Dec 3, 2009 at 2:07 am #1242691
There is a current review of a lightweight rifle on the website.
Comments which experienced, long-term members of BPL posted objecting to the review of a fire-arm were deleted by Ryan Jordan – even where the posts included comments on the technical aspects of the rifle.
I have several problems with this website reviewing fire-arms:
1. fire-arms are illegal in most national parks around the world. For example, you cannot take them into Australia's national parks and I understand that is also the situation in the US. You certainly can't carry a weapon in most parts of Europe. So why did BPL review something you cannot take bushwalking in most parts of the world?
2. the review notes that the presence of fire-arms may disturb or concern other trail users and cites the fact that the rifle can be packed small as one of its advantages – given this admission that the carrying of weapons, even where legal, is likely to upset other trail users, why advocate their use?
3. this is (supposedly) a UL bushwalking website – in what way is carrying a weapon a part of the UL ethos? I see hunting as quite a different thing to bushwalking – if this site is to become a UL hunting website then let me know and I will quit. The claim that this rifle could help you walk UL by shooting meat as you go would founder on impractability – walking along a trail is not hunting and hunting is not walking: they are different activities. Unless you had the gun at point the whole time, you would waste a lot of time stalking, and that presumes you're in an area with game and that game can be legally taken.
4. given Ryan Jordan's concern about pro-gun/anti-gun debates it's clear that BPL recognises that a significant number of its – paying – members do not approve of fire-arms. So why post a review that is guaranteed to legitimately upset a large number of its members?
There is a final, and I think more worrying, aspect to this firearm review: taken in conjunction with the earlier article on how to build camp-fires, it suggests that BPL is not committed to a leave no trace ethos but a land-use ethos. Fine, but many people adopt UL in the context of environmental awareness and concern for the environment: as I said in the post which Ryan Jordan deleted, it simply suggests that BPL just doesn't get it.Dec 3, 2009 at 2:32 am #1549859
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
I agree with your points and armed people in the backcountry makes me nervous as well. However, you need to check your facts because rifles are not illegal in a lot of backpacking spots. Thus we have hunters…Dec 3, 2009 at 2:55 am #1549860
"However, you need to check your facts because rifles are not illegal in a lot of backpacking spots. Thus we have hunters…"
That's correct – but the point is that a lot of the best places to bushwalk are probably places where hunting isn't allowed.Dec 3, 2009 at 3:09 am #1549861
@backpackerchickLocale: Planet Earth
What? Signed on the other day and wasn't sure I was in the right place. Very little to do with backpacking. Pathetic. Just an excuse for a political statement. Accusations that differing political views have been deleted by the editor. What a joke. Changed my perception of BPL.
The review indicated that this is a good gun for young children — nice little touch there.
Overall lack of sensitivity and lack of common sense.Dec 3, 2009 at 4:16 am #1549864
@jdeyoung81Locale: New England
I see no issue with combining hunting and UL backpacking under the right circumstances.
So long as it is done legally/safely and the user practices common sense.
I am a hunter. That being said I cant say that I really would combine my hobbies like this. To me there is a time and place for each of them. When I go out backpacking its really about the hike and getting some quiet time and relaxing the mind. I would not want to have to rely on having to shoot my dinner.
When I venture out to go hunting I dont even take a gun. My tool of choice is a bow.
I will say this; the UL movement into backpacking for me has transitioned into my hunting but not the other way around.
I guess what I am trying to say is that there is a time and a place for everything.
Happy Trails.Dec 3, 2009 at 6:45 am #1549879
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
I don't agree with most of your points.
First off, I would say only a small minority of UL advocates primarily adopt UL in the context of environmental awareness. Most of us are gear whores and own, sell, and purchase more gear than most traditional backpackers.
And clearly one review of a product of this nature doesn't mean suddenly BPL is going to turn into a hunting site. Many people objected to the packrafting content as well, but it never ruined the site. There is only so much content regarding UL backpacking that BPL would quickly get stale without adding in additional complimentery activities and differing viewpoints once-in-a-while.
The reason Ryan was concerned imo is the thread would have quickly devolved into an political argument rather than a debate about the merits of the product.
I don't have any issue with the moderation of that thread and subsequent deletion of posts that violate Ryan's request to keep the comments on point, since Ryan has suggested this debate is more than welcome in a more appropriate forum such as this one.
However, if posts that are critical of firearms and hunting in fact have been deleted, then why has this post which I've partially quotes below not been modified or deleted?
>>>Great piece on a new product. I don't currently own a gun but that is one I might someday. I respect others rights tp voice opposition to guns but am big on our birth-right in this country to responsibly own guns. I commend you on keeping this site well rounded in the ultralight realm.<<<
I actually agree with that sentiment. But opponents of guns and/or hunting might well object to any "birthright" and if Ryan/BPL is going to leave that post in the thread then they should let those with differing views respond to it imo.Dec 3, 2009 at 7:18 am #1549891
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
"fire-arms are illegal in most national parks around the world."
In some national parks, it's illegal to backpack without a bear canister. So should we advocate never backpacking without a bear canister?
"you cannot take them into Australia's national parks and I understand that is also the situation in the US"
National parks, in the US at least, represent the minority of land available for backpacking.
"the review notes that the presence of fire-arms may disturb or concern other trail users and cites the fact that the rifle can be packed small as one of its advantages"
There are many places where carrying a rifle and using fire-arms will not disturb others.
" this is (supposedly) a UL bushwalking website – in what way is carrying a weapon a part of the UL ethos?"
His review notes that by carrying the rifle and hunting, you can reduce food weight on longer hikes.
"The claim that this rifle could help you walk UL by shooting meat as you go would founder on impractability"
Really? That's how the original UL hikers did it (Native Americans)
"So why post a review that is guaranteed to legitimately upset a large number of its members?"
Because a number of paying members also support fire arms. Do we really want a culture where we can't talk about something that upsets someone else?
"The review indicated that this is a good gun for young children — nice little touch there."
Don't underestimate the importance of kids being educated and exposed to the responsible use of firearms. Over 50% of US households have a firearm. If a kid who's gotten responsible hands on experience with a gun accidentally comes across a gun, s/he is more likely to treat it with respect and take responsible action. The kid with no exposure is more likely to not truly understand the risks associated with playing with the happened upon gun.
I for one am glad that the review was posted. I doubt I'll ever buy the gun or go hunting while backpacking, but I like learning about it. I like that the site doesn't play to the safest common denominator. Otherwise, I'd go join a site about doilies.Dec 3, 2009 at 7:35 am #1549895
I had no problem with the review. It's a legal product, commonly used (if you live outside a major city), which can be legally used by the majority of the readers. I've seen reviews and concepts on here I found stupid or offensive, but I just ignore them, rather than resorting to arm waving hysteria. Life isn't fair, and everything on this forum isn't always going to be exactly what you want to see, or believe in. Lighten up, Francis.Dec 3, 2009 at 7:44 am #1549900
My initial reaction to seeing the gun being talked about was one of discomfort- I'm not sure I can get into the mindset of someone whose pleasures include killing things-the killing as sport concept. On the other hand, as a meat eater, I am as guilty as anyone of killing animals. There's no reason that a gun as an ultralight tool for providing food shouldn't be reviewed in the same way as fishing rods have been. Where was the big furore when BPL started stocking rods? Where was the fuss from people complaining about children killing fish? (Edited because I agree with the next post!)Dec 3, 2009 at 7:50 am #1549901
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
Simon – this is not a response to you but a response to a thread by Josh that I think got deleted from the Editor's forum… My response over there will prolly get deleted so I'm preemptively pulled off a copy paste.
"Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor."
Since Ryan warned that off track posts would be removed from that particular thread, and welcomed anyone to debate the issues in a more appropriate sub-forum – then clearly deleting the posts is not censorship.
The forums are split into several sub forums for a reason and deleting those posts is nothing more than housecleaning imo. BPL is not suppressing anyone's viewpoint.
Having said that, the BPL policy does seem to be a little inconsistent. As other entire threads with many valid on point posts have been moved in their enterity to chaff after other people (like me) have got off track. Those threads could just as easily be cleaned up by deleting the off track posts.Dec 3, 2009 at 7:51 am #1549902
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
"The review indicated that this is a good gun for young children — nice little touch there.
Overall lack of sensitivity and lack of common sense."
Not everyone has your set of beliefs (Do I hear a chorus of "What about the children?"). My son has grown up in a family that enjoys shooting as a FAMILY activity. My son had his first rifle at around 7 and our next son will get one at the same age. Taking a child to a range and seeing safe, lawful shooting is smart – it takes the allure of guns away. Ford has cleaned many a rifle and handgun in his life with Dad. Like any responsible gun owner we have safes that we keep our firearms in but believe in teaching responsibility first and foremost.
There are many of us who hike and believe in protecting our right to bear arms in the US. I have a CPL and carry on many trips, simply because I can. I wait for February to arrive when in this state I will be legally able to carry in NP's concealed.
If I was on a longer trip with my children at this point and I had the hunting license for bird and or small game I might consider it. I grew up in a family that hunted and fished. I have no aversions to prepping small game and roasting it.
What many who live on the liberal side don't realize is that most of America that isn't on the left coast and or in Hollywood does live a life that includes guns and or hunting.Dec 3, 2009 at 7:59 am #1549904
"Taking a child to a range and seeing safe, lawful shooting is smart – it takes the allure of guns away."
Please provide the data that supports this ridiculous statement.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:06 am #1549906
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
I wanted to interject my own comments so that you all know what my perspective is about guns, and hopefully, help you understand that I'm not necessarily a confederate-flag-waving redneck championing my rights vs. yours.
Context: I drive a Subaru when I have to, ride my bike or walk to work, shoot way more animals with cameras than guns, and have been known on occasion to listen to NPR.
I reviewed the Pak-Rifle in one context: its use as an ultralight backpacking tool. Maybe it's a tool you like, maybe it's not. Maybe it's legal in your hiking areas, maybe it's not (like an Ursack for food storage). Maybe it's legal in your country, maybe it's not (like 2%+ bear pepper spray). That's OK. I'm only presenting it as one option for one piece of gear in an ultralight kit.
I have zero intention of publishing information about "hunting" at Backpacking Light if the topic cannot be presented in the context of our mission:
"…to promote multi-day, backcountry, self-sufficient ("backpackable") travel in a lightweight style."
Within that mission, I do support the discussion of anything, controversial or not, or whether or not it reflects my own viewpoints.
We have a well-rounded community of people here, with varying viewpoints. I would encourage you to seek an avenue of humility and respect for each other rather than being too aggressive at promoting your personal agenda for the sake of promoting your personal agenda. I think there is more to learn by understanding the viewpoints of others rather than making sure yours are heard. The latter usually results in the escalation of volume and rhetoric at the expense of our relationships with each other, and the former simply requires that we listen and speak a little more gently.
The bottom line for me is that I'm grateful to live in a country, and hike in lands, where gun ownership is offered as a choice. While I appreciate the fact that it was granted as a right to our citizens, I see it more as a privilege. From rights, abuses sometimes flow in response to oppression ("I have to fight for my rights!"). With privilege, simply comes humble responsibility to be a good steward of that privilege.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:14 am #1549910
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
The worst thing a person can do is hide guns from a child without telling them what they are, what they do and worse keep them out a safe. Or even worse: never talking about guns with children – and expecting them to be safe with them if they encounter one without adults there.
There is plenty of studies and evidence out there if you want to look. Being that I am tired these days, you can go Google it. I don't have any desire to do YOUR work.
Ranges are literally one of the most boring places to visit. Cold and drafty in most cases, full of rules (no one wants the range master on their case….). They teach a strict obedience to a child of what can and cannot be done. Something that is lacking in how some parents raise their children these days. Ford has been going with us since he was a wee one and has a respect for firearms due to seeing what they can do.
Children not exposed to shooting have no concept of what pulling a trigger will do. Every child should have at minimum a class on firearm safety – which frankly used to be taught in many schools. The classic NRA class for kids is a good one. Since schools do not teach this anymore, we took the method of home schooling our son.
PS: He enjoys Dad and Son visits to the range very much. It is their bonding time. And what a great thing for a Dad to have as the son enters teen years.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:20 am #1549913
Brian Keith GunterMember
Right on, Ryan. I agree with your comments.
This debate is like most things in America…if you don't like it or agree with it, don't do it. If it's not your cup of "green" tea, don't drink it. Lighten up.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:25 am #1549914
"There is plenty of studies and evidence out there if you want to look. Being that I am tired these days, you can go Google it. I don't have any desire to do YOUR work."
That's what I thought. No studies.
When I spend quality time with my kids it involves hiking, backpacking, sports, playtime, and talking about what is going on in their lives. Shooting range? No way. Driving range? Sure. A 7 year old does not need to know how to shoot a gun. Consider chess. It's safer.
Studies DO show that guns in the house are dangerous. Period. Oh, and you can Google that one if you would like.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:32 am #1549916
""Taking a child to a range and seeing safe, lawful shooting is smart – it takes the allure of guns away."
Please provide the data that supports this ridiculous statement."
When I was a kid in grade school, one of the safety lessons
we were taught was what a blasting cap looked like, what
to do if you found one, and what the consequences of playing
around with one could be. These could be found around construction sites.
(Blasting caps are no longer generally used).
As a minimum, the same should be taught to children about
firearms, (matches, knives, cars for that matter). If they
have no knowledge their curiosity may be cause dangerous
experimentation when they come across such things.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:34 am #1549917
@jdeyoung81Locale: New England
David – you do what you love to do with your kids and thats great. I do the same. How about you respect what other families do for fun with their kids?
And Guns are safe. Untrained and irresponsible people with guns are dangerous.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:34 am #1549918
I see it this way…. I don't care about carrying an UL gun, so I don't click on the article cause I don't care about it and move on. If your into it, read it and take away what you want, if you don't care, don't click on it.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:39 am #1549920
"If they have no knowledge their curiosity may be cause dangerous experimentation when they come across such things."
Do you mean like sticking your tongue in an electrical outlet.
Here is what you do. Hey kids – stay away from guns. They are dangerous and are used for killing.
With respect to the curiosity element – no guns in the house, no curiosity.Dec 3, 2009 at 8:45 am #1549921
"David – you do what you love to do with your kids and thats great. I do the same. How about you respect what other families do for fun with their kids?
And Guns are safe. Untrained and irresponsible people with guns are dangerous."
First – I was asked for data to support the statement. Then I got a snide remark in return.
Second – guns are not safe. A guns purpose is singular. Shoot a bullet. Why would you shoot a bullet? To hurt or kill something living. Target practice? Nah. That just trains someone who has a gun to be able to use the gun for the singular purpose. Use paint balls – they don't hurt as much.
So a trained person with a gun is responsible? Do you want me to refute your statement or do see the irony in what you said?Dec 3, 2009 at 8:49 am #1549923
"Studies DO show that guns in the house are dangerous. Period. Oh, and you can Google that one if you would like."
Likely you are referring to the now widely discredited
From what I remember, the "firearms in the home" number included firearms brought BY THE CRIMINAL into the victimized home.
Death of the PERPETRATOR was also included in the homicide number.
Another false statistic was used in calculating how many children were victims of firearm violence. "Children" were defined as anyone 24 years and under who were hurt or killed by a firearm, whether they were the criminal or the victim.
Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home, Arthur L. Kellerman, D.T.
Reay, 314 New Eng. J. Med. 1557-60, June 12, 1986. (Kellerman admits that his study did "not include
cases in which burglars or intruders are wounded or frightened away by the use or display of a firearm." He
also admitted his study did not look at situations in which intruders "purposely avoided a home known to
be armed." This is a classic case of a “study” conducted to achieve a desired result.
For a better study see–
Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, Gary Kleck, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1991Dec 3, 2009 at 8:50 am #1549925
If half the homes in America have guns, how are you going to
keep them away from such at their friends homes?Dec 3, 2009 at 9:00 am #1549928
"If half the homes in America have guns, how are you going to
keep them away from such at their friends homes?"
Take the other half out.Dec 3, 2009 at 9:05 am #1549930
@backpackerchickLocale: Planet Earth
Guns are about killing. Hard to connect with packpacking. Romance aside, how many people here are really going to process and eat their kill in the context of an UL backpacking trip. I think this review was primarily for effect. To stir up a very American debate.
Thoughts on gun ownership aside, should we really be encouraging our fellow hikers to carry guns?
Waiting for the review of UL Bibles.
PS. This very provincial argument must seem absurd to those who have spent limited time in the United States.
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