by Max Brantley
TV news tonight was all guns all the time.
Three policemen dead and two wounded in Pittsburgh by shots from man with an AK 47.
Still searching for answers in the mass killing in Binghamton, N.Y., by a permitted handgun owner.
In Morrilton, KATV reported, a teen is dead from the apparent firing of a handgun that another teen didn't think was loaded. The gun presumably was carried in the youth's pickup for protection
Yes, people pulled the triggers. The guns made the acts more damaging and efficient.
AND, in a somewhat related topic, at least insofar as it's of great interest to the organized gun lobby, I got a letter today about the "right to hunt" amendment. It should provoke some response
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
A recent blog about the upcoming "right to hunt" amendment that will appear on the ballot in 2010 was absolutely correct in calling the measure "meaningless." In addition to the reasons given, here are a few more.
Even if the amendment passes, hunting will not be a right. Hunting will remain a privilege that can be taken away if hunters violate the law. To exercise your rights you do not need a license; think freedom of speech and freedom to practice the religion of your choice (or none at all). Hunting is more akin to driving a car since you need to be licensed to do it and your actions will be restricted by state law.
While this measure is being proposed to prevent sport hunting from going the way of the dinosaurs, it is an effort that will ultimately meet with failure. In the state where the great majority of the public does not hunt (92%, according to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Census Bureau), the popularity of sport hunting is rapidly dissolving. USFWS data shows that between 2001 and 2006, the number of hunters in Arkansas declined by nearly 18% - a rate of attrition that exceeds the national average. As hunters continue to die or otherwise drop out of the sport faster than new hunters can be lured in, the violence of recreational hunting is on the fast track to extinction. Even if successful, this "right to hunt" amendment will not affect the dismal future that hunting faces any more than a piece of cardboard can slow a freight train.
While such efforts make the hunting and the gun lobbies feel self important, they do little to stem the tide that is washing sport hunting out into the abyss from where it will not return. To usher in an age where wildlife is protected and preserved rather than exploited and destroyed, visit www.AbolishSportHunting.com.
Joe Miele, President
The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
Las Cruces, NM 88013