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CRANKY FOREIGNER: The price tag for trophy hunting

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Donald Trump Jr.’s trip last summer to Mongolia to kill an endangered sheep cost American taxpayers nearly $77,000 in Secret Service costs alone, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reported Monday. [Huffington Post,  June 9, 2020]

RLH:  Good afternoon, I’m Rachel Lewis Hilborn, your host of WHQR’s “Wilmington Wednesday Week Watch.” At a time when local economic news has been, at best sobering, we’ve got a guest this afternoon who has some good news from one of our economic cornerstones. Our studio guest today is Ed Gesornenplatz from GE’s Castle Hayne facility. Ed, tell us what’s going on.

ED: Well, Rachel, some of you might remember that at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the shortage of equipment and supplies caused the president to federalize some industries, which allowed direct control of manufacturing priorities.

GE was surprised to hear that we were part of that. As a result, we have created the federally mandated Trophy Hunting Division right here in Wilmington.

RLH: The what?

EG: It seems there is a trophy hunting crisis in the White House right now. As we all know, Don Jr. has a passion for killing as many large endangered species as possible. But the Republican Party is grooming him to be a future president and having him tromping around what is literally foreign soil with native guides is a risky proposition. And with all those guns around, it’s only a matter of time before he gets a guide who played that old mind game, “what would you do if you met the baby Adolf Hitler?” Adding to that was something that came up during Don Jr.’s recent Mongolia trip. He’s usually happy with killing one of the last dozen or so of species, but this time he wanted to kill all of them. The president of Mongolia agreed if the U.S. gave him an aircraft carrier. 

RLH: An aircraft carrier!! But Mongolia is. . .

EG: Yes, yes, we all know that. Well, President Trump immediately gave the thumbs up on the deal but it turned out that Mongolia was actually messing with him because they knew him to be “geography challenged.” But it brought up the idea of militarizing Don Jr.’s trophy hunting. That’s a tech challenge that GE has been federalized to solve. 

RLH: This sounds horrible. How can GE justify even thinking about this?

EG:  Hey, Rachel. It’s a whole new world. Jobs, jobs, jobs. It was decided that Alaska would be a large scale proving ground. But first, there were some Obama-era rules that had to go. The Department of the Interior banned shooting animals from aircraft, using high-speed boats to kill swimming animals and killing mother animals sleeping in their dens with their newborn.

RLH: I would hope so. It all sounds barbaric.  

EG: Rachel, I think that as a nation we have come to realize that the rich among us have different ways of dealing with education, justice and having fun. Basically they have a parallel society and who are we to judge? Do we criticize the way Black people wear their hair or the way Asians and Italians actually know how to prepare food?

RLH: Of course we do but that’s different.

EG: Exactly my point. Then you agree with me that his country has to stop criticizing the rich just because they get to decide how much of taxpayer dollars they get to spend on themselves. Anyway, with those regulations gone, GE is able to field test ways that Don Jr. can do most of his hunting from a helicopter. The trick is not damaging the head of the beast. The taxidermy shop in the West Wing can’t perform miracles. At first, mother bears in their dens looked to be our biggest challenge. Don wants a mother and two cubs mounted on a heart-shaped plaque for a special gift for whatever girlfriend he has at the time. 

RLH: You are kidding me.

EG: Rachel, I know it’s hard to imagine that Don could be attractive to any bi-laterally symmetrical carbon-based lifeform, but at GE, we are always optimistic about the future. We thought of working with Elon Musk’s space group to develop a tractor beam to extract the animals but the president himself came up with a genius idea. He said fried chicken always gets him out of his lair. Why won’t it work for bears? As a quick alpha test, our computer guy did a program to compare his brain function and discovered that it is remarkably similar to a bear’s. So no surprise that initial chicken testing has been positive. Once the bears are out, we’ll go with a system that our aircraft guidance guys came up with. Don just waves the gun around in the general direction of the bears and the video link and computer choose the right instant to pull the trigger to get the mother. Then the helicopter will land and Don can approach the terrified cubs, clinging to their mother and finish them off in a way that works with the taxidermy people. This really is a time that teamwork pays off.

RLH: This all sounds amazingly cruel. 

EG: Well, we at GE knew that some people would be unhappy about that so we are able to source the bait chicken from a family farm that assures us that every day of the bird’s lives were wonderful, except for the last. Our legal department tried to get the chickens to sign a consent form but it just looked like the proverbial chicken scratch. Remember, Rachel, jobs, jobs, jobs.

RLH: Whatever.

EG: I’m personally involved in the mini-torpedo system for animals swimming across rivers. Don himself pointed out that our problem was a lot like that of Admiral Yamamoto attacking ships in the shallow water of Pearl Harbor. So we copied that solution pretty closely. We were planning drone launching but Don asked for replicas of the Japanese Zero airplanes. And he wants to put that little silhouette if each animal killed next to the cockpit, like they used to do. Who says Americans don’t know their own history? And name one person who wouldn’t want to lead a flight of mini Zeros on an attack against a big bull elephant crossing the Zambezi River.

RLH: Uh, Mr. Rogers?

EG: Oh, trust all you public broadcast people to stick together.

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