They Keep Taking and We Keep Loosing!

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on They Keep Taking and We Keep Loosing!

How much more of our “Freedom” to hunt and fish are we going to lose? When is enough going to be enough?

I Refuse to Surrender My Freedom!

This little diatribe got me started when I was told I could no longer fish an area I’ve fished for over fifty years. The conversation between me and the governmental authority challenging my right to fish the area quickly became futile. So I pulled up anchor and left, grumbling to myself that it wasn’t right and what ever happened to my freedom and civil liberties as an American citizen and the right to fish, where and when, that I’ve enjoyed for so many years.

Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, our government has adopted and repeatedly used the phrase “the war on terror” and supported and endorsed the Patriot Act which at best is somewhat problematic because it was initiated during the aftermath of nine-eleven when fear was at its highest. It was created with the impression that we are fighting against a “known enemy” instead of terrorism.

During times of war, our government has a seemingly natural tendency to ignore the secured liberties of the Constitution (Bill of Rights). Our freedom, especially during times of conflict should not be precluded by the endless loss of our personal and recreational liberties. Freedom was the very thing our country was founded on. I live inAmerica, the land of the free and I’m not ready to cower down and live in fear of terrorism or surrender my personal freedoms in the interest of national security.

While we can agree thatAmericahas a strong interest in national defense, it can also be said that Constitutional rights are not to be ignored for the sake of good intentions.Whenever legislation affecting our rights or civil liberties is enacted it must be looked at not only for its end, but also for its resources. The continued infringement on our personal and civil liberties can quickly become a way of life and certainly not one our fore-fathers would have agreed to. When such governmental legislation, regardless of its intentions, ignores and violates the long-standing fundamental principles of freedom, then our country has failed the test.

Since September eleventh we’ve seen an increasing number of security zones being put into place in the name of Homeland Security. These outdoor recreational, hunting, fishing and boating closures throughout the nation are restricting admission to the same areas we’ve had access to for many centuries.

Governmental authorities must begin to rethink their level of responsibility and begin relaxing the restrictions on security zones. The responsibility for securing water entrance must revert to the operations of the ports or business that are now being secured by restricted water security zones. I don’t know of a security area that does not have guards patrolling its grounds and if they don’t have guards they certainly should be required to have them simply because of the sensitive nature of their operations. They should also be required to have security camera’s monitored from the security facilities. It’s not the general public’s businesses that are creating the security problems, so why are we being restricted and penalized from enjoying the areas we’ve enjoyed for so many years.

Is the thinking of the governmental officials so shallow as to believe that a water security zone is going to stop someone from entering a facility from water landings? In actuality, the only thing it’s preventing is recreational anglers and boaters from enjoying areas they’ve enjoyed for centuries.

As citizens, we need to voice our objections to present and continued closures and begin reestablishing our freedoms. We also need to challenge our governmental representatives, and when it comes to elections find out how they stand on certain issues relating to your recreational freedoms.

The majorities of people spending time on or near the water generally understand what is normal and what is not and are well suited to notice suspicious activities. It’s also time for local anglers and boaters to become recognized as part of the security solution rather than identified and labeled as potential terrorist. It’s these people that ultimately increase the level of security. Who better than people fishing or boating to recognize when the behavior of visitors in and around area is inconsistent with what usually takes place? Who better than the port worker or longshoreman to identify a suspicious individual loitering near a restricted area video taping, photographing, or making sketches? Who better than a marina operator or dock master to recognize a customer or crew acting suspicious? “People are not suspicious”… it’s their behavior that is suspicious.

Regardless how many homeland security zones are in place we cannot be so naïve as to believe if a terrorist organization decides to invade an American coast, river, bridge, tunnel, port, ship, military base, or waterside industry that it’s not going to happen? TheUnited Stateshas more than 95,000 miles of shoreline, over 290,000 square miles of water. Given our current economic situations and continuous cutbacks on law enforcement personnel, why not take advantage of some of the 70 million recreational boaters in theUnited Statesto identify and report suspicious persons or behavior without taking away their recreational civil liberties and recreational freedoms.

Whether you agree or not we must understand and challenge those we vote into office to explain their stand on the issues that concern each and every one of us. Our vote counts but make certain you know who, what and where they stand on the issues that affect us all!