Showing posts with label NRA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NRA. Show all posts

November 14, 2006

Into the Murk

I have just finished checking the Amtrak site to make sure that the Southwest Chief is on time. So far, so good--M. and I plan to join it this evening in La Junta, the first leg of a trip back into the Murk.

That's me being a little bit of a Western chauvinist. The East Coast is not known for strings of sunlit days, but the forecast for our destination, Washington, D.C., calls for a sunny weekend, amazingly, although we may arrive in "periods of rain and possibly a thunderstorm."

A storm is coming through the central Rockies. I'm currently in Pueblo, where the wind is howling across Baculite Mesa and a line of squalls obscures the Wet Mountains.

Another squall flares up in the Denver Post letters page, where Durango-based David Petersen of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers faces off against the NRA's Chris Cox over the Brown's Canyon issue.

The Post link will not last, so here are some samples:

Petersen: I too resent the fact that this pack of extremist paranoids claims to be America's leading supporter of hunting, and yet openly joins with the off-road motorized industry flak group Blue Ribbon Coalition to fight for the destruction and elimination of our last roadless public lands. The NRA isn't worried about access for old or disabled hunters, as it claims in its shotgunning of Chaffee County's Browns Canyon Wilderness. That's a convenient, if wholly transparent, lie.

Cox: Limiting access will not help hunters or our efforts to keep hunting alive in this country. Likewise, hunters with disabilities should be given equal opportunity to hunt on America's public lands.

It's so touching the way that the NRA always stands up for the rights of the disabled. (There is an in-house joke about the "NRA handshake," which is accompanied by cupping the left ear, indicative of hearing loss from too much shooting. "Sorry, I didn't catch your name.")

Blogging will probably cease for a few days. I have some things sitting on my desk at home that I would like to comment on, including a social scientific paper on hunter-and-hiker management.

November 10, 2006

Stumbling into Brown[']s Canyon

Two Colorado political veterans, Sen. Wayne Allard and Rep. Joel Hefley, have backed a bill creating a designated wilderness area on BLM land bordering the Arkansas River to the NW of here.

The whole Colorado House delegation signed as co-sponsors, and the bill had strong local support.

Into the comment process stepped the National Rifle Association, on the anti-wilderness side.

Big oops.

When it comes to individual liberties expressed through the Second Amendment, the NRA is a powerhouse.

When it comes to public lands management, however, the organization often stumbles, and this is one of those times.

I can't do better than quote Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen, who happens to live in the same county as the proposed Browns Canyon Wilderness:

So why is the NRA opposing this? According to Ashley Varner in the NRA's Washington office, "We feel the bill would drastically reduce access to the area for hunters and sportsmen, especially those who are elderly," and, "Without roads in the area, it would make it nearly impossible to pack out big game." Apparently, the NRA has never heard of pack animals like mules and horses.

This isn't a Second Amendment issue, and it doesn't prevent anyone from hunting in the affected area. So why on earth is the NRA supporting more habitat fragmentation with loud and obnoxious vehicles?

I put the ['] in the title because the Department of the Interior seems to have a problem with possessive apostrophes. "Devils Tower," and so forth.

This reluctance to use proper punctuation is not an affectation of Early Modern English (17th century), but apparently an early-20th-century federal policy.

There was a simplified spelling craze around 1920. In an exhibit of historic college documents at Reed College, I once noticed that for a short time, phrases such as "an office in Eliot Hall" came out as "an ofis in Eliot Hal." But then the college went back to normal spelling.

Bureaucratic inertia is greater in the National Park Service and other such agencies.

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.

January 04, 2006

Is the NRA a Friend of Hunters?

Pat Wray of Corvallis, Oregon, nails the National Rifle Association on one of its weakest points: supporting Second Amendment rights while simultaneously supporting anti-widlife habitat Republicans. (link may expire)

The NRA aligns itself with politicians who care little about the land or wildlife, but who will deliver votes against gun control. This includes politicians like Republican Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who serves on the NRA board of directors. Craig was a primary supporter of the Bush administration's action removing federal protection of 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in our national forests and returning their fate to the tender mercies of individual states. The NRA regularly parrots Craig's message about our roadless areas, interchanging the terms wilderness, roadless areas and road closures, which confuses the public and convinces hunters that their hunting access will be lost in all of these areas.

As I recall--and this was before I joined the NRA--in the mid-1970s, the organization planned to move its headquarters from suburban Washington, DC, to Colorado Springs. A large group of members rebelled, thinking that the NRA would lose its effectiveness on gun laws and become just another conservation group. The move never occurred.

Unfortunately, Wray is right. The NRA's American Hunter magazine is full of ATV ads, while its board members, who do their hunting on Texas game ranches, Atlanta quail plantations, and the like, simply don't see the problem.

My dad belonged to both NRA and the Sierra Club. He had the right idea. To hell with political labels.