I agree that this is bad for the hobby but I like to look at the silver lining to the fear through misunderstanding of reptiles. At least now there are plenty of great educational programs on television that lots of people, even non herpers, tune into. Hopefully things like this will help curb some of the misunderstandings about reptiles and prevent such banning actions from going through. (I probably opened a huge can of mealworms from this post but whatever
bring it on. )
Meh I have more thoughts so I'll go on. I saw something once on Animal Planet or maybe the discovery channel on "dangerous snakes". The show basically said that with most venemous snakes (if approached in the wild) it's only when people try to pick up the snake that accidents happen. They showed a range of species and the person on the show went as far as to step on the snakes body with out any attack from the snake (except for one species that had more of a reaction to being stepped on). I know nothing about hots but it really opened my eyes and reduced most of the fear I have of them. So now I feel that if I encounted one in the wild that I wouldn't have to feel nervous about it if I didn't try to touch it.
I guess what I am saying is as much as this gives us bad press (probably far more outweighing the education that is out there) there is a lot more opportunities to be educated about reptiles than there used to be. If you think of the generation that is growing up now, in general the fear of reptiles will be fairly well eliminated since they are growing up watching these shows as well as learning much more about them as they become more incorporated into school curriculums. My hope is that even if reptiles were ever banned by the US government, by the time the youngest generations are in office, the silly ban would be repealed. Wishful thinking, perhaps.