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A Hunter Hunted Down

Posted on September 25, 2007 in California Watch Creatures Scoundrels

square367A certain organization dedicated to making the tools of violence available to all no matter what the cost in human lives or regional ecologies pressured Republican members of the California legislature to put the squeeze on AHnold. Now R. Judd Hanna, a member of the state Wildlife Commission, has been forced out of his job because he advocated a ban on lead bullets in areas where the California Condor is known to feed.

Hanna, an avid hunter, chided the [[National Rifle Association]] and others who oppose a ban, saying they are ignoring scientific evidence that lead poisoning from bullets is killing and sickening one of the most endangered birds in North America. He believes the NRA pushed for his removal.

“It seems to me that the hunters are not living up to their mantra that hunters are the first line of conservation. They need to be proactive,” said Hanna, 66, a retired real estate developer, former Navy commander, former NRA member and lifelong Republican who said he voted twice for Schwarzenegger.

“This is not about me. It’s about the condor. It’s about the NRA hijacking the system,” he said.

The NRA and some hunting groups oppose a ban, saying that the science linking lead bullets to [[california condor|condor]] casualties is inconclusive, that nonlead bullets cost too much for many hunters, and that government is trying to regulate hunter behavior.

His principle “crime” is that he circulated a sheaf of documents with his annotations to the Wildlife Commission, which members of the commission and evidentally AHnold thought was inappropriate. He has been accused of “not being unbiased” by Republican pawns of the NRA:

Hanna’s packet, which The Times obtained from the commission through the state Public Records Act, contained four articles from respected scientific journals, news clippings, material from the [[Audubon Society]] and other groups, and 40 pages of lead bullet survey results from the Arizona Department of Fish and Game.

The NRA is resisting this using tactics first refined by the tobacco industry and now employed by oil company lackeys who deny that there is any such thing as global warming: they say that the evidence linking lead bullets to condor deaths is “inconclusive”.

The kneejerk politics of this extremist organization need to be questioned at every turn. Though we face a war chest totalling in the millions of dollars, it behooves us to not give up the struggle. Hanna’s firing demonstrates the fragility of the NRA’s backing on this issue — they’re scared stiff of the implications of having someone who actually educated himself on the issue.

It is ridiculous to expect that members of any commission will come to it without opinions. At the very minimum they will bring core beliefs that will ultimately inform their opinions. If they are minions living in fear of the great gun club, you can expect that they will vote against the condor. The stage may be set for a biased vote against lead bullets restrictions thanks to Hanna’s blackballing, even though he did nothing illegal:

Commission President Richard B. Rogers believes Hanna was removed because he was too overt in his opinions in meetings and in written material he gave other commissioners. “His crime, if it was one, was one of being passionate about the issue and na├»ve about the appropriate process,” he said.

Rogers said Hanna should not have distributed reports with handwritten notations.

Deputy Atty. Gen. William Cunningham, the commission’s counsel, said Hanna did nothing illegal by circulating the material or notating it.

He said he encourages commissioners to make background material public, including notations.

“To have the public be able to see a commissioner’s written thoughts,” he said, “I would suggest is a good idea.”

Evidentally other members of the commission don’t want their thoughts or their biases revealed for the public eye. The fact that Rogers refers to Hanna’s stand as a “crime” indicates that good old fashioned Republican/McCarthyite thought control is operating in the California state government.

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