In about 1975 I ran across a button put out by a wildlife group. It showed a bear with a bandoleer and an AK-74 held out in his paw in mockery of some of the then recent right wing posters put out by the NRA. When I was a child, about the time Alaska became a state, I was a member. The NRA posters said, Support Your Right to Bear Arms, which made sense to me at the time. I'm still fond of guns, by the way, I simply don't think there's a really good way to make sure folks use them safelyóbut that's a side issue.
I loved the poster with the bear holding the AK-74 because that caption read, Support Your Right To Arm Bears. I thought that was funny. I didn't actually think it would reduce hunting, mind you; my experience is that humans seem to get hysterical, form packs and try to hunt down and kill anything that they see as dangerous. Sharks are a primary example. Every now and again a shark kills somebody and everybody within 200 miles things it's open season on sharks. Meantime we kill large numbers of them every year for sport and soup and everybody thinks that's fine. Well, not everybody.
To see the situation turned around on a button was a classic "man bites dog" turnaround, which is where a lot of humor comes from. I think I still have that button someplace, here in my L.A. digs. It's still cute, and still sort of funny, at least to me. Man bites dog is still news and still a bit unusual.
As for Alaska, I know very little about it. I do care about it. I know there are a lot of folks up there with an independent frame of mind. I happen to enjoy that in people. Last I heard women were substantially outnumbered by men, but that may have changed recently. I did know there were a lot of public lands, but didn't know that it amounted to 97%. I know that Alaska is not unique in having to deal with indigenous peoples and their customs. As far as I know Alaska has to deal with the rights of native folks to kill and eat the occasional whale because that is allowed by treaty, and that there has been some discussion about this, lively on occasion. So far as I know, however, there hasn't been any solid discussion of ceding land back to native peoples as there has been in Canada, nor has there been any talk about the right or, if fact, the obligation of indigenous peoples in Alaska to carry traditional weapons at all times, as there has been in South Africa with the Zulus.
Frankly, I think that these things are actually not to the point.
We are not out slaying the wildlife. We are concerned about the future of Alaska, maintaining the cultures of the indigenous people, and being responsible caretakers for the children to come and those who hope to come here some day.
But Alison, while I suppose one can try to make nice with other vocabulary, you are hunting animals. Of course many of you may, at the end of a long stalk, pull out a camera and take a pictureóthat's hunting too, isn't itóbut many of you do in fact "slay wildlife." You do it for food, among other things. I myself enjoy a nice steak every now and again, I'm not saying you're a terrible person for doing so. I don't have the heart to kill and animal that I'm going to eat, but I certainly have the heart to eat him. Or her. That makes me a hypocrite, and uncomfortable with the fact.
It is in fact one of my many personal flaws as a human being.
At no point did I suggest that you are not "concerned about the future of Alaska, maintaining the cultures of the indigenous people, and being responsible caretakers for the children to come and those who hope to come here some day." Not only did I not say such things, I don't happen to agree with them.
I did make a joke about bears. Facing enemies that shoot back tends to make everybody more respectful. This is in fact the linchpin of the NRA argument for allowing everybody to have a handgun. The joke extended to The CIA, The FBI, the level of paranoia in the country in general today, and the thought of animals being terrorists with machine guns. All in all the level of absurdity was in my estimation pretty high. The fact that I suggested that the place this absurd phony plot might happen would be in Alaska piles an absurdity on top of the already absurd premise.
Exactly how you might construe this as a remark disparaging Alaska remains to be seen. Unless you do not see this as a remark disparaging Alaska and simply seek to say something uncomfortable to me while to take a general broad swipe at other people as well, such as Moonbeam, and JM. When you tend to us the all-inclusive "people" without specifying, such conclusions are not only possible, but likely.
Please tell me how I belittled "others." Please tell me who "they" are. If you are, as I suspect, speaking of yourself, I need to know exactly what I said that belittled you, because there is nothing in my text that I can see that does so, nor was there anything there intended to do so. If there is something that I said that hurt you, such blindness on my part is inexcusable and was not intended. But, unless I know, it is impossible to put the force of feeling behind such an apology and clearly you deserve better.
Yours, Bob Kaven
Sorry, I wrote this before I saw that you'd decided not to respond to this thread any more. Of course you shouldn't feel obligated to respond. Yours, Bob Kaven