By Jim Beers
August 21, 2014
I recently circulated an article describing the closure of the last lead smelter in the United States by the federal government based on recent, impossible-to-comply-with Federal environmental regulations. I had received this article from a brother-in-law who, as a retired commercial airline pilot, was primarily concerned about the necessary use of lead in every gallon of aviation gasoline and the effect of increasing prices on airline transportation costs.
As an American hunter and target shooter, I was concerned about not only inevitable increased costs for all manner of ammunition; but also about seeing another element, vital to American society, becoming something America must rely on others providing us through war and peace and political stress. In addition to airplane fuel and hunting, lead is necessary for radiology accessories; batteries; and National Defense weapons, ammunition and support necessities. Thus our future use of lead (a very heavy and therefore expensive item to transport in any manner) will reflect the price of that transportation plus the costs imposed by importers; manufacturer acquisition; customer price competition for products; AND government effects like taxes, import restrictions and quality requirements.
The article and my short note introducing it mentioned that this was also a back-door opportunity for the current federal anti-gun/2nd Amendment Administration in Washington to diminish gun control by making ammunition costs prohibitive. To my surprise, I have received a number of angry e-mails telling me there was no evidence of this being any sort of gun control move. What was most stunning to me was that three of those readers are hunters and shooters. That they would not connect, the attitude of a White House that concocted and covered-up the Fast and Furious scandal while clandestinely negotiating and drafting a UN Small Arms Treaty that would undercut the 2nd Amendment with this opportune elimination of any domestic lead supply set me to thinking.
As our federal government breeds, introduces, spreads and protects wolves over more and more of The Lower 48 States; as they increase and protect deadly and dangerous grizzly bears over increasing rural areas; and as State governments protect and spread mountain lions and coyotes by both total protection and restricting methods of take: the availability of reasonably priced ammunition takes on a surprising urgency:
1. As protected predators increase in numbers and densities, human encounters with children, dog walkers, recreationists, hunters, joggers, fishermen, ranchers, rural residents and others increase and guns are often the only and best final protection during such encounters.
2. As protected predators ravage livestock, guns are often the only or the best property protection tool for animal owners.
3. As protected predators decrease big game (moose, elk, and deer), big game hunting declines.
4. As protected predators kill hunting dogs (among others from watchdogs and pets to show dogs and service dogs) small game hunting declines because of a reluctance to expose the dog to a horrible death by wolves, the growing reluctance of adults to hunt in wolf country, and the reluctance of parents to let rural children and young adults to hunt or otherwise recreate outdoors alone or unsupervised.
5. As #’s 3 and 4 above evolve, current Federal Excise Taxes on ammunition sales (called Pittman Robertson funding) will decrease. These taxes are intended by law only for State Wildlife Programs for Wildlife Restoration. These funds that are hundreds of million annually and which require matching state funds from hunting license sales revenue are the backbone of State wildlife programs and protect these programs from the diversions, corruption and thefts that were once common in state wildlife bureaucracies.
Wolves are THE most destructive (to human safety, game animals, livestock, and dogs) and widespread of the predators spreading across the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States today. Unavailable or prohibitively expensive ammunition makes personal and family protection less available to rural Americans and hunters. They are simultaneously more vulnerable to attack as livestock are ravaged, dogs are killed and game animals and hunting declines (as government attributes it to “evolving ideas about animals”, “video games”, “progressive thinking”, “”ecosystem awareness”, and fantasies about “apex predators” and “trophic cascades”, etc.)
Despite all this – government gun control; government closing the last lead smelter in the US; and the continuing spread of deadly and destructive predators by government – hunters and shooters, much less rural Americans neither mention nor oppose what government is doing. For some it is because they voted for these things or current politicians in the past; for others it is because their relatives and friends will think poorly of them; for yet others it is because they don’t want to rock the government boat that they depend on more and more; for some it is because they really accept the inevitability of a world without guns in the hands of the citizenry; or they fear a world where government is not fully empowered to “restore native ecosystems” no matter the cost to humans or human society. It is actually a toxic mix of animal worship and a movement by the most powerful among us to make citizens more and more subject to government authority and power.
Wolves, closing the last lead smelter, and hunting are like the racial riots surging in Ferguson, Missouri as I write this. “You are either on this side or that side.” “You either believe this account or that account.” “Either you support (hunting, reasonably priced ammunition and guns, wolves, law-based investigation and just resolution in court) or you oppose these things.” “Don’t try to confuse me with YOUR facts.” “That’s what you think, I know better.” Finally, “Get out of the way, we are in charge and we will protect and spread wolves; we will stop all American smelting of lead; we will make ammunition prohibitively expensive and we will confiscate all guns; and we will do whatever we must to prosecute and punish that policeman no matter what facts emerge in the investigation or in the judicial system.”
The American Constitutional Republic I once knew is devolving into a Darwinian ecosystem ruled by “The Laws of Nature” and described by Thomas Hobbes long ago as a society where life is “nasty, brutish and short.” The rule of law and the supremacy of human life and human values are being replaced by The Law of Survival of the Strongest.
21 August 2014
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