“Safer” because bears are shooting back? Is that a thing now?

Cidu Bill on May 25th 2017


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Dave Blazek, Loose Parts, comic strips, comics, humor | 36 responses so far

36 Responses to ““Safer” because bears are shooting back? Is that a thing now?”

  1. Dave Van Domelen May 25th 2017 at 10:20 am 1

    Someone was exercising the right to arm bears.

  2. captainswift May 25th 2017 at 10:31 am 2

    Not because the bears are shooting back, because they AREN’T shooting back. They’re trading their guns for salmon.

  3. furrykef May 25th 2017 at 11:37 am 3

    I think captainswift’s got it, but it’s amazing how ambiguous this seems. “Salmon-for-guns” could be read as “exchange salmon to get guns” just as easily as “receive salmon in exchange for guns”, and the image seems similarly ambiguous unless you look carefully (it appears the bears have queued up, and all the bears behind the bear in front have guns but no salmon, so they must be there to exchange their gun). That said, the specific phrase “_____ for guns program” always refers to exchanging guns for something else.

  4. Dr. Shrinker May 25th 2017 at 12:08 pm 4

    But, since bears DON’T ever have guns, this comic hits a wall as soon as you figure out the bears are exchanging guns for salmon.

  5. James Pollock May 25th 2017 at 12:09 pm 5

    “I think captainswift’s got it, but it’s amazing how ambiguous this seems.”

    The normal operation is “cash for guns”, wherein police agencies (or nongovernmental organizations allied with law-enforcement on this issue) buy weapons no-questions-asked in order to remove them from the streets…but nobody gets confused about which way the cash and guns are flowing because the cops are not usually in the gun-distribution network.

    I think a close examination of the drawing, however, should have cleared things up. The bears are clearly in line, each carrying a rifle. This suggests that the bears have the rifles before participating in the salmon-for-guns program. Maybe a bear walking away with a salmon but no gun would have cleared it up, but where in the frame would you put that?

  6. James Pollock May 25th 2017 at 12:16 pm 6

    tangent warning

    When I was in grade school, we spent a lot of time watching nature movies. I remember one about flying squirrels mostly because, when you played the movie backwards, the squirrels gliding from one tree to land in other became a tree throwing squirrels at another tree. But back to my ORIGINAL tangent, another frequent topic was bears catching and eating migrating salmon.

    The bears would walk out into a stream, and think “I’ll take… THAT one!” and swat a fish out of the streem, then amble over and eat it or carry it off. The bear spends maybe two minutes, tops, with its feet wet. I still always think of this when the fishermen come back at the end of their day, with a salmon in their catch bag. And the bear’s doing it the hard way, the sea lions just swim upriver to the dam and get the fish trying to run the fish ladders.

  7. Cidu Bill May 25th 2017 at 12:52 pm 7

    Yes, the bears are turning in their guns and getting salmon in return. Just like inner-city programs where people turn in their guns in exchange for money or other items. Except with bears.

    But unless bears shooting people is actually an issue, what’s the joke?

  8. Andréa May 25th 2017 at 01:00 pm 8

    I only WISH bears were armed . . .

  9. Ted from Ft. Laud May 25th 2017 at 01:00 pm 9

    “…the cops are not usually in the gun-distribution network.”

    Maybe not usually, but apparently in some cases they are distributors. A (growing?) number of states - under pressure from the NRA - have gotten laws passed that the cops can’t destroy the guns they get (from confiscation or buybacks), in some cases mandating that they sell them. And a few jurisdictions are reported as choosing to sell the guns as a budget enhancer. Yes - this seems to defeat the purpose, but as we know, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…

  10. Kilby May 25th 2017 at 01:02 pm 10

    Didn’t the Far Side have a panel where the deer levelled the playing field by shooting back?

    P.S. Hunting in Germany is quite different than in the US. Since there are no predators left in German forests, hunting is the only thing that keeps the population levels of deer and wild boar down to something that the forest can support. Otherwise, once the food gets scarce, the boar start invading the local towns, digging up gardens for grubs, and knocking over trash cans. This is a recurring problem in many towns (not just small ones, even Berlin gets periodic invasions).

    German hunters find the orange safety vests worn by some American hunters to be almost comical. In a (carefully tended and cleared) German forest, hunters need to wear camouflage, or they’ll never see any targets at all. However, most German hunting is done from elevated blinds, typically set at the edge of a clearing (or farmed field, next to a patch of forest). I’ve been told that it can take days (or even weeks) of patient observation before a hunter sees a good opportunity for a shot.

  11. James Pollock May 25th 2017 at 01:58 pm 11

    “But unless bears shooting people is actually an issue, what’s the joke?”
    Arguably, the caption is incorrect. Clearly, the bears are hunting hunters for their rifles, and then trading them in for fish.

    “laws passed that the cops can’t destroy the guns they get (from confiscation or buybacks)”

    Those are two different cases.
    In the case of confiscations, they’ve taken a gun away from a Bad Person Who Shouldn’t Have Guns, but the gun itself hasn’t done anything wrong, and doesn’t deserve to die. It should go to the gun shelter and be adopted by someone who’ll treat it properly. Reduce Reuse Recycle.
    Gun buybacks are usually done by nonprofit organizations, AFAIK, so they’re free to do whatever they like with their property, including rendering them permanently inoperable.

  12. woozy May 25th 2017 at 02:05 pm 12

    “Yes, the bears are turning in their guns and getting salmon in return. Just like inner-city programs where people turn in their guns in exchange for money or other items. Except with bears.

    But unless bears shooting people is actually an issue, what’s the joke?”

    Well, the *joke* is “Just like inner-city programs …Except with bears”. Understanding what the joke is is not the question.

    The question is how on earth does this make any sense. Simply the wrong subjects were put in the wrong place in the analogy. It’d be like a cartoon of space men far in the future and one of the is trying to design something extremely common and all the other spacemen laughing and saying “ha, that will never catch on”. Understanding the joke is easy; it’s the placement that utterly and completely fails.

  13. Winter Wallaby May 25th 2017 at 02:32 pm 13

    But unless bears shooting people is actually an issue, what’s the joke?

    The whole situation is a “funny” made-up situation: what if bears had guns, and were trading them in for salmon? It’s a familiar situation in the real world, but translated to an unrealistic made-up situation. It doesn’t seem like a knee-slapper, but doesn’t seem like a “what’s the joke?” comic either.

  14. Scott May 25th 2017 at 03:00 pm 14

    While real bears don’t bear arms, cartoon bears do all sorts of intelligent things. Not just Blazek’s bears, Wiley’s bears do also.

    As for salmon, I was impressed by this until I was in Alaska during the season, and found that the salmon were so think in the streams that people could pick them off without getting one’s feet wet.

  15. Brent May 25th 2017 at 03:08 pm 15

    The joke is in the “for a whole generation of sportsmen”. You see, before now, bears were armed and shot back. But a cunning plan by those pesky humans got them to give up their guns willingly, and so hunting was safer… but that’s only until the bears get new guns and things return to the natural state.

  16. Boise Ed May 25th 2017 at 03:18 pm 16

    Dave [1] started out on the right track, but they’re exercising the right to DISarm bears.

    Personally, I’ve never understood humans who get a kick out of killing.

  17. Christian May 25th 2017 at 03:23 pm 17

    Where/how are the bears getting the guns in the first place? Are they buying the guns from (shady) arms dealers? NRA+animal rights extremists? Or are the bears taking them away from human hunters? If they’re taking the guns from human hunters… that’s unlikely to be a “safe” experience for the hunters.

    It’s possible that this program might be making hunting safer for sportsmen in the sense that Kilby kind of alludes to in his comments about hunting in Germany: Without their guns the sportsmen are less likely to [accidentally] shoot/kill each other.

  18. James Pollock May 25th 2017 at 05:42 pm 18

    “I’ve never understood humans who get a kick out of killing.”

    There’s two paths.
    In one, it’s about mastering the universe… I have the power to kill something = I am important.

    The second one involves hunting and killing something that has a realistic chance of hunting and killing the hunter… Yes, a firearm is a pretty big advantage, but there’s still an adrenaline rush out of being in danger.

    Well, there’s also a third, someone’s asked you to silence your cell phone, but a few people don’t actually buy into that one…

  19. Bob in Nashville May 25th 2017 at 06:26 pm 19

    But it ultimately backfired, as the bears were taking the guns from hunters to trade in.

  20. Ted from Ft. Laud May 25th 2017 at 11:23 pm 20

    Most gun buybacks are by NGOs and such, but some are organized by the police or other official bodies, and in some states (North Carolina and Arizona that I know of, and I believe more) the law explicitly states that the police (or cities or whatever) cannot destroy any guns, no matter how they acquired them (at least without a specific court order), and I believe in at least a couple they can’t even just hold them - once they are no longer required for forensic or evidentiary reasons, they must be auctioned off or sold to a licensed dealer. Apparently, not all police/sheriff’s departments are thrilled with this.

  21. Minor Annoyance May 25th 2017 at 11:26 pm 21

    If one wants to get political, one can note that salmon-for-guns is aimed at the bears, who are lower on the socio-economic scale, and protects a status quo where the hunters are better armed and have the law on their side.

  22. Powers May 26th 2017 at 11:29 am 22

    “‘Safer’ because bears are shooting back? Is that a thing now?”

    No, because the salmon-for-guns program was so successful. Didn’t you ever wonder why the bears didn’t shoot back? This is why.

  23. Treesong May 26th 2017 at 12:22 pm 23

    I thought Dave Van Domelen got it right @1.

  24. Ian D Osmond May 26th 2017 at 12:59 pm 24

    Of COURSE the bears don’t have guns! They traded them for salmon.

  25. Ian D Osmond May 26th 2017 at 01:15 pm 25

    One of the best examples of what James Pollock @18 is saying about the adrenaline rush thing would be hunting feral hogs in the United States. Boar hunting has been a thing since at least the Middle Ages, and for good reason. First, boars are genuinely dangerous to crops, animals, and people, even today with modern weapons. Sure, it would be even harder to do with nothing more than a boar spear, like they did in medieval times, but, even now, they’re genuinely an animal which is a challenge. Especially if you hunt them during one of the restricted-weapons seasons, like bow-hunting or black-powder season.

    Second, they taste good, so once you kill one, you can eat it quite happily.

    Third, because they’re dangerous, it’s an actual challenge to hunt them, and not without danger. This means that it can be a way to prove your own bravery, like free-climbing without safety ropes, or doing other adrenaline-junkie-type extreme sports.

    Fourth, in areas that have too many of them, some places are starting to consider using poisons to control their population, which is going to harm the rest of the ecosystem.

    So — it helps society, gives you food, gives a true challenge, takes down an animal which is completely NOT endangered and is, in fact, often an invasive species, and proves your bravery and toughness. If there is one form of hunting which is least objectionable to people, I would say that would have to be it.

  26. Christine May 26th 2017 at 01:30 pm 26

    @James Pollock - forgive my Canadianness, but don’t you have gun buyback programmes that are combined with gun amnesties, resulting in guns getting turned in which normally would have been confiscated had they come to the attention of police?

  27. James Pollock May 26th 2017 at 03:05 pm 27

    “forgive my Canadianness,”
    That’s very, well… Canadian of you to ask.

    “don’t you have gun buyback programmes that are combined with gun amnesties”
    There are many, many variations.

    The goal is to get people who don’t really NEED to have a gun in the home trade it in. They HOPE to get some guns that are being used in crimes either directly or indirectly (some people take very good care of their guns. Others… not so much. The second category is at risk of being stolen and then used in a crime. So, goes the hope, people who’d rather have a Best Buy giftcard than a gun might be in that second category.)

    The non-governmental organizations that run gun buybacks are usually in alliance with, but not operated by, local law enforcement. You want law enforcement to steer clear, so the people who are or have ties to criminals will still bring their weapons in, without worrying that they’ll be snatched up on a warrant. On the other hand, you want law enforcement to be nearby, in case arguments break out amongst those waiting to trade in their weapons, or an enterprising criminal decides to increase his arsenal by robbing the buyback site. Finally, you want law enforcement to know when and where the buyback program is operating so they aren’t stopping all the people on the street carrying guns to the trade-in site.

    On the law enforcement side, they agree to “look the other way” rather than surveilling the site to see who’s dropping off weapons, but they get information about which weapons were turned in. Sometimes they’re stolen property, and sometimes the weapons were involved in crimes, and sometimes both. Cops, in general, prefer it if fewer criminals are armed. Both for the obvious reason, but also because part of their job is to prevent crime, and not having a weapon theoretically reduces a criminal’s ability to act criminally.

    Now, the disclaimer: I’m one of those people who believes in private ownership of firearms, but also in regulation of how they are used and carried. People who store, maintain, carry and use their weapons safely and responsibly can do whatever they want (because they’re doing it safely and responsibly). The less safe and responsible you are in handling your firearms, the more interest the people collectively, via their agents the police, can and should take, and there’s a point where the level of irresponsibility rises to the level of “that dude should NOT have access to guns”. This centrist position gets me labeled as a “gun grabber” by one side and a “gun fetishist” by the other.

    Gun buybacks are probably a “feel-good” measure that doesn’t actually accomplish much. As long as criminals can continue to obtain weapons readily, buying the old ones doesn’t do much. The problem is that the two sides are so polarized… any restriction on gun possession is reflexively opposed by firearm enthussiasts, which means that the anti-gun side has to try to guess at what would make a good gun-control law without any input or assistance by the people actually affected by it, which means they tend to be poorly-designed, have huge flaws and loopholes, which feeds the “no way nohow” attitude that caused the laws to be poorly-designed in the first place.

  28. Ian D Osmond May 26th 2017 at 05:49 pm 28

    Christine — there have been a few in a few cities occasionally. It’s something that’s been done sporadically, by particular departments, often working with charities who fund it.

    It’s hard to judge how successful they have been at reducing crime — if you get to the point where a city has enough gun murder to make the police consider this seriously, it’s already in serious trouble. And it’s not clear what the pros and cons for the gun owners are — do they get enough to make it worthwhile for them?

  29. Terrence Feenstra May 27th 2017 at 08:30 am 29

    Dave Van Domelen (1) nailed it right out of the gate. Well done, Dave!

  30. Boise Ed May 27th 2017 at 06:06 pm 30

    Ian [25]: Good point about the feral boars. The only downside I can see is bystanders a half-mile away getting hit.

  31. Meryl A May 30th 2017 at 02:38 am 31

    Kilby - when one goes to a store that sells hunting items (in our case the “shoppertainment” chain store Cabella’s) they are selling both orange and camouflage. I am not sure when one wears which one - if one needs the orange to be seen, then when does on wear the camouflage not to be seen?

    Yes, they are getting guns away from bears so they will not fight back against the hunters.

    By the way - Cabella’s is an interesting place to go even if one does not hunt, shoot, boat, or camp. They generally have a game fish aquarium. There are lots of taxidermy animals ( yeah, I think they are bit gross) arranged in scenes by where they are from. A chance to play with GPS devices. Also clothes, shoes, general store (with sweets), furniture and home decor items. In some of them there is a “museum” of, generally used, older guns for sale. An electric eye shooting gallery. Camping stuff. Fast food place with a more exotic assortment of animals to be eaten than normal places.

  32. Olivier May 30th 2017 at 03:39 am 32

    “Fast food place with a more exotic assortment of animals to be eaten than normal places.”
    LOL : this took me back to 1998 and the various roadkill I saw everyday riding my bike to the lab in SC (including snakes, opossums, tortoises).

  33. James Pollock May 30th 2017 at 04:46 am 33

    “they are selling both orange and camouflage. I am not sure when one wears which one ”

    It depends on what you are hunting. Deerhunters need different gear than duckhunters.

  34. Kilby May 30th 2017 at 05:56 am 34

    @ Boise Ed (30) - Hitting bystanders is only part of the problem. A boar that has been shot (even if the wound is definitely mortal) can still run for a couple hundred yards before collapsing. Anyone or anything that the boar runs into is likely to be attacked, with potentially serious consequences.

    The second summer after we moved to this suburb of Berlin, there was a massive rise in the number of boar visitations. We had a whole group of them just outside our fence about once every two weeks (during daylight hours!), and that’s not even counting the nighttime attacks when they raided the flowerbeds and trash cans. The area game warden came to watch the spectacle once or twice. His problem was that he was not allowed to shoot at all in a residential area. Theoretically, he could have shot if the boar were inside our fence, but they did that only at night, and they were so clever about it that we never caught them in the act, not even once.

  35. Kilby May 30th 2017 at 05:58 am 35

    @ Meryl A (31) - Hunters wear orange when they are in dense forest and more worried that they might be targeted by another hunter than about the possibility of being seen by their prey. Standard camouflage is better suited for open country, as long as you’re sure there’s nobody else stalking the same bit of turf. There are also “orange camouflage” designs that try to do both jobs, taking advantage of the fact that many animals have limited or no sense of color.

  36. Kilby May 30th 2017 at 06:04 am 36

    @ Olivier (32) - It reminded me of a restaurant in L.A. that offered a “meat” burrito. We never asked what kind of “meat” it was supposed to contain. As I think about it now, we probably didn’t want to know.

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