Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today's DOTD: Dan W. Richards

Let me begin by declaring I am not anti-hunting, at least not when it is practiced properly. Hunting is as old as the human species itself. In fact, there is something noble about hunting and killing what you will eventually consume. And most of the hunters who kill prey, eat the prey. However, there is an element that taints virtually every modern day hunt, even the ecologically conscious ones. And that is the TROPHY HUNT. And, in the sense that I mean, this takes on two forms. From everything that I've seen, heard, or read about modern hunting, the hunter always takes the largest, healthiest animal - the lead, or trophy buck. The more points the better - whether you are going to eat him or not. This is bad ecology and against the natural principals of predation. Natural predators ALWAYS seek out the weakest individual for the kill. Only the strongest survive. This is nature's way of keeping herds genetically strong. But no hunter that I know of, even the good ones, practices this technique.

Then there is the actual TROPHY HUNT in its rawest form: to take an animal solely to say you did and see it stuffed and presented for display in some perverse TROPHY ROOM. This is not true hunting. And, so, finally, with this in mind, we name Dan W. Richards, California Fish and Game Commissioner as today's DOUCHE OF THE DAY (DOTD). It seems that Mr. Richards recently bagged himself a real trophy animal when he traveled to a game preserve in Idaho to stalk and kill a real, live mountain lion. It is illegal to hunt mountain lions in California but it is not in Idaho. So, Mr. Richards traveled a 1,000 miles or so to The Flying B Ranch and fulfill a life-long dream and get him a lion!

He claims to have gone to the ranch originally to hunt pheasant but when guide Joseph Peterson told him about the need to "cull" a mountain lion, Mr. Richards jumped at the chance. Mr. Peterson explained that mountain lions are bad for the ranch's main business - deer hunting. It seems that mountain lions have the nasty habit of eating deer! So, the ranch culls, or kills, 1-4 mountain lions on its property ever year. And this one was going to go, with or without Dan Richards. Also, if Mr. Richards decided to participate, he would be doing the ranch such a favor that the $6800 fee normally charged for tracking and hunting a lion would be waived. So, of course, he said "let's go". Remember, in Idaho this is NOT illegal.

In a long and grueling track, stalk, and hunt using dogs, Messrs. Richards and Peterson finally treed a 3 year-old male lion. Richards shot the animal with a .45 caliber rifle, killing him and bringing him crashing to the ground. Mr. Richards then posed with his prized kill for a photo that was sent to a few hunting magazines. I understand (but have not confirmed) that a video of the kill exists on U-tube. The carcass of the lion would be sent to a taxidermist in Idaho for preservation.

When word of the photo spread, first in California, and then around the country, the story went viral and the condemnation almost universal. When pressed as to whether he felt it was appropriate for the California Fish and Game commissioner to hunt an animal that's protected in his home state, his snide reply was, "I'm glad it's not illegal in Idaho"! What a douche!! As more and more criticism poured in, Richards became more and more defensive, telling reporters its none of their damned business what he does on his own time. WRONG. He's missing the point: he's a PUBLIC official whose behavior effects his ability to do his job!

It's clear what is going on here and its no different than the uberwealthy who make a mockery of the tax code: what they do, and Richards did, is not illegal but it sure as shit is immoral! How blind could this man be to not see the consequences of his actions? He should be named DOTD just for his lack of good sense, much less the heinous act he perpetrated! There is no other way to look at this but as a shocking case of bad judgement and setting an even worse example.

Calls for Mr. Richards' resignation have been overwhelming. At last check, he was still resisting. And, just in case you were wondering, he is a Republican who was appointed by another former DOTD, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You know what I always say: once a douche, always a douche.

No comments:

Post a Comment