Debate Forum Right, 11/8/11

You can’t ban nature

by Mark Luedtke

Mark Luedtke

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Lions and tigers and bears.” Forgive me. I watched the Wizard of Oz Friday night and it was very scary. It had scarecrows, witches and tornadoes in it. I think more Ohioans died while watching the Wizard of Oz on Friday than died during the entire Very Scary Wild Animal Release Crisis (VSWARC) near Zanesville a few weeks back. Fewer couldn’t have died since nobody died during the VSWARC. Maybe we should ban the Wizard of Oz, scarecrows, witches and tornadoes. That would make me feel safer and that’s all that matters, right?

You think I’m joking. I’m not. Lightning kills, on average, 57 people in America every year. That’s two per year in Ohio. That’s two more than were killed by exotic animals during the VSWARC. Let’s ban lightning too.

Let’s ban ownership of exotic animals the same way government banned ownership of drugs. Think about how successful that’s been. Nobody uses drugs anymore, right? Nobody gets gunned down in the street over drugs since they were banned, right? It’s not like the war on drugs created a black market that’s responsible for half the crime in the U.S. or anything. It’s so cool how government can change the laws of nature by simply banning something. So let’s ban tornadoes so they’ll never wipe out Xenia again. And let’s ban bears so we don’t have to be scared of them any more. Stephen Colbert would approve.

If you’re a ban lover, I have some land in Florida to sell you -guaranteed to be free of crocodiles, alligators and pythons because the Florida government banned them. Only herd animals singing “Kumbaya” are allowed. That’s why the land is so safe and expensive, but I offer a discount to Occupy protesters.

Just joking. You can’t ban stupidity. You can’t ban suicidal activity. You can’t ban nature. Didn’t anybody see The Lion King? Don’t make me sing “The Circle of Life.”

This proposed ban would have had zero effect on this tragedy. It’s impossible to stop a man from opening cages then committing suicide. Only government proposes non-solutions to supposed problems that punish every citizen but do nothing to actually prevent the problem they claim to target. And is government going to ban the cougars, coyotes and bears running wild in Ohio too?

If passed, this ban would create worse problems. Remember how the ban on dog fighting kept Michael Vick from having fighting dogs? A ban on exotic animals would increase their value and create a black market that empowered criminal gangs. That economic incentive would lead to more exotic animals in Ohio, and they would be kept in worse conditions.

This would produce more crime, more animal cruelty and increase the danger of animal attack. Politicians can’t change the laws of economics. They can only pervert them to enrich themselves and their cronies to the detriment of the rest of us.

And it’s not just state politicians trying to capitalize on this tragedy. The Sydney Morning Herald quotes tiger expert Leigh Henry, “I would say the current patchwork of laws in the United States regulating these captive tigers is inexcusable.” Expect national politicians to use this as an excuse to grab more power for themselves too.

I respect Jack Hanna for his expertise in handling animals, but I have no respect for him or anybody else as a lobbyist for bigger government. Notice Hanna is not trying to ban himself from controlling exotic animals, only others. But what’s to stop Hanna from releasing his wild animals? Hanna is using this tragedy to manipulate the public to convince politicians to quash his competition so he will become wealthier and more powerful at the expense of the people. This is an abject lesson showing how people manipulate voters and use the violence of government to advance their personal economic interests.

Some of you are probably offended that I have turned a tragedy into a farce. I respectfully disagree. Media actors and politicians have turned this unique, tragic event into a farcical propaganda piece for their personal gain. In typical government fashion, Governor Kasich, Jack Hanna and others are fear mongering to advance their own economic interests at the expense of the people. I’m responding in kind.

The most important lesson we should learn from this tragedy is that people must be prepared to defend themselves and their families. The people are always the first defenders.

Crooks don’t rob police stations. Training and arming yourself with a firearm is the best way to protect yourself and others from unforeseen attacks whether it comes from a standard criminal, terrorist or wild animal. When an attacker of any kind appears in your face, nobody can save you but yourself. Government’s pretense that it provides security undermines our willingness and ability to protect ourselves, which makes us more vulnerable to attackers, not safer. Let’s learn the right lesson from this tragedy and strengthen our ability to protect ourselves instead of allowing government to make us more vulnerable by advancing its false sense of security at our expense.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at

Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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