The Outdoor Wire for Wednesday, December 13

The Outdoor Wire for Wednesday, December 13
FEATURE
Legislatively, It Never Stops

New Jersey seems to be one of the most hard-fought locations in the
contiguous 48-states for outdoors enthusiasts and/or gun owners. Throughout
our time as a news service, we’ve frequently found ourselves covering fights
in the Garden State over anything from the Second Amendment to hunting.

And they’re at it again up there. This time, it’s Senator Raymond Lesniak’s
SB 3537, a measure that would change the makeup of the New Jersey Fish and
Game Council. As it sits today, the council is made up of six sportsmen or
women, three farmers and two commercial fishermen.

It’s a configuration that has been tested in the courts- and survived. In
1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the composition of the Council. At
that point, the court ruled that while the Council didn’t reflect the makeup
of the state (demographically), it represented those most qualified to make
decisions regarding the shepherding of the state’s outdoor resources.

Now, Senator Lesniak’s SB 3537 seeks to change the makeup of the Council by
taking three of the six sportsmen/women seats and replacing them with a
representative from three other organizations: the Humane Society of the
United States (HSUS), the Sierra Club and the Animal Protection League.

No, this isn’t a joke. It’s another move by animal rights and anti-hunting
(and anti-gun) groups to legislatively accomplish something they’ve been
unable to do to date: eliminate hunting in the state. This time, they’re
looking to insert- permanently- anti-hunting representation.

Having been a resident of New Jersey, I’ve dealt with all the misconceptions
about the state. It’s not all Newark or Hoboken. New Jersey is blessed with
an abundance of wildlife and farm land. In fact, the majority of the state
is more rural than urban. Unfortunately, that means the rural residents are
seriously underrepresented when it comes to legislative matters -the votes
are concentrated in the urban areas.

Once again, New Jersey hunters, anglers and Second Amendment supporters are
asking that state residents contact their elected officials to respectfully
voice their disapproval for SB 3537.

Efforts to marginalize outdoorsmen and gun owners, despite the fact there
are tens of millions of us, continue. We’ve done a pretty good job of
protecting the majority of us from the attacks of groups who would, simply
stated, simply like to see us eliminated.

One area where it seemed a great democratization was underway was the
internet- and more specifically- the alternative sources of information that
normally runs contrary to the mainstream’s vision for the country.

But there’s a small problem: FaceBook and YouTube have been great for
distributing information, they’re not independent entities. They’re owned
and controlled by people.

People, unlike computer networks, are subject to all kinds of outside
pressures.

From peers to governmental officials who don’t care for the democratization
are vocal in their criticism, those people feel the pressure.

The “wunderkinds” of the internet are finding themselves under governmental
scrutiny today and they don’t like it.

Despite claims to the contrary, that scrutiny indicates they have the
ability- but apparently lack the desire- to help police the flow of garbage
through their pipeline.

Whether it’s teenage bullying or radical Islamic recruitment messages,
they’re no longer able to make the case that “it’s just not their fault.”

Home-grown radicals like¬†Monday’s¬†would-be bomber in New York City are
telling officials they were radicalized by internet-delivered propaganda.
When the internet groups crying “no fault” then track both sides of the
radicalization back to their original sources – after the fact- officials
question their veracity -and their motives.

So what are these technology wonder-boys doing?

Cracking down on everything related to guns. You can still find rabidly
anti-American imams, but it’s getting harder to find YouTube channels about
guns – even ones that were well-established and widely popular.

Some of the more outrageous channels have been banned. Others find their
incomes slashed by YouTube’s “de-monetization”. Haven spoken with several of
those content providers, it seems the fortunate ones have “only” seen their
YouTube revenues shrink by about two-thirds.

As a former television producer, I found many of the videos cringe-worthy.
But abysmally poor production, sloppy reporting, objectionable language and
stupid stunts aside, I’m not a fan of anyone censoring free speech.

Unfortunately, for everyone who’s seen their “streams” dry up, it’s not a
free-speech issue.

While we might not like the decisions to restrict-or ban gun conversations
and content, the vehicles’ owners are within their rights to decide what
they allow on their delivery platforms.

If there’s a real demand for content that’s not available today, someone
will come up with a way to deliver it- and they’ll reap the benefits. That’s
what the free market’s all about.

–Jim Shepherd