When “Person” Has No Meaning


The concept that a particular group of people can have a lesser value than others is not new. In fact, the word “genocide” is based upon that very idea. Throughout human history man has worked to eliminate other men simply because they considered them a lower life form.

Whether the distinction is racial, political, or cultural the result is the same. Humans will kill one another for an incredibly diverse range of reasons… and sometimes for no reason at all.

So, what does this have to do with hunting, fishing, or the outdoors?

Today’s highlighted article brings this discussion to the forefront. First-in-the-Nation Lawsuit Seeks Recognition of Rights for the Colorado River is the title and this is how it starts:

In a first-in-the-nation lawsuit filed in federal court, the Colorado River is asking for judicial recognition of itself as a “person,” with rights of its own to exist and flourish. The lawsuit, filed against the Governor of Colorado, seeks a recognition that the State of Colorado can be held liable for violating those rights held by the River.

The Colorado River did not actually file a lawsuit but an activist environmental group did – on the river’s behalf. This may sound pretty bizarre but it is not unprecedented, either around the world or here in the U.S. as the article explains:

While this is the first action brought in the United States which seeks such recognition for an ecosystem, such actions and laws are becoming more common in other countries. In 2008, the country of Ecuador adopted the world’s first national constitution which recognized rights for ecosystems and nature; over three dozen U.S. municipalities, including the City of Pittsburgh, have adopted similar laws; and courts in India and Colombia have recently recognized that rivers, glaciers, and other ecosystems may be treated as “persons” under those legal systems.

This kind of lawsuit is really not unusual. Designate an area as needing protections and then all manner of restrictions will ultimately be put in place to eliminate activities that may “harm” the area. First they eliminate “development.” Then they eliminate “motorized activity” then “motorized recreation.” Then they eliminate hunting and fishing and various non-motorized human activities. Then they eliminate human access.

No, my reaction is not “knee jerk,” I’ve seen it many times and – if you look back over our recent history on the matter – you’ve seen it too.

However, this attack is more serious because this assault on our system of justice uses a tactic of “humanizing” things that are not human. In the process we subtly “dehumanize” real people.

We’ve done it with “animal rights” to the point where critters are now looked upon, in many cases, as being more important than mankind. If this newest lawsuit succeeds, you will begin to see man losing standing in our legal system above any other object.

This is an environmentalists dream and they know not what they do.

When we classify people as less than human, it is easy to do all manner of harm to them as evidenced by the millions executed by Hitler when he thought of the Jews as “lower than the animals.”

Here in the U.S. we ease our collective conscience when we abort 900,000 babies a year by calling the unborn “embryos” or “tissue.”

Even over the course of the last few days we’ve seen the way simple political differences can create in people the most despicable thoughts as exemplified in the firing of a legal executive at CBS Corp. for a post she put on Facebook about the victims of the Las Vegas shootings. The individual said she felt no sympathy for victims who were Republicans, or as she called them “Repugs,” because they are often “gun toters.”

Attach a label to a person and they no longer have the same value.

What does all that have to do with calling a river a “person?”

Well, let me ask you?

When we call an animal a “person” and we call a river a “person” just exactly what meaning does the word “person” really have?

We are truly making ourselves meaningless. In the process, we are making ourselves worthless.

That’s the view from here…

Author: Daniel D. Lamoreux

As an outdoor writer and freelance photographer, Dan's publishing credits include articles and/or photographs in more than 40 state, regional and national publications and he has authored three books. His expertise on the subject matter has been developed from over 40 years experience pursuing the outdoor sports.


  1. well done article Mister cowboy this was very interesting I never thought of it that way thanks for opening another channel for me to think about things

  2. Best piece you have ever done Dan’l!!!!


    Keep them coming!!!

  3. Thank you, Sir. Always willing to help where I can!. ;)

  4. Awesome and profound! Great work, Dan’l.

    This one will be shared with many others.

  5. Excellent !! Too bad it can’t be in the ( fake news, but read anyway) New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

  6. Thank you, Sir! I appreciate the forwards!!

  7. Thank you for that vote of confidence!

  8. Dan’l, Very thought provoking article. Nice to see On Stand again.

  9. Excellent Dan. Never thought of or heard of idiotic schemes like are in use now. Larry

  10. Thanks, Chainsaw. Nice to be back in the saddle. More coming!

  11. Thanks, Larry. This is not the world we were born into, for certain!

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