January 08, 2006

Feeble Responses to Pat Wray's NRA-Hunters Column

Today's Denver Post carried two letters in response to Pat Wray's recent column on how the National Rifle Association betrays hunters' interests. (Link may expire.)

The first, from Grant Coffin of Cheyenne, Wyo., takes the "poor feeble Americans" approach.

I'm a lifelong hunter in good health and very active, but I am also 70 years old. My days of hiking into a wilderness area carrying a pack and rifle are just pleasant memories, but I still like to hunt. What opportunity does the game population in the middle of a 58.5 million-acre roadless area offer me? If I cannot afford a safari-type guided hunt and I cannot use a motor vehicle, it is just a dream.

TRANSLATION: "I had my day, but I don't want future generations to have the wilderness hunting experience that I did. It's all about me, damn it. Me! Me! Me!"

The second comes from NRA staffer Dawson R. Hobbs of Fairfax, Va., (not exactly a low-income area). He is identified as the NRA's "manager of hunting policy."

He winds up with this laughable statement:

Wray ... wants to ensure that the best hunting lands are accessible only to him and to those with means.

Let's see, who is more likely to be a person of means, a freelance writer or a an NRA Board Member?

Here's a clue, Dawson, old chap. All it takes to access those lands is a pair of boots. Look in your closet.


Anonymous said...

I hope you feel much better about yourself after taking a 70-year-old man to task for his wish to still enjoy the outdoors.

I guess it really doesn't matter to you whether he's a vet who served in World War II or someone simply interested in sharing his love for the outdoors with a great grandchild.

It does to me, although I have to admit I've never been infected by the delusional belief that I have the right to force my beliefs on others, regardless of the consequences--the very definition of ecoimperialism.

It's easy to tell people to put their boots on and quit complaining from across Cyberspace, but I dare you to explain to my grandchildren in person exactly why they can't roll their mother down even a few hundred yards of a wilderness trail--just because my daughter's in a wheelchair.

Don't bother showing up though. I don't want them infected by your superiority complex, "old chap."

Anonymous said...

Guy Sagi's response reminds of my own father, who was a WW2 vet. (He would be 89 this year if he still lived.)

He took me horse-packing and backpacking. He was backpacking up until his 60s. When he was in his 80s, he decided to stop tent-camping because of some balance problems.

So he gave me all his gear and told me to pass it down. No whining about wilderness regulations there, even if he was unhappy about what old age was doing to him.

Phil Stanhope

Chas S. Clifton said...

Phil, I think you're on the right track. Sagi's attempt to drag the veteran issue in is a smokescreen.

And no 70-year-old man could be a World War Two vet unless he enlisted right out of fourth grade. Do the math.

The point is, do you put your own desires first, or at some point do you step back gracefully so that others can have the same experience that you did?

Chas S. Clifton said...

Although he did not mention this fact in his comment, Guy Sagi is in fact an NRA employee.

Google . . . so simple.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Stanhope,

You're father sounds like a very caring and wise man. I wish I'd have had the honor to have met him.

Chas., you're math abilities are right on. Sometimes I forget how old my father really is--please forgive me for that oversight.

But I sure as heck don't beg forgiveness for my knowledge that it's wrong for anyone to force their beliefs on anyone else.

Mr. Stanhope's father felt the time was right to pass along the torch, and I surmise his was the right decision. But for many people, such as myself, who are faced with a desire to introduce grandchildren--whose father has left them--to the great outdoors, that certainly isn't an option.

Add my 27-year-old daughter who is wheelchair bound, and I sure hope you understand my undying passion that all Americans, regardless of physical ability, have some access to wilderness.

I just hope we can find common ground on this contentious issue that's so critical to our outdoors.

And yes Chas., it's no big secret, I do work for the NRA. I'm editor in chief of Free Hunters magazine.

Living near DC is expensive indeed, which is why I drive 1.5 hours to work every day, from near the more reasonable cost of living along the West Virginia border--as many of our staff do.

Guy J. Sagi
Free Hunters