Friday, March 2, 2012

Let's talk about that guy who killed that mountain lion for a second

Have you ever thought "I wonder what the mission of the California Fish and Game Commission is"? Yes? Well, wonder no more:

The Mission of the California Fish and Game Commission is, on behalf of California citizens, to ensure the long term sustainability of California's fish and wildlife resources by:

Guiding the ongoing scientific evaluation and assessment of California's fish and wildlife resources;

Setting California's fish and wildlife resource management policies and insuring these are implemented by the Department of Fish and Game;

Establishing appropriate fish and wildlife resource management rules and regulations; and

Building active fish and wildlife resource management partnerships with individual landowners, the public and interest groups, and federal, State and local resource management agencies.

TL;DR? I'll nutshell it for you: the job of the FGC is basically to set wildlife policy in California and make sure that existing policy gets enforced. Hunting mountain lions in California has been illegal since 1971. Here's a picture of California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards:

Hey, what's that dead thing he's holding? Oh, it's a mountain lion he shot in Idaho in January, NBD. As it happens, shooting mountain lions is perfectly legal in Idaho. Daniel Richards didn't break any laws. Still, tons of people are super pissed and somehow Gavin Newsom got involved and wants him to resign.

(I love how Gavin got elected Lieutenant Governor, an office which has the power roughly equivalent to an attendant at a Citgo station, and has ever since struggled mightily to keep his face on the news. His clawing for relevance is amusing, to say the least. I was surprised when he didn't show up for the America's Got Talent auditions in SF last week. I hear his rendition of "Misty" is heartbreaking.)

So we can all agree that Richards didn't break any laws by shooting and then eating the mountain lion ("It doesn't taste like chicken," he told conservative talk radio hosts John and Ken in Los Angeles. "The closest thing is pork loin. It's a white meat. It's really good, and actually in frontier times it was a delicacy because it's tough to bag one of them."). So what's the big deal?

I think it's a perception thing. It just doesn't feel right that the guy who's in charge of busting anyone who shoots a mountain lion gleefully crosses the border into another state to shoot a mountain lion. It's like if we had a police chief who made a big deal about busting hookers (I know, but it's a thought experiment, play along) went to the Mustang Ranch in Nevada and took pictures and bragged about what a great prostitute he had sex with. Doesn't it seem kinda hypocritical or something?

I mean, say you shoot a mountain lion in California (and you're not the police - they seem to shoot mountain lions with some regularity) and you get (rightfully) hauled into court. Wouldn;t you feel like saying "But hey, the guy who's in charge of busting me just did the same thing!" I know, different state, but still, it's a perception thing.

Anyway, who knows how the whole thing will turn out. He seems like kind of a jerk who enjoys pushing people's buttons, so that probably doesn't help. I'll guarantee you one thing, though - the one animal California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards wishes it was legal to shoot in California is Gavin Newsom.


Tamagosan said...

Dunno if it's fair for me to comment, since I'm a hypocrite by virtue of the fact that I eat dead animals yet freak out if my dog yelps when he gets his tail stepped on. Dead animals make me sad, esp. a cute one in the arms of this gloating asshole showing off his power. Hard to believe that he's not corrupt since I for one have trouble divorcing my recreational activities from work stuff.

At least he didn't call it a slut for wanting to have the taxpayers pay for its sex life and talk about how it should put an aspirin between its legs.

Stephen said...

As someone noted on some other cite, the age of consent in Spain is 13. If he flew to Spain to romance a not-quite-pre-teen, his career would be over - even though it's perfectly legal. So there's more to the world than not breaking the law.

And yes, he seems like a spectacular dick, which I think is a genetic requirement for SoCal developers (his real job).

GG said...

Two things I feel like aren't really getting mentioned in this story: (1) The CA and ID mountain lion populations are distinct and different, so it may not necessarily be ideologically inconsistent for it to be "okay" to shoot one there and not here -- CA lions are relatively scarce, maybe they are overpopulated and starving in ID (I don't know). (2) Any time we call for a public official to resign based on conduct that is legal and done on their off-time, we should recognize that's a slippery slope that should be tread upon VERY carefully.

Nevertheless, I agree with you on the perception thing, with the added note that a public official who is THAT tone-deaf to the the fact that he must be aware of the public perception of his behavior has questionable judgment.

Of course, as a dog owner and vegetarian who has volunteered in the service of many animal-oriented causes (including fighting that proposition that would have legalized mountain lion hunting, maybe 15 years ago?) I would be perfectly happy to see him shot and gleefully hoisted over somebody's shoulder as a trophy, along with the may other low-lifes (lives?) who need to compensate for their small penis size by killing gorgeous animals like these. Yuck.

generic said...

One of those stories that makes me think I've been in this town, this state, for far too long.

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