Who says politicians can’t move swiftly and decisively to block an imminent threat to public decency?
Consider the courageous work of most of our state legislatures and, potentially, the Congress of the United States, to put an end to the shameful scourge of internet hunting.
Since 2005, 33 states have outlawed the cruel, unsportsmanlike practice, and when the governor signs an Illinois bill that’s already passed both houses that will make 34 states that have taken action to put an end to the slaughter. As the Humane Society of the United States declared in a mailing that went out in 2006 to 50,000 households: “Such horrific cruelty must stop and stop now!”
As recently as last week, sportswriter and novelist Frank Deford delivered a scathing commentary on NPR decrying the hordes of knuckle-dragging internet hunters and comparing their viciousness to the alleged dog-fighting abuses of football star Michael Vick. Even the United States House of Representatives has taken up the cause, with one of the senior Republicans in Congress, the usually level-headed Tom Davis of Virginia, introducing HR 2711, The Computer Assisted Remote Hunting Act. “You just wonder,” he declared, “who would do something like this?”
The answer is no one, actually.
Despite the nationwide hysteria (deliberately fanned by the Humane Society and other animal welfare groups) there’s no evidence anywhere, that anyone has blown away herds of unsuspecting wildlife through an internet connection.
According to a revealing expose by Zachary M. Seward in the Wall Street Journal, the concerns about internet hunting began with one John Lockwood, an insurance estimator for an auto-body shop in San Antonio. In November of 2004, he launched “live-shot.com,” a website designed to provide disabled citizens with the excitement of hunting. For a monthly fee and $150 an hour, they could peer through a webcam and aim a .30 caliber rifle at various animals on a hunting farm in Central Texas, pulling the trigger by clicking the mouse. The resulting game could be frozen and shipped (at additional expense) to the internet hunter. Immediate public outcry forced the quick abandonment of these plans: at the time he withdrew his service only one individual – a friend of Lockwood’s – had tested the service, succeeding in killing a single wild hog.
The quick withdrawal of the “live-shot” idea didn’t stop the Humane Society from declaring internet hunting a “sickening reality” and beginning its nationwide drive for legislative bans (and, not coincidentally, contributions from alarmed citizens). Michael Markarian, who led the crusade against the non-existent practice, noted the overwhelming opposition to shooting game farm animals through the internet. He called the Humane Society’s wildly successful campaign “one of the fastest paces of reform for any animal issue that we can remember seeing.” Tallying all the legislative votes on the internet-hunting “controversy”, 3,528 legislators solemnly cast their lot to ban the abominable practice, while only 38 cantankerous souls came out in opposition: a comfortable margin of more than 90 to one.
While the Humane Society trumpeted its spectacular “success” in this important effort, the National Rifle Association maintained a more balanced perspective in explaining its proud support for the internet hunting bans. “We were happy to do it,” said Rod Harder, NRA lobbyist in Oregon. “It’s pretty easy to outlaw something that doesn’t exist.” With that model in mind, all legislators and governors, all Senators and Congressmen on the federal level, should vote quickly to support current efforts to ban or block the dreaded “North American Union” which allegedly threatens to merge the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
Since no office-holder of any political persuasion has ever advocated this “pre-meditated merger,” politicians should be able to dispense with this dire non-threat just about as easily as they fended off the menace of internet hunting. Of course, our elected representatives may look a bit silly wasting their legislative energy trying to counteract a plan that no one supports, but no sillier, certainly, than the pompous and paranoid media demagogues (Lou Dobbs most prominent among them) who decry this vast conspiracy every day.
On August 5, for example, WorldNutDaily, the once-reputable website that now positions itself as the last line of defense against all-powerful plots against our sovereignty, even managed to connect fears of a North American Union to the tragic bridge disaster in Minneapolis. “NAFTA Superhighway Traffic Tied to Bridge Collapse,” proclaimed the headline---without informing readers that the dreaded Superhighway doesn’t exist in Minnesota, or anywhere else beyond the feverish fantasies of conspiracists.
In the face of such heavy-breathing scare stories, legislators in several dozen states and even some members of Congress (including the benighted Virgil Goode of Virginia) have already introduced resolutions to derail the North American Union before it’s too late--- just as some of the same valiant defenders of sanity and decency fought off the horrible menace of internet hunting.
Actually, I support such resolutions, as should even the most skeptical critics of the alarmist, NAU frenzy-- as should, for that matter, the President of the United States. We all back American sovereignty, don’t we? Anyone honestly desire to replace the greenback dollars with a sketchy (and presumably tan-colored) invention known (to paranoid loon-dogs) as “the Amero”? When legislatures and Congress vote unanimously, or by margins exceeding 100 to 1, against melding the USA with our Mexican and Canadian neighbors, then perhaps some of our terrified fellow citizens will be able to sleep soundly again – and focus on the nation’s persistent problems and present threats.
Democrats, for instance, want to socialize medicine, raise taxes, weaken our military, restructure the family, and create vast new cradle-to-grave entitlements. Conservatives and patriots ought to concentrate on defeating these open and ongoing efforts rather than shadow-boxing against phantoms like the North American Union and the Monster Superhighway.
Like the Humane Society with its shameless exploitation of the non-issue of internet-hunting, the demagogues will no doubt claim victory for their tireless grandstanding when, after several years, their apocalyptic warnings about North American Union and vast NAFTA roadways fail to materialize. Like the franticly barking dog who manages to chase away the postman every single day (after that letter carrier suspiciously drops something in the mail slot but before he manages to break into the house), the sovereignty saviors may well feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when no unrecognizable, blended nation emerges from the ashes of the USA. As the NRA spokesman said about the web-cam/big game scam, “it’s pretty easy to outlaw something that doesn’t exist.”
Then, after celebrating this heroic triumph, perhaps our agitated activists can let go of their nightmares about internet hunters and NAU plotters and refocus their efforts (and ours) on real problems, real perils, and the real world.