RSS

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Francisco Santiago-Avila’s mission to acknowledge moral standing for nonhuman animals

My training in philosophy had taught me to be distrustful of claims of human exceptionalism, yet these claims are implicit everywhere in wildlife management and conservation.” ~ Francisco Santiago-Avila, Ph.D. candidate, UW-Madison Nelson Institute

I attended the Nelson Institute Earth Day primarily to hear Fran Santiago-Avila’s talk. His biography caught my attention:

“As part of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Fran’s research has revolved around the integration and application of environmental and animal ethics to coexistence with wildlife, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal methods to prevent conflicts with large carnivores (the gray wolf, in particular). His main objective is to reform human-wildlife interactions by embedding in them the acknowledgment of moral standing for individual nonhuman animals.

I met with Francisco at Café Zuma on Atwood Avenue to understand more of his background and efforts.

He told me, “I see the urgency of getting the acknowledgement of the social, psychological and biological entitlements of non-human animals into policy.

He noted that hidden values, not science or ethics, is guiding wildlife, wolf and natural carnivore management. There is a “crass lack of concern for individuals.” He stressed expanding moral community beyond white men as an ongoing challenge, with backlash. He added, pertaining to hunting, “The only thing they have going for them is nobody is looking.”

His Earth Day topic was “Killing wolves to prevent predation on livestock may protect one farm but harm neighbors.” Carnivore Coexistence Lab research established that killing wolves is no more effective than non-lethal methods in minimizing the risk of future predation on domestic animals: “Ethical wildlife management guided by the ‘best scientific and commercial data available’ would suggest suspending the standard method of trapping wolves in favor of non-lethal methods (livestock guarding dogs or fladry) that have been proven effective in preventing livestock losses in Michigan and elsewhere.”

State agencies traffic in massive random assaults, killing quotas, and hunting and trapping “seasons” on entire species, ignoring the familial bonds and friendships, grief suffered in death, packs and responsibilities of individuals within animal communities, which are now increasingly understood as similar to our own values.

In follow-up emails, I asked Francisco, “How did you evolve to your mission of acknowledging moral rights for individual animals — unlike so many of your colleagues?”

He responded:

“I believe this determination was partly a result of the path I took to arrive at the field of conservation. I have always been interested in making the world more ethical and just. Prior to beginning graduate studies in the field, this drive directed me to political theory and public policy (focusing on environmental management). During this time, I was able to familiarize myself with political and ethical philosophy, including theories of human nature, moral consideration and other moral and political theories, such as theories of equality and justice. My focus at the time was in improving environmental management through sustainable use as a way (to) tackle human inequality and injustice and nature conservation simultaneously.

“In the meantime, through my studies in environmental policy, I started getting interested in the conflict surrounding wolf policy in the western U.S. and how polarizing it has been. I think every animal advocate has a particular species or individual that leads them down that path. For me, it was the gray wolf. Through my research on wolf policy, I started reading up on their ethology (such a wonderful science!) and was amazed at how much overlap there is between wolf and human way of life, capabilities and interests. They are not qualitatively different. Individuals of both species want autonomy, resources, a family, freedom from unnecessary harm and to live their lives as they see fit.

“This shook my ethical sensibilities in a way that nothing else had. If we share these capabilities (which later I would realize are pervasive throughout the animal kingdom), why are their interests dismissed wolf policy? Why do we consider others as worthy of moral standing and entitlements? Is it their human shape (do mannequins have moral standing?) or is it their internal capabilities? Why do humans feel entitled to harm these nonhuman animals regardless of the triviality of their interests? Why does the ‘Golden Rule’ (treat others as you would like to be treated in a similar situation) not apply to wolves? My training in philosophy had taught me to be distrustful of claims of human exceptionalism, yet these claims are implicit everywhere in wildlife management and conservation. Nonhuman animals’ legitimate entitlements are being either relatively or absolutely dismissed. These are some of the most vulnerable beings in the world (to top it off, they are voiceless as well), so it seemed to me like a massive social justice (not ‘environmental’, albeit intimately tied) issue that needs to be dealt with explicitly. The type of harmful and deadly practices wildlife, and especially large social species, is subjected to seem ethically inappropriate when we become aware of the brittleness of the scientific and ethical arguments backing them up.”

He summed it up: “Wildlife management should be about protecting animals from unnecessary harm. That’s where ethics come in.

_______________________________________

Actions

Petition to keep snowmobiles and motorized vehicles out of Tahoe National Forest, to protect imperiled wolverines and Pacific martens.

Petition to ban live animal exports long distances from the European Union to other countries. These exports result in extreme exhaustion, dehydration, trampling, cruelty and ultimate slaughter.

Gaza, the Broken-Hearted, a talk by Chris Hedges on YouTube.

We must end all genocides, including the genocide of other species. Only your voice can force change.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on May 20, 2018.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Absent from Wisconsin’s only nature election: Key environmental nonprofits

Bobcats

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

We…discovered that no one really cares about the mass extinction of species, which was a bit of a disappointment for me.” ~ Chris Darwin, great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin

If you wonder why you have never seen a bobcat in Wisconsin, you can look directly at Wisconsin’s DNR and Legislature and their policies, including hiding for decades the annual April election for the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. The DNR and WCC have become even more irrelevant and killing-obsessed during our current mass extinction crisis. Trappers and their supporters dominate this sham election.

Take a look at where the wildlife goes, in Bing images here

You can also look at public apathy concerning the plight of wildlife mass murdered for fun by the small percentage of people who are entitled to kill daily for many months of the year.

And you can place that within the destruction of two-thirds of wildlife across the planet in the last 50 years. Each animal was an individual life that revealed the richness of biodiversity of planet earth, just like your beloved cat or dog.

One night a year where citizens could make a difference, and the vast majority of people who show up are trappers. Four to one across the state, those attending voted to expand trapping in former wildlife refuges, set traps within 15 foot of a beaver lodge, and trap raccoons out of season. You can see the statewide results here. Trappers are 0.003 percent of Wisconsin citizens, yet supporters of trapping comprise four out of five who attend, vote, and elect representatives to the WCC. A mere 0.001 percent of Wisconsin citizens attend.

Even in Dane County, activist trappers and hunters again won the two seats available to the WCC in the April 9 election.

Since I returned to Wisconsin in 1993, every governor, Republican or Democrat, has appointed a secretary of the DNR who was friendly to hunters.

I attended my first DNR “spring hearings” and WCC election, out of curiosity alone, in 1997. The room at the Alliant Energy Center held about 120 men, many in camouflage. I noticed that all the proposed policy changes increased killing of wildlife and none proposed conserving wildlife or the environment. When the DNR got to the question: “Do you want to end the limit of 75 traps set on trap lines, and promote unlimited traps?” I raised my hand and said, “Really? You are still using medieval traps on our wildlife in 1997?” A grizzled man sitting in the front of the room yelled back at me, “Git the anti outta here!”

“Anti?” So caring about humane treatment of our wildlife in politically “progressive” Dane County had become “anti?” What was this?

I have never missed an election and vote since that night. Politics are where decisions are made.

The next day, never having been an activist before, I called the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and the Nature Conservancy. Why weren’t they at the election? I thought that they were protecting wildlife. I asked them two questions: “What is your organization’s stand on trapping? On hunting?”

Audubon told me they pick their battles. Apparently so does the Sierra Club, and encouraging their members to run as humane candidates for the WCC isn’t on their agenda.

Should electing delegates protective of ducks, pheasants, sandhill cranes, crows, and mourning doves be one of Audubon’s battles? Audubon’s 20,459 Wisconsin members could have voted against the use of neonicotinoids on crops that poison birds. Their membership is three times the statewide attendance at the election this year. They, alone, could elect humane delegates.

The Nature “Conservancy” with its 20,000 members allows hunting and trapping on 98 percent of their purchased lands. Would their votes in the WCC elections hurt or help wildlife?

The League of Conservation Voters’ lobby days prominently feature trappers displaying furs. The first year I attended, the LCV promoted a Hunters’ Bill of Rights and a banquet of edible native wildlife. How would their members vote at the WCC elections?

There are many other groups that, if they participated, could democratize the WCC hearing’s agenda and election: UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, Midwest Environmental Advocates, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Natural Resources Foundation, WISPIRG, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, and Sustain Dane. Like the Aldo Leopold Foundation, most environmental organizations almost surgically exclude wildlife — and focus on land, air and water.

Although these organizations do good work on the environment, saving habitat that will be used for killing is destroying our wildlife. Will they wait to include wildlife, holistically, until only 10 percent of earth’s wildlife survive in a total ecosystem collapse?

Membership money talks and many of these older organizations kowtow to heavy hunter membership.

Viewing the Nelson Institute speakers for Earth Day, Monday, April 23, it is stunning. There is zero mention of mass extinction in the entire line-up.

Searching far down the list, I found several speakers who interested me:

• My favorite is Francisco Santiago Avila of the Carnivore Co-Existence Lab: “His main objective is to reform human-wildlife interactions by embedding in them the acknowledgment of moral standing for individual nonhuman animals.”

• Another is Marcy West, executive director of Kickapoo Valley Reserve in southwest Wisconsin, which is a publicly protected 8,600-acre reserve that attracts low-impact recreation enthusiasts.

Charles Darwin said, “I feel no remorse for having committed any great sin, but I have often, and often regretted that I haven’t done more direct good for our fellow creatures.”

Actions:

Wildlife lovers can help create a Wisconsin bear sanctuary and education center 35 miles north of Madison by going to the Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic website, where there is more information on how to help.

Take a stand against trapping on national wildlife refuges.

Vote:

Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned?

Should bobcats be kept on the endangered species list in Indiana?

Should the clothing industry be fur-free?

Should we give up half of the earth to wildlife?

Column originally published in the Madison CapTimes on April 22, 2018.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Completed WDNR Election and Vote Questionnaire

In response to member requests, I am posting the WDNR Questionnaire with what I consider to be the most humane responses. The completed questionnaire, which is being provided for information purposes only, can be viewed here.

Let’s have a good turn-out this year as there are many pending rule changes and legislative developments, which if enacted, would continue to exert a devastating effect on Wisconsin’s wildlife and natural resources.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: A call to women warriors to save our wildlife April 9

Bing Images

In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.” ~ David Attenborough, BBC naturalist

We need to take a lesson from the Parkland, Florida, youth. Impatience for change and urgent action are a necessity and an honor when lives are at stake.

This is a call to strong women to stand for election to the two grassroots positions open April 9 in every county in Wisconsin — and every year in April, in every county — creating the sole citizen advisory body to the Legislature and Department of Natural Resources on policy governing our publicly purchased lands, waters, and wildlife. Because citizens do not know of this election, or its importance, wildlife in Wisconsin is being slaughtered.

It is simple to run for election. Take a friend, nominate each other that night, and write a two-minute statement of your priorities. Stand up for democracy in governing what is supposed to be our “commons” and break the stranglehold of the killing cartel good ol’ boys club.

Ninety percent of us kill no wildlife and are not represented on the Wisconsin Conservation Council.

This is a simple but powerful grassroots delegate opportunity. Advertise it on your social media and bring 10 friends who bring 10 friends each. There is an election and meeting in each county; in Dane County, this year it is in the Monona Grove High School auditorium at 4400 Monona Drive. Locations in other counties can be found here.

The election of two delegates — a two-year and a three-year term — is held first thing, at 7 p.m. There will be two hunter candidates in every county — from 18-year-old trappers to 80-year-old hunters who have been delegates for 25 years or more. We need two humane candidates and vast attendance by the 5.8 million citizens of this state — not just the 5,000 activist hunters, trappers, bear and wolf hounders who usually attend. Children can vote and it’s a great civics lesson.

Being a delegate entails four meetings a year, two of them in your county, a committee meeting in Steven’s Point and an annual meeting in May.

After the election, the DNR and current five delegates will go through each of the 54 proposals on this year’s questionnaire and citizens can comment.

Four issues, but of the 54 that are up for citizen vote, are:

• The hunters want wildlife watchers to give them over $3 million in fees to use our public lands — to enable hunters’ agenda. There is no provision for a humane citizen committee to allocate that money to help our wildlife.

• Ban neonicotinoids on our food crops, poisoning our bees and monarch butterflies.

• Require the DNR to perform hydrogeological studies before permitting high capacity wells for CAFOs and corporate water extraction.

• Vote whether to expand trapping access to former wildlife refuges by four months.

To propose a change in law, this format must be followed exactly. For example, if you want to end running packs of dogs on wildlife, you can make a resolution and defend it at the election. Resolutions are posted, read, and voted on midway through the night. Please stay to vote on citizen initiatives.

Nothing humane or democratizing can pass through the hunter gauntlet of delegates until we have humane delegates. With active citizen participation, we could transform this delegation in two years to one that is humane and life-giving.

Please show up wearing red, in solidarity with wildlife advocates.

Major violence in Wisconsin is inflicted on innocent wildlife. Semi-automatics and bump stocks are legal to use — there are few limitations. Over a million wild beings are trapped, shot, maimed and bled out with crossbows, pursued by dogs in season after an artificial manmade season, shot out of trees, and drowned. This recreational killing and suffering is immoral.

The women running my polling place at the April 3 vote knew nothing of this election. The March for Our Lives activists to whom I handed flyers on March 31 were clueless.

For 20 years, I have asked the DNR to make brochures about the event available to the public. They should be handed out at every state park. The event should be on every calendar of Friends of State Parks, the Ice Age Trail, and the MacKenzie Center.

The DNR does not advertise the event because it is funded by hunting and trapping licenses and Pittman-Robertson weapon and ammunition taxes. It does not want the humane citizens of this state, in all their diversity of opinions, messing with hunters’ and trappers’ control of our public lands and former wildlife refuges.

Where the wild things are: a world of lost and lonely beings who need you to stand for them. This is one night each year when citizens can make a difference!

_________________________

Alerts:

Ten wolves were slaughtered with assault rifles near Denali National Park. The state agency issued an emergency end to the trophy kill, admitting they have no idea how many wolves have been killed. With state and federal resources agencies funded by hunting licenses, mass extinction of natural predators and wildlife will continue.

Oppose the federal “War on Wolves Act,” H.R. 424 and S. 164, and the SHARE Act, H.R. 3668, to your federal legislators: U.S. Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

MEMBERSHIP ALERT – PLEASE READ IMMEDIATELY. 2018 WDNR ELECTION & VOTE

This is a reminder that the WDNR’s Annual Election and Vote will be held in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties this Monday, April 9. Information regarding the meeting can be found here. Of note, the meeting start time is shown as 7:00 p.m. It has been my experience however, that the first and most important item on the agenda (nomination and election of delegates) may occur prior to the 7:00 p.m. start time. Therefore, I would encourage those of you attending to arrive early. For meeting locations, click here.

This meeting is the one occassion that Wisconsin residents not involved with the hunting and trapping of our wildlife and the continuing destruction of our natural resources can express their concerns and have their voices heard. Like many others, I am greatly concerned with the continued pressure on our natural resources, the downward spiral of our wildlife diversity and populations, and the cruelty often associated with hunting and trapping. I enjoy being out in nature and have concerns whether current DNR “management” practices will preserve our wildlife over the next several years and for several generations to come.

Serving as a delegate to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress does not require much time (click here).  It is however an important role because you will have the opportunity to represent,your county in effecting change with respect to how Wisconsin’s wildlife, biota and ecosystems are managed and protected (click here). Over the years, such issues have been controlled by political (and other) special interests that include the NRA. The benefitting pro-hunting and pro-trapping interests represent only one end of the spectrum however. Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic is working hard to change current practices to those that are based on science, considered humane, and preserve our wildlife, ecosystems and natural resources for enjoyment by Wisconsin’s residents. Persons interested in being a delegate can nominate themselves (or bring a friend along with you). You will then have a few minutes to present your vision regarding the protection and management of our wildlife and natural resources (click here for further information).

The next part of the meeting allows you to provide your opinion on a variety of issues by completing the DNR Questionnaire (to view, click here). The questionnaire is divided into three sections: Fisheries Advisory Questions, DNR Wildlife Advisory Questions and Natural Resources Board Advisory Questions. My suggestion regarding completion of the questionaire is to select the most humane response and/or the response that is most consistent with your values.

The process for preparing and submitting resolutions to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress is described here and here.

Three flyers have been prepared for those attending the meeting.

Flyer 1 (click here). FORMAT: 8-1/2 x 11″. Points of Emphasis: Keep Wisconsin’s gray wolves protected by keeping the Endangered Species Act; Wildlife “refuges” are now prime hunting and trapping grounds – vote whether to give longer access to trappers in what the DNR has turned into killing fields.

Flyer 2 (click here). FORMAT: 8-1/2 x 11″. Points of Emphasis: Ban neonicotinoids and insecticides used on our food supply (killing bees and butterflies); require the DNR to require / perform hydrogeological studies before licensing Corporate Animal Farms and high capacity wells.

Flyer 3 (click here). FORMAT 8-1/2 x 11″ (2 per sheet). Points of Emphasis: 4,500 black bears, mostly cubs, to be killed in September, 2018 (allows for the use of bait and packs of dogs); half a million innocent foxes, bobcats, coyotes, & beavers suffer and die in traps each year; oppose the federal WAR ON WOLVES ACT H.R.424 and S.164 which strips ESA protection for Wisconsin’s gray wolves; oppose the federal SHARE Act that would open 20 million National Park Service public lands to the killing of wolf pups and bear cubs in dens, and strips ESA protection for our wolf and bear populations; and work towards implementing changes that would limit (or eliminate) opportunities for the NRA to run big game safaris across the globe killing rare species like elephants.

Please feel free to download and modify these flyers as you deem necessary. Take some along to pass out prior to the meeting (the area where you reside and/or outside the meeting location).

In addition, Flyer 5 is a template created for those seeking delegate seats. Again, modify as necessary and distribute to those you know and/or outside the meeting location.

Flyer 5 (click here). FORMAT: 8-1/2 x 11″. Points of Emphasis: Humane treatment of Wisconsin’s wildlife and protection of our natural resources and fragile ecosystems. Issues include, but are not limited to: ending the use of lead shot which is poisoning our eagles, hawks, cranes and water life; no hunting of sand hill cranes, rare white deer, and tundra swans; ending the mourning dove hunt; ending the running packs of dogs on our wildlife on public lands; ending trapping (banned in 90 countries decades ago for its cruelty); protecting innocent black bears – most of them 1-2 years old – from hunters using packs of dogs and bait; influence rules / legislation pertaining to mining, sand-fracking, high capacity wells, state parks & public land governance.

Best of luck to those of you seeking delegate seats and a big thank you to all who participate in this year’s meeting! Please let your voice be heard!!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Does the murder of millions of wild animals matter in gun debate?

Bing images

“Hunting is murder. The problem comes from a culture, including religion, that exalts people above accountability for the harm that they cause others. “~ Jeff Biss, comment on the Wisconsin Bear Sanctuary GoFundMe page

17 people were murdered in Parkland.

Referencing the murder of millions of indigenous wildlife annually does not diminish that violence, but calls us to a parallel issue that must be addressed if young people are to inherit a living world. With two-thirds of wildlife destroyed on the planet in just 50 years, and 60 percent of large mammals threatened with extinction right now, we as a society must end the war on wildlife that is at the core of overall violence in this culture.

We are late to act and there is no guarantee that our species will survive the arrogance we have exhibited by dismissing the suffering and extinction of other species.

The correlation between cruelty to animals and domestic violence has been established for decades. Teaching young children that killing wildlife is a cultural norm and promoted by adults is numbing them to the sacredness of all life.

The teens of Parkland are well aware that money and power have a similar numbing effect on adults in the legislatures of this country. Gun fanaticism and brute patriarchal violence have dominated our government policies for decades.

The students who are speaking out are well educated, articulate and motivated for change. My hope is that their push for laws that ensure their own safety will impact the violence rotting within, and exported outside, our country. It is urgent that efforts go beyond human concerns to a wider understanding: If we do not protect wildlife as well as people, we will not accomplish the end of violence.

The Outdoor Channel’s “Under Wild Skies,” which also runs on NRA TV, started and continues as a showcase for wildlife killing.

Gun violence is primarily not a caused by mental illness or violent videos. According to the book “Gun Violence and Mental Illness” published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2016, mass shootings by seriously mental ill people represent 1 percent of gun homicides annually. Pretending to solve the gun problem while sidestepping guns will not work.

An AR-15 bullet “does not have to actually hit an artery to damage it and cause catastrophic bleeding. Exit wounds can be the size of an orange,” said Dr. Heather Sher, a radiologist who examined student victims of the Marjory Stoneman shootings.

Connecticut legislated some of the tougher gun laws in the country after the Sandy Hook massacre and, according to Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., cut state violence by 40 percent. A 2013 New Republic article quotes Murphy: “The NRA is just all mythology…The NRA does not win elections anymore….The reason for the gap between perception and reality is that, for many years, the NRA has had no real opposition.”

Parkland survivors, joined by gun violence survivors all over the country, are determined opposition. Soon they will vote. One student said we should rename the AR-15 “the Marco Rubio” because it is so easy to buy. Emma Gonzalez, survivor of the Valentine’s Day Parkland shooting, called out NRA purchased politicians with “We call BS.” She has more Twitter followers than the NRA. The repeated call is to vote out NRA shills.

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, wrote the 2014 Politico article “How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment.” It is fascinating reading for anyone who wants less gun violence. It describes how the NRA manipulated the message to distort the Second Amendment’s intent.

In Slate.com’s 2014 “America’s Gun Fantasy” (excerpt from Kurt Anderson’s book “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History”), Anderson quotes Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by President Richard Nixon, saying he complained after he retired that “…the Second Amendment ‘has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud — I repeat the word fraud — on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.’”

The students who survived the Parkland massacre and parents from the Newtown massacre are making reasonable demands:

• Ban semi-automatic guns and bump stocks.

• Severely limit the size of ammunition magazines.

• Universal background checks without loopholes.

• Reinstate funding for gun violence research.

• Legislators:Stop taking money from the NRA and weapons manufacturers.

• Demand that businesses and banks divest from alliances with the NRA

This is not a time for incrementalism. It is a time for major reformation toward peaceful policies and against guns and violence on all levels of society, including our dwindling wildlife that is under constant assault.

Do not fool yourselves. We are in the fight of our lives for peace and survival in the midst of a death culture. We face crises of accelerating climate change, species extinction, and the threat of nuclear war. We cannot live on a dead, hot planet. Our wanton joy-ride of killing and exploiting earth ends or we are toast.

This is our opportunity to hold legislators accountable or vote them out.

Actions:

Donald Trump has flip-flopped on banning trophy lion and elephant imports as elephants continue to be poached 96 per day, and lion populations plummet. You can sign this petition against encouraging trophy hunting and poaching African wildlife here.

Help push Congress to ban assault weapons by signing this petition.

Petition for gun control here.

March for Our Lives in solidarity with the Parkland Students Washington March, Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m., Wisconsin State Capitol, corner of State Street and Mifflin.

This column was originally published in the Madison Cap Times on March 11, 2018.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Unloading the DNR-NRA

“The first thing to remember about gun violence is that it is A BUSINESS.” ~ Harvey Wasserman, social justice activist

Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was trained to shoot in a school marksmanship program funded with a 2016 $10,000 donation by the NRA. According to a ThinkProgress article by Judd Legum, in 2015 the NRA Foundation gave $2.2 million in similar grants promoting gun usage to school children around the country, including elementary and middle schools.

Every time there is a mass shooting, the NRA profits as membership goes up and as gun addicts buy more semi-automatics and guns they fear may be banned, thereby bolstering gun industry profits. Killing children is profitable to the weapons industry.

Killing wildlife profits both the weapons industry and state departments of natural resources. Gun and ammunition taxes are collected federally and dispersed to state resources agencies on the basis of how many hunting licenses are sold. That money is then cycled back to recruitment and training of more hunters and trappers to destroy more wildlife and bolster the military-industrial complex with military recruits. They all work together.

Senate Bill S.1613 — 115th Congress (2017-2018) presented as “Pittman-Robertson Modernization,” prioritizes significant funding to recruitment and training of more hunters: “Amounts apportioned to the states from any taxes on pistols, revolvers, bows, and arrows may be used for hunter recruitment and recreational shooter recruitment.”

State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, has the same NRA agenda: promoting killing of our wildlife to children of any age. It is all about indoctrinating children from cradle to grave for “shooting sports” and protecting the NRA, the Second Amendment (as interpreted by the NRA) and teaching young activists to support gun “rights.”

Innocent wildlife, children, and society pay the price.

Harvey Wasserman, on OpEdNews.com, wrote “It’s Time to Deal with Trumputin’s Second Amendment Idiocy.” He explained:

“Here’s what the Second Amendment actually says: ‘A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’”

Wasserman continues: “No other of the first Ten Amendments has an explanatory introduction. The right to keep and bear arms is assumed as a basic right, but ONLY in light of service to the security of a free state, and under the auspices of a well-regulated militia.

“In other words: NOBODY HAS A LEGAL RIGHT TO OWN A GUN IN THIS COUNTRY UNLESS THEY CAN SHOW THAT THEIR OWNERSHIP OF SUCH A WEAPON SERVES THE SECURITY OF OUR FREE STATE, and SUCH OWNERSHIP MUST BE INTEGRATED INTO A WELL-REGULATED OFFICIAL ORGANIZATION.”

The corruption runs deep in the pockets of legislators, especially Republicans. Key among them is Paul Ryan, who received $346,497 from gun rights groups.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reports that the second-highest ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Ronald Turk, collaborated with an NRA lobbyist calling for weaker gun laws and reduced ATF oversight of gun dealers to promote guns everywhere, with complicity of the Trump administration.

According to the NRATV Hunting website: “The NRA Hunting initiative is designed to defend hunting and confront the vile animal rights movement head-on.” NRATV’s “Under Wild Skies,” picturing an endangered large bull elephant, hosts six seasons of 67 episodes which “for two decades … has showcased the finest big-game hunting in the world from Alaska to Zimbabwe.” The president of Safari Club International, a worldwide trophy hunting organization, was just nominated to run for the board of the NRA.

Sixty percent of large mammals are threatened with extinction right now, with little pushback to save them. Carnivores are demonized and massively killed as trash or trophy.

There are various solutions to gun violence that work. One is the model set by Australians after the mass shooting of 35 people in 1996. Within months, rapid-fire long guns (semi-automatics) were banned and a year later a mandatory buy-back of those guns, at market prices, was enforced. In 2003 a handgun buyback was introduced. There have been no mass shootings (defined as five or more at one time) in Australia since those laws were enacted with support by all major parties. The results were surprising. According to The Guardian, “Mass shootings have not only stopped, but there has also been an accelerating reduction in rates of firearm-related homicide and suicides, a landmark study has found.”

The study’s author, professor Simon Chapman, commented, “The U.S. is a good example of where evidence is going to take longer to prevail over fear and ideology.”

Another Madravenspeak column has more on the Second Amendment.

Wasserman writes: “The Second Amendment is now being deliberately misinterpreted by a predatory industry, a corrupt corporate elite, and an uncaring, would-be dictator. They are protecting the bottom line of a for-profit industry with not a shred of conscience or concern for the security of a free state or the law.”

Actions:

Find seven actions you can take to prevent gun violence at Everytown for Gun Safety.

Call your legislators (use your zip code): (202) 225-2131, to support a ban on semi-automatics and bump stocks, support background checks, and for legislators to stop taking money from the NRA.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on February 25, 2018.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 23, 2018 in Uncategorized