nra_logoRaccoons? Beavers? Hedgehogs? Rabbits? Squirrels? Trees? Dogs? Children? Other campers? Aliens? Socialists? Terrorists? Park Rangers? Our President? Other NRA members? What are they afraid of?

Congress passed a bill that, at least nine months from now, will curtail just a few of the many grotesque abuses of the credit card industry. Your target=”_blank”>NRA, which has a budget of $150 million to $200 million, much of which they spend on bribing your elected leaders, got language stuck in the bill that will allow anyone (not just NRA members) to carry guns in national parks. Wussies — the NRA and everyone who voted to tack a silly gun measure on to a serious bill intended to address a real economic and consumer issue. Reprobates — everyone of them — including the 105 Democrats in the House and 27 Democrats in the Senate who pandered their support for the NRA measure.

Here’s the evidence (from a great read in the National Parks Traveler): 273 million people visited national parks in 2006. Sadly, there were 11 homicides*; two went off cliffs in relationship disputes; one, a suicide. another a DUI. One, a victim of a drunken fight. Another, a shooting death by someone with an illegal firearm. One a drowning. We do not know how the others died, but, like the NRA, I suspect it must have been attacks by raccoon, beaver or terrorists. One note: there were 37 times as many bears killed by humans than humans killed by bears. Oops, I got my math wrong: 37 bear deaths by human, human deaths by bear 0.

The same year, the number one crime in national parks was liquor law violations (5,752). Number two, was carrying a gun (1,950). Number three, intoxication (843). Seems to this outsider that if we allowed guns in the parks, the number one and number three crimes might become more serious. Of course, that is easy for me to say, I’ve never been attacked by a squirrel or a terrorist in a national park.

There may be another explanation: protecting poachers (aka: hunters who think they have a right to shoot anything, anywhere without fear of prosecution). Poaching is big business with an organized illegal safari going for upwards of $10,000 per poacher. The park service has few law enforcement rangers (one ranger for every 118,000 acres), but (according to Science World) they still catch about 5,000 poachers a year and estimate that they don’t catch another 150,000-200,000 a year. Since it would take an enormous amount of luck to catch a poacher in the act (“Ranger, we’re just on a nature hike”) most of those caught end up being prosecuted on gun violations. Poachers are big winners with this new legislation.

Why are we even talking about this? Anyone not at a cocktail party sponsored by the NRA would read the second amendment and understand that our founding fathers were protecting the right of the states to have militias and for those in the militias to bear arms (sorry, for the bears). No one, not even Democrats, have mentioned (I dare you to Google it) taking away the state militias’ rights to bear arms. After all, we need them to continue fighting Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No. I must be missing something that Wyatt Earp (born in Kentucky, officially a Southerner) also overlooked when he and Wild Bill disarmed Dodge City. The right to commit suicide (on purpose or accidentally). The right to kill your spouse (on purpose or accidentally). The right to kill your children (on purpose or accidentally). The right to kill your friends (on purpose or accidentally). The right to protect yourself and your property while drinking. And the right to commit crimes with guns. We must protect these rights and quit trying to take the guns out of Charlton Heston’s cold dead hands.

Depending on whether you have basic cable, or the full spectrum, there were dozens of times as many police shootings on TV as actually happened — police actually shoot and kill about 200 criminals each year. During 2005 (the most recent year statistics have been released), gun owners, exercising their NRA-guaranteed right, shot and killed over 3,000 of their children, wounding ten times as many. In the same period, the rest of the world combined (not including our wars), didn’t add up to our domestic output.

Listen, I’m fine if Texas wants to spend what money they have left in their former governor’s economy on buying and hoarding guns (way up since Obama’s been in office). They are planning to secede anyway and I bet the Pentagon, or the Mexican drug cartel, can handle whatever they have in their gun cabinets. Just stay out of our parks, or we’ll sic a beaver on you.

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* Tom Coburn, (R-OK), and sponsor the NRA Amendment to the Senate bill states in his press release that the number of 2006 homicides our National Parks and the US Fish and Wildlife Service** public lands was 16, and also includes statistics for rape, robbery, kidnappings and assault. He cites the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service as his source, but they do not collect and publish such statistics. This information could only have come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, though it beats the heck out me how it could have been compiled accurately from the data available.

**The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages more than 150 million acres, 550 national wildlife refuges and other units of the Refuge System, plus 37 wetland management districts – in all 50 states and many near metropolitan areas.

How your Southern Senators voted (Alphabetical by Senator Name): 29 Yay; 3 Nay; 2 Not Voting

Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Not Voting
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea

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Lee Leslie

Lee Leslie

I’m just a plateaued-out plain person with too much time on his hands fighting the never ending lingual battle with windmills for truth, justice and the American way or something like that. Here are some reader comments on my writing: “Enough with the cynicism. One doesn’t have to be Pollyanna to reject the sky is falling fatalism of Lee Leslie’s posts.” “You moron.” “Again, another example of your simple-minded, scare-mongering, label-baiting method of argumentation that supports the angry left’s position.” “Ah, Lee, you traffic in the most predictable, hackneyed leftist rhetoric that brought us to the current state of political leadership.” “You negative SOB! You destroyed all my hope, aspiration, desperation, even.” “Don’t you LIBERALS realize what this COMMIE is talking about is SOCIALISM?!?!?!” “Thank you for wonderful nasty artful toxic antidote to this stupidity in the name of individual rights.” “I trust you meant “bastard” in the truest father-less sense of the word.” “That’s the first time I ran out of breath just from reading!” “You helped me hold my head a little higher today.” “Makes me cry every time I read it.” “Thanks for the article. I needed something to make me laugh this mourning.” “If it weren’t so sad I would laugh.” "... the man who for fun and personal growth (not to mention rage assuagion) can skin a whale of bullshit and rack all the meat (and rot) in the larder replete with charts and graphs and a kindness..."“Amen, brother.”