by Stephen Capra
Another weekend is about to pass in New Mexico, and another group enjoyed killing innocent animals. So goes it, in the modern, or perhaps throwback American West. South of Albuquerque, in Valencia County is a special place of hell for animals. It is known as Gun Hawk. It is a gun shop owned by people of greed, which make their money off the killing of innocent animals. Their method is to sponsor “killing contests” of coyotes, prairie dogs, and perhaps if they had their way, wolves.
This so-called company thrives on the negative publicity they receive, because like conservation groups, it allows them to become a cause, only they are a cause for fools. You see, if you use the words freedom enough, and talk about heritage, you will have an ample supply of cowboys, young guns, Tea Partiers and worse yet the media, which will quote everything you say without a moments fact checking.
So what this pathetic company is doing is creating a working model for others to emulate in the future. Their bravado is empowering to communities like Clovis, and allows them to take their stand despite science, compassion and simple reason. When George Bush was President many of us protested his war, his environmental policies, his views on abortion. We did it like Americans before us had. We made our case clear and went to the streets to make our case. We did not harm people with whom we disagreed. What has changed is how those on the other side approach dissent. They plant bombs and kill those that believe in a woman’s right to choose. They carry on very public killings of innocent animals, not just for fun, but because they know it is painful to us and they want us to see the carcasses of their personal rage.
To counter this opposition will require that the conservation movement, like Silicon Valley be open to new ways of engaging and fighting for our principles. We cannot speak to these people and try to reason. It is like a conversation with a sociopath, and they simply would not understand the language. I believe in organizing. I see it as essential, but the time has come where you must go from talk to action. Reason is not a guaranteed part of success.
Last week we were in Clovis, we spent time looking at the prairie dogs. Our supplemental feeding and some rain have brought them back to health. I watched as they played and as they stood guard over their territory and thought to myself, they have no idea what is occurring, no idea of the fight. Then another thought occurred, perhaps they do, perhaps they are preparing themselves for what may come. They are hoping for freedom, but resigned to death. Animals sense what is not spoken. They live with dignity and they die with even more.
So we are going to save them, which is not a goal; it is part of the center of our heart and part of our commitment to them. We spoke with the Mayor, the paper and listened to rage, and to phony religious ramblings. As they spoke I searched for their pulse. I looked deeply into their eyes trying to see their personal pain. Was it childhood, was it divorce, it matters not. We all have burdens to overcome, that is the essence of life. When they were done, I knew that our job was far from over.
The earth is heating up, this we know. Many continue to deny that climate change is real. I mention this because people are also heating up. Reason and civility are being lost as the planet continues to boil, as our artic ice melts. It would be easy to say, I want no part of this, I want a home in the country, or to move to Europe. Part of modern society, is a staunch reality that as humans we must be able to absorb more pain and visually see the result of our actions.
The challenge that we all face is how to get us on the right course. We have so many great alternatives, and it begins demanding that we share this planet with all animals-forever. Be it Clovis, be it Africa, or be it the bounty and beauty of our oceans. Stare into the eyes of an animal; you will experience one thing-love.
We can never rest while wolves are being slaughtered. While Coyotes and prairie dogs are killed for fun and laughter. However, we must change tactics, and we must be forceful in our message. People who kill for fun are cowards. What is occurring in simplification- humanity is being bullied. The way for change is to confront the bully, without fear. With this hot powered strength, the bully will yield.
We will soon begin airing our gorilla commercials to fight for the prairie dogs of Clovis and we have plans for a certain gun shop as well. Please help if you can, it’s time we all stare down the bully and share the land with our true kin, the lives that live it wild.
A very wise and learned man stated succinctly my feelings, “When you destroy nature you destroy one’s own nature as well. It kills the song.” Thank you Joseph Campbell