Noble causes

Alaskans, as you would imagine, are a little different. Not in a bad way, just different. But then, you would not expect someone willing to live with the daily threat of being eaten by a bear to be normal. This causes Alaskans to have a more self- sufficient attitude than people who live in the lower 48 states, where bear attacks are not much more of a threat to life and limb than Ted Kennedy. Still, there are Alaskans who like to stir things up a little, and one of those groups calls itself Alaskans Against the Death Penalty. This is an interesting attitude. These are people obviously willing to accept the possibility of an innocent citizen becoming Yogi’s hors d’oeuvre, yet they are opposed to the humane execution of a convicted murderer. This is especially strange when you consider that bears seldom kill their victims before they start eating them.Anyway, AADP has a fundraiser every year, and their motto is ‘Fry Fish, Not People.’ When this came to the attention of peta president Ingrid Newkirk she got hot, and sent a letter to AADP. I guess it was a ‘one bleeding heart group to another’ kind of deal. She wanted the Alaskans to change their motto to ‘Fry Onions, Not People.’ So we have one unrealistic, paradoxical group of wackos getting upset with another unrealistic, paradoxical group because of their beliefs. And when you consider that asking Alaskans to quit eating fish is like asking the pope to skip mass to go golfing, the situation is even more ludicrous. The kicker, though, is the line in peta’s letter that said, ‘Serving the corpses of animals at an anti- death penalty event is like serving cigarettes at an anti-cancer fundraiser.’ Well, I don’t know. Few people who haven’t had cancer are willing to donate much to help stop it. But that isn’t the real issue here. The real issue is the word ‘corpses,’ which illustrates peta’s totally false belief that fish, and animals, are equal to people. The same thing has cropped up in other news stories, such as the MSNBC article about the gorillas that were illegally killed recently in Congo, Africa. There is no question this was a heinous crime, but the story, written by Sharon Begley, referred to the killings as ‘murders.’ An MSNBC video about the event was entitled ‘Shocking pictures show executed gorilla family.’ The same type of inference was used recently in a San Jose Mercury News story about a couple of coyotes that had attacked some people in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Wildlife officials killed the coyotes for the sake of public safety. The headline read ‘Coyotes Spotted In Golden Gate Park Executed.’ Allowing this kind of lie to go unopposed will only exacerbate the problem. Since, by definition, only humans can be murdered or executed, the next step will be for these nuts to petition congress to declare animals, birds, and fish to be humans of alternate appearance, or something. And their argument will be that these stories, accepted by the general public, demonstrate equality between you and Fido. Pay attention-‘this petition is coming. The question is not if, but when. Granted, animals are a large and very important part of our existence, like automobiles and low fat margarine and Alan Greenspan. Why, sometimes they actually save lives. A couple of Chihuahuas have lately been in the news for doing just that. One, named Zoey, lives in Loveland, Colorado. Zoey ran between a one-year-old toddler and a rattlesnake, and took the hit. The kid’s grandfather then killed the snake with a pipe, which probably irritated peta, who would rather the boy had gotten bitten instead of the dog in the first place. The other Chihuahua, a Canadian named Manuel (go figure), helped save a disoriented beaver that was drowning at Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The dog swam out and led the beaver to a boat, where rescuers pulled both of them out of the water, and then took the beaver to Burnaby’s wildlife rescue center. The folks at peta should have a field day with that one. In other Canadian news, a bible camp counselor at Camp Kadesh, north of Saskatoon, threw a stick at a squirrel and accidentally hit it. In order to teach the boys who were present that you should eat what you kill, the guy went ahead and cleaned the squirrel, cooked it, and ate it. Since no laws were broken, and the counselor didn’t make any of the boys eat the squirrel against their will, that should have been the end of the story. But when some of the kids at camp went home and told their parents about it, some irate adults called camp administrators trying to get the counselor fired. That may seem severe to those of us with IQs higher than coleslaw, but these parents were serious. I guess they plan to protect their children from the real world. They want a guy punished when he did nothing wrong. But then, the Alaskans Against the Death Penalty are pretty much in the same boat. See, there hasn’t been a death penalty in Alaska since 1957. Maybe someone should tell them they’ve won. Nah. No use ruining a good fish fry . . . ‘Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who would like to point out that no bears were harmed during the writing of this column. Write to him at P.O. Box 1600, Mason, Tex. 76856 or

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