Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Watch Where You Point That Thing...

I live in the fine Commonwealth of Virginia. I remember there being numerous ballot initiatives during the 2000 election. One of which was an amendment to make the hunting a constitutional right. Being clueless about the southern parts of the state, I thought the initiative was ridiculous and refused to even vote on it, assuming it would fail. It won by a large margin, something like 65-35. I didn't blame myself for the not voting against the consitutional amendment. Rather, I blamed the obviously ineffective bear and deer lobbies and their failure to convince the electorate of the larger implications of a "yes" vote on the amendment. How do you expect Smokey to prevent forest fires, when he cannot even protect himself from being shot?

The amendment is now at the center of a bizarre struggle in Virginia as to whether hunters should be required to not get drunk before exercising their now constitutional right. According to the Washington Post, a huge battle is brewing in the Virginia state legilature over whether the state should make it a crime to hunt if your blood alchohol level is above 0.02%.

Many hunters who want to get drunk before shooting vicious, dangerous deer are up in arms because they feel that the legal blood alcohol level is too low and because of certain provisions in the proposed bill that assert that hunters exercising their right to hunt to Virginia have given -- by statute -- their implied consent to be tested for intoxication on demand.

Just another case of a heavy-handed government undermining a clear principle: the right to hunt also includes the right to drink Bud in the process. Drinking and shooting stuff with high-powered rifles go naturally hand-in-hand. At least one hunting-drinking advocate laid out the argument against the limits quite eloquently: "'I'd have no problem with the .08, but .02 is ridiculous,' said Philip Van Cleave, president of Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights advocacy group. 'You can reach .02 by taking some cough syrup.'" I have this image of a drunk hunter who just shot his friend blubbering, "But officer, I didn't mean it to be this way. I had a cold. A bad cold. A, Robitussin cold."

In any event, it important to be wary of how basic household items might intoxicate a person, with tragic effects, e.g., Listerine or sherry enemas.


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