Monday, March 19, 2007

Haven't we had enough?

As we enter the fifth year of an interminable war, I'd like to have a quick reminder of why we're there. That's right it's two men with the smallest winkies known to man, you know em, you love em:

As of this morning, 3,197 American citizens have died as a direct result of the actions (or lack thereof) of these two men. Add to that countless Iraqis and soldiers from other countries, and you seriously have to wonder how they sleep at night.

Because the rest of us certainly aren't. We're occupied by thoughts of loved ones, friends, people we've known who have been sent off to fight to try and bring about the endtimes that these two geniuses dream of so breathlessly. We, as Americans, want our country to be safe. But we also want all of its citizens to be safe. Which means we don't want them being sent into harm's way ANY MORE.

Dubya. Turd Blossom. Listen to me. Enough is enough. We don't want your stinking war anymore. You can end it. Bring our citizens home.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Elstonville Update:

Here's a really good article, with an update on the situation. I'm glad the DA at least tried for the full amount of the fine, and really, really disappointed in the judge...

The fowl met a fate most unfair
By Jeff Hawkes, Staff
Intelligencer Journal

Published: Mar 13, 2007 12:55 AM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. - The fearless hunters of Elstonville got caught in September launching arrows at tied-down turkeys.

The sportsmen's club called it a benefit. Three arrows for $12. Hit a bird and take it home to eat.

Sportsmen, I guess, don't do bake sales.

While I don't hunt, I appreciate hunting's appeal. Employing stealth, patience and knowledge of wildlife to bag game has got to be a thrill. But shooting at domestic turkeys that can't flee?

Even kids took aim at the confined gobblers. I can just hear parents: "Don't miss, Billy. Daddy wants a drumstick."

Makes you wonder what video games they let their kids play.

"Wait a minute, guys," you'd think someone at Elstonville Sportsman's Association would have said. "Should we be using trapped turkeys for target practice? Is that the image we want to project?"

At least after they were caught, you'd expect the sportsmen to be embarrassed. That wasn't the case.

Sour regret

Participants became upset when state troopers shut down the contest at the club's grounds in Rapho Township, and the club hired a lawyer to fight the animal-cruelty charges, characterized by one Elstonville board member as "propaganda." He told the press a couple months ago, "We have every confidence we're going to win this."

Well, they had confidence.

Club president Jesse Miller last Friday went before a district judge not to fight the charges but to start paying fines totaling $400.

Miller declined to answer questions afterward, but his lawyer handed me a 325-word statement that twice uses the word "regret."

Specifically, the club regrets the contest "reflected poorly" upon sportsmen and "tarnished our reputation as responsible citizens and sportsmen."

Expressions of regret are fine. Every little boy experiences regret when caught with a hand in the cookie jar. But expressing regret over losing face isn't the same as expressing contrition.

I searched for a crumb of remorse in the club's statement and came up empty. The tone is not apologetic, but self-righteous, practically defiant.

"We did not set out to cruelly mistreat the animals," the statement declares.

No, they set out to make money at the expense of helpless turkeys.

The club further says news accounts about the contest contained inaccuracies. Specifically, the club says, contest participants weren't drinking.

It helps their case to say they shot defenseless turkeys and were sober?

Shirking blame

The club says it now has a new rule forbidding contests with live targets, even though, the sportsmen can't help but point out, such contests "might be authorized by law."

The club in essence is saying it believes it did nothing wrong. That's clear in Elstonville's decision to plead no contest instead of guilty. Courts treat no contest the same as a guilty plea, the distinction being a no-contest plea admits to the facts but not to wrongdoing.

"They're not ... admitting to the allegations," confirmed attorney Michael Winters, who represented the club before the magistrate Friday.

When I pointed out the club's statement also offers no apology, Winters said, "The fact that they're not contesting these violations and have elected to enter pleas of (no contest) speaks for itself."


The club won't admit to wrongdoing but pats itself on the back for donating $12,000 a year to good causes and being "positive ambassadors for the sports we love."

"We look forward to ... restoring the community's confidence in our organization," the statement concludes.

Deciding not to execute more turkeys is a start. It's just too bad club members see themselves, and not the turkeys, as the victims.