Archive for August 3rd, 2009

Just when we thought it was over

August 3, 2009

Things had seemingly settled down and life has returned to normal – our evacuation alert had been canceled – when the Terrace Mountain fire to the north of us flared up again. The reports were that the fire was 90% contained and they had let almost all of the people that had been evacuated up on the Westside road back into their homes. Then the winds picked up, this time from the west and the fire took off again, jumping from 4500 hectares to 7500 hectares overnight. All of those poor folks got evacuated again and the Westside road has been closed once again to traffic.

We couldn’t see the fire from our viewpoint but friends across Okanagan Lake said that they watched it come over the ridge towards the lake and of course towards the settled areas. Then, fortunately for the westside residences the wind switched so it was now coming from the north and drove the fire south along the ridge. They figured that if the wind hadn’t switched the fire would have been very quickly right down to the lake with disastrous results.

I have been more concerned about this fire than I was about the Rose Valley fire that had burned right behind us, although if the winds had been blowing from the west it could have been a different story there as well.

But if the Terrace Mountain fire were to keep moving south it could very easily put our area at risk. However it is still quite a distance from us. Hopefully that won’t change.

The smoke is extremely heavy right now. We couldn’t see across to the city of Kelowna this afternoon and it is laying thick around us this evening.

We took a drive into Kelowna tonight to see if we could could look back across the lake and get a glimpse of any fire activity. The smoke was so heavy we couldn’t determine if the fire had subsided somewhat or if the smoke cover just hid it.

I guess the only surprise to me on this fire is that it didn’t happen years ago. I used to spend a fair bit of time in that bit of country close to 20 years ago and I figured then that if a fire ever started over there it would be a dandy. There was a tremendous amount of ground cover ripe for a burn even then and now, two decades later and with the added fuel from beetle killed trees, I can only imagine how volatile it is.

On the positive side, if they can manage the fire with no loss of homes or lives it will end up as a great habitat enhancement project.

Selling out Peter for Paul’s Benefit

August 3, 2009

When I started to read this article by Paul Craig Robert, I was intrigued by the title: Gun Control: What’s the Agenda?

Now I thought I always knew the gun-banners’ agenda. It was, and is, to get rid of guns owned by civilians. I also thought that I knew some of their motivations.

We’ve heard the arguments hundred of times. Banning guns (so the theory goes) would materially reduce crime, suicides, fatal accidents, violence in the home and make the public domain for all intents and purposes a a safer place and although it might not create a utopia but it would be a step in that direction.

Then there are the animal rights activists who would see the banning of firearms as a way to ending hunting activities. (They could ban bows later – or sooner for that matter).

I hoped that the author might have some new insights on the subject.

As a lead-in, the author pointed out the facts behind New York’s oppressive Sullivan’s Law.

New York state senator Timothy Sullivan, a corrupt Tammany Hall politician, represented New York’s Red Hook district. Commercial travelers passing through the district would be relieved of their valuables by armed robbers. In order to protect themselves and their property, travelers armed themselves. This raised the risk of, and reduced the profit from, robbery. Sullivan’s outlaw constituents demanded that Sullivan introduce a law that would prohibit concealed carry of pistols, blackjacks, and daggers, thus reducing the risk to robbers from armed victims.

The criminals, of course, were already breaking the law and had no intention of being deterred by the Sullivan Act from their business activity of armed robbery. Thus, the effect of the Sullivan Act was precisely what the criminals intended. It made their life of crime easier.

He then dealt with the fallacy of the epidemic of gun deaths among children in the U.S. and notes that the White House Offices of National Drug Control Policy says that drugs is one of the leading factors in homicides.

According to the National Drug Control Policy, trafficking in illicit drugs is associated with the commission of violent crimes for the following reasons: “competition for drug markets and customers, disputes and rip-offs among individuals involved in the illegal drug market, [and] the tendency toward violence of individuals who participate in drug trafficking.” Another dimension of drug-related crime is “committing an offense to obtain money (or goods to sell to get money) to support drug use.”

Roberts then writes:

Those who want to outlaw guns have not explained why it would be any more effective than outlawing drugs, alcohol, robbery, rape, and murder. All the crimes for which guns are used are already illegal, and they keep on occurring, just as they did before guns existed.

So what is the real agenda? Why do gun control advocates want to override the Second Amendment. Why do they not acknowledge that if the Second Amendment can be over-ridden, so can every other protection of civil liberty?

There are careful studies that conclude that armed citizens prevent one to two million crimes every year. Other studies show that in-home robberies, rapes, and assaults occur more frequently in jurisdictions that suffer from gun control ordinances. Other studies show that most states with right-to-carry laws have experienced a drop in crimes against persons.

Why do gun control advocates want to increase the crime rate in the US?

Why is the gun control agenda a propagandistic one draped in lies?

At which point he inexplicably goes sideways.

He blames the NRA for fueling the irrational fear of guns through trade advertisements in their members’ only magazine.

The NRA is the largest and best known organization among the defenders of the Second Amendment. Yet, a case might be made that manufacturers’ gun advertisements in the NRA’s magazines stoke the hysteria of gun control advocates.

Full page ads offering civilian versions of weapons used by “America’s elite warriors” in US Special Operations Command, SWAT, and by covert agents “who work in a dark world most of us can’t even understand,” are likely to scare the pants off people who are afraid of guns.

And although he begrudgingly acknowledges that there is some validity to hunting, he apparently believes that gun owners would be better served if  it kind of went away.

The same goes for hunters. Recent news reports of “hunters” slaughtering wolves from airplanes in Alaska and of a hunter, indeed, a poacher, who shot a protected rare wolf in the US Southwest and left the dead animal in the road, enrage people who have empathy with animals and wildlife. Many Americans have had such bad experiences with their fellow citizens that they regard their dogs and cats, and wildlife, as more intelligent and noble life forms than humans. Wild animals can be dangerous, but they are not evil.

Americans with empathy for animals are horrified by the television program that depicts hunters killing beautiful animals and the joy hunters experience in “harvesting” their prey. Many believe that a person who enjoys killing a deer because he has a marvelous rack of antlers might enjoy killing a person.

He is apparently ignorant of the fact that the aerial shooting of wolves in Alaska is a State initiative to control the predator population and is not done by “hunters”, and he identifies the person who illegally shot a wolf in the southwest as a poacher whom he apparently associates with legitimate hunters. In fact his whole diatribe on hunters and hunting would indicate that Roberts sits quite comfortably in the anti-hunting camp.

So after wondering what the anti-gun agenda is, we find out that apparently they don’t really have an agenda, it’s just that the NRA (and I presume other magazines) publish advertising for modern guns that “are ugly as sin”, and whose “appearance is threatening, unlike the beautiful lines of a Winchester lever action or single shot rifle, or a Colt single action revolver, or the WW II 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, guns that do not have menacing appearances” which makes people fear guns and makes them want to ban them. And if that isn’t enough those damned hunters are out there killing wolves and other beautiful animals which makes people think that they “might enjoy killing a person”. All enough reason to ban firearms – apparently.

The author then goes on to wax poetic about the joys of target shooting which one could apparently do without fear of the gun banners if it wasn’t for the NRA’s advertising practices and – again – those damned hunters.

It appalls me that there are still those out there, who profess to be “one of us” who have such a simplistic and  (dare I say) stupid view of the issues.

One would hope that by now we would have gone beyond the divisions where long gun owners were willing to sell out handgun owners in the hope that doing so would take the focus off their firearms. Or in Britain the owners of double barreled shotguns being willing to sacrifice  those who owned pumps and semi-autos.

But apparently the message that the anti-gunners are quite willing to pick us off one by one still hasn’t reached everyone.

Whether it is the anti-gun or the anti-hunting crowd, they know that they cannot get everything they want in one big bucket and are quite happy take their little victories. Unfortunately some of which we give them in the vain hope that they will be satisfied enough to go away and leave us alone. Which of course has never been in their game plan.

There is little question that Canada;s Firearms Act was written in such a manner as to make things more bureaucratically difficult for gun owners in the hope that many would get rid of their guns and drop out of the system. Which many did. The Act relegated some firearms (most notably handguns with barrels 4″ or less in length) to ‘prohibited’ status and while current owners were grandfathered it ensured that no-one else would ever be able to legally acquire them. In that way they would eventually be purged from the system.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has been on a crusade to ban handguns, obviously in a misguided attempt to demonstrate to his electorate that he is “doing something to fight crime”. All gun owners should the strongly and publicly opposing this.

Some years ago there was an attack against bear hunting in B.C. The ban proponents wanted to totally stop the hunting of black bear – not exactly a threatened species in this province. Of course they weren’t able to win that fight, but in the process the Ministry of Environment decided that they would put in a new regulation that would force all bear hunters to salvage the meat of any bears they shot. This was just for black bear. Although some bear hunters already kept the meat (actually good eating), most hunted for the hide. The Ministry thought that bringing the meat in would legitimize the hunt and remove the objections of the environmentalists.

Did it work? Well it removed a bunch of hunters from the system and the environmentalists are currently back again trying to stop bear hunting. And the new solution being floated around to blunt the attack? Put in a regulation to make it a requirement for hunters to salvage grizzly bear meat. Which shows that we have learned little from our past mistakes.

The antis are focused and patient. We, as gun owners and hunters, are divided and complacent. If that doesn’t change, our future is bleak.


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