I-1401: Saving Endangered Species Or Something Else?

If you’ve lived in the Evergreen State for any length of time – say, 20 minutes or so – you’ve probably heard about ballot initiatives. Sometimes they’re great ideas. Sometimes not (read: I-594). The left finds all sorts of cool, creative ways to implement their agenda a la the initiative process. It usually goes something like this:

  • Trot some newfangled or newly regurgitated lefty lunacy that can’t get past the legislature or any citizen watchdog groups who are wise to a direct frontal assault.
  • Try to slide it past the asleep-at-the-switch crowd as an “initiative.”
  • Give it some fancy, benign, kinder and gentler title to either confuse, diffuse, camouflage, or obfuscate the real agenda. Or all of the above. (This works really well if you tune up a full orchestra with extra violins and soft lights.)
  • Pitch it as “for the children” or a “public safety” measure. If you’re short on violins, throw in some irrelevant but heart-rending stories about domestic violence or abused animals. You know the drill.
  • Get a bunch of dumb bells to sign on (hi, Seattle)
  • You’re home free in November. Or Pretty. Darn. Close.

Take I-1401, for example. If you haven’t heard about this “save the animals facing extinction” initiative yet, keep an ear out. It’ll be on Washington ballots in November. And if there was ever a case of “all that glitters is not gold,” I-1401 is probably Exhibit A.

Some say I-1401 is just another back-door gun grab. We’ll get to that in a minute. From the I-1401 “About” page:

I-1401 is a Washington State ballot measure that is designed to help save animals threatened with extinction. The measure would prohibit the purchase, sale, and distribution of products made from a list of 10 endangered animals being exploited to the point of potential extinction, and will be enforced by strong penalties. The animals protected by I-1401 include elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, marine turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays.

Questions: What exactly does “being exploited” mean? Who determines that? Based on what? And what the hey is “potential extinction”? Cuz frankly, that could apply to almost anything or anyone on any given day. Just ask your average straight, white, conservative, Christian male over 40.

The About page continues:

To pass I-1401, philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Vulcan Inc. are joined by some of the nation’s leading conservation and zoological organizations, including: the Humane Society of the United States, Wildlife Conservation Society (96 Elephants Campaign), WildAid, National Wildlife Federation, African Wildlife Foundation, Born Free USA, Woodland Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Seattle Aquarium, the Sierra Club (Washington State chapter), Washington Conservation Voters, the International Fund for Animal Welfare. We hope you’ll join us in the campaign to Save Animals Facing Extinction.

Find out more about I-1401 here. You can get the full text of the initiative here.

I know what you’re thinking: “Paul G. Allen. Where, or where, have I heard that name before?” Clue: I-594. “Philanthropist” Paul G. Allen is Bill Gates’ good buddy and Microsoft co-founder. And a major backer of I-1594 – to the tune of $500K. For a full list of endorsements, click here. Now. Connect them dots. (That’s okay. I’ll wait.)

Not everyone is drinking the I-1401 Kool Aid. Rep. Elizabeth Scott (R-39th L.D.) recently commented:

“In case you didn’t receive this today already…this is the next big gun-grabbing effort. No exemptions for weapons; ivory handles or inlays will mean you will be the last owner of your gun; can’t give it to your child or brother or sell it. It will be destroyed.” 

Elizabeth Scott is running for Congress in the 1st District.

So.  Is I-1401 really about saving endangered species – which are already protected by federal law – or something else? What say you?




Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons license. Author: Carlo Alberto Cazzuffi.


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