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"It is the death of humanity to know the price of everything but the value of nothing." ~Unknown

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Law states you can not protect your own land

http://animals.change.org/blog/view/trespassing_hunters_kill_people_violate_rights_and_still_get_protection

Well, isn't this just lovely. Men out looking for bears to kill in northern Pennsylvania trespassed on another gun owner's land on Tuesday, and sometime after the latter man confronted the hunters, there was a shoot-out. The 63-year-old landowner (for the record, I hate this word and concept, but that's another matter entirely) is dead. And the 23-year-old who was on the other end of the shoot-out was injured.
Violence breeds violence. It's a lot easier to kill your fellow humans when you're already in the habit of killing -- and when you're toting around lethal weapons for the purpose of killing.
And what else can result from hunters defiantly trespassing in their search for animals to kill? The property owners who try to stop them, even just verbally, can be arrested under hunter harassment laws. And no, I'm not kidding.
If you've never heard the story of what happened to attorney Jan Haagensen several years ago -- also a Pennsylvania resident -- I recommend you listen to the interviews she did with activist Anthony Marr about her continuing battles: part 1 is here and consists of a summary by Anthony, and part 2 is here and features Jan's firsthand accounts (also click the "more info" link in the sidebar on the right).
In short, Jan has dealt with trespassing hunters on her property for years, with police refusing to respond to her calls about the matter, and after those years of hunters trespassing on her property, intimidating her and her family, and even endangering them, an arrest was finally made: of Jan. For daring to approach trespassers on her land and demand that they stop hunting there, she was charged with violating the state's hunter harassment law. After a long and expensive legal process, including convictions, Jan was eventually cleared of all charges. But now, the trick is getting unconstitutional laws such as the one that led to Jan's arrest overturned. Again, I recommend checking out the earlier-mentioned interview. See also the summary and amicus brief from the ACLU in support of Jan here.
Laws such as the hunter harassment statutes in place all around the United States are set up to reinforce and protect violent, patriarchal systems. Those with the societal power and the inclinations to kill their fellow animals and oppress their fellow humans are given added power by these laws, which simultaneously strip those not in positions of power of their rights -- even their rights to something as supposedly inviolable as free speech. It comes down to this: If you support and perpetuate violence, you are not only allowed to keep doing that, but even encouraged and emboldened to keep doing that, without challenge. If you oppose violence, you are stripped of your right to even speak up against it or protect the victims of it. This is the nation we live in.


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