As a 30 year-old woman, it is hard to figure out where I belong in the overall hunting world so that I am taken seriously. Women, and my demographic specifically, are the fastest growing demographic in the hunting world right now. I have been hunting for 10 years and write a few different outdoor blogs about my experiences and in order to keep up with what is happening across the state, I belong to organizations that promote hunting and the outdoors.
One of those organizations is the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM). I have been a member for about a year now. Their mission states that:
The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is Maine’s largest sportsman’s organization with 10,000 members and a headquarters in Augusta, ME. SAM is considered the leader of Maine’s 300,000 sportsmen. SAM’s staff works at the legislature, state agencies and other forums on critical issues. SAM was organized in 1975 and is a 501 (c ) 3 non-profit membership organization to promote conservation of Maine’s wildlife resources and to be an advocate for hunters, anglers, trappers and gun owners throughout the state. SAM’s members have a real voice and impact on outdoor issues.
But with the recent emails I have received from SAM, I feel anything but supported by this organization.
On March 1st, the SAM February newsletter hit my inbox. It pushed for the passage of LD345 but then included an article entitled, “Journalists should focus on the bad guys” by SAM’s Executive Director David Trahan. The write up infuriated me. Not only because Fox News was referenced as a reliable source (seriously???) but also because Mr. Trahan goes on to bring up the FOAA request for concealed permit holders by the BDN (which at this point is almost a month old) and then accuses journalists of requesting the information individually by saying,
could we surmise these latest FOAA requests for concealed permit holders are also press outlets attempting to avoid the same backlash as the Bangor Daily News? Does anyone else recognize the incredible hypocrisy of journalists using a loophole in the FOAA law to hide their identity and then claiming they support transparency and accountability for everyone else?
Those are some pretty big assumptions being made about the people requesting the information. While I am not a journalist, I have every right to request the same information. While I am at it, I can also request any birth/death/license information, property information, documents related to public business like minutes, email exchanges among board members of a public board, documents, and letters sent to public officials because it is all a part of FOAA and promotes transparency and accountability.
In a follow up email from SAM that I received on March 6th entitled. “SAM ALERT – EYE OPENER” the email starts off the same way, with a push for LD345 but then moves to articles from the Lewiston Sun Journal and from S.E. Robinson from www.mainewire.com. These articles are supposed to show how journalists and political parties (the Democrats…the article actually uses the word ‘democrat’ 11 times and “republican” once when referring to Mr. Trahan’s former role as a State representative) are using the FOAA information for their own personal gain. In the last paragraph of the Robinson article, Mr. Trahan is quoted as saying the following,
Trahan said he believes political firms like Catalist use personal information acquired through FOAA requests to compile voter profile lists. He said records of concealed carry permit holders are likely combined with similar archives of data on Maine’s hunters and fisherman in order to help political groups like the Maine Democrats target voters with tailored messages.
“Democratic groups have made firearm ownership a major component of their database, probably because they’re weak with firearm owners,” said Trahan.
Pot, meet Kettle.
And with that, with those two emails and the clear position that SAM is taking, I have been alienated. My thoughts and opinions are posted on a public forum… email #1 says I am a problem. I am a Democrat (a gun carrying one, but still a Democrat)… email #2 says I am on the wrong side of the argument.
SAM has proven itself to be a non-profit that I do not want to support. They are clearly not bipartisan and do not promote my thoughts and feelings on the outdoors.