by Max Brantley
Canada goose lovers haven't given up their fight to protect these and other birds in Bella Vista.
The City Council last night was scheduled to hear from a goose lover pleading that the city rescind an ordinance that allows discharge of firearms in the city limits. The underlying purpose of the ordinance was the quest for a permitted hunt to kill geese considered a nuisance in the golf course-studded community. The mayor has also apparently said permitted killing of "buzzards" is contemplated.
The episode sent my mind off racing on a tangent. Can cities continue to limit firearm discharges under the newly expanded interpretation of constitutional gun rights legislated from the bench yesterday by the Roberts-Alito Supreme Court? Also, might Justice Scalia, an avid hunter, be enticed to join the blasting in Bella Vista when the "hunts" begin? The symbolism would be apt, because surely hunting is one of those presumed bedrock rights — even if not enumerated in the original document — the court was talking about yesterday. How can cities infringe it (or states presume to infringe it with burdensome regulation and fees, come to think about it)? Why shouldn't Durango be able to plug deer with his Glock at his place in Little Rock if he chooses? "Shall not be infringed" means shall not be infringed.
SPEAKING OF GUNS: A Daily Beast list says Arkansas is the ninth-most-armed state, based on background checks between Dec. 2008 and May 2010.
A goose defender sent me the following plea against hunting in the city, which was prepared for delivery last night. I haven't heard whether her plea fell on deaf ears.
Hello, my name is Nancy Lodzinski with Canada Geese Arkansas, Inc., PO Box 1905, Bentonville, Arkansas. I am here today to talk about the Amended Firearms Ordinance.
Mr. Mayor, In the Minutes of 4/26 — and 04/26 amended. Regarding why the emergency to pass the amended Firearms Ordinance, you responded that “this time it‘s the buzzards” Mr. Mayor are you aware that there are many types of buzzards, to include but not limited to, hawks and eagles?
Also, you indicated that an “individual” has gone through the Game and Fish Commission to get approval, when in essence it was through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that a permit was obtained which was indicated in the minutes of 05/24 and also through our emails.
You also indicated in the meeting of 05/24/2010 that a verbal request earlier in the year from an individual that had received a depredation permit from the USFWS to shoot Vultures, however, that permit “probably expired and he will need to reapply.” Mr Mayor, do you truly know if the permit is expired and how long a permit can be good for? (3 — 5 years) It appears that either you really don’t know or you don’t want the residents of Bella Vista to know that we could be killing our wildlife for up to five years and that is only one individual / organization.
In one of our emails you indicated that the permit was for Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures only, well, Mr. Mayor, if you never saw the permit, how do you know what it was for?
Further, Mr. Mayor, It is my understanding that all the information was obtained from Chief of Police Ken Farmer, but yet you have no documentation, nor does Chief Farmer, to substantiate any of these things, at least according to your email you don’t and the email from Chief Farmer. Therefore, it appears that all the information you have spoken about regarding the Amended Firearms Ordinance and passing it on an emergency based is strictly on hearsay.
Given the above facts, it is evident that the City does not have any reason to pass this ordinance. Furthermore,
I am sure that you, Mayor Anderson, and the Council members remember that many residents opposed bow hunting and it was banned. Yet, all remember when this was in effect and continue to remember, when they see the maimed Canada goose, a goose with an arrow sticking out of its body, surviving, but limited in its efforts. The passing of this amended Firearms Ordinance could leave more wildlife maimed, possibly humans or their pets could be injured or killed, there could be wildlife just left injured or killed and decaying. Our vultures, Turkey and Black, help to keep our City clean by eating on the dead, decaying animals. Vultures are scavengers; they help clean up our environment. It was mentioned about a year or 2 ago that the Vultures were causing damage to the boats. Mr. Mayor, again, these birds are scavengers, if fish were not cleaned around the boats and the guts and waste not thrown out around the shorelines and amongst the boats, these birds would cause no damage to the boats. It is us, the human species, that cause the problems, and it is the Vultures that are trying to fix it.
In closing, I would like to read some comments from individuals, whose identifying information has been omitted:
1. When people decide to move into a rural area, they should consider EVERYTHING, and accept it as it is not how they think it SHOULD to be.
2. The world does not belong to the wealthy or the influential, but to all - including the non-humans. Rescind the amended Firearms Ordinance. No shooting a weapon within Bella Vista. What is wrong with you people?.
3. As a resident of Bella Vista, I am not comfortable with people being allowed to discharge firearms within town limits. Yes there are geese, but really not as many as these folks make it sound.
4. I find this one very interesting. This individual quoted Matthew Scully, a well known author, journalist, and speech writer who was employed at the White House during the Bush Administration.: "Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us." â Matthew Scully (author, journalist, speech writer)
5. STOP this criminal act. Do Not harm these beautiful animals. If you go through with this....you will have to answer to a HIGHER POWER and you will not like the outcome!
6. I don't have a problem with amending the ordinance. I believe the 2nd amendment should never limit in any way. What I have a problem with is slaughtering Canadian geese when there are alternatives. And what have buzzards ever hurt?
7, We are all one, when one is harmed, we all are harmed. When one is helped, we all are helped.
8. Since when is murder a solution to the problem?
9. It is absolutely abhorrent that human beings are so arrogant that, in addition to taking other species habitats and destroying them, they also find it necessary to eliminate any other species that cause them the least bit of inconvenience. Instead of destroying them, we should be admiring their resilience in the face of adversity and love them as one of God's creations.
10. It is increasingly important to save our wildlife during this crisis. They will need to repopulate to replace all that has already died.
These are only 10 of the thousands of comments opposing this Firearms Ordinance. Mr Mayor, Aldermen, I respectfully request that this Ordinance be rescinded, due to (1) Opposition by the people and (2) no substantiating evidence that this ordinance should have ever been passed.