Part II – Bear Referendum
Chapter 8 – Mighty Anti-Hunting Weapon
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 10, 1996, Monday
[23:45 @ Scott and Annette Tanner’s]
Our presentation tonight was at the Courtenay Museum, after a vegetarian dinner at the Bar None Café, which obviously is the local hangout for the animal advocacy community. Not a large audience – about a dozen people – but thoroughly pre-enlightened. As with the Tofino crowd, I could be preaching to the converted except for that it is also an information session, about both the global bear parts trade and the BET’R Campaign, with neither of which are they particularly familiar. And more than “preaching to the choir”, it is to teach it a new song, to honor a different drummer, to rally the troops into a single fighting force in a higher war.
In the audience was the famous and highly respected Ruth Masters – a lady in her seventies who has fought a life time of local environmental battles, and is nonetheless still a fire-brand. She is one of those women who disrupt legal bear hunts – her weapon of choice being a whistle, as featured in Fun Kill. She personally came to thank me for doing what I’m doing, calling it “heroic”. I feel much humbled in her presence.
And then, there were two younger local activists, both Susans – Holvenstot and McVittie – who jointly invited me back to address a larger audience, saying that they couldn’t motivate their friends on the hunting issue the way I motivated them both tonight. Most if not all in the audience signed up as volunteer canvassers. Henceforth, Courtenay, like Tofino, shall be to me the epitome of a green and friendly town.
A week has gone by, and except for the initial duel with Keith Urchuk in Campbell River, our fear of massive hunter harassment hasn’t quite materialized. It’s almost disappointing, considering that I’ve already expended the necessary energy to steel myself for the Big Confrontation. But I’m not complaining.
I can actually see storm clouds within our event horizon. So far, our presentations have been more or less by invitation only, but things will soon change. Maureen Sager of Port Alberni, which we shall visit on June 13, Thursday, informed us that the Alberni Valley Times will run a pre-event article the day before, June 12, Wednesday, which will publicize the time and place of the meeting. This should bring out a larger, but assuredly mix, audience. The first open invitation – an invitation to trouble first and foremost, I suspect. But considering the small audiences so far, in which we have not signed up enough volunteers in any electoral district, thus far, the open format may well be the one we have to choose.
The prospect of a major Port Alberni confrontation is unnerving us both. Erica and I know that confrontation is inevitable on this tour, “So bring it on!” shouts our bravado. But we approach it as David must have when approaching Goliath. And what kind of a sling-shot do we have to vanquish such an inhumane, in human, and armed-to-the-teeth enemy? What do we have to just keep ourselves from harm? And what do I have to keep Erica from harm? I feel ill-equipped, even unequipped, to do the job, with no training whatsoever. Erica is looking to me for leadership, and rightly so, at least looking to see how I would handle the situation when it arises. But whom do I have to look up to? There is not even a case-precedent that I could take some points from.
Inevitably, I turned to Raminothna, and asked for a mighty weapon with which to vanquish the blood-thirsty Predator of predators, with their powerful firearms and compound bows.
“Something like a lethal LASER beam?” quipped Raminothna.
“Hey, that wouldn’t be bad, both for me and the bears, and deer, and elk, and moose.”
“And how would you be using this weapon, were it in your hands?”
“You already have at your disposal something ‘mightier than the sword’, or any other weapon including the bow, gun, and even the LASER beam.”
Well, Christopher, let’s see if your Uncle Tony can talk his way out of a paper bag. Good night.
The Fortunate and The Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)