Sunday, June 08, 2008

We deserve more credit than this...

From this morning's Houston Chronicle, there's a story on the feds' consideration of a bill allowing national park visitors to defend themselves wih firearms. From the story...

"You read stories about people attacked by animals or who stumble upon meth labs or women who are raped in a national park," the NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, said. "We don't believe law-abiding citizens should be kept from protecting themselves and their families in national wildlife refuges or in national parks."

But opponents, including several former National Park Service officials, say that the current rules are effective — there is little crime in national parks — and that the change would threaten visitors' safety and could easily ruin the family-friendly atmosphere of the parks and other attractions.

For now, guns kept packed

People traveling in national parks and wildlife refuges are required to keep weapons "inoperable or packed, cased or stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use." Someone carrying a loaded gun is subject to a citation and a fine of up to $150.
"A gun will give people a false sense of security that they can approach a bear or a bison," said Doug Morris, a member of the executive council of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees and a former chief ranger and superintendent at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California. "A person with a gun will pull out that weapon and fire away if they feel threatened, even if that fear is illogical."

Yep, you know which side of the argument I fall on, but still I find it quite amazing that the ex-park ranger only addressed the threat of the four-legged predator and not the two-legged one. Wonder why our enterprising journalist didn't ask him about that...or why his response wasn't in the story? But either way, I really think it's a tremendous insult to those of us who own and carry guns for him to say that someone who was carrying, oh, say, a Glock 17 is going to try to take down something like a bear or a bison with it. Anyone who knows anything about guns knows that one of the cardinal rules of armed confrontation is to "bring enough gun." For bear or bison I figure the least amount of gun to bring along would probably be something like the .30-06...which is, I would say, absolute hell to fire in a pistol. No, those of us who want to carry a sidearm on our sojourns into national parks -- and state parks, for that matter -- are going to be carrying them to protect ourselves from the two-legged Homo sapien predators such as Gary Michael Hilton, the piece of human refuse who killed University of Georgia graduate Meredith Emerson as she was hiking in a Georgia state park. The Emerson case should have put to rest once and for all the debate on carrying weapons in parks, and for that matter everywhere else. And it's a testament to the sheer insanity -- and evil, if you want to call it that -- that pervades our national discourse when it comes to defending ourselves vs. waiting on other men and women with guns to do it for us. Evil? Yep, that's what it is. What else would you call the mentality that says you shouldn't be able to carry -- or even own -- the instruments that best enable you to protect your life against those who would take it for whatever reason?