Monday, July 14, 2008

A bad way to go about it...

I must admit, I had a pretty visceral reaction to this, on a couple of different levels:

Just because you don’t participate in a sport and haven’t been introduced to it doesn’t mean you get to start throwing people off the lifeboats. ...Will those of you who are angry at NRA for defending one unpopular sport allow them to stand down on that one? Because I’m sure if you polled all gun owners, many of them would be okay with not “wasting resources” to defend the indefensible guns.

To address the very specific issue of pigeon shoots - no, I have never participated in one. Yes, I have known people who have participated in them regularly. It’s not something I can say I’d jump up to do. By that same token, I’m not going to jump up and volunteer to get my ass up before the crack of dawn and sit in a deer stand in the cold. In fact, whenever I do eventually go hunting someday, I’ll probably hunt some kind of bird because that’s my sport of choice. It doesn’t mean I’m going to throw deer hunters the bus because I don’t feel like joining their little group....

For all the talk about helping us get hunters on board with defending against infringement on self-defense issues and gun bans, it’s dismissive attitudes like this on the shooting side that will help turn them off of the idea of helping us out. Anyone who wants to be an effective activist can’t be seen volunteering to drive the bus that will run over the other group.

I gotta say, I think that's a piss-poor way of defending something. I don't think that just because humans make sport out of something that automatically makes it worthy of defending. If the most that can be said of something like a caged pigeon shoot is that calling it out for the blood sport it looks to be will piss off the people who do it, well then I have to wonder just what the utility is in spending resources defending it. I mean, if it has any kind of benefit vis-a-vis preventing the spread of diseases to animals, humans or other pigeons or something along those lines, then that's the basis on which it should be defended. I mean, hell, ask the pistol shooters in (formerly) Great Britain how approaching gun ownership from the perspective of defending their sport turned out -- and that was a sport, by the way, that could and does quite often have a hell of a lot more of an immediate benefit than something like a pigeon shoot. (To be honest I don't know enough about the pigeon shoot to make enough of a comment one way or the other as I write this, but I will say at first glance that it does look to be absolutely ghastly...) And I would say that if the hunters are going to tell the defensive shooters to go to hell just because we don't defend their sport, then I'd say that's more of a reflection on the pettiness of that contingent than anything else. I can't help but think that putting self-defense -- whether it be with a pistol or an Evil Black Rifle -- on the same level of importance as hunting is to cheapen the value of self-defense. The fact is, it's in everybody's best interest to get on the pistol/black rifle bus. I mean, yeah, it's our problem too if the hunters don't get on board that bus, but still I can't help but think that if Abe Maslow had designed his hierarchy of needs with gunnies in mind, self-defense would be closer to the base than hunting.
And then there's the age-old hunters vs. shooters aspect of this. Personally, I am sick unto death of hearing people shriek about how "we shouldn't offend the hunters!" I remember reading somewhere -- it might well have been on Michael Bane's blog -- that there were 20 million hunting licenses issued in the U.S. every year and between 60 million and 80 million gun owners in the United States. Doing the math, that comes out to between 66 and 75 percent of gun owners in the U.S. not being hunters. Add in the money that the shooters spend on ammunition and accessories, the fact that various defensive sidearms and semi-automatic rifles are the biggest-selling firearms in the country, and it makes me wonder, why are some people so hell-bent on not offending the hunters, let alone to the point that we make such extreme contortions with our ethics? Um, quite frankly, I think that's bullshit, and I make no apologies for that.