

And the anti-2nd Amendment people base all of their opinions on fear. (Why does that sound so familiar?)
They don’t know the first thing about firearms, ammunition or what the hell the difference between a semi auto and automatic weapon is but they sure as hell think they know enough about it to take that Constitutional right away.
Why do they wish to take it away? Fear, plain and simple.

Jack, as the replies to your post have proven, stereotypes and willful disrespect of rights are why the “Sierra Club” and anti-2nd Amendment type of people will never accept hunters and pro-2nd Amendment people. An independent and free person is harder to control and they do not want control to be hard.

Posted by: kctim at February 26, 2007 5:16 PM
Comment #209763

Jack, I have no problem with hunting. I do think that people who own and use guns should be subject to, at the very least, the same degree of regulation and control that one does when owning and operating a motor vehicle. They should be responsible, competent, capable of posting a bond (insurance).
On a slightly different aspect to the issue, have you ever heard of a study done to determine the degree of gun ownership in the pre-civil war years, say from 1750 to 1860? There was a survey of wills done (since a weapon was of high value and likely to be willed) and it was determined that, prior to the civil War, very few people in the United States actually owned a gun! (I will have to do some looking up on this). Mass production of weaponery did not occur until after the war with the development of repeating weaponry. If true, this conflicts with the notion of the prevalence of the gun-owning independent, frontiersman. In addition, because guns were made of iron, it was estimated that many of the weapons being willed were actually rusted and unusable.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 26, 2007 5:18 PM
Comment #209764

“I do know enough about hunting to know that it is often not as portrayed by pro gun organizations, a sanitized dudley doright, out with his son to make that perfect, one shot kill version”

If this is what you “know” about hunting, then you NOTHING about it.
Almost every hunter I know was introduced to it by his/her father.
I began when I was around 6 or 7 with my father and I can promise you that my 9 year old daughter knows how to properly handle any firearm she is capable of lifting.

No disrespect intended Charlie, but your narrowminded view of hunters, what they do and their Constitutional rights, are why the Democrat party treads on thin ice whenever this issue is brought up around voters.
Respect us and our rights and the Democrats could be in power for a hell of a long time.

Posted by: kctim at February 26, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #209765

kctim,

“They don’t know the first thing about firearms, ammunition or what the hell the difference between a semi auto and automatic weapon is but they sure as hell think they know enough about it to take that Constitutional right away.”

I do own guns and I do know the difference between semi, and automatic weapons.

IMHO, there are enough bozos out there to warrant people not having access to full auto weapons, or even the ability to modify a weapon to full auto. I also think this is more about ego than rights.

Other than the chubby it gives some people to own such weapons, what exactly is the point?

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 5:31 PM
Comment #209767

Charles

I am not particularly big on the gun control issue. I just want the guys to be able to shoot the deer, wild pigs and other varmints that would otherwise destroy the forests. Woodchucks especially.

The hunters that use my land are very respectful. They perform many valuable services. They maintain the roads and plant the sides with clover. They protect it from people who would dump on it and they maintain the water courses. In addition, they have taught me a lot about the local variations of trees and soils and one of them pulled me out of the mud when I got stuck. I would never close my land to these guys.

Maybe I was just very lucky, but I am a member of the forestry association and I write articles about how landowners take care of their land, so I talk to a lot of ordinary people. My general impression is that my experience is similar to many others.

Let me tell you a nature story. There was a crane eating fish near the river and overhead was an eagle. It looked like a idealic thing you might see in a nature movie. Then all of a sudden, the eagle swooped down, attacked the crane and broke its neck. Then it flew off. I do not know why for sure, but it kinda looked like it did it for sport.

Re the gun study. I have heard of the study, but from the perspective of how it was fully cooked up and discredited.

Mass production of weapons began in the 1790s (as I recall). It would have been nearly impossible to live on the frontier w/o a gun at least for hunting. It might take several years to establish a farm and until then you needed the meat. After that you just wanted it.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #209769

Rocky
I totally agree that it could be an ego or bozo thing with SOME people. But the majority of people want or have them for other reasons, which, quit frankly, should not be of any concern to you or me.
If I harm nobody else, it should not matter to you if my firearm gives me a “chubby” or makes me feel safer. It is my business, not yours. But most importantly, it is my Constitutional right.

“IMHO, there are enough bozos out there to warrant people not having access to full auto weapons”

Thats interesting.
There are also enough bozos out there to warrant the govt to listen in on all forms of communication, especially in todays world.
Do you believe govt should violate and limit both of these rights so that the populace can feel safer? Or that govt should respect our Constitutional rights as a whole?

Posted by: kctim at February 26, 2007 5:46 PM
Comment #209770

Well, that’s right, kctim, I do have a narrow view of what happens on a hunt. I have friends who hunt @ Tucson. They go out into the desert and blast everything in sight. If you go out on state land it is remarkable to see the number of shotgun cartridges lying about. These guys go after rabbits, snakes, birds, tarantullas (remarkably big, those critters)
Personally, I have never hunted. I like my meat, shrink-wrapped and faceless. thank you. If I ever did hunt and shot and wounded, say, a deer, I would probably load it into my car and take it to the hospital!!!

Posted by: charles Ross at February 26, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #209771

An interesting article on NPR re stupid ideas about guns.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 5:55 PM
Comment #209773

” I only ask that the thoughtful hunter think about the distinction I make and try to come up with a more rational justification for their sport than pointing to a non-hunting meat eater and saying, see, you’re just the same.”

Thoughtful hunters don’t have to justify anything with you. I LIKE to hunt. That’s all the justification I need.

Posted by: tomd at February 26, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #209775

kctim,

There are also enough bozos out there to warrant the govt to listen in on all forms of communication, especially in todays world.”

Which in the end is actually more lethal?

My point wasn’t to argue semantics.
Ownership of a weapon like we are discussing should be difficult. It should be a process with reams of red tape.
You and I both know that there are folks in this country that shouldn’t be allowed to wield a butter knife, yet the process of buying a a gun is still relatively easy. I walked out of the store with my 45/70 in less than an hour.

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #209776

I didn’t fully read the link, Jack, but I will. I’ve played with toy guns as a child and fully enjoyed the experience. As an adult I’ve used rifles (mossberg 22’s and a .357 hand with a hair trigger (one round, hit the ground in front of what I was shooting at). Guns scare me and I wouldn’t want one around.
The only problem I have with toy guns is that they are realistic looking enough to create problems for law enforcement.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 26, 2007 6:10 PM
Comment #209777

kctim,

To put a finer point on this.

Right now I live in Phoenix, AZ, population way too many.

For the last week I have heard gunfire every night, including automatic weapons fire.

In two weeks I will be moved to Prescott, AZ, population just over 100,000.

Perhaps after the move my attitude might change a bit.

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 6:12 PM
Comment #209779

BTW, my estimate of population in Prescott included the surrounding area.

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 6:17 PM
Comment #209781

Charles

Listen to the NPR story. It is very interesting.

Rocky

Prescott is really nice. Congratulations. My wife & I looked up there last time we were in Arizona. I could stand living up there.

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #209782

Thank you Jack.

I promised to move my wife to the forrest, and I just can’t take Phoenix anymore.

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 6:39 PM
Comment #209783

I know what assault rifles are and I suspect so does Jim Zumbo. Zumbo’s only mistake was in trying to feign ignorance and to try to retract the statements he already made.

My reference to spraying animals was referring to the use by some people of their weapons in fully automatic mode while shooting prairie dogs. Which I submit unless meant as an eradication effort serves no other purpose than the perverse pleasures of the shooters.

There are quite a few semi-automatic hunting rifles and I know quite a few hunters that don’t use bolt-action rifles. I understand that traditionalist prefer bolt actions, and while I hunted so did I. Bolt-action are considered more accurate weapons, which I would believe any hunter worth his salt would make that one of their primary considerations while choosing a weapon. That being said, I’m sure technology has probably made some semi-autos as accurate as a bolt-action, but I’m fairly certain military weapons don’t fall in that category.

Traveller the only ignorance was you trying to read more into my statements than I was making or assuming what I know or don’t know. Nevertheless, I’m sure we still disagree and I can be satisfied with that.

It is obvious that by the reaction of the NRA, is that their primary priority is in protecting their perceived view that all U.S. citizens to own and use any weapon they choose. As such I believe they would make poor conservation partners

Posted by: Cube at February 26, 2007 6:42 PM
Comment #209786

Jack
While I let folks hunt on my land, and always will, I’m very fussy about who hunts on it. Most folks are very responsible and will remove their trash, etc. and most importantly won’t shoot at something until they’re sure of their target.
But there are those irresponsible types that I just plain don’t want within 100 miles of me much less on my land. These are the ones that make the news and give folks the perceptions about hunters we’ve seen here.
There was a nut over on the Georgia Pacific land last year that went out there and shot at ‘a deer’ he didn’t see. The only problem is the ‘deer’ was a 12 year old girl out with her daddy on her first hunting trip. Fortunately the girl wasn’t hurt. Can’t say that for the idiot though. The girl’s daddy beat the crap outa the fool. He was taken to the ER with broken bones.
The daddy told the deputy and game warden that his daughter is a dear alright. Just not the kind of deer you put in the freezer.
Woodchucks are like all other rodents. The more dead ones the better. I could handle having someone spraying them with bullets.
Wish I could get 1,000 Bobtails. That cat is unholy hell on rodents.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2007 7:48 PM
Comment #209787

Jack
Well said. It was hunters that pushed for national parks to begin with. It was hunters that pushed for licenseing laws and hunting seasons. The two individuals it has been my pleasure to know and learn from who had the most appreciation of the enviornment are both hunters. I have hunted but prefer fishing.Notice I said fishing,not catching. It is a good excuse to get outdoors and sometimes you get a good meal out of it.It is even exciting sometimes. Thats another great gift to give our children and might be helpful to the more squemish. Dose not conflict with anyone’s gun position either.

Posted by: BillS at February 26, 2007 8:07 PM
Comment #209788

Cube
Any weapon, even military, is only as accurate as the person firing it. That being said there is a built in accuracy in bolt action weapons that you don’t find in semi automatic weapons. This is especial true when more that one shot is being fired. With the automatic weapon you can keep you sights on the target and fire again. The weapon recoils with the shot and isn’t always as zeroed in on the target for the next shot. But it usually can be hit.
The reason a lot of hunters like the semiautomatic rifle is because if the first shot doesn’t kill the animal they can get the second shot off faster and make the kill most the time before that animal disappears.
With a bolt action you have to aim at the target again after you cock the weapon. This allows to the shooter to zero in on the target better. But if the first shot doesn’t make the kill the animal is gone before you can work the action.
Military snipers use blot action weapons on their missions even though a lot of them will carry an automatic weapon with them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2007 8:15 PM
Comment #209793
What if you run up against an armored deer?

The armor weighs them down. You can catch em and wrestle em to the ground.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 26, 2007 9:11 PM
Comment #209798

Ron,

“The reason a lot of hunters like the semiautomatic rifle is because if the first shot doesn’t kill the animal they can get the second shot off faster and make the kill most the time before that animal disappears.”

Most semis are smaller caliber or varmint guns. A shot that would kill with a small caliber weapon would have to be nearly perfect.
On top of that, a 223, for instance, has such a high muzzle velocity that any hit would most likely be a “through and through” on any larger game, even over 100 yards.

Why use a semi when a larger caliber bolt or lever action virtually assures a first shot kill?

Posted by: Rocky at February 26, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #209803

Charles Ross, I don’t know that much about the prevalence of firearm ownership during the United State’s early history, but there certainly were enough guns floating around to allow a hundred or so farmers from my hometown to shoot at couple hundred of redcoats on April 19, 1775.

In regards to hunting, I have little experience or knowledge regarding firearms, I have only shot them on occasion at Boy Scout Camp at a range. I generally think that the second amendment clearly states that anyone who has not been convicted of a crime may own a firearm, but I do not think it calls for guns that were clearly designed for use in war to kill people. I also think that certain localities, namely metropolises need to put some restrictions due to the levels of crime that accompany large populations. Other than that I could care less about the private business someone does with a gun they own on property they own as long as no species of animal is being hunted to near extinction.

In regards to our national parks, I guess I am lucky to have a National Wildlife Refuge just down the street from my house (its literally only about 500 feet away) and there is another refuge about four miles to the east. I have grown up very close to nature unlike Jack’s characterization of people of my generation, but I see many of my peers failing to take full advantage of federal, state and local conservation land that they can use to hike, canoe or do a multitude of other fun things.

I guess I feel a deficit due to the fact that there is only one national park in the Northeast dedicated to preserving nature located in Acadia, Maine (real neat place to visit, if you hike to the top of Cadillac mountain at dawn you can be the first person in the United States to see the rising sun). Despite this deficiency, I can honestly say that my all time favorite vacation was the three week road trip my father, myself and my younger brother took during the summer of 2001 to every national park in the western US that we could. We visited: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon (my favorite)and Rocky Mountain National Parks as well as Dinosaur National Monument and many other places.

Ron, I heard my father say the same thing you just did about the condition of our National Parks compared to their condition back in the 1970s when he visited when we went on vacation I mentioned above. Tourists who are not interested in hiking mountains or participating in any other of the great recreational opportunities our National Parks offer seem to be growing at an immense rate according to him. I remember at many places a great deal of people would just get out of their cars, take a few pictures and go back to their cars and drive off without even staying much to fully appreciate the immense beauty of certain places or to fully appreciate the extraordinary recreational opportunities availible.

David Remer, I like your idea of mandated trips to public conservation land for purposes of learning biology, I also like your idea of spreading around vacation time from school so our national parks do not become overburdened. I have seen the difference at local National Parks like Minuteman Historical National Park in Concord, Lincoln and Lexington and also up in Acadia between the week that I have school off in April and the week before. (The week during which the 19th falls is when Massachusetts celebrates Patriots Day and is when Massachusetts schools have April vacation break, whereas the rest of the country has vacation the prior week). Maybe if the nation staggered vacation on a state basis that would make the wear and tear on facilities more constant instead of the huge rushes we have now.

Posted by: Warren P at February 27, 2007 12:38 AM
Comment #209805

Jack,

Gun ownership is fine, but this is why the NRA and the Sierra Club can’t be friends: What’s best for the herd isn’t best for the ecosystem. Just like with market forces, hunting policy produces certain negative environmental externalities. Hunters want to grow herds as large as possible. So they support policies to remove top predators, and swell herds beyond the carrying capacity of their environment (In Idaho we feed the elk during the winter to prevent them from starving!) The result is chronic overgrazing leading to disruption of key habitats, increased prevalence of invasive species, and extinctions, severe reductions or outright exterpation of large predator populations, and ultimately the loss of genetic and species diversity. So why would the Sierra Club support such policies? To someone with an ecological mindset these things are as valuable as the herd is to the hunter, but unfortunately many hunters cannot see the forest for the elk.

Posted by: Amani at February 27, 2007 2:20 AM
Comment #209806

And let me add my sincere gratitude, by the way, to that small population of hunters that does incorporate the ecological mindset as a major part of their decisions about policy. I know you are out there.

Posted by: Amani at February 27, 2007 2:31 AM
Comment #209809

Jack, there have been plenty of instances of cooperation between hunters and environmentalists in opposition of the Bush administration’s harmful policies over the last few years. It’s responsible in part for the Democrat’s success out West last year.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 27, 2007 3:45 AM
Comment #209814

Rocky

I live in the Prescott area. I moved here in 2002 because of the gunfire in my area and the constant choppers and searchlights far too often. In the tri-cities area people carring side arms are seen more often in more places. Here you can walk into a bank with a side arm and nobody says anything, nor is anybody scared. For the anti-NRA crowd, it has been shown many times over that criminals are affraid of committing a crime against someone who they know or reasonably feel that the victim has a gun. At my age, if I wake up in the middle of the night and see the form of a person walking around in my house, and it is not in the shape of a family member, I will feel my life is in danger and will shoot to kill that form. I have given nobody the permission to enter my home at any time without announcing who they are and what their business is at my home. I will not use a 9mm that only knocks somebody down. I will use lethal force with a more powerful weapon.

Posted by: TOMH at February 27, 2007 8:01 AM
Comment #209815

charles ross,
The study you referred to is one done by Michael Bellesiles. He lost his job over it because it was proven that he was lying.
whttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Bellesiles

http://www.reason.com/news/show/28713.html

http://www.news.emory.edu/Releases/bellesiles1035563546.html

Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 8:58 AM
Comment #209816

whttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Bellesiles

Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 9:01 AM
Comment #209817

Have any of you anti gunners ever even read the 2nd Amendment?
What part of “The right…of the people…shall not be infringed” is it that you don’t get?
If anyone can explain how you can place restrictions on the exercise of a right without infringing that right, please do because I don’t get it.
If you study what the people who wrote, debated and ratified the 2A had to say about it, it quickly becomes clear that they intended for the ownership and possession of firearms to be an absolute right, wholly outside the jurisdiction and authority of government. The founders regarded proficiency with weapons to defend the state and the republic as not only a right but one of the primary duties of citizenship.

Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 9:11 AM
Comment #209818

Rocky
“Which in the end is actually more lethal?”

To some, losing ones freedoms would be worse than death.

“My point wasn’t to argue semantics.”

I know Rocky, but I believe the violations of our rights is because of a lack of respect for them and for the people. While some laws work in the city and some work out here, people must realize and respect the lifestyles of others.

“I walked out of the store with my 45/70 in less than an hour”

Congrats! I hope you are enjoying it.

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2007 9:12 AM
Comment #209820

Charles
Your friends are acting like jackasses, not hunters.
Believe it or not, but there is a big difference in how the city yuppies hunt on state property and how we do it.

“I like my meat, shrink-wrapped and faceless. thank you. If I ever did hunt and shot and wounded, say, a deer, I would probably load it into my car and take it to the hospital!!!”

And I respect your feelings and actions caused by them. Hunting is not for everybody, but the majority of us are not the stereotypical drunks they show on TV all the time.
So if I respect your choice to help that deer you wounded, should you not also respect my choice to bleed it out and eat it?

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2007 9:22 AM
Comment #209821

traveller
“The founders regarded proficiency with weapons to defend the state and the republic as not only a right but one of the primary duties of citizenship”

Isn’t it funny how people love to quote the founders when we talk about religion but choose to ignore them when its about the 2nd Amendment.

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2007 9:31 AM
Comment #209825

kctim, I don’t ignore the fact that most early Americans placed gun ownership in a high regard. I just think that the original idea is a bit outdated. Our founding fathers could not have imagined the development of metropolises with populations over then million. I think the best course of action is an ammendment to the Constitution allowing localites with extremely dense populations to place certain restrictions to prevent gun violence. You see there is a context to everything, if I met a person with a gun while hiking in the woods I would probably not think much about it, but if I saw someone parading around with a gun at the common, then I’d probably be frightened greatly.

Posted by: Warren P at February 27, 2007 9:52 AM
Comment #209829

Warren P

Why would you be frightened greatly?

Every day I see people in public wearing a side arm. I don’t feel threatened or scared in the least. I feel more threatened on the highway where people cut me off or tailgate. I was recently rearended while making a left turn. The other driver claimed I was doing 70mph doing that left turn. I can do a lot of things, but doing a 90 degree turn a 70mph I cannot do, even at half that speed it would be difficult.

Posted by: tomh at February 27, 2007 10:04 AM
Comment #209832

trav,

I actually read the report link you provided. Did you? It never said Bellesiles lied (I didn’t read the wiki article so don’t know what it says) only that he didn’t meet the standards required by Emory for publication (mostly, it said he was sloppy in his data collection and made some conclusions that weren’t necessarily supported by the sloppy data). At best you can say that there was probably more guns than he stated but not that most people (or even many) had a gun.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 27, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #209833

Warren P-

You don’t need a constitutional amendment for local ordinances; there are millions of them on the books now. States and locals have always regulated firearms, including the township in Kansas that required all citizens to possess one.

What I vehemently object to is the Federal government’s use of the commerce clause to attempt to regulate firearms.

Posted by: George in SC at February 27, 2007 10:18 AM
Comment #209839
States and locals have always regulated firearms…

My favorite one was where “sheriff” Jimmy Stewart tells the bad guys to knock off the “promiscuous shootin’” in Destry Rides Again.

I’m curious, do you guys have a problem with the government infringing on our 2nd Amendment right to shoot promiscuously in town?

Seems to me that if you think people should be held responsible for what they do with their guns then you support infringement of the 2A. It then becomes a matter of the degree of infringement that you support.

FYI: I love my gun but it does seem inappropriate to carry it in places where the rule of law is strong. Like in my city. At least while I’m not in open rebellion against the government. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 27, 2007 10:56 AM
Comment #209840

Warren P
Are you aware of why they placed it in such high regard? Sure, they needed arms to hunt in order to survive, but the core reason was to keep the govt in check.
When govt fears its people, the people are free.
When people fear its govt, the people are slaves.

Outdated? Things the founding fathers could never have imagined? The founding fathers also could have never imagined a person would be able to talk to another person thousands of miles away and plot to commit mass murder either. Should we then say that the 4th Amendment is now outdated and that it is govts duty to listen in on all calls in order for us to be safer?
There is a context for everything, correct?

And why would you fear a person simply because he is armed? That is no different than fearing every middle eastern looking person who walks out of a hardware store with fertilizer. You unfairly judge and fear the person rather than that persons actions and that is wrong.

First, it was good that govt used fear to take away our rights but now its bad for them to do it? That just doesn’t make any sense at all.
We should cherish and fight for all of our rights, not just the ones we agree with.

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2007 10:57 AM
Comment #209841

“I’m curious, do you guys have a problem with the government infringing on our 2nd Amendment right to shoot promiscuously in town?”

You have a right to be armed AP, not careless or endanger others.
But you already knew that didn’t you :)

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2007 11:02 AM
Comment #209844

Dave 1-20-2009,
Yes, I did read the articles I cited. They don’t actually use the word “lie” but that is the conclusion. There are others that state it plainly using words and phrases like “fraud” and “made up substantial portions of the information”. Many rebuttals of his book show that most people had guns at the founding of the country. The Wiki article echoes others that I’ve read about Bellesiles.

http://www.claytoncramer.com/ArmingAmericaFraud.pdf

Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 11:10 AM
Comment #209846

TOMH
A 9mm has enough power to and will kill with one shot. My weapon of choice happens to be a Smith & Wesson .38 Detective Special. It’s small enough to bring into action quickly, doesn’t jam, and has enough punch to send an intruder to his spot in Hell.

If you’d watch enough TV you’d learn how to make a 90o turn at 70 mph. You can even learn how to make a 180 at 100 mph.

Warren P
I’m not afraid of the person with a gun I can see. It’s the one concealing it that bothers me. If you can see the gun you know the person has it and if they start to pull it you’ll know it before they have it out and can react to assure your safety. The concealed one you don’t see and the person can be reaching for it and you’d be thinking they’re reaching in their pocket for change or something. Next thing ya know the person has a gun in their hand and it’s to late to react.
I’m against any kind of gun control laws except those requiring a gun safety course before you can buy a gun.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 27, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #209847

You have the right to be armed only if your state or local allows it. That’s not an infringement of the 2nd.

I carry a handgun. To do so I had to take a written test, a live fire test, have a background check, be finger printed, and have the sheriff of my county sign the application card. Not only do I support all of these “infringements, the NRA supports them as well.

Banning the importation/manufacture of guns that “look” like weapons of war or clips that hold more than 10 rounds, without banning the possession and sale thereof, is some of the meaningless feel good legislation you get out of Washington.

Posted by: George in SC at February 27, 2007 11:20 AM
Comment #209848

AP,
There is no right to recklessly endanger others.
Having the right to bear arms doesn’t mean you have to. It means that you can if you think it’s prudent to do so. In other contexts you lefties like to call it free choice.
And choosing to carry a gun carries with it moral responsiblity.

Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 11:24 AM
Comment #209849
You have a right to be armed AP, not careless or endanger others.

Ah… So you do support some infringements.

But you already knew that didn’t you :)

Natch. I just like to hear you guys say it sometimes. :)

Seriously — and I’m just tryig to be helpful here — if you guys spent as much time talking about how important it is to ensure gun owners are responsible as you do about defending yourselves against the government y’all’d look a lot less wacky.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 27, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #209850

George in SC,

“You have the right to be armed only if your state or local allows it. That’s not an infringement of the 2nd.”

How do you restrict a right without infringing it? Having to get permission makes it a privilege, not a right.

Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 11:30 AM
Comment #209853

In both Cruikshank (pre 14th amendment) and Presser (modern) the courts have held that the Second Amendment acts as a limitation upon only the federal government and not the states.

Although the NRA touts its defense of individual gun rights, they have often supported regulations and infringements on those rights. Examples include the instant background checks and the concealed carry laws.

Posted by: George in SC at February 27, 2007 11:59 AM
Comment #209855

There is no right to recklessly endanger others.
Having the right to bear arms doesn’t mean you have to. It means that you can if you think it’s prudent to do so. In other contexts you lefties like to call it free choice.
And choosing to carry a gun carries with it moral responsiblity.


Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 11:24 AM

110% right.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 27, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #209856

“So you do support some infringements”

Not at all.
Now if there was an Amendment that said we had the right to be careless and endanger others, then it would be infringing on that right.

“if you guys spent as much time talking about how important it is to ensure gun owners are responsible as you do about defending yourselves against the government y’all’d look a lot less wacky”

The sole purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to protect the people from the govt. That is “wacky?”
But, getting permission and acceptance to keep a right, a right bestowed to us by our founders, is more important?

No wonder you guys are so out of touch. You have different rules for different rights.

Posted by: kctim at February 27, 2007 12:19 PM
Comment #209857

I’m gonna catch a whole heap of flack from this but I believe that ex felons should be able to buy a gun across the counter. Provided that it’s been at least seven years sense their release from prison.
If an ex felon doesn’t get into more trouble in the first three to five years of his release he most likely aint gonna to be committing crimes. A lot of these are folks that did something unintentional like kill someone in a wreck and are for the most part harmless.
It’s the ones that choose to commit crimes that most likely will commit them again. And for the most part they will be back in trouble before they’re out a year. Much less being able to stay out of trouble seven years.
I know a guy that thinks anyone not incarcerated should be able to buy a gun over the counter. He says that the criminal is gonna have one anyway so why not collect the sales tax on the gun he’s gonna shoot ya with.
I don’t agree with him but it is an interesting point.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 27, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #209865

trav,

They don’t actually use the word “lie”…Posted by: traveller at February 27, 2007 11:10 AM
Then you must agree without doubt that Bush lied. Glad to hear we agree about something.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 27, 2007 1:19 PM
Comment #209870

Ron Brown

Doing those auto manipulations requires a vehicle that you can do it with and on the surface that will support it. My occurance was with a 1986 Ford 250 with unsprung rear end on asphalt. I know I can do it in a vehicle prepared for that kind of action.

Godspeed in GA

Posted by: tomh at February 27, 2007 1:37 PM
Comment #209874

tomh
The thing is no stock vehicle is gonna do it unless you can afford a Ferrari or something.
That’s stuff ya only see on TV and in the movies.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 27, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #209885

Ron Brown,
any vehicle can be manipuled, not to the extent seen on tv of course, if there is a good driver aand personally i think tomh is capable of pulling off something like that.

Posted by: Jonh at February 27, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #209886

sorry, i didnt finish posting… so here is the rest of it:

He is capable of doing it but the probability of it happening is like pigs flying…0 And besides all this you should have put all this mumbo jumbo behind you and gotten to the point…x drivers on our highways are scarier than a cowboy with a gun on his side. For crying out loud the bankers at bank one feel safe enough to let the cowboys into the bank with a gun!! so all in all the gun issue is way blown out of porportion.

Posted by: Jonh at February 27, 2007 6:14 PM
Comment #209889

I don’t agree that the 2nd amendment states an absolute right to carry arms without regulation or restriction. The NRA, whose headquarters is located just down the street from where the Supreme Court holds its sessions, has had many opportunities to challenge local, state and federal firearm laws and the few times they have challenged up to the Supreme Court, they have lost. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the NRA has backed a case to the supreme court since 1934 (?). Although the NRA staunchly defends the notion that the right to bear arms is absolute and inviolable they shy away from the court system. The last thing they want is a series of high court decisions that do not go their way.
Re: felons owning guns. I think that once a person has served his time for a crime and is reintroduced back into society all record of the crime should be sealed and private. I say this, not out of sympathy for the criminal, but for the practical reason that with a public criminal record it is just about impossible to reintroduce to society as a productive, legitimate citizen. Coupled with this should be more harsh penalties for repeat offenders. I don’t know if I like the exact three-strikes-and -you’re-out idea but I do support the concept.
kctim. You want me to respect your choice to let an animal bleed out before you eat it? Man, I’ll have to think about that one ( :-())

Posted by: Charles Ross at February 27, 2007 7:01 PM
Comment #209899

Charles
Can I take it that your for law enforcement having access to someones criminal record if they are arrested for a crime? That’s the only way stiffer penalties can be handed out.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 27, 2007 10:13 PM
Comment #209922

charles ross,
Read the 2A sometime, along with the founders writings on the subject as well as the writings that influenced them.
I’m a life member and staunch supporter of the NRA but it isn’t without it’s faults.
It’s a modern political entity and the leaders are very savvy. Their ability to use political tactics and strategy doesn’t mean the 2A doesn’t mean the same thing it did when it was ratified.
The truth is, however, that the NRA does NOT defend the notion that the 2A is absolute and inviolable and that is where I part company with NRA’s leaders.
Actually, every 2A case that has gone before the Supreme Court (there have been 5) has upheld some part of the pro gun position.

Posted by: traveller at February 28, 2007 8:41 AM
Comment #209930

btw-NRA headquarters used to be just down the street from the Supreme Court but it was moved to Fairfax, Va. about 15 or 20 years ago.

Posted by: traveller at February 28, 2007 9:57 AM
Comment #209943

Wow,

In my thirteen years of hunting in seven states I have yet to meet a single one of these mythical great white hunters.

Every hunter I have ever known have been more spiritual and respectful of nature as their provider than any tree hugging hippie.

I am sorry if you are offended, but I strongly disagree. I feel you are wrong.

In Alabama, over half of the preserved land is only preserved because hunters create an enviroment for the animals.

This isn’t something some one spends a couple of hours on each month.

I am talking about tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of manual labor.

They recreate land that supports entire herds, only to shoot three or four a year that all become food, rugs, and clothing.

Yes they keep the heads as trophies, but unless your up for eating animal brains, that arguement is a joke.

Also, if there is someone out there leaving animal carcasses, you should contact your local wildlife conservationalists and they will gladly pull the law down on these ‘great white hunters’ as that is an illegal act.

An illegal act that, should you not comply with the down bringing of, are a conspirator/accomplis there of.

And if your Catholic, you are double the guilty for your indifference.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 28, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #209944

Jack,

I agree with you wholly and most member of the NRA are hunters. Even the “folks who just want to own guns and play war”, that one makes me snicker.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that all people with a vested interest in the enviroment should be working together.

I think this really comes down to the fact that what was once a nation of strong activist and patriots is now a sorry sack of lazy, whinny, little .

So beat to all of them who speak and not act, they will just end up working for us (those who follow: acte non verba) in the future.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 28, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #209959

Jack

I agree with the various opinions forwarded that most hunters do respect the environment and they serve as an asset to the conservation effort. While there may be a difference of opinion of what level of protection our wildlife deserves, certainly there is a common ground that hunters and conservationist share. Unfortunately the NRA for a variety of reasons would not appeal to conservationist as a partner in their efforts.

This blog fully demonstrates the result of trying to unite conservationist with JBS’ers and other right wing conspiracy theorists. While most of the members of the hunting community do not fit this bill, the NRA suffers from the image forwarded by their most radical wing.

I mean do you really support gun ownership in order to keep our government honest? Could you imagine a meeting of these two bipolar groups as you suggest? While there are areas in the United States where a private citizen may walk around with a weapon without a permit legally, most Americans don’t live there. And I believe we are fine with that.

Ron Brown

I appreciate you sentiment about ex-felons buying a gun. Unfortunately our penal system do not attempt in any meaningful way to rehabilitate their prisoners.

Posted by: Cube at February 28, 2007 4:07 PM
Comment #209969

Cube
“Lovers of the environment often are split into two camps: preservationists and conservationists”

Hunters are conservationists and leftist groups like the Sierra Club are preservationists. Uniting them only requires respect from each side.
Bringing the JBS and other “right wing conspiracy theorists” up as a means to discredit hunters and the NRA makes as much sense as saying all leftist groups want a socialist govt where a big brother govt dictates our every move, in order to discredit the left.

And whether you support the 2nd Amendment or not does not matter. Its sole purpose is to keep govt honest and afraid of its people. It is no different than the other rights which we were given to protect us from govt. Privacy, free speech, freedom of religion etc…

“While there are areas in the United States where a private citizen may walk around with a weapon without a permit legally, most Americans don’t live there.”

But millions do. Are their rights not important? Do we take away the rights of all because of the fear of some?

“And I believe we are fine with that”

Those who allow fear to dictate their lives, are fine with that.
Many people are fine with govt listening in on all their forms of communication because they have nothing to hide also. Since many are “fine” with that, should we give up our right to privacy also?
None of the others who do not believe in our Constitutional rights would answer that, maybe you will.

Posted by: kctim at February 28, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #209980
And whether you support the 2nd Amendment or not does not matter. Its sole purpose is to keep govt honest and afraid of its people.

kctim

Thank you for making my point.

If you read my posts I’ve mentioned I’ve had no problems with hunters in general. I respect the rights of people to hunt and to own guns. Granted I hold the belief there should be some restrictions, and for the most part these restrictions are already in place. I’ve not mentioned giving up our constitutional rights even once.

But now that you mention it, I noticed that many right-wingers like to point out that the primary religion was Christianity when our forefathers wrote the Constitution. Perhaps, we should limit gun ownership to ball and flint, since that was the only firearm at that time.

My Father was hunter and I’ve hunted in the past. I understand the joys of hunting and shooting. I don’t pursue hunting or shooting anymore, but I don’t begrudge anyone else’s right to pursue these activities if they so choose. And perhaps in the future I will hunt again.

I’ve been to places where people walk around with holstered weapons. I wasn’t afraid or felt this behavior should be outlawed. But then again I saw in those places that even though it was accepted it wasn’t the norm. The majority of the people that I saw weren’t walking around with weapons. I suspect it’s a dying tradition that will come to an end even in the last few places that still allow it.

I backpack and scuba, and even though I’ve encountered various animals I’ve never felt I should have a weapon. I live in a city, where some of the inhabitants are more dangerous than the animals I’ve come face to face with. So who is letting fear dictate their life? Me who doesn’t feel they need a weapon, or you who doesn’t feel safe without one?


Posted by: Cube at February 28, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #209987

Cube,
Good post, I live in arizona where it is legal to carry a fire arm as long as its in a holster and visable. Also you can get a concealed carry permit fairly easy here as long as your not a felon. You do not see everyone in town packin like the westerns on TV. I think you are right it will end soon we are getting a lot of liberals moving here from calif who just like the smoking in public will eventionally outlaw it.

Posted by: dolan at February 28, 2007 7:21 PM
Comment #209988

Jack,
You allways have very good posts this one included. You are right people are spending less and less time in the great outdoors camping fishing or hunting. More and more time is spent on watching TV or sitting at the computer. As for getting the sierra club and the NRA together I dont think will ever happen. I agree with you the NRA does want to protect the forests and the wildlife but the sierra club would rather keep humans out of the wildlife completely. They do have a point though, I remember in the 80s my sister getting a reservation a year in advance to go camping at Yosemite.

Posted by: dolan at February 28, 2007 7:39 PM
Comment #209989
What if you run up against an armored deer?
The armor weighs them down. You can catch em and wrestle em to the ground.

What’s a deer? Newest Hummer model?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 28, 2007 7:48 PM
Comment #209991
They recreate land that supports entire herds, only to shoot three or four a year that all become food, rugs, and clothing.

REcreate. REbuild. REstore.
What about keep it AS IT in the FIRST place?
As a bonus, it will cost far less.

Give it a try, it works. Always have.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at February 28, 2007 7:58 PM
Comment #210001

Dolan

I’ve enjoyed Arizona; one of my memorable backpacking trips was down and along the North Rim.

Yosemite hasn’t changed, if anything it has gotten worse. The funny thing about National Parks is, most people congregate along the roadways and main entrances. In Yosemite the majority of the people go to the Valley, it’s like a little city down there. If you get on Highway 120/Tioga Rd. once you once you hike a few miles off a trailhead you’ve left everybody/civilization behind. Then again I avoid Yosemite during midsummer.


Posted by: Cube at February 28, 2007 9:31 PM
Comment #210007

Cube,

Glacier in September is phenomenal.

Posted by: Rocky at February 28, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #210012

Phillipe

The beautiful countryside of France is completely man made. It is just that you all have been at it a longer time.

In fact, W. Europe is an excellent argument for “managed nature”. You have been doing it since the neolithic. Under natural conditions, trees will not grow so high on the Alps. It sometimes takes a lot of work to make nature natural.

Posted by: Jack at February 28, 2007 10:20 PM
Comment #210028

Jack

I’ve befriended some of the Rangers up in Yosemite, and they have shared some of the comments they have received personally or through comment cards.

One person asked how much cement did it take to create Half Dome, and when did the Park Service expect to finish it?

Posted by: Cube at March 1, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #210039

Jack,

Under natural conditions, trees will not grow so high on the Alps. It sometimes takes a lot of work to make nature natural.

It’s not pure natural if it’s man-made. It could be really great, but it’s not plain nature.
Under natural conditions, nature is wild.

Some nature area could be amazing, but I’m not stunned for the same reason when facing a wild nature or a managed one. In the first case, I’m enjoying wild beauty, in the second human creativity.
The issue is less and less place are really wild these days. Man is a space and energy junky.

PS: I love wildness of high Alps, aka above trees.
Maybe because usually I try to avoid seeing a tree too close while I’m snowboarding ;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 1, 2007 5:00 AM
Comment #210054

Cube
“I’ve not mentioned giving up our constitutional rights even once”

Allowing others and govt to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights is giving up our Constitutional right. As I said before, allowing govt the right to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights in order to make people feel safer (in their own minds) is no different than allowing govt the right to listen in on all of our communications in order to make people feel safer.
If both of these are acceptable to you then at least you are consistent in your beliefs. A very rare trait.

“Perhaps, we should limit gun ownership to ball and flint, since that was the only firearm at that time”

And maybe we should allow govt to monitor and control all forms of communication except for pen and paper. Silly.

Also, I didn’t miss your little dig at Christian “right wingers,” but I’m an atheist and little jabs like that don’t really get to me much.

As far as proving your point, I believe you are a little mistaken on that. I am not some right wing conspiracy theorist who loves guns. I am just an average guy who still believes in the Constitution.

Posted by: kctim at March 1, 2007 9:18 AM
Comment #210056

Philippe

My point is that some of what we consider “natural” is really the result of human activity and there is nothing wrong with that.

In the Alps, much of that tree cover is not natural in that it would not be there w/o human effort. It IS natural to the extent that the trees now grow w/o much direct management. Many of you most common plants in France were introduced by man. Because this took place a long time ago, people now consider it natural. Those chestnut trees that line your streets are not native to France, for example.

The North American landscape that greeted the first Europeans was not natural. Native Americans burned the woods regularly. That is what created the wonderful diverse forests of the time.

You should be impressed by natural beauty, but there is not reason to be less impressed if man was involved in making it. The test should be whether or not it is ecologically sustainable. Nature doesn’t have a plan.

PS - much of the nature above the tree line is also man made. People have been impacting the Alps since the stone age. I doubt there is any truly natural (if you define as not man influenced) place in the whole world, and certainly not in Europe.

Posted by: Jack at March 1, 2007 9:53 AM
Comment #210069

Phillipe,

“What about keep it AS IT in the FIRST place?”

You mean the 140 acres of slave shacks, catfish ponds (man made), and abandoned cotton fields overgrown with poison oak?

Mind you, it is east of the great divide, not much natural land left over there. Everything has been modified to some degree at least once or twice.

The money invested was to recreate the enviroment that was once there thousands of years ago according to what we (I helped a bit with this particular project while I lived down) learned from the few natives that remain in the area and the tales the tell and the cultural art they preserve.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at March 1, 2007 12:30 PM
Comment #210102

If anyone is still listening, every scientific study of gun ownership shows that, controlling as much as possible for other factors such as neighborhood, occupation, socioeconomic status, education, etc., owning a gun raises the risk of dying by firearm several fold. Those that buy guns “just in case” are fooling themselves if they think it increases their safety. The NRA has spent a boatload of money and time on trying to discourage any public acknowledgement of this fact, but if you read the public health literature (I mean all of it, not the tiny slice that the NRA has funded and points to eagerly), you will come away convinced of this fact. If you have an open mind, of course, and fairly weigh evidence. If your mind is closed to it, then, of course, you won’t. To get you started, here is a link to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, a liberal rag if there ever was one.

Posted by: mental wimp at March 1, 2007 4:42 PM
Comment #210113

Not a bad piece there Mental. It doesn’t mention or get into how having a firearm is a Constitutional right, but it is decent reading for somebody thinking about owning a firearm.

Posted by: kctim at March 1, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #210120

mental wimp,
I read your link, I might have read it wrong please correct me if Im wrong but didnt it say in the home case studies there was a history of or was ellicit drug use found? If so If we outlawed gun ownership I would think law abiding citizens would obey the law and not own firearms. But would these people involved in illegle drug use obey the law and not have firearms?

Posted by: dolan at March 1, 2007 6:36 PM
Comment #210218

dolan

The paper, like I said, is just one of hundreds that find essentially the same thing. This particular one does show that being involved in illegal drugs raises the risk for homicide (Table 4 gives the independent risks for all of the significant risk factors). So does owning a gun. What’s fascinating and enlightening to people is that the increase in risk of homicide from gun ownership is the same regardless of whether the home is involved in drug trade or not. In other words, if you hold all other factors equal, when you compare a home engaged in drug trade with a gun to one engaged in the trade without one, the risk is almost 3 times higher in the one with a gun. Likewise, if you compare a home not engaged in the drug trade with a gun to a home not engaged in the drug trade without one, the one with gun has a nearly 3-fold higher risk of homicide. Research done in different cities on different continents by different researchers all conclude essentially the same thing.

Even more surprising to some, the effect in this study is mostly from one household member using the gun on another, the most common form of homicide. Most people buy a gun believing they will stop some stranger from intruding and threatening their household, but it is much more likely that one member will use it on another.

Posted by: mental wimp at March 2, 2007 4:12 PM
Comment #210229

kctim

Thanks for the compliment. I do public health research a lot, so I appreciate when it is well done.

And yes, I view gun control through the lense of public health. We have a lot of rights to do dumb things to ourselves, and the first line of defense ought to be education. Laws are for when education fails and the damage gets large. Reasonable people can differ about whether the damage has reached the level that laws need to be implemented (see smoking, seat belts, helmet use, gas mileage regulations, vaccinations, etc., etc., for other issue along these lines).

I won’t mention the reasonable differences between knowledgeable people about what right is conferred by the “well regulated militia” clause in the constitution, as some would call it. That’s for another posting, I suppose.

Posted by: mental wimp at March 2, 2007 6:11 PM
Comment #210472

Ah, yes, the thoroughly debunked Kellermann study. Do you have any sources that haven’t been proven false?

The “well regulated militia clause” doesn’t “confer” a right. In fact, there are NO rights conferred in the Bill of Rights.
Rights are conferred by God, not the constitution and not government. See the Declaration of Independence.
The Bill of Rights guarantees rights; it doesn’t grant them.

The “well regulated militia” clause is the rationale for the second clause, which guarantees the “right of the people to keep and bear arms”. All the Constitutional scholarship supports this position. There is absolutely none to support any other.

Posted by: traveller at March 4, 2007 1:37 PM
Comment #210627

traveller

As I said, the health literature is full of similar findings. (You’re welcome to go to PubMed and search yourself if you don’t believe me). Who, exactly, do you feel has debunked these many, many studies and in what peer-reviewed journal of equal or better quality? Was it, perhaps a right-wing think tank or perhaps the NRA? Because, you see, just saying that a study, published in the most respected medical journal, has been debunked, without providing proof, is a cowardly act, befitting someone who really doesn’t have the goods.

Posted by: mental wimp at March 5, 2007 7:40 PM
Comment #210946

http://www.jpfo.org/doctors-epidemic.htm

http://www.davekopel.com/NRO/2001/Anti-gun-Anti-science.htm

http://www.haciendapub.com/edcor6.html

http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/polsby.fpgc.html

http://www.totse.com/en/politics/right_to_keep_and_bear_arms/fe_cdc.html
http://www.davekopel.com/2A/LawRev/LawyersGunsBurglars.htm

Just a sample of the many articles debunking Kellermann. You say “many, many” studies but cite only Kellermann.
Don’t waste the ad hominem. Argue the merits or stay on the porch.

Posted by: traveller at March 7, 2007 4:26 PM
Comment #381263

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Posted by: haokeai at July 21, 2014 5:16 AM
Comment #403689

You’ve shared a BRILLIANT approach here. This is good and important work- bring groups like the sierra club and nra together to collaborate on these issues instead of against each other. These two sides actually have more in common than not (appreciation of nature!).

Posted by: michael at March 17, 2016 12:56 PM
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