As a wildlife advocate very few things shock me anymore. This weekend I was forwarded some screenshots of some racist, violent, and frankly terroristic level comments from an anti-wolf Facebook page with some of their fans threatening to kill and “scalp” Native Americans in response to the recent federal judge ruling legalizing night deer hunting. The commentators also threaten to “disrupt” the Native hunts in the same manner that they just decried while supporting Adam Jarchow’s anti-free speech bill last Wednesday. The hypocrisy cannot be any stronger here. Nor can the revulsion from these sick comments.
There has also been a concentrated effort from bear hounders/anti-wolf elements to harass and threaten wildlife advocates on OUR own pages. Some of the people doing the harassing and attempted intimidation are the very same people who testified at last Wednesday’s hearing telling the committee they were “terrified” and were being “harassed” by wildlife advocates. This includes a former warden for the Wisconsin DNR according to several wildlife advocates.
The Internet and social media in particular has become a bullying platform and propaganda outlet for the anti-wolf pseudo-tough guys, mostly from rural areas, to use against wildlife advocates and to spread racist and hateful rhetoric against people such as Native Americans.
During and following the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Wisconsin wolf slaughter seasons wolf killers and their allies took to the Internet to post bragging pictures of dead wolves and often proceeded to taunt wildlife advocates knowing the emotions such bloody images would generate. Much like the manner in which the unethical “hunters” bait in bear, wolves, and other wildlife, they often posted these vile snuff pics to bait wildlife advocates and prey on our emotions. The problem came when they made attempts to email wildlife advocates taunting emails showing dead and mutilated wolves, coyotes, and other wildlife or post them on pro-wildlife pages and hope for a response.
Like most right-wing internet trolls the anti-wolf/wildlife and racist trolls on these hate pages thrive off of us responding with emotion. Then they can say “See they are nothing more than overly emotional hippies” or some other insulting nonsense. Think about the source of most of these inflammatory posts and comments. These are scared little men, and some women, whose lives revolve around killing animals and harboring hatred for anything or anyone that does not conform to their isolated little worlds. First they blame something like wolves for every failure in their pathetic lives because they are an easy and long demonized target. Then when wolves aren’t convenient enough of a scapegoat they turn to other long demonized groups like Native Americans, African Americans, or immigrants.
It used to be that these people were relegated to their rural hate filled enclaves and thankfully the rest of the world didn’t have to listen to their hateful screeds. Today with the Internet the entire world is an audience for their hate filled, ignorant, and often racist drivel. They tend to thrive on being acknowledged and like the insolent overgrown children most of these anti-wolf/ racist people truly are, they throw a tantrum when ignored. They try to hijack pro-wildlife web pages and the comment sections of news stories about wildlife or people such as Native Americans.
I have long refused to engage in back and forth banter with these hateful internet trolls. They seek acknowledgement and when ignored they often spiral into their hateful temper tantrums and try to hijack a dialogue. Simply put wildlife advocates need to just ignore, block, or report the hateful screeds that emirate from these people. The worst of these trolls sit in their isolated rural enclaves and spread their vile and hate filled drivel, threats, and attempts at intimidation knowing if they acted in real life toward people as they do on the Internet there would be a very different result.
We also saw this on full display during and after Florida’s recent bear slaughter when trolls and self-described “conservationists” took to Facebook and news article comment sections to laugh about bear cubs being left to starve following the slaughter in which 300 bears were killed in less than two days. What does it say about these people when they celebrate the mass slaughter of a species and then make snide comments and finding humor in the starvation of bear cubs? The same thing occurred following the mass slaughter of wolves in Wisconsin in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Today following the resisting by a federal judge in December 2014 the taunts and bragging of poaching have replaced the taunts following “legal” kills in the past three years among many on these hate sites. What does it say about people who take pleasure in the suffering of another species and the starvation of their offspring? I would bet most if not all of these internet tough guys also consider themselves “pro-life” as well?
What I also find quite ironic is how many of the anti-wolf/wildlife/racist trolls write rambling posts about how Native Americans are “lazy drunks” that kill all he wildlife. The irony comes in with a simple gander at the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access System showing how so many of these people have drunken driving convictions, hunting violations, criminal convictions, tax evasion, foreclosure, and civil process for not paying their bills. To be fair, I am sure many wildlife advocates share the same types of incidents but they also don’t claim a racial or cultural superiority so blatantly as the anti-wolf/wildlife/racist trolls do. There are also idiot “wildlife advocates” that engage in threats and attempted intimidation. They should be ostracized in the same manner and have no place in our movement.
Now comes the revolting part. All of the above and below screenshots were forwarded to me and I am going to let them speak for themselves. I would gather from the openly hostile and frankly terroristic tone of these comments that those making the comments do not understand that the hate site they posted it to is viewable to the entire world. Oops.
There you have it. The true face of these folks that pretend that they are “conservationists” that pretend that wildlife advocates are the “emotional” ones. Scalping? Going back to “cowboys and Indians?” Roadblocks with AR-15s?
Most of the time I just blow off the ignorant drivel posted on that page. This is different. The fans of that page and by default those that run it are allowing open and pretty specific terroristic threats against Native Americans. I and other wildlife advocates have long known that there is a strong racist and anti-governmental element to the anti-wolf factions but this more than shows what their true motivations are. This goes far beyond the typical anti-wolf trolling and screeds encouraging poaching. This crosses into terroristic threats against those of a particular ethnicity and frankly it is revolting. Perhaps the federal authorities may be interested in this? Civil Rights groups? This makes me sick and every decent American citizen should feel the same way, hunter or not.
Internet, you know what to do.