Mask cultists entrenched in Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s Administration are intent on clinging to outdated and debunked Covid protocols even at the possible disastrous expense of failing to teach young hunters safety with firearms.
It’s more proof that Kelly’s Democrat lieutenants are more obsessed with authoritarian orthodoxy and virtue signaling within eyeshot of their superiors than they are actual facts and proven safety.
KDWP Director of Licensing and Education Jessica Mounts’ recent memo to Kansas Hunter Safety Instructors encourages putting the kibosh to personal safety instruction altogether – who needs in-person instruction in something as mundane as handling a firearm when one can just watch a video or use “virtual options” as Mounts encourages. I mean, what’s the difference between a 12 gauge shotgun that can actually blow your head off your shoulders and “Call Of Duty,” anyway?
If volunteer hunter ed instructors insist on the antiquated corporealism of actual live safety demonstrations, Mounts adjusts her Covid mitigation blinders and thunders from on high that a minimum of 6 feet distance will be maintained, and everyone will wear masks, indoors and even outdoors, if the tape measure sounds alarm.
No mention of vaccine status (vaccines given in person, we assume, not virtually) or natural immunity status from having had the bug and survived, like 99.some-odd percentage of those infected. No consideration that the youth age group that makes up most hunter ed classes is the least likely to get Covid, the least likely to pass it and least likely to be killed by it. And certainly there’s no question about the very limited efficacy of paper and cloth masks to begin with – other than making believers feel more confident.
Those issues are sub-minimal – unlike the risks of handling a firearm without proper instruction from a real human being. No, real-world protection doesn’t matter when bureacrats are steeped in incompetence; bereft of common sense, but brimming with paranoia, brown nosing and the Internet.
Meanwhile, Covid cases in Kansas have plummeted due to increasing mitigation factors and broader herd immunity. School counts are down, deaths are way down. Those most at risk remain people who have chosen to be unvaccinated. Yet Mounts and Kelly’s other state henchmen are going to fight to maintain the delicious power of Covid alarm status until the cows come home.
The last thing Hunter Education instructors and students need is to be distracted from the safety message. Indeed there is no more serious business for hunters – particularly youth now learning the hunting tradition – than the proper safety procedures regarding their firearms. Neither the students nor the instructors need to be distracted in this particular learning environment by uncomfortable masks that in truth provide very little real protection in the first place, especially to an age group at so little risk.
Masks make it hard to be heard and hard to communicate. Muffled voices and the inability to see non-verbal ques in facial expressions detract from getting the point across and reduce visual recognition and memory for information. A six-foot disatance (completely arbitrary, incidentally – no one knows who wrote the six-foot rule into the stone Covid tablets) inhibits detailed instruction and illustration. Distractions should be minimized, not increased and compounded, when a young person is learning how to handle a firearm.
Kansas Hunter Safety instructors know the bitter and heartbreaking realities that arise from improper handling of those guns. They’ve all seen examples of the tragic lethality that too often accompanies a momentary lapse of attention. There is no substitute for proper instruction and instituting good habits from an early age. And so many times, there is no second chance.
Mounts’ pencil-pushing restrictions on Kansas Hunter Education Instructors are ignorant and dangerous.
With any luck, Kansas voters next year will end Kelly’s legacy of debacle and banish her muddlesome like-thinking ilk in favor of a positive, productive and safe future for Kansas.
In the meantime, Mounts should let Kansas Hunter Ed Instructors teach their classes to keep kids alive, and keep her nose – and her mask – out of it.
Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.