Thursday, February 21, 2013
About shooting in national parks
Last night I complained about the state governments “shooters in national parks” policy on Twitter, sparked a bunch of replies, and rudely went to bed during the discussion, so here’s my thoughts. I have a busy day, so this will be quick.
1. Is it affecting tourism?
Yes. I own some holiday cottages in Wentworth Falls (Bunjaree Cottages, here). People are asking about it – “will there be shooters around?” – even though the Blue Mountains National Park isn’t on the list. They’re worried. It’s easy to dismiss them as uninformed, but that’s the way of the world.
2. Am I anti-gun?
In public places, most certainly.
3. “Gun owner” isn’t the same thing as “gun nut”
When I use the phrase “gun nut” I am referring to a particular mindset: the ideology-from-the-NRA lobby groups.
I know people who go target shooting, and I know farmers who keep a weapon to deal with feral pigs, wild dogs, injured animals and the like. They aren’t pining to head out for a weekend swapping between gun and bow-and-arrow (and in the case of farmers, they greatly resent having wild pigs brought into their district just to provide targets for shooters).
4. It’s worked fine in New Zealand
Actually, there have been deaths. Rosemary Ives in 2010, and Dougal Fyfe 2011, to identify two.
5. The national park shootings will be properly supervised
If you travel down the Hume towards Goulburn at the right time on a Friday night, you’ll see the suburban 4WDs loaded up with weapons and beer.
I know country people who call in the family from the verandah at night if there are shots in the distance, because they’ve had bullets come over hilltops and whack the house.
And I’ve seen the roadside gatherings with the guns lined up against the cab of the ute while the roo-hunters stop for a beer.
Yes, I think fears of a future with guns in national parks are justified.