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Re: [at-l] Hunting on the Trail



Jim,

I mostly agree with you.  I do want to pick a nit about what you said about
the fear of guns:

At 01:46 PM 12/12/96 PST, Jim Owen wrote:
>Fourth - I said yesterday that I don't allow fear to control my life.
>How many of the negative reactions to hunters come from fear
>of guns?   Some of you might need to think about this - a gun
>is nothing more than a tool.  It can be used for good (police carry
>them) or evil (criminals?) or to provide meat for your family
>(hunters) or for pleasure (target shooting) or for competition -
>or a number of other purposes.  But whatever the purpose - it's
>just a tool - no more good or evil than a tennis racquet, an axe,
>a wrench - or a hiking stick.  One of the things I've found over
>the years is that, to a large degree, fear equates to ignorance.
>Now tell me - why should others suffer for your ignorance?  Why
>would anyone think that their fear and ignorance should control the
>lives of others?  There's an answer for that - but it's my question
>so someone else will have to supply their answer.
>

I agree completely that a gun is a tool.  On the other hand, I don't think
that equating a tennis racquet, axe, wrench, or hiking stick with a tool
that can punch a hole in my head at several hundred yards makes a whole lot
of sense.  A better comparison is probably a car -- an out of control car
makes a pretty fearsome weapon.

Now, while I can't talk competently about guns, I can (being a city dweller)
talk about cars. Frankly, cars scare me.  Why?  Because too many drivers
have no business being behind the wheel.  Heck, even good drivers screw up
occasionally. So what do I do?  When I am walking across the street, and I
see a car signalling a turn, I wait to see if it is going to slow down
first!  And when I am riding my bicycle, I stay out of areas with heavy
traffic... even though I have a legal right to be there!

There is another parallel between guns and cars... for far too many people
they arn't "just tools".  Look at the different cars on the market and how
they are advertised!  Now look at some of the gun magazines at the local
newstand (I have!).  Guns and cars are not marketed as tools... they'll make
you sexy, powerful, and forever young!  The reasons why ***SOME*** people
buy cars and guns does nothing to make me feel better about either
***overall*** group.

And finally, to not quite address your last point, I see no reason why guns
shouldn't be regulated as strictly as we regulate cars.  And for the same
reason... a bozo with a car can cause a lot of damage to to other people.
If our society had no problems with gun owners, then I'd say leave the issue
alone. Unfortunately, the inappropriate use of guns (not particularly by
hunters, let me add) is a problem in America and some regulation is not out
of order.

Anyway, I'm happy to share the trail with hunters.  I see the attraction of
hunting, have no moral problems with it, and have seen the damage that out
of control deer populations cause.  I think that hunters are extremely
valuable allies in the fight to preserve open spaces.  And I reserve the
right to be nervous around people that carry tools designed to kill without
warning and at a distance.

-- Jim

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