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"Think what a great world revolution will take place when there are millions of guys all over the world with rucksacks on their backs tramping around the back country…."- Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Credit Card bill helps return the wild west to national parks

>> Saturday, May 23, 2009

According to NPR, Obama might be putting credit card companies in line but in the process hikers will now have to contend with gun slinging cowboys at national parks and wildlife refuges. I know, you might think, why didn't we think of this before? There are so many endangered species and hikers to mistake as wild game. Not to mention the high threat of crazies in the woods just hiding out waiting to get you around the trunk of every tree and the green of every bush. So, thankfully, now you can relax knowing you can carry your gun to fend them off. Those lawmakers sure are geniuses.

We must abide by the second amendment, right NRA? If some god-fearing (and nature-fearing and hiker-fearing and fellow American-fearing) law abiding citizen with a gun license wants to feel safe and secure in such an unsafe environment like the inner-city of Washington, DC or maybe the more evil and inhospitable areas of our nation such as Great Smoky Mountains or Arches National Park, he can just make sure he's packin' heat in the heart of the woods to feel safe. It makes me think of the book, Beowulf, where all the citizens of the town are assailed by this disgusting creature that comes out of the wilds of the forest with only the purpose of killing them all. Unfortunately, whether or not Mr. Obama only intended to spank credit card companies with this bill Mr. Obama has inadvertently joined forces with his new NRA buddies and lobbyists who still have the fear-filled medieval mindset of nature vs. man.

According to the NPR article, "FBI statistics show that America's national parks are far safer than the rest of the country. For 2006 overall, there were 469 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the U.S. The violent crime rate in national parks was 1.65 per 100,000." Which doesn't suprise me one bit considering the rest of the country is sleeping with their guns under their pillows, trigger happy with their terrorist talk and the fear of their neighbors and alleys and schools and foreigners and sleeping in the dark.

And apparently, the original law stated that people could have guns in these places previously but they had to be disassembled (which still allowed the gun-nuts who practice the art of a speedy lock and load to be comforted), but now with the new president's 'okay', gun regulations will allow the owner to have their gun loaded and ready to go as long as it is within the gun guidelines of the state. But of course, if a gun owner brings a gun to a park, it is still illegal to discharge it there.

It's already nerve racking to be dayhiking in a state park right next to a hunting area, with warnings of the required bright orange for hikers in the winter, hearing the silence piercing bullets searching out wildlife, but now I have to be nervous that I will be shot everywhere I go. I recall being at Lackawanna State Park this winter (I have no idea which hunting season it was), but eventhough there is no hunting on Sunday "except for small game," there were people out there scaring off deer and shooting guns nearby the park. I don't own bright orange clothes (not realizing until that moment that I should) and I seriously feared for my life when I heard a shot and saw four deer no more than 100 feet from me take off in a full bolt across the trail and into the woods.

I never realized until some recent research that PA state game lands are so close to hiking trails. So, my concern is truly for the hikers. There aren't invisible walls that stop a game land bullet from hitting a hiker on a nearby trail and now gun owners can take their guns to parks loaded. There aren't that many rapid angry animals to take down, but there are families and solo trekkers enjoying trails nearby.

In fact, as NPR quotes Bill Wade (former superintendent of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia) in reminding us that these cowboys aren't only going to have guns in wilderness areas, but in camping areas. I can see it now, a bunch of redneck Americans getting drunk on budwiser and offing each other over a hotdog falling into the red hot cinders. Now that's a thought, maybe they should legally allow alcohol in national parks too. Maybe they should just give hunting permissions in national parks while they are at it. Or maybe, the lawmakers should just kiss the NRA's ass on Memorial Day and just pass a law that lets gun owners shoot people. What ever happened to getting rid of earmarks and lobbyists, Mr. President?

Mr. Obama, I understand that putting credit card companies in their place is extremely important. Most Americans can agree that those companies are theiving bastards. And after reading an article in Backpacker Magazine this month about a kid that tested our weak northern border, sure maybe I'll give you the excuse that maybe you think we need secure borders, but allowing obsessive gun nazis to carry them armed, cocked, and ready to go isn't fair to the people who come to the woods to enjoy its comforts.


Okay, to be fair I must admit I have to see things ON THE FLIPSIDE:


I am not against guns. I believe that everyone has the right (constitutionally given) to have them in case we need to rise up against our corrupted government, to defend our families, or to hunt for our meals. And it is definitely better to have people become knowledgeable and know how to properly use them responsibly (like hunters) to be able to carry them instead of some nut job with a squirrly brain being able to purchase and tote one around while bent on pumping rounds into co-workers.


Furthermore, I believe there is a proper time and place for them. Guns make me squeamish in a situation where I am out to enjoy the sounds of nature and instead hear those sounds interrupted by death shots coming from a nearby state gameland. I myself have gone to ranges and shot guns on friend's backwoods land, but overall, I'm not comfortable around guns. I'd just prefer flying bullets to be separate from my hiking experience.


But as far as this rider bill is concerned, who can say for sure that gun owners haven't been carrying them fully loaded in parks this the entire time anyway, and now they are just legally allowed to have them in parks. This might even benefit parks because they may give park rangers more work by allowing them more reasons to watch their lands better.

What is your opinion on the matter? Drop me a comment below.

2 comments:

Erin L. Delaney May 23, 2009 at 9:12 PM  

HERE ARE TWO COMMENTS I RECEIVED ON THIS ARTICLE FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE. THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE.

LAURA SAID:

Hmmmm. Well, I do have to say that the gun toting crazies don't really care so much what the law is, so I am not afraid of an increase in gun toting crazies at parks.

I do worry about careless gun owners, and I'd worry more about accidental shootings than anything. Smart hikers know not to dress in cammo colors and smart hunters know that hunting to close to the trail is unwise because of the noise hikers make. The one thing you can't govern and legislate is common sense, however, and whenever the subject is guns, common sense is the only thing the is needed to keep people safe.

Having been hiking in Alaska, I'll tell you this...I'd have been more comfortable with a gun. The stories and pictures of bear attacks were gruesome.
(Aaaaaand some of those backwoods men had the sparkle of rape in their eye! ;) Nah just kidding...mostly.)
I think ultimately people should not fear guns or gun owners, they should fear the stupid, and the angry. Stupid and angry does not mix well with guns.....or just about anything else.

SARAH SAID:

May 23 at 5:20pm
Reply

It does seem slightly ridiculous, at first glance, to want to carry a gun through a national park... or any serene hike period. But my main concern with this has to be safety from ANIMALS, not fellow hikers. I personally am terrified of guns and would not feel comfortable carrying one, but when I hear about hikers getting mauled by mountain lions and bears with nothing to fend them off except their bare hands, I begin to wonder if maybe there are a few cases where carrying a gun in the wild could be beneficial.

My other remark is also in agreement with Laura above. Unfortunately, the people who make guns dangerous are going to disobey the laws anyway. I think tightening up the laws tend to hurt individuals who actually abide by them. It's the loonies that are going to carry whether they're allowed to or not, and shoot other people regardless of the fact that its illegal. Sadly, statistics show that most home invasions done with armed assailants showed the guns used were obtained illegally.

Just my two cents :)

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