Can we just agree that people who kick moose should pack all their stuff and move to Arkansas? That's another state that starts with an "A." Seriously. Who in their right mind kicks a moose? See, there aren't public service announcements on our buses and airwaves saying, "Good morning, Alaskans, it's a great day for a walk! Don't forget, moose will kill you if you mess with them too much. You may get by with a slight stomping, but that's a nice moose. Have a good one!"
Why? Because most of our citizens have a bit of common sense. It's not that hard. Well, unless you're a moose kicker or part of our state Legislature.
This week a commonsense gun law stalled in the halls of Juneau because there are a few lawmakers who are afraid of the NRA. It's so pathetic, but I'll try to just give you the scoop.
What has been called a "red flag" law has been introduced. Here's what a red flag law is — it is sometimes called an extreme risk protection order law. It allows a judge to issue an order that enables law enforcement to confiscate guns from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others.
Take into consideration that Alaska, according to our own state statistics, "Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country. The rate of suicide in the United States was 11.5 suicides per 100,000 people in 2007. In 2007, Alaska's rate was 21.8 suicides per 100,000 people. The rate of suicide among Alaska Native peoples was 35.1 per 100,000 people in 2007."
We are killing ourselves. We are killing each other. We are doing it with guns. Alaskan women have a three times the national average chance of being killed by their partner — half with a firearm.
The NRA has put the hammer down on lawmakers voting for these commonsense laws. Lars Dalseide, spokesperson for the NRA, told this paper, "The NRA supports risk protection orders that respect due process rights and ensure those who are found dangerous receive the the mental health treatment they so dearly need. Unfortunately, the current form of House Bill 75 lacks such safeguards and therefore lacks our support."
Really, Lars? Are you kidding me? So sorry, if people weren't killing themselves and others, this would be funny. The NRA is so worried about the "dearly needed" mental health treatment that they don't want guns taken out of the hands of people who would put a bullet in their own brain. Next they will tell us they aren't a gun manufacturing lobby group, but mental health advocates. Sell crazy to someone buying it, but we're all full here, Mr. Dalseide.
I had a grand idea to get a few million people to join the NRA and turn them back into a pro-people instead of pro-manufacturers organization. I pitched it to all the muckety mucks I could find. You know why it wouldn't work? The NRA doesn't let their regular membership vote on their board members or president. That's a neat trick! They take your money and then, well, pay Death Merchant Barbie, Dana Loesch, to pick on Parkland shooting survivors.
When I was a kid I worked hard to get an NRA safety patch for my backpack. I shot guns with my pop on the beach at our fish site. I've carried a pistol for years and even had to pull it out once. Funny thing, a drunk guy on a dark dock who was insistent that I go back to his boat with him, when presented the choice of being shot or jumping off the dock, well, the last I heard of him was a splash in the harbor. I almost shot my parents' preacher when he came by their house early one morning. He surprised a sleepy me and I'm still glad that the headlines never had to read, "Liberal Shannyn Moore shoots longtime preacher." I live in the woods and the bears are waking up. (Don't kick them either.) When your day starts with grabbing a chain saw and a shotgun, you're lucky! It's a big life that involves firearms. I only tell you this so I don't get lectured about the value of weapons by people who keep them in a case and send checks to the NRA. Spare me.
We have to do more to protect each other. To the Legislature, do your job. Stop doing the bidding of an organization that has fewer members than REI. Not passing this law is almost as stupid as kicking a moose.
Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.