Which organization is the
greatest threat to the Second Amendment —the anti-gun
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence or Idaho`s pro-gun
Sportsmen for Wildlife?
This might seem like a stupid question until you learn
that the Idaho organization recently held three
derbies” in which competitors vied to see who could
slaughter the most wolves over a two-day period. Similar
assaults on wildlife occur in other western states. In
“sportsmen” gun down wolves from airplanes.
The wanton slaughter of wildlife
for the fun of killing creates hostility toward firearms
among the general public. After all the effort
environmentalists made to reintroduce wolves into
natural habitat, the wolf killing competitions can`t go
down very well with millions of Americans.
Trophy hunters, who kill polar
bears with high-powered rifles (from safe distances of
course), also contribute to anti-gun attitudes.
A large percentage of the
American population cannot empathize with the thrill of
killing a magnificent animal. Many Americans have an
aversion to people who get their jollies by murdering
animals. Banning guns becomes a way to protect wildlife.
People who love their pets have empathy for animals and
none for hunters.
We need the
Second Amendment for our own protection and for our
constitutional rights. If one right can be taken away or
marginalized with regulation, so can all other rights.
Americans are going to have a
difficult time holding on to the Second Amendment. An
armed population is not compatible with the
police state that President Bush and the Republicans
created and that President Obama and the Democrats have
The danger to the Second
Amendment is great enough without waving wildlife
slaughter in the public`s face. The National Rifle
Association and wildlife slaughter groups need to
exercise judgment and not go out of the way to inflame
feelings against guns.
Recently while visiting a friend, I happened by chance
to see a segment of a hunting experience on the
television hunting channel, sponsored, I believe, by the
NRA. A man and his wife or girlfriends were after a
beautiful 8-point stag. When the woman
the deer, she jumped with joy and flung her arms around
It made even my friend, a
hardened gun-nut, cringe at the joy she experienced from
killing a beautiful animal.
According to my friend, hunting
is not supposed to be an indulgence in blood lust.
Bringing home venison as an alternative to factory
farming`s beef, pork, and fowl pumped full of
antibiotics and hormones is one thing. To search out a
magnificent animal for the fun of killing it is
Hunting African big game has
become more a killing experience than a hunting one. The
main reason for the hunt is bragging rights.
A couple of years ago my friend took me to his gun club
to fire an antique Winchester rifle like the ones in the
cowboy movies of my youth. A club member was trying to
sight-in a .375 H&H magnum big game rifle. His shoulder
was taking a terrible punishment, so much so that he was
flinching every time he fired.
Flinching was throwing him off and he couldn`t
get a group in order to know how to adjust his sights.
I engaged him in conversation
and learned that he had been goaded by his friends into
keeping up with them competitively by going to Africa
and killing a lion. He had booked a trip and paid
$25,000 for the experience of shooting a lion, but his
heart was no longer in it. He had made his deposit
before he learned that the way lions are hunted today is
devoid of valid bragging rights.
No one is on foot in the veldt
with a double-barreled rifle taking the risk of missing
or encountering a pride. Here is the way modern big game
hunting works. First, he said, you go shoot a
hippopotamus. The beast is cut up and the chunks are
hung from trees or posts. The hunter ascends to a
platform 20 feet off the ground and 50 or 60 yards from
the hanging hypo meat and waits for the lion. When the
lion rears up for the meat, the hunter fires.
While recounting the procedure,
he looked sheepish and regretful. I have often wondered
if he went through with the trip or gave up being an
equal among his great white hunter associates.
Many hunters understand that
predators are essential to healthy ecosystems and are as
averse to slaughtering predators as members of Defenders
of Wildlife, who are thrilled by the sight and presence
of wild animals. These mindful hunters understand that
inhumane wolf slaughter competitions threaten the
public`s acceptance of hunting and guns as well as the
health of deer and elk populations.
The U.S. Forest Service is,
alas, showing poor judgment on a par with the organizers
of predator derbies. This government agency is
fast-tracking oil-drilling in the Shoshone National
Forest in Wyoming. The Shoshone is home to endangered
grizzly bears, lynx, and wolf. But the Forest Service
thinks that the profits of an oil driller are more
important than the health of what might be the last
complete natural ecosystem in the 48 states.
This raises the question whether government does protect
the environment. The George W. Bush administration seems
to have cleaned all environmentalists out of the Forest
Service and the EPA, just as it banished civil
libertarians and constitutionalists from the Department
of Justice (sic) and its appointments list to federal
judgeships. As far as I can tell, Obama has taken no
During the 1980s it was an
article of faith among conservatives and Republicans,
usually the same, that environmentalists ran the
government and were destroying the economy.
There is no sign of that now. Alaska is faced with a new
round of oil drilling in pristine areas. The initial oil
onslaught on Alaska was done in the name of
But it was a lie. The oil is
unsuited for the American refineries. It is exported to
In Florida I have watched
developers, aided and abetted by state and county
governments and Florida`s Department of Environmental
Policy, destroy the environment and a way of life. Now
the beautiful beaches of the Florida panhandle, with
their clear water and white sands, are threatened by
Texas oil man M. Lance Phillips.
Mr. Phillips wants Florida
panhandle residents to give up their tourist economy,
their beautiful beaches and water, the values of their
beachside homes, their beautiful view of the Gulf of
Mexico and its extraordinary sunsets in order that he
can make profits by despoiling the views, the sunsets,
the beaches, the water, and the value of residents`
properties by placing his platforms and oil rigs in the
They will be just three miles
offshore, he says, which is in plain view and just
perfect for ruining everything.
Mr. Phillips has a stable of minions, and they are at
work holding staged
which they promise a New Florida Economy, jobs, and no
It is not clear who can stop him. Not the Republican
governor or the Republican members of the legislature.
“representatives of the people” are already in his
The only hope is the seaside developments that the
developers have built.
Destin, Florida, would be destroyed if offshore
Destin looked like offshore Texas or Louisiana.
In South Walton county, upscale Gulf front developments
such as Seaside, site of the movie
The Truman Show,
and Rosemary Beach might have some clout with Florida`s
government. Perhaps the best hope is St. Joe, the former
paper company, which owns one million acres in the
Florida panhandle including miles of beach front. Driven
into the real estate business by environmentalists
opposed to its paper mill at Port St. Joe, this company
has been the 800 pound gorilla of panhandle politics.
It is ironic, isn`t it, that
those who care about the beauty of where they live and
the livelihood that this beauty provides are now
dependent for its defense on the real estate developers
who first assaulted the undisturbed beauty of the
Paul Craig Roberts [email
him] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall
Street Journal. He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington;
and the Soviet Economy and
Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
here for Peter
Brimelow`s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.
His latest book, How The Economy Was Lost,
has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press.