All the anti-gun crowd is saying that we don’t need to have firearms in National Parks as a reaction to the proposed rule change by the Department of the Interior. Because parks are a safe place, where there are no wild animals that would happily kill and eat you. And we certainly don’t have a problem with coyotes attacking people. Except that coyote attacks are on the rise; for example in California a nanny had to save a 14 month old baby from a coyote.
The girl was playing Friday in a sandbox at Alterra Park in Chino Hills in San Bernardino County. Around 10:30 a.m., the caretaker heard screaming and saw a coyote trying to carry the child off in its mouth, officials said.
While this incident did not occur in a National Park, it aptly demonstrates the primary reason that people would want to arm themselves in said parks – defense from wild animals. A coyote is relatively small, but I certainly wouldn’t want to go backpacking in an area with mountain lions, wolves, and bears without some form of personal protection that was more potent than “bear mace”. Which reminds of a joke that I often use to illustrate the need for firearms in national parks:
A hiker is asking a park ranger about what he should do to stay safe from bears in Alaska. The ranger says “Well, some people wear bells to scare the bears off, and other people carry ‘bear pepper-spray’, but the best thing to do is to avoid the bear entirely.”
The hiker asks how you know if there are bears around, and the ranger replies by telling him that you can tell a bear by it’s feces. Confused, the hiker asks how to identify bear feces, and the ranger smiles and says “It smells like pepper and has bells in it.”
Now, that’s obviously a joke, but I could point to hundreds of stories of bear attacks, coyote attacks, and even one or two mountain lion attacks to factually illustrate the point. Note that I’m also not even bringing up defense from bipedal predators, which are dangerous in their own right.