Friday, October 27, 2006

A Sad Commentary

Let me begin this post by admitting my bias. I have never been or wanted to be a hunter. The thought of killing a living being is horrendous to me. With that bias clearly stated, I offer the following observation. A few weeks ago at the beginning of the bow hunting (deer) season, I was out for my usual Friday morning breakfast when into the restaurant came a group of hunters. It was obvious from the camo clothing and the bright orange hats (a real fashion statement -- NOT!). Among the group was a teenage boy (probably about 15) who it turned out was celebrating his first deer kill -- a cause for celebration? I thought it sad that this boy had now learned the "joy" and the "thrill" of taking a life. I made comment to a few friends and then let the scene go, attributing my upset to my previously mentioned bias against hunting. Then, a bit later, I heard about Michigan's upcoming proposition 3 which will allow the hunting of mourning doves. If you are a Michigan voter, vote NO on 3!! These birds are neither particularly usable for food nor a nuisance to anyone. Maybe shooting these innocents is cheaper than shooting clay targets or going to the shooting range. But I digress. Today, while out for breakfast at the same restaurant, I saw what I consider to be the topper of this whole conversation. In came another group of hunters (again with the latest in camo and orange). Along with the adults and dressed in his own camo and orange was a little boy no more than maybe 6 to 8 years old. I find that offensive on several levels. First, there is the safety issue. Is a child that young responsible enough to be out where there are bows and arrows (and probably in the next few weeks he will be out with the guns)? I sure wouldn't want my kid out there. Second, why is a kid that young out on a trip that is obviously an adult event? I think that kids grow up too fast as it is and that there are family type events, kids' events, and adult events. I think that hunting is an adult event. Get a sitter or leave the kid home with Mom unless she is a hunter as well. Third, and this is my biggest dilemma, what are we teaching our kids? An eight year old is in no way mature enough to deal with any of the myriad issues around killing anything. Our kids are exposed to way too much violence as it is between television, news, movies, and the like. Can an eight year old be expected to distinguish right and wrong between the killing of deer and doves and the killing of kids in school? Now I know that there is someone reading this who will crticize my logic, but it is my blog and I see it this way. I will admit that 200 years ago it was necessary to teach young boys how to hunt, trap, and shoot. It was part of survival at that time in history. That is not true today and to expose an eight year old boy to the shedding of innocent blood is just wrong. In fact, in many cases, it could almost qualify as abusive. It is a sad day when our kids have to deal with death and violence when they should be playing and enjoying life. I imagine the Field and Stream set will not like this post much but that's the way I see it. Think about it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was pleased to see your comments about hunting. Our local paper on Satuday featured an article and a large picture of a 13 year old girl and her first "kill" on Youth Day the previous Saturday. She commented on how, after shooting, the "...buck jumped, kicking its hind legs. [It] ran around like it didn't know what to do. laid down. For a second I thought it was dead and then it looked up. It looked just like it was bedded down. We waited and waited for it to die, but it just laid there." According to her father's range finder it was 200 yards away. Her father told her to shoot again. After sighting she recounts, "Just as I squeezed the trigger he lifted his head and POW! The gun went off for the second time. This time he jumped up, tried to run, and toppled over. I got him! I was so excited I could hardly breathe." When they got home several family members were there to celebrate someone's birthday and they were all so proud of her.

When you can kill something from that far away the poor animal hasn't got a chance... I would hardly call that sport! But, nothing like teaching our kids the joy of killing! On the other hand, I guess, according to newspaper reports, we don't want to send them out to play TAG either. They might end up emotionally scarred. Better to give them a video game and super-size their snacks so they can grow up to be fat & happy and die young!