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April 16, 2007

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Latest News Media Claim: U.S. Presidents Who Hunt Start Wars

I was watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” the other night and was struck by one of his “New Rules” rules. He ranted about Governor Mitt Romney’s pretending to be a hunter, and then said words to the effect that if we had fewer presidents who hunted, we would get in fewer wars, due to the alleged connection between “cruelty” to animals and cruelty to people.

This intrigued me, so I went back and looked at the record, starting with our first modern conflict, the Civil War (I have counted only real wars, not casual bloodlettings like Ronald Reagan’s debacle in Beirut, or Bubba’s excellent adventure in Somalia):

Civil War, entered into by Abraham Lincoln, a non-hunter.

Spanish-American War, entered into by William McKinley, a non-hunter.

World War I, entered into by Woodrow Wilson, a non-hunter.

World War II, entered into by Franklin D. Roosevelt, a non-hunter.

Korean War, entered into by Harry S. Truman, a non-hunter.

Vietnam, entered into by John F. Kennedy, a non-hunter. Presided over by Lyndon Baines Johnson, who shot deer from his convertible and picked up his beagles by their ears. Presided over by Richard M. Nixon, a non-hunter.

Desert Storm, entered into by George Bush, a hunter.

Iraq/Afghanistan, entered into by George W. Bush. I can’t find any real evidence that W. is a hunter; however, one website claimed that, as a boy, he enjoyed stuffing firecrackers in frogs, so I guess that counts for something. One the other hand, Vice President Cheney is a hunter for sure, and may actually be president, so we have to factor that in.

And so, out of eight wars, only three had hunting presidents involved. Out of ten (or 11) presidents, only four had even the most tenuous connection to making the bunnies sweat.

But I like Bill Maher. He is always angry, and sometimes funny, and frequently has interesting guests.


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Va. Tech grieves & wonders what caused a student's rage the NRA is down playing this genocide.America's fascination with guns is well-known throughout the more civilized world. Our enlightened brothers and sisters in Europe have already banned handguns in their countries and may wonder why we have not done the same in the US, especially with the rising crime rate and handgun violence statistics.
Now with terrorism, the threat of gun violence is even more real. Why do NRA madmen persist in their love affair with guns?
They fight tooth and nails against trigger locks, even though trigger locks are proven to dramatically reduce accidental shootings. The gun owners would rather have children shooting themselves than have to store their guns responsibly. They also want all schoolteachers to be heavily armed, ostensibly as a "deterrent" against future Columbine like incidents. Of course they ignore the fact that using violence as a deterrent against violence never works (look how well the death penalty has cut the murder rate in the U.S.)it appears by arming schoolteachers their true agenda is to increase the amount of children removed from society as a result of accidental shootings.DON't put it past the none.

Black Rifle addict

To Bigbenr-
I agree gun locks are a good idea, but they are only effective if the owner uses them. All reputable gun manufactures include it with their product. Here in Michigan, most retail stores give a FREE trigger lock even if the gun is sold with one from the manufacture.
As for the NRA-There web site opens with a very heart felt condolence statement sending prayers to the familes and everyone effected by this tradedy.
As for America's fascination with guns, most of the non-gun cultures wished they could have our freedoms to own them...it's not about guns but the RIGHT TO OWN THEM!!
"Gun owners would rather have children shoot themselves" YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT?? Come now, we as gun owners can agree to disagree,but making a comment like that is offensive to us all!

"Our enlightened brothers and sisters in Europe have already banned handguns in their countries and may wonder why we have not done the same in the US, especially with the rising crime rate and handgun violence statistics."

I assume since they have banned handguns all the crime in their "enlightened" countries is gone?

Personally I believe everyone should carry a gun, possibly a law requiring all able bodied and mentally competent citizens to carry? The majority of people I know who do carry are more polite and civil than most of the others in the unarmed population.
Have you ever seen a fight break out in a Gun Shop? I haven't.
Restaurants, yes. Offices, Yes. Gun Shops, never seen it happen, generally gun people are more respectful and polite than others I have encountered.

Ralph the Rifleman

To Unknown Author-
I agree with you that law abiding gun ownership makes for mostly respectful people, not always of course, but most of the time...thus the respect to own the gun legally.
As for able bodied people owning guns; look at Israel.I understand people use "Europe" as the example of non-gun ownership, but crime still occurs there and no one seems to look at Israel to prove that gun/citizen ownership works!
Oh, I guess having to fight for freedom requires gun ownership,right? Our constitution was written to control the government not the people! That's the fundamental difference of country.

Rusty in MO

I am amazed at the responses after the VT shooting. Concerns of the race of the shooter, was the gun registered, etc. As far as the Civil War there was nothing civil about it, more died in single battles than in Iraq to date; seven of eight of my GGrandfathers fought in it, for both sides, thats history, get over it. the one thing that has shown through is the freedom to express ourselves; this is a great thing. keep it up but keep it controlled and with a point to it. Good luck to all and keep talking about your beliefs but in less a rant.

Ralph the Rifleman

Sorry-My last sentance should read"That's the fundatmental difference in our country"

Peter C

I find it very disturbing that anyone on this forum would suggest banning handguns - or any species of guns, for that matter. I would hope that the writer who expressed these sentiments is in fact a "troll" or a plant from the Brady Campaign or some similar anti-gun group. We gun owners have our self-declared enemies...Schumer, Kennedy, McCarthy, Conyers, Biden, Clinton, etc., etc., ad nauseam. We do not need elitists or Fuddites in our ranks giving aid and comfort to these enemies. We must all hang together, owners of Perazzis and Hi-Points alike, or we will assuredly hang separately ...and you can bet your Pelosi on that!

Steve C

We are reminded every day that people with intent to kill can seldom be stopped.

Existing laws and future laws have no bearing on this fact.

"no one seems to look at Israel to prove that gun/citizen ownership works"

Guns or lack thereof do not make for safe societies. There are safe places in the world with virtually zero guns and places with ample guns. There are places in the world with lots of guns that are incredibly dangerous. What makes for a safe society, like what exists in Israel, is social programs, something the right wing hates with a passion (except when they are enacted outside the US borders).


Why is it necessary to have guns to defend yourself? Ok, I get the point of self defense but in my opinion there would be no need for guns for self defense if guns were banned.

Generally, I don't understand are gun laws. it's perfectly clear that the freedom of owning guns is a very significant factor in crime. The more guns around in unresponsible hands, the bigger possibility to get your head blown off for no reason. Just look at the other countries, people manage without guns under their pillows. And I bet that has something to do with lower crime rates as well.
I'm just saying that is the freedom of having guns really worth it? Does it bring more good than bad with it? I really doubt that. Guns are made for killing. Nowadays, mostly for killing PEOPLE. I think there's something very wrong in the system if bearing guns is considered necessary needed.
We need teh open our eye's people.


When the best miltary hardware in existence was black-powder rifles and the occasional cannon (a powerful but very hard to maneuver object). Today, the Army has fighter jets, rocket launchers, and any number of other weapons that it's already illegal for private citizens to own. Armed insurrection by the populace is not a realistic concern anymore it's a mad fantasy that no one but a paranoid nut could take seriously.The more assualt type guns are in circulation, the more chance there is that it will be discharged accidentally. I don't see why gun-crazys should be allowed to carry potentially lethal anything.

By exercising their freedom, they are diminishing my freedom to live in a world where there is a low risk of being accidentally shot.

Gun owners should be forced by law to turn in any or all semi-assualt guns and its military ammunition.
It all goes back to an obscure centuries-old document called the "Constitution of the United States of America." Specifically, there is a part of this document (a late addition, not part of the original text) known as the "Second Amendment." It goes something like this:

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
It seems obvious that the authors of this document intended this amendment to be used to supply guns to the Army. At no point does it suggest that the average man off the street with no military training should be permitted to own a gun!
The Second Amendment only protects the "collective" State right to maintain a militia, not an individual right to keep and bear arms.


If guns are banned, then only criminals, and not law-abiding citizens, could get their hands on weapons. Home owners would be defenseless from an attacker. And Steve C... Have you looked at the news? When was the last time Israel (or any of the Middle East) was a safe place? Social programs obviously haven't helped there.


Oops, not Steve C... The one after him, the anonymous (and obviously confused) "left wing" that won't put a name down.


Though it may be difficult for you to be reasonable, consider for a moment the recent massacre of innocent and unarmed students at VA Tech. Firearms are off-limits on campus by law. The only person there with a gun was the bad guy.

Jethro Lilley

It was most certainly Lincoln who started the War of Northern Aggression when he called for 75000 troops and created an even wider division in the loyalty of the Border States.
I do not know for sure if he hunted or not; however he did enjoy splitting trees in two; therefor the subsequent loss of habitat may have speeded the extinction of a species or two and should count for something.

Jethro Lilley

OOOH! Mr. Bigbenr:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

If you are going to quote the Second Amendment then you had better learn the wording.

Our Country HAD an army at the drafting of The Constitution AND The Bill of Rights. The Militia was composed of ordinary citizens who answered the call of Patriotism with the guns that they used at home. Squirrel rifles. Shotguns. Granddad's old blunderbus, anything one could find AT HOME. No Where in the Constitution or The Bill Of Rights is the word People used to mean anything other than People. The word State meant State. The word Government meant Government.

If The Right of the People means you and me in the First and Fourth Amendments, then why does it not mean the same in the Second Amendment? What about the Tenth Amendment, which reads: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to THE PEOPLE.

Now what the Hell do you think they meant by THE PEOPLE?


The government should ban all private ownership of guns, I say that you can't be too careful, and we must do this to protect the children. Citizens should not have the right to own firearms for self-protection, hunting, target shooting, and recreational purposes.The vast proportions of Americans recognize the reality that individuals do not have a legitimate need for guns.We must recognize that gun violence is a multi-faceted problem and requires a multi-faceted approach. We must recognize that as we sit idly by, that police officers and scores of innocent children are being injured or killed.They are weapons of war and are being adopted in large numbers by the most violent members of our society. Since Democrats first enacted the Military gun ban in 1994, there was a 84% reduction in the crimes committed by these weapons. Congress must act to re-enact the Assault Weapons ban.
There is nothing "harmless" about firing a deadly weapon in even the safest of environments. It is just too risky. A stray bullet could richochet and hit someone. As you can see, any reasonable person would support the banning of all guns. Trust me on this, I was a fundamentalist gun owner for several years. I got out of the gun cult 3 years ago and would encourage others to do the same.
It is clear to me that the 2nd amendment needs to be updated for the 21st century.Due to the Constitution's age and the present interpreting "arms" as guns and munitions.I want to stress that the Second Amendment is outdated.The idea of a bunch of nutso gun nuts armed with rifles and pistols going up against the world's most modern, best-equipped, best-trained army is so pathetically sad it's almost funny. I think we need teh adopt a United Nations type plan.

Jethro Lilley

Two more things and I will shut up... Quotes from Benjamin Franklin:
Anyone who will give up some of his freedom for a little bit of safety deserves neither freedom nor safety...and... We must all hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately.


I think we’re at a crossroads, folks.

I can’t believe the disgusting spin[s] I hear and read in the news and in this blog that is high jacking a tragic and most unfortunate event to further an agenda. Have these people no shame or values that will prevent them from using any issue, any event, sacrifice any ideal, subvert any policy to gain control?


"""President Bush is indeed a hunter""" The Bush administration has been shooting itself in the foot since it was installed into power. Of course shrub has continued the idiotic lagacy of Ronnie Raygun by slashing government mental health budgets...remember, Mr. 'Shining City on a Hill' was the one who emptied out the mental institutions and put all the disturbed people on the street...cut the budget for social programs! Cut taxes for the rich! Eliminate any semblance of government regulation of businesses and industry...let pollution and consumer/investor rip-off reign! Jettison a reality-based government for 'faith-based' solutions! The all-might market will reduce pollution, keep our food standards high, and take care of all of society's needs! Gun control is hitting your target! I used to be a republican...then I woke up...apparentlt one-third of Amerika's population is still in, and always will be in, the right-wing zombie trance. Go to bed at night asking yourself why in the hell all the nations in the European Union have vastly fewer gun homicides and suicides and accidental gun deaths than we do. Kindof takes all the wind out of the tired old mantras that 'If we take away the guns from law abiding citizens, then only criminals will have guns', as well as the tired old chestnut about redneck citizens needing guns to defend themselves from the possibility of their government turning autocratic...how many Euro governments have turned on their citizens in the last 60 years? The answer is for citizens to participate in their own governments (We the people...), not buy guns and bury them in PVC pipes in their back yards for 'the coming revolution'. Wake up, fellow Americans: We still have a great country, but we are behind the Europeans, Aussies, and Canadians on most quality of life measures (crime, pollution, education, health care and health of citizenry, social safety nets, and more. Are we really too arrogant to learn anything from the rest of the world? Sorry Ronnie Raygun...it is NOT 'Morning in America'...how about 'Mourning FOR America'. All you delusional cretans go pray to your God for all the good that will will do.

Ed J

Hey Bigbenr,
If its so great over there, why haven't you moved over there?


I repeat for emphasis.
YOU have no 'gun rights' whatever.
The STATE has a right to a Militia.
The first half of the 2nd amendment is the ONLY example of a right granted that comes with a declared limitation and allowable purpose. The U.S. Supreme Court agrees with ME, the right to keep a well-regulated Militia belongs to the STATE!
Yeah, there's an idea.
Armed teachers.
So next time an unruly student irritates the overworked, underpaid, out of pocket spending teacher, s/he can just pop the little bugger.
Oh, and that nasty bit about guns killing the owners far more often than the owners kill 'bad' guys?
Too bad I guess. There is a better answer.
Outlaw the private possession of firearms.

Don't tell me it can't work, Britian forbids in-home possession of even shotguns, and lo, they DON'T have Columbines and the like.

If we haven't the guts to try to stop the things from being sold, why not open up all the stops and let in nuclear weapons for every psycho?


(((((its so great over there, why haven't you moved over there?))))


Seems outlawing guns REDUCES crime, as long as you don't half-ass it.

Carry a gun, go to prison. Gun crime goes WAY down, since 'outlaws' usually get their guns by buying them from 'citizens' or stealing them from 'citizens'.Just ask the FBI, they document about 2 MILLION cases a year. You keep ignoring the fact that the criminals with records CAN BE STOPPED if there is no ilicit source for weapons, because said weapons are banned.

Now think it through.

No private possession of weapons.

No black market for handguns, Bolt sniper rifles,ak45 assualt ,m16 military rifles. You aren't going to risk prison for 2 or 3 years in order to go around armed looking for a target of opportunity.

Unless you are TOTALLY stupid that is. Can we stop the Insanity? I do not, nor will I attempt to, uderstand the nra 's rational.


Bigbenr seems to becoming more shrill and frothing. Right?

Hope he/she doesn't bust his/her keyboard. :-)


Hey Bigbenr,
riddle me this? Why is it the liberals want to increase gun bans, but refuse to increase the punishment for using a firearm in a crime? And why is it the "liberal judges" who have consistently reduced sentences of "gun toting criminals"? The main differences between U.S. and Europe/Australia is unfortunately we have gotten soft on crime and refuse to get tough again whereas they have it in black and white. If we could get back to where crime and the punishment were set in stone and not negotiable, you would notice a decrease in all crime. Our prisions are not what they used to be, now prisoners get TV, A/C and many privaleges that almost 1/3 of our free citizens can't afford. As far as the social programs, If we would start holding our Government and politicians more accountable for their spending then we could afford to enact more social programs.

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