Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Country Life...Guns and Meth, Guns and Booze........
and Politics

Just Good Humor?
Or really not so funny?

This is a seasonal classic, particularly among the rural dwellers across the country.


But it generates a bit of fuss when not everyone in fly over land takes it kindly, or finds some of  the references to alcohol or illegal drug use, particularly in connection with hunting, strikes them as 'mean spirited'.  As distinct from alcohol 'spirited', that is, or more tolerant and approving humor.  It goes beyond laughing with versus laughing at a group of people, but in either case, there is a core of fact underlying both kinds of artistic expression.


This Disney cartoon, back in the pre-Politically Correct days, was in competition for an animation Academy Award in 1955, losing to Merrie Melodies 'Speedy Gonzales' cartoon about Mexican mice trying illegally to cross the border to steal American cheese.

So......how accurate are the claims about careless, reckless, or chemical use impaired hunting?

Snopes has a section on it, HERE.

And then we have this more recent news item on an off-duty Massachusetts State Police Trooper who shot a woman he mistook for a deer.  From the AP:

Off-duty Massachusetts State Police trooper shoots Norton woman, says he thought she was deer

Published: Sunday, January 01, 2012, 1:43 PM     Updated: Sunday, January 01, 2012, 1:47 PM

NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Police say an off-duty state trooper who was hunting in Norton has shot and wounded a 66-year-old woman walking her two dogs after sunset, claiming that he thought she was a deer.

The woman was hit in the torso while walking on a wooded path at about 5 p.m. Saturday. Norton police say the trooper called 911 after realizing that his target was not a deer.

State police on Sunday said the trooper is not being identified because he faces no charges and no internal investigation.

The woman was taken to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment. Authorities did not immediately release additional information on her condition.

The woman is not being fully identified by police who said she and the trooper live in Norton.

Norton, state and environmental police officers are investigating the incident.
Now I will be the first to concede that hunters would not harvest nearly as many deer if  they were limited to screw drivers, or less lethal weapons, like bows and arrows.  I also have no reason to suggest that this particular hunter who shot the woman mistaking her for a deer was under the influence of either legal or illegal substances.

But I can tell you that as someone who lives in a rural area on land posted no hunting, there are still hunters who trespass, or who shoot where their fire extends onto this property.  I can tell you that when we hear shooting, we bring the dogs inside --- and then hope like hell nothing comes through the walls, because there are a lot of careless recreational shooters and hunters, and that alcohol use in quantity is a part of that tradition.

And according to this site on Iowa State Drug Trends, Meth is the primary illegal drug of choice, although I'd bet that alcohol use as a legal (and sometimes illegally used) chemical is at least AS popular.  So while the urban transplanted professor to fly-over land may be considered a bit mean spirited for his observations on his fellow Iowans, he's statistically fairly accurate according to this data in his observations concerning alcohol use, illegal drug use, and hunting traditions.  And his observations in some instances are not specific ONLY to Iowa.

The reasons for concern about the chronic use of meth by those who also hunt or otherwise are firearm 'enthusiasts' is the pattern of violence associated with the drug- and not just to the animals the users of alcohol or Meth are hunting.

From this course material on meth:
Rural Communities
Methamphetamine use among youth and adults is especially troublesome in rural parts of the country. The DEA says that
“methamphetamine has become the most dangerous drug problem of small-town America.” In fact, the DEA’s Fast Facts
About Meth notes that youth ages 12 to 14 who live in small towns are 104 percent more likely to use the drug than young
people living in larger cities.


What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse?
Long-term methamphetamine abuse results in many damaging effects, including addiction. Addiction is a chronic,
relapsing disease, characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug use which is accompanied by functional and
molecular changes in the brain. In addition to being addicted to methamphetamine, chronic methamphetamine abusers
exhibit symptoms that can include violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia. They also can display a number of
psychotic features, including paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions (for example, the
sensation of insects creeping on the skin, which is called "formication"). The paranoia can result in homicidal as well as
suicidal thoughts.
With chronic use, tolerance for methamphetamine can develop. In an effort to intensify the desired effects, users may take higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently, or change their method of drug intake. In some cases, abusers forego food and sleep while indulging in a form of binging known as a "run," injecting as much as a gram of the drug every 2 to 3 hours over several days until the user runs out of the drug or is too disorganized to continue. Chronic abuse can lead to
psychotic behavior, characterized by intense paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and out-of-control rages that can be coupled with extremely violent behavior.
But in fly-over states like Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and all the other states where meth is a problem drug, it isn't considered very nice to point out the problem.  It's accurate to do so, but it is met with resentment, anger, and apparently threats.


  1. My anecdotal experience with hunters, over the last 50 or s0 years, is that they are at least as likely to be "problem drinkers"* as the general population. People with too much alcohol in their systems do not make good decisions, way too often.

    Looking at this:


    would lead one to conclude that meth and gunz is a particularly bad combination. Add alcohol to the mix and I don't think I'd want to be anywhere near those folks.

    I've taken adderall, ritalin and cylert for ADD/ADHD and of the three, adderall is the most efficacious. None of them give me a "buzz", but ritalin made my mouth dry and cylert has/had a laundry list of side effects that I wasn't comfortable with. I was diagnosed twice with ADD (the second time was to make sure that there wasn't something else going on--NLD is what they were thinking) and it's STILL difficult to get the prescription through the VA because they are so worried about people abusing it. I gave up asking for it a year ago because of the hoops I had to jump through and the fact that it can only be written for 30 days, no refills, through the VA. Maybe I should just ask some jumpy hunter if he can hook me up with pharmacist? Nah, he might shoot ME.

    * It's not really the drinking they have a problem with, it's their metabolizing of the alcohol at a LOT slower rate than they ingest it, so that they become intoxicated.

  2. It's already illegal to have a firearm on one's person while under the influence. What's your point?

  3. It's also illegal to purchase a gun from a dealer if you are addicted to any narcotic.

  4. It is not illegal to fail to check that in a private sale.

    Absent any kind of drug testing, and or mandatory reporting of drug violations, there is virtually nothing preventing habitual drug users from obtaining firearms.

  5. "It's already illegal to have a firearm on one's person while under the influence. What's your point?"

    The penalty for having a gun while under the influence varies from state to state. The penalty for driving under the influence is treated as a serious violation in most places, a felony in some.

    Make possession of a firearm while intoxicated a felony in every state and maybe that will weed out the obvious morons.

    MAgunzloaner sez:

    "t's also illegal to purchase a gun from a dealer if you are addicted to any narcotic."


    Do you actually have to think hard to come up with such an idiotic example of why private sales SHOULD require checks AND documentation.

  6. Dog Gone,

    It's legal to make a sale between private individuals, and you've given us no reason to support changing that. Until you're willing to offer something in return, why should we make a deal with your side?

  7. Greg, Did you see Winter's Bone?

  8. Mikeb302000,

    No, I wasn't interested. I know that meth is a problem in rural areas, but that's not because of guns. Solve the economic problems of this country, and meth will lose its appeal.

  9. GC wrote:I know that meth is a problem in rural areas, but that's not because of guns. Solve the economic problems of this country, and meth will lose its appeal.

    Bullshit. Once again you are factually inaccurate, and in the process of being chronically factually inaccurate you parrot a right wing talking point that is false.

    There is no greater drug use among lower economic groups of people than there are those who are economically better off. Drug use exists in approximately the same proportions among rich as among poor; if anything it is HIGHER among richer demographics of society.

    This has proven true repeatedly, including most recently where drug testing was made mandatory for financial and medical assistance. The premise that the poor are more often drug users turned up LOWER drug use, as demonstrated by drug testing, than wealthier strata of society.

    What makes meth appealing to rural area users in preference over other drugs is a matter of availability, nothing else.

    The connection between firearms in rural areas coupled with meth use AND ALCOHOL ABUSE is a serious concern because of its frequency.

  10. GC wrote:
    Dog Gone,

    It's legal to make a sale between private individuals, and you've given us no reason to support changing that.

    Yes we've given you a reason to support changing that - it's a loophole which leads to the transfer of legal firearms to prohibited individuals.

    Until you're willing to offer something in return, why should we make a deal with your side?

    Why should we give up anything to people who refuse to be rational human beings?

    Why should we give up anything so that you can continue to contribute to people being murdered with firearms?

    It's a lot like you saying we should give up something to people who engage in sex trafficking, to keep them happy while they do what they do.

    Some things - like gun violence, like the number of people who die each year, are such clear examples of something terribly terribly wrong that there is NO justification for giving up something.

    Why should we negotiate with people who are too damned dishonest ever to admit when they are wrong? That argues for one side which refuses to be either honest or objective.

    The smartest thing you could do to keep your guns would be to make every effort to get guns out of the hands of people who have poor impulse control, who are criminals, drug users, or dangerously nuts. The smartest thing you could do would be to improve and better fund law enforcement, and measures like closed circuit security cameras.

    But you don't.

  11. Dog Gone,

    You consistently insist on misreading what I say in my comments.

    1. Meth is a plague of rural areas. It's a problem in communities that have little economic hope. Rich people abuse different drugs. My point though is that drug abuse is often a problem of people who know nothing else. Improve the economic situation and educational situation, and drug abuse will be a much more managable problem.

    2. When I talk about your side offering us nothing in return, what I mean is that you want new laws that are more restrictive than what we have presently. Why should we give up what freedoms we have at the moment? You don't offer us any new freedom as a compromise. I might agree with universal background checks on sales if you'd agree with universal concealed carry. But you won't do that. You want to win everything and give up nothing. Until that changes, why shouldn't we operate the same way?