Sep
18

The RCRGWD&OTTBA and Current Times

Monday, just over a week ago. A joint meeting of the Reecer Creek Rod, Gun, Working Dog & Outdoor Think Tank Benevolent Association (RCRGWD&OTTBA) and the 100-year-old Kittitas County Field and Stream Club. I was on the agenda to speak for a bit about my recent trip to South Africa. Truth be told, I was looking forward to hearing what I had to say, myself.

I always enjoy talking about the land, people and wildlife of southern Africa. My (finally) successful quest for a good mountain reedbuck and an exceptionally long-horned (for a tiny antelope) klipspringer, along with my continuing unsuccessful search for a large boar warthog, became sidebars to the presentation. The talk was well received, and I most enjoyed the questions folks had about Africa, getting the meat to market, local culture, logistics and costs.

After all that, we had a brief report from the two local Ellensburg, Washington, Boy Scouts – Trip and Beckett Landon – who attended the 24th World Scout Jamboree in late July in West Virginia. The club helped with their funding efforts and appreciated the follow up from their once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

As the meeting wound down, a couple homeys started asking questions about our little think tank. One of them had a serious and urgent request.

Given the hour, I postponed the “urgent request” discussion until the next day, then gave them a brief rundown on the history and goals of our Reecer Creek Rod, Gun, Working Dog & Outdoor Think Tank Benevolent Association.

To wit: the name, itself, reflects the geographic location of the inspiration that led to creation of our little think tank. Our three founders sat on the east bank of Reecer Creek, along the east slopes of the Cascades, cooling themselves with iced malt beverages on a hot July evening late in the last century.

Over those cool beverages, we organized around a manifold purpose. We committed to solving most of the problems facing the World, America, Washington State and the Kittitas Valley today. Our goals included: peace and understanding among all the world’s religions and ethnic groups by 2022 (reset twice); solutions to world hunger by 2030 (reset once); respectful and productive discourse among American politicians by 2016 (this one has been reset twice and is now an open-ended prayer; returning salmon and steelhead to full runs by 2015 (now year-to-year); and taking daily actions to lift the quality of local outdoor discourse. We take all our commitments seriously, even as some target dates become ever more fluid.

We pledged to work for habitat so that our children’s great-grandchildren – and theirs – might know fish and wildlife. At an early meeting at the Tav, we agreed to aggressively seek hunting dogs as loving and strong and smart as my Lab, Freebe the WonderDog, (but not as gassy in a duck blind or car).

We do have bylaws. Meetings automatically call to order whenever two or more gather to talk about the outdoors or wildlife or hunting or fishing or whatever – it depends on attitude, time of day, and who’s paying. Any attendee becomes a member. Agree to support our purpose and goals, and you become a life member. Members are expected to find at least one free meal a month. Committee chairs, to retain their positions, must score two malt beverages per fortnight.

Operating funds? We have none. Nobody has money (read the papers). Occasionally we will have a successful poker game or pass the hat, if our checks haven’t arrived yet.

Agenda? We’ve never used one. We’d love for you to do one for any meeting you call. Place any issue you like on your agenda. If you want notes, please take them. And bring snacks.

Standing subcommittees handle kids’ education, publicity, media accuracy, science education and poker rules – all carefully staffed for expertise and balance. They manage most of our work

Ad hoc subcommittees can form at any moment to handle suddenly important issues. That was the gist of my next day follow up with Homey.

“So,” said Homey, “this guns, guns, guns stuff is out of control. I started looking stuff up and the numbers don’t add up to the craziness. This should be one of those ad hoc committees you were talking about. Maybe something like a ‘US Deaths in Context Subcommittee…’

“Look, these are some of the 2017 numbers – the latest I could find. I went to the National Highway Safety Administration, the CDC and a Time Magazine report. Get this: that year 117 people were killed, and 463 wounded, in mass shootings. Gun deaths were 39, 773 – 23, 854 were suicides and the rest were murders of various types; 297 were killed by teenager distracted (that texting and whatever stuff) driving, but 3,166 were killed and more than 300,000 injured by  ALL ages of distracted drivers. It seems that distracted drivers are six times more likely to cause an accident that drunk drivers; and here’s the one that really burns my backside. We keep seeing doctors and nurses emotionally taking up the cause of gun deaths, but Johns Hopkins’ 2016 study noted that 250,000 people in the country die from medical errors every year. Others push that number to more than 400,000. Where is THAT outrage?

“Will you please get somebody looking at this ‘context’ stuff?”

Standby…

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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