Recent comments

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago


    You said ….
    There is simply no legitimate or substantive reason for a thoughtful sportsman or gun owner to carry a loaded gun in a national park unless that park permits hunting. The requirement that guns in parks are unloaded and put away is a reasonable and limited restriction to facilitate legitimate purposes—the protection of precious park resources and safety of visitors.

    Thanks to your “unbiased reporting” many of us now have another reason to want to protect ourselves. For those interested the proposed law you are upset about says….

    “The secretary of the interior shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm in any unit of the national parks system if

    (1)The individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm: and

    (2)The possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge is located.”

    If you are so afraid of licensced law abiding citizens carrying firearms how can you feel safe allowing the police to have guns? Aren’t they citizens too? How about the rangers?

    Sadly the tragedy the happened at MIU will be probably be repeated again. We all know this. This is why some of us want to keep the right to protect ourselves. It is why you fantasize a world where everyone is disarmed and harmless. You can wait for Angela Lansbury to figure out who did what to you, god forbid, if you like. It is still a free country. Let's keep it that way.


  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I want to take a shot at answering the last couple of comments, particularly eric's, since he raises some very important ethical questions.

    eric asked about the proper size of the buffalo herd, and he asked whether it was better for a buffalo to be killed by wolves than by man.

    I do not think it is up to us to determine how big of a herd that we want, and the key to my answer to your question is that we have to rid ourselves of the belief that we are here to "manage" wildlife. The idea that the role of human society is to manage resources is I think a mistaken one. I don't think we have the knowledge to know how to do this while at the same time grasping all the consequences of our actions. The "management" ethics is based on an atomistic understanding of the world. It doesn't matter whether the atom is managing a particular animal, a particular disease, or even a particular ecosystem, the attempt to make moral decisions regarding what to do about buffalo and other animals is not a closed system. It is not possible to know the variables. So, we cannot really answer how many buffalo absolutely we would want, and we shouldn't even try. The question shouldn't be how many bison should there be but rather why we think we are right to control the number of bison within a certain number. And, more than control that number, why we think we are right to control the movements of these animals.

    In Yellowstone, from what I have read from range scientists, Yellowstone National Park historically supported a herd of about 1,000 bison. In the past, before the so called natural regulation theory took hold in the late 1960s, the National Park Service culled ungulate populations (notably elk populations) in order to maintain the quality of Yellowstone's Northern Range. As the bison population grows, there has been a tendency of bison to leave the national park boundaries. Now, the Park Service could try to regulate the numbers of buffalo so that they will be less likely to leave the park (by slaughtering buffalo), or they could let them wander out and try to reclaim a small piece of their historic range. No matter what, there are consequences in the choice that go well beyond humans' ability to manage the full scope of the situation. Yellowstone National Park is simply not an intact ecosystem (and an ecosystem is never a closed system, anyhow). The question for me again is by what reason does the National Park Service or any other entity justify stopping bison from reclaiming their range. By what right does it set up these boundaries and these numbers, which when push comes to shove, are arbitrary and based only on values placed on the range science.

    So, however you count the proper numbers, there is no rationale that justifies the killing of buffalo. Of course, you might challenge my premises, and we can continue that conversation (and probably should to move this conversation forward).

    Secondly, you asked about whether it's better for a buffalo to be killed by a human or by a wolf. Obviously, it makes no difference to the buffalo as far as any of us know. I don't know how we could ask each one to find out. Seriously, though, the question in terms of human action isn't whether one kind of dying is better than another, but whether one type of killing makes more sense than another. Why is it that we kill buffalo? Is that rationale coherent? We don't kill buffalo in order to survive, we don't kill them because we find ourselves with little choice, we do so in order to protect a certain social order that we've set up. We are protecting certain value judgments about that social order. Does that social order, whether we are talking about the livestock industry or whether we are talking about the Department of Livestock or about the National Park Service make any sense at all? In other places, I have argued that it does not. The burden, though, is still to show why the rationale for government-sponsored killing of buffalo is justified. We are talking about our actions here, and to the extent that our actions don't make sense, it is evident that we are harming ourselves (that's an argument one can find in Plato). And, in harming ourselves, we are also prematurely hurting buffalo, and we are not living up to our potential.

    That's how I would answer eric.

    And, that really also suggests how I would begin to answer the Anonymous comment that follows it. In Anonymous's piece, there is a criticism of Buffalo Field Campaign for going after the National Park Service instead of the beef industry. While that's not even true - Buffalo Field Campaign in fact has called for a boycott of beef - on the face of it, the criticism is merely one of strategy and not principle. However, looking deeper, the person here suggests that the livestock industry is the only real enemy of the buffalo and that the Park Service is merely a victim of circumstances. That's ludicrous. As the people actually carrying out and participating in the process of policy making, the National Park Service has absolutely no mandate to kill buffalo, and the people who wear the uniforms of the Park Service - as individuals - have even less so. If the real target is the livestock industry, then one way you go about pressuring a change is to pressure those who are in partnership with that industry to make that partnership less palatable. The National Park Service has always been seen as something of a bad partner in brucellosis management; they are therefore the lowest hanging fruit in the corrupt partnership to go after. And, it's all the more outrageous when they find themselves in league with these people. In fact, it's groups like the National Park Service which are giving the policy teeth whenever they kill a buffalo. One wouldn't expect USDA or the livestock industry to change their stance after so many decades of zealous efforts to rid brucellosis from cattle. They would be the hardest group to move; they can only be moved by pressure. However, the National Park Service has a mandate to protect wildlife.

    And, on that note, though what I say may not be popular, eating beef is also enabling the slaughter of buffalo. While I doubt any boycott of beef will work (unless there are a lot more episodes like we have seen in the news over the past couple of days), it does make it easier for the livestock industry to press their case so long as their coffers are being fed by those who eat beef (at least beef from those tied to the industry). But, I think many of our agricultural practices have been tied to the same sense of entitlement that people take for granted (just as they take for granted the notion that everything on earth is here for humans to "manage.") As Gandhi said, the cow is also sacred. By that, I mean that the animals stuck in our agricultural system are just as much victims as are the wildlife in Yellowstone. It's very hard to call for free-ranging bison without at the same time recognizing the fundamental problem within the industry. That doesn't mean that we should be quick to throw farmers out on their ass; in fact, if anything I said should be clear, we shouldn't be trying to figure everything out. We cannot possibly do that. What we can do is in a situation that presents itself to us, recognize when there is no justification for our actions. And, there is no justification for the National Park Service slaughter of buffalo.

    Strategically, there may be a reason to direct more action against the livestock industry. Certainly, the connections are necessary. The National Park Service, however, is culpable. That they are stuck in a bureaucracy does not make it less so; it does suggest that there are fundamental problems with the systems of "management" with public lands. The only way I know to take that on is in the local context; for me, free roaming buffalo is part of that context.

    There's so much more to say; this has opened a pandora's box. But, eric is essentially right about one thing, as I interpret the context of his questions. There are radical implications in criticizing the slaughter of buffalo. At a basic level, most people recognize the contradiction in what the NPS is doing in killing animals they are supposed to be protecting. But, when we see the full context of the contradiction, what it calls for is something much more than simply stopping the slaughter. Are we willing to embrace where reason leads us? Are we ready to roam?

    In any event, stopping the slaughter would be a nice start.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 36 weeks ago

    This is typically what is happening in all parks. Outsourcing and finding other agencies and volunteers to do the jobs employees used to do. Look at Corp of Engineer parks at lakes to see how well it has turned out. This could soon happen in our National Park areas also.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 36 weeks ago

    As someone who has visited Dinosaur numerous times to see the granduer of what was the wall of bones I was deeply saddened to find the building closed that housed this magnificent display. Now the Superintendent is letting the only 2 people who maintained the wall go? How can that be outsourced to the state of Utah and to University students? Why not the research paleontologist? What do you need interpreters for? To show which trail to walk, and what plant is there? That's not why I went to Dinosaur National Monument and paid $10 to get in. This shows the bias in the management of Dinosaur National Monument, that the reason the Monument was created is being deemed unnecessary. The Superintendent and management should be ashamed of their actions.

  • Bear Grass in Glacier National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I've seen comparable amounts of bear grass flowering in Glacier NP at one point in the last 12 years. Bear grass takes year to flower and so an area may have few flowers for several years and then a mass flowering in one year.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Favors Law Enforcement, Maintenance, Interpretation Over Paleontology   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I agree with Kurt's reading of the situation at Dinosaur. I have worked with the paleo staff as a volunteer for many years. This program actually moved out of the Carnegie Quarry significantly in 1985. The discoveries, excavations, assistance to researchers, cooperation with other agencies and assistance to other NPS units is impressive. This program has been active, creative and highly respected. The pressure on the program began suddenly in 2002 when then Superintendent Chas Cartwright announced the Position Management Plan eliminating the three Paleontology positions while adding a mechanic and his own secretary among other changes. After public opposition that plan fell into limbo. When management was asked what what they should do the employees were told to bring in people and money. Here is what they have done since 2002.

    Found external funding sources for 7 Geologist in the Parks (GIP) interns.
    Hired 4 seasonal employes through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) program.
    Recruited numerous volunteers that have contributed 10,733 hours of work.
    Brought on one international preparation intern, for 5 months, with funding from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
    Brought in outside professionals to do work at Dinosaur National Monument.  These were two individuals from the Utah Geologic Survey and one from the Iowa Geological Survey.  (Attempts to bring in two other researchers were blocked by management)

    Arranged for State Radiological experts to evaluate radiation and radon issues with specimen storage.
    Received a $7,000 grant from the Colorado Plateau - Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit for dating the Cedar Mountain Formation using pollen.  
    Obtained hundreds of dollars worth of equipment from outside organizations and private individuals.
    Obtained thousands of dollars worth of in-kind work from the Utah Geological Survey and Iowa Geological Survey.
    Actively participated in the design of the proposed Curatorial Facility.

    Secured over $900,000 in Park Service funds for the all collections of Dinosaur NM. not just Paleo.  Some of the funds are for future needs of the proposed Curatorial Facility.

    Actively participated in the design of the proposed Curatorial Facility.
    Utilized contract help to work on the curation backlog.

    If Dinosaur NM. is looking for someone to attract funding, researchers, partnerships, contracts, volunteers and interns to meet the needs of changing program projects, these people have demonstrated their knowledge, skills and abilities to do that.  What Dinosaur should do is get out of the way and let them continue an excellent program.

  • ‘Study Group’ Meets to Determine fate of Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Hmmm, let's see. The Park Service decides through the NEPA process that it's not in its best interest to keep Sylvan Pass open for a relatively few snowmobilers coming in from Cody. They're ready to state that in their preferred winter use alternative, but then Cody and Wyoming officials raise a ruckus over that decision.

    Mike Snyder, the Park Service's regional director, rides to Cody's rescue and sees that the preferred alternative backs away from closing the pass and agrees to hold meetings to see how best that can be accomplished. These are not public comment meetings, but simply meetings between Park Service officials (from both Yellowstone and the Regional Office in Denver) and those from Wyoming and Cody to discuss this matter.

    Why did they feel it necessary to close these discussions to the public? It doesn't matter that parts of the meetings were open; What does matter is what was discussed, and possibly decided, in those closed sessions.

    As for Business 101, that course already was taken during the NEPA process, when it was decided it wasn't good business for the Park Service to keep Sylvan Pass open in the winter.

  • ‘Study Group’ Meets to Determine fate of Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Ok maybe I'm missing the point here, but didn't you say "portions of the meetings" would be closed to the public? I understand that to mean there were "portions of the meetings" that were also open to the public. I don't think you've really identified what exactly is wrong in this circumstance. I think the bigger issue here is why would the park service spend so much money (that it doesn't really have) to clear a pass that very few users access. That flies in the face of basic business sense. Forget that our rights have been infringed upon here, who in their right mind would protest that the park service and a few representatives from Cody "met behind closed doors" to figure out a way to stop LOSING money so that it could be used somewhere else within the park for better use??? Conspirators unite! Perhaps they made this move because the only participants in this meeting would be from Cody WY??? Since they already know the residents of Cody Wy don't want the pass to close, the park service thought it a bit redundant and counter productive to listen to the same arguments again? Or perhaps they didn't hold more public meetings somewhere else because its a local issue that few people would really understand outside the area? I am a tax payer and a more than frequent visitor to the park, and I am not shocked or enraged that the park service didn't want to hear my opinion on the matter. I'm just elated that they're looking for ways to better use their funds for more important matters in the park, instead of dumping millions into an effort to cater to a handful of people who want access from that area. C'mon people, the park service is not playing god here, nor do politics have anything to do with this issue. This is basic business 101.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    A few of you have mentioned the real issue here. The Montana beef industry spends millions of dollars lobbying their industry as they should. However they have made themselves so powerful that they can influence what a federal organization (the Yellowstone NPS) does or doesn't do with their management practices. The park service is understandably in a predicament as they have to juggle the demands of the neighboring ranchers, public visitors, and overall management within the park. The sole reason for this issue lies with the ranchers/beef industry. Why else would the park service actively "harvest/slaughter" one species within the park when the mission for the entire park is to leave it wild and let nature do as it does? (Ok so they revised that plan slightly for wild fire management.) The pressure put on the park service from the beef industry is too great. I agree that organizations like the Buffalo Field Campaign need to bring these issues to the attention of Joe Public, however they have focused their energy on the wrong group of people. They need to set up camp in the parking lots of the beef industry, and walk the halls of Washington DC and rub shoulders with Joe Beef. That is where they will have the most influence. Leave the park service alone, they are not the enemy here. Everyone loves to hate the government. We need voices to attack the real problem here, the almighty all powerful beef industry. Oh and by the way I love my steak just like the next guy or gal, so my issues don't involve killing cattle or bison. My issues deal with an industry who thinks they can get what they want (be it bison control or wolf control) by throwing money and irrational theory at the problem and not science and cooperation.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    My question is, How big of a herd do we want? 4500, 45,000, 45,000,000? If you think we kill alot of buffalo now, wait till we are managing a herd of 1,000,000 or so. Also, I want to know why it is better for a buffalo to be killed by wolves than to be killed by man?

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    According to any press release you read when a bison is sent to be killed, they ship it "to slaughter." You can find that language in the government's own words on the press release I linked to in the article. They prefer to use the sanitized phrase "Management Operations" to describe what they are doing.

    "Harvest" is a loaded term as well, that suggests that what the Park Service is doing is something akin to raising crops. That's not what's going on. Rather, like domestic livestock, they are rounding them up and shipping them to slaughter. That there is a double meaning to the "word" slaughter is not accidental, but in a winter where 5% of the supposedly wild buffalo have been killed in a single week, I'm not sure there's an objectively better word for it. It's both the accurate description of what happens and a truthful description of the amount of death in a week. The word needs to capture the scope as well as the actual "what" (just as when someone wins an election by a large amount, it is called a "landslide.") In this case, the use of the word "slaughter" is actually far more justified since it is not only true metaphorically, it is literally what they are doing to the bison.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I have a big problem with the use of the word "slaughter". You have already made your point. To use brucellosis as a reason to harvest American bison is absolutly ludicrous. Don't think I'd like to vacinate one though! Sure did lots of cows.

  • Fall Into Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Kills California Woman   6 years 36 weeks ago

    The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone seems to be amazing but I heard the park is not considered to be a good destination for mountaineering because of the instability of volcanic rock.

  • Bear Grass in Glacier National Park   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Is it possible that Bear Grass still grows in the park with the same abundance as shown in the 1920's photograph??

    One(ME) has desirable wish that it still does!

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    I want to let you all know that in addition to this article, I've also posted an introspective essay that looks not so much at the rally but rather the context of my meeting Buffalo Field Campaign again after so many years. I attended a rally in Washington, DC, in April 2002 (and actually again in 2003, but it was raining so hard, and I barely felt as though I was there). From April 2002 on, the world and my life became very different. It was both the most joyous time of my life and the most tumultuous, filled with the most failure.

    Between the place where those meet, I kept thinking about the buffalo and the paradox of the joy and the failure there. Where I tried to keep to the facts in the article above, this is a much richer, more defiant essay that shows where I am coming from and what has brought me to the place where the article above resides.

    Please read: Meeting up with Buffalo Field Campaign in Yellowstone: The paradox of joy and failure

    And, if anyone is interested in discussing activism against the hazing and slaughter of buffalo, this is a great thread to do so. More than complaining about NPS or discussing the ideological divide (for instance, I do not believe for a minute that the slaughter of buffalo has anything at all to do with brucellosis), I'm more interested in the kinds of things that will actually give buffalo room to roam.


    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • National Park Visitation Debate -- Here We Go Again   6 years 36 weeks ago


    That is one problem they could have. There's also issues like a declining middle class, changing family structures, etc...

    I don't know about any specific reports on adapting park management to the changing US population off the top of my head but I'm writing a dissertation that deals with the question of an aging population's effects on visitor experiences.


  • Memo to Mary: Call Julie Elmore   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Don't put down this study just because you have not read it. It is articulate and right on point.

    The Washington insiders asked her to come to a meeting, on a specific day, and at a specific time, She appeared, and they were gone. Maybe they were afraid their names were in it?

    Her study questions were very well received by current and former park employees, and don't sneeze at an education from Duke University, and a Master's thesis outlining some very important issues for the continuation of our environment.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Kurt, sorry for butchering your name. Just to set the record straight as a CCP holder of the state of UT and having taken a course in Springville, UT at Rangemasters. I can tell you that they expressly make aware the gun laws and choice of private business owners to post their own gun rules. This has been enforced by all LDS church buildings and properties. This also includes the local movie theatre (i.e. Provo Towncenter Mall) for southern Provo, UT (Yes, they brought this specific incident up in our CCP class). You will be fined if you have a concealed weapon on "so-marked" private property. As a CCP holder I am even more careful than I would otherwise be to make sure I leave my gun in my car when entering such establishments.
    While attending the Circus (at the Delta Center) with my family a few years ago I was sent back to my car from the gate becuase they did no allow you to carry even if you had a CCP. I was griping about it with a deputy from the Sheriff's office while walking back to our cars. All he had to say was..."they better hope nothing happens to me or my family if they're goign to take the right to protect them away from me". The point remains that criminals will never obey silly laws. Hell criminals carry in parks now. This is just making sure that the government knows who the good guys are. All CCP holders are fingerprinted and given a background check. What else could you want?

  • Considering a Hike up Half Dome?   6 years 36 weeks ago

    The cables as they are now, look dangerous to me. It looks like an adult could slip under them if they lose the grip. If I were to go up there I would use my VIA FERRATA harness I bought in Italy a few years back when we went climbing in the Dolomites on the via ferratas (exposed climbs with cables to hold on). A via ferrata harness has 2 ropes with carabiners that clip and unclip easily. You are always clipped in with one of the 2 clips, and you undo it only when youhave clipped in the other one in the next cable section. The via ferrata harness also has a "breakeing" system that absorbs an enormous amount of shock in case of a fall.

    It seems to me that the cable route at the Half Dome just invites trouble!

    Use a harness, people, or don't go!

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Excerpt From:

    Montana will kill bison despite disease report
    Tests show that 82 percent of slaughtered buffalo not infected by brucellosis.
    By Rachel Odell, Jackson Hole News 12-23-99

    The Montana Department of Livestock will continue to kill bison that test positive for brucellosis antibodies despite evidence that the agency is killing scores of uninfected animals.
    Montana state veterinarian Arnold Gertonson said Monday that the Department of Livestock will continue to send bison that test positive to slaughter in an effort to eliminate the risk of brucellosis transmission to domestic livestock.

    Last week the National Veterinary Services Laboratory revealed results of tissue sampling of bison that had tested positive in the field and been sent to slaughter. The analysis showed that of 144 bison, 117 were not infected with brucellosis.

    That suggests that about 82 percent of the 1,189 bison killed in the past three years were not infected.

    Still the state will not alter its policy which calls for trapping bison that leave Yellowstone National Park, testing them for exposure to brucellosis and sending positive-testing ones to slaughter, Gertonson said. Montana operates under an interim bison management plan that will be in place until the National Park Service endorses a permanent plan. The Park Service is expected to release a final environmental impact statement on bison management this spring.

    Environmentalists and federal officials said the findings suggest the brucellosis field tests used on the bison are unreliable and encouraged the DOL to find alternatives to slaughter. Those tests search for brucellosis antibodies and cannot distinguish between a bison that is infected and one that has developed immunity, said Patrick Collins of the federal Animal Plant and Health Inspection Agency. To avoid killing uninfected bison, the DOL should focus more on flexible management that would keep the wild ungulates away from domestic ones, he said.

    "This raises some real concerns," Collins said. "It seems to suggest that the field test is maybe not the tool we should rely on completely. Not to say there is no risk, but it suggests we could be more flexible."

    Environmentalists were more adamant. The state agency has egregiously erred, at the expense of America's last free-roaming, wild buffalo herd, said Mike Clark, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. "This is sad news and it confirms ... that Montana's Department of Livestock is killing buffalo unnecessarily," he said. "If you consider that 1,189 Yellowstone buffalo have been killed in the past three winters, this science, coming from the best lab in the country, indicates that as many as 966 of those buffalo died without ever posing a risk to cattle."

    Gertonson defended Montana, saying that although 117 buffalo tissue samples tested negative, the animals could have still been infected. Collins from APHIS said the DOL was skirting the issue. "They are being a little disingenuous," he said. "It is clear that bison need to be managed and we are not suggesting we don't manage. But we can manage effectively without lethal control."
    APHIS has proposed to Montana governor Marc Racicot to aid the state in getting away from killing bison and has offered to pay expenses and to intercede if other states threaten to boycott Montana livestock, Collins said.

    "Unfortunately we cannot get Montana to cooperate in good faith," Collins said.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago


    I agree that emotion can play a part in any debate around matters of individual freedom, death, etc. That is why it is always best to avoid grappling with these issues in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. I guess the impulse to wag a finger in someone's face, rightly or wrongly, is just too much for some people.

    In survival school you are taught to make a plan first. If you follow this rule, once you become exhausted, hungry and emotional you will have a plan that was laid out when you were rested, calm and rational. I think this makes sense when it comes to legislation as well.

    Attempting to spin the actions of a mentally ill individual into an argument against sane, law abiding citizens being allowed the right to defend themselves just seems cynical and irrational to me.

    I will not get into whether the media is biased. I think that if you reflected on that question honestly, you would have to admit that it is. Here is a link to a book review at the Virginia Tech website. You might want to read it.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago


    I spent 14 years with The Associated Press. From my experience mainstream media does not have an agenda, hidden or otherwise, to minimize the facts.


    I find it odd that you would hand out a "cheap shot" award for reporting the news. And yes, the Interior Department's decision is news, just as the university shooting is. Would you also hand out a "cheap shot" award to the many pro-gun commenters who have seized on the killing not too long ago of a young woman in a national forest in the Southeast to buttress their arguments?

    Frankly, both your comments drive home the very point that I was trying to make with this post:

    This is an emotionally charged debate, one that there doesn't currently appear to be a logical solution to -- there are countless Americans who believe they should be allowed to carry a weapon wherever they go, and just as many who find that appalling.

    To find the national parks -- places of incredible beauty, poignant history, and even the cauldron of our country's birth -- the latest battleground for this issue shouldn't please anyone.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 36 weeks ago

    From what I have read the bacterium Brucella abortus came to Yellowstone NP around 1917 and now infects a significant fraction of the Yellowstone bison. For the bison it seems to produce little illness or disability. In fact the symptoms in cattle are pretty mild but does cause some infected cows to abort and therefore slow down their milk production. Of course for the low profit margin in raising beef, this is a concern. The brucellosis free designation of Montana cattle means they can ship them outside the state without the quarantine step (expensive.)
    Yes, it is theoretical that bison can transmit brucellosis in the wild. It has happened in captivity when cattle and bison were kept in close captivity, but a cow would have to be licking the afterbirth material from a bison within 48 hours of birth.
    Then what about Yellowstone's one hundred thousand elk, most of which also carry B. abortus? There have been documented cases from Wyoming and Idaho of elk transmitting B. abortus to cattle. Of course Montana receives lots of the almighty dollar from elk hunters.
    The Interagency Bison Management Plan allows up to one hundred B. abortus free bison to roam outside Yellowstone's western and northern boundaries. Any bison that can not be chased back into Yellowstone and elude capture for testing are shot. I believe this plan is just to pacify the ranchers and fog the greater issue that the Montana has no tolerance for bison outside Yellowstone's boundaries.
    Some of the Yellowstone bison are altitudinal migratory critters. especially during heavy snowfall winters when the larger slaughters get attention. Bison do not pay much attention to boundaries or even to being chased by helicopters, snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles and humans on horseback so most of these are murdered.
    All animals (even humans) are born to roam. Stifling this freedom is counterproductive to the preservation of and will result in Our NP's becoming nothing more than micromanaged “wild” animal parks and zoos. Lets give them room to roam.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago

    Frank and Kurt get the cheap shot award for using this tragedy to support their absurd claims of constitution change. Steven Kazmierczak had a history of mental illness. He wore tattoos of violent images from movies. By the reasoning of people like Frank and Kurt the amendments that allowed the movies and video games that influenced Steven should also be brought into question. So should the amendment that allowed him to live in our midst. What about all of those who think mental illness should be a private matter because their patients are stigmatized?
    This was a terrible tragedy. As far as its relevance to gun control in the parks issues, universities in 9 states are now considering allowing licensed carry on their campuses by professors and students.

  • University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks   6 years 36 weeks ago


    You write, "... when was the last time you heard of someone with a concealed weapon, someone who wasn't a security guard or off-duty police officer, step forward in such a situation?"

    In December 2007, only months ago, Jeanne Assam shot and killed Matthew Murray after he began shooting people at the New Life Church in Colorado. The media misreported that she was a "security guard" for the church. She was not. She was a former a police officer from Minneapolis who had a gun in her purse.

    In January 2002, two students stopped a gunman at Appalachian School of Law after he had killed 3 people and injured 3 more. The media, at the time, failed to report that he had been stopped by students using their private firearms.

    In 1997, an insane high school student in Pearl, Miss. opened fire on his classmates after slashing his mothers throat with a butcher knife. He was stopped by the schools assistant principal, armed with the gun he kept in his truck, and held at bay until police arrived.

    In almost all such cases the media makes a point of not reporting the use of firearms to stop or prevent violence. It doesn't fit their anti-gun narrative. That is why you can't remember the last time you heard about of such an occurrence. This type of agenda driven journalism leaves the public with the impression that firearms = violence.

    Mentally ill people don't require firearms to kill. Richard Speck killed 8 student nurses with a knife. Jeffery Dahmer tortured and murdered 17 men and boys, killing them with a knife before cutting up their bodies. John Wayne Gacy strangled 33 people with a rope.

    At the time, no one on the left cried out for knife or rope "control". I'm sure that after more such incidents you and others will want to outlaw all sharp objects. No doubt making, "running with scissors" a felony.

    It's interesting that you would reopen this thread following the tragedy at North Illinois University. I guess that you, like the leftist New York Times, thought that it could be exploited to silence your critics. Sorry, while surrender may be second nature on the left, it is not in our vocabulary.