Beating the Covid!

Your intrepid reporter, getting a Covid shot.

While many in the country were watching or listening in on the opening of the second impeachment trial of former president Trump, my wife and I were able to get our second covid-19 immunization. 

There are advantages to being geezers, in this case being near the front of the line of Phase 1B of the covid-19 immunization program. Even better, assuming we’ve survived whatever after-effects of the shot, and I did have some, we are now pretty confident that the coronavirus isn’t going to get us. We know we won’t live forever, but we’re now pretty sure that we won’t be hooked up to a respirator in an ICU, gasping for air, wishing we’d gotten those shots.

I’m all too aware that some people resist the idea of vaccinations—any vaccinations—for a variety of reasons, most of which are, in my opinion, ridiculous. 

For those of you who pass on vaccinations, especially now the covid-19 vaccinations, I’ll point out that this is the way out of what we’ve been going through this past year.

If you’re sick of wearing masks, tired of social distancing, missing out on hugs and handshakes, the lack of a social life, not being able to go to athletic events, or church or concerts or family reunions, and every other thing you’ve hated about this past year, as have I, this is our way out. 

If you’re tired of living in fear that you might catch it, or that a loved one might catch it, or that a loved one might catch it and not survive, this is our way out.

Our local health departments are the heroes in this long uphill slog to make us safer during the pandemic. My advice is to follow their instructions and don’t try to crash the lines as they work their way through occupation, age and health groups. This race to immunize our local communities, our nation and the world is not a sprint; it’s a super marathon. It’s a super marathon in which all of us can be winners.

Moving on to the latest from Montana’s loony tune legislature, I have to echo comments from my good friend, and former Montana Standard reporter, Nick Gevock, the Director of Conservation for the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Nick wrote about, and it was widely printed in Montana newspapers, one of the dumber things (and there are many!) to come out in the session, House Joint Resolution No. 5, introduced by Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Lolo. Mr. Tschida’s proposed resolution asserts that taxes on firearms constitute an unconstitutional infringement on American citizens’ right to bear arms. 

Mr. Tschida’s bill is, first of all, nonsense. A state cannot unilaterally declare a federal law unconstitutional. It’s an attempt at nullification, a notion long discredited through our nation’s history, though the idea never really goes away.

Second, his bill attacks one of the nation’s great success stories, the Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, often referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act, in which a federal excise tax is levied on firearms and ammunition sales for wildlife conservation. The Act was later modified with the Dingell-Johnson Act to also levy a tax on fishing equipment to help fund fisheries projects.

Sportsmen and women, over the years, have proudly pointed to those excise taxes as something we are happy to pay because it helps fund wildlife management, acquisition of property for wildlife management, and to provide public access for outdoor recreation.

A few of the many pheasants I’ve successively hunted on public lands funded by Pittman-Robertson revenues.

Over the years, I have spent many happy days tramping across public lands in Montana and North Dakota that have been acquired or improved, or managed through Pittman-Robertson funds. Some signage has noted the property was a P-R Project, which I once thought it meant it was a public relations project. Nope, it was from the Pittman-Robertson excise tax that we hunters have cheerfully paid so that, hopefully, wildlife could thrive on these lands.

I’ll close with a quote from Nick’s article. “Don’t let anyone who supports this measure tell you they’re for hunters. In fact, they’re working to destroy our sporting traditions.”

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