I am not one who debates. At one time I could argue with the gusto of a teenager full of righteous anger. Probably when I was a teenager. But no more. Now a days, I have more of a "live and let live" kind of philosophy.
Also, I am not one to use my blog to nanny-nanny-nanner other blogs. It's just not my cupa.
Having said that, and not having an english nor a law degree, it is with great trepidation that I attempt to comment, inspired by this post. Or, at least part of this post, because I know it was about much more than what I am going to discuss. For me to get into gun control, I would also have to get into things like Rope Control (BTK killer killed at least 10 with rope!) and
Baseball Bat control (Ted Bundy, anyone?) and the options of keeping wooden bats legal but having very strict regulations on aluminum baseball bats.
So the part in question begins "With all due respect to certain members of my extended family, hunting is stoopid."
Ok. Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat. ALL sports are stoopid. Whether you are whacking, dribbling or kicking a ball, casting, climbing or landing a triple lutz, posting, flipping or freefalling, they are all stoopid. (And watching someone other than an immidiate family member play sports? Stoopid to the Nth power.)
Now that we've cleared that up, I will address one of my particular stoopid choices - the one referenced in the aboved referenced post. (How's that for double talk.) And, for the record, this isn't intended to be aimed at anyone in general. Just thought I might possibly explain hunting in a way that anti-hunters haven't considered it.
It seems to be the natural course of events when an incident such as the shooting spree at the school in Virginia is in the news, gun control will again be a hot topic. And it is also the natural course of events that when gun control is a hot topic, hunting is pulled into the fray.
And so, by virtue of being a hunter,I have unwittingly become an accomplice to a massacre.
And further so, if Seung-Hui Cho can have a manifesto, so can I.
I bring you...
Inside the Mind of a Killa'
Yes, it's true. I own guns. Plural. And I have been known, on occasion, to kill with them.
"Why????? Why would someone doooooooo such a thing???" I hear you cry.
Well, I'll tell you.
Is it perhaps about preserving cultural heritage as the referenced post might suggest? Let's see.
It is true that I grew up in a family of hunters. I can vividly remember my father, grandfathers, uncles, cousins and various family friends sitting in my parents' dining room on the night before deer season, discussing the next day's hunt as well as those of years gone by. To me, the smell of Hoppes #9 is as much a part of the Thanksgiving season as turkey and pumpkin pie are. (Deer season, for those of us not honorable enough to hunt in archery season, begins the Monday after Thanksgiving in PA.) It was as much about gathering together as it was about the actual hunting.
So that must be it, right?
There are some folks that feel if a person still carries on in a certain tradition, that person is nothing more than an unfortunate lemming, doomed to repeat the actions of others with no understanding as to why. So called "recovering Catholics" are great ones for this. (I have rejected the church but you have not. You must not know any better.) The idea that "one has not rejected, therefore it has never been questioned" is ridiculous.
I can't say for sure that had I not grown up in the environment I did, I would be a hunter today. All I can say for sure is that it is where I got my start but, to quote the old ad, I've come a long way. Baby.
So it isn't about preserving cultural heritage.
It is, however, very much about culture.
Or a reaction to culture.
It is very much a reaction to a culture of not having to be responsible for one's own decisions or actions. The culture that leaves the lights on at night to enhance the landscaping. The culture that tosses the aluminum can in the garbage instead of the recycling bin. The culture that complains of rasing taxes to better support schools but will buy every damn DVD/CD/MP3/concert ticket/sporting event ticket/new technological gadget/whatever the latest craze/ latest product currently touted by the sports(or music) star with the multi million dollar contract.
(See, this is why I don't debate.)
Let me try to explain.
When I put the sights of my gun on an animal, I know that in an instant I, personally, will be responsible for taking its life.
Have you ever looked into the eye of the animal you ate tonight? Did you ever stroke its fur? Did you even bother to thank somebody - the animal, especially - for what you have?
I am also responsible for dealing with the messiness of gutting and cleaning the animal. It's up to me to make sure that I make as much use as possible of the animal so there is minimal waste.
When you pick up the shrink-wrapped slab of choice cut meat from the grocery store, do you ever wonder about the person who's job it is to spend their entire day butchering carcasses? So YOU don't have to? Did you ever wonder about the person at the slaughterhouse who spends the entire day killing animal after animal? So you can claim to be oh so "civilized"?
I know the animals I hunt have lived as animals should. For the most part, they were bred and born wild (although I'm sure a "stocked" pheasant or two have already been victims of my bloody rampage).
Do you have any idea where your meat comes from? Is is a feedlot? A factory farm? Was it kept confined to a small space? Was it force fed? Was it hauled hundreds of miles in a trailer packed to the brim with other animals, wild-eyed with fear? Was it sick? What did it eat? Was it injected with hormones?
When I pull the trigger, it is me and the animal. I can't ignore it, I can't pass the job to someone else, I am responsible. I must be as humane as I possibly can or else I must live with the consequenses. If I am not able to kill the animal right away, it suffers at my hands until I can do so.
What about your dinner? Did the bolt gun stun it enough? Was it still conscious of anything when the butchering began (as does happen)? Do you even care?
Not many people look at thier hamburger and think "What have I done?" They don't have to. Our culture makes sure they pretty much never will.
I wish I could remember just how many times I had to hear about "killing Bambi". Just once, I would like to see...let's say Charlotte's Web where the ending is a little more like real life. In the altermate ending of Charlotte's Web as told by Ms. Quintessence, Wilbur is not saved. No, Wilbur is kept in a pen where he can pretty much to nothing but eat and poop. Then, one fine sunny day, Wilbur and all his other pig buddies on the farm, are crammed into a double level trailer. Wilbur, unfortunately, is on the bottom so he gets pooped on all the way to the slaughter house. And for once, it won't be the hunter who is villified. No, in this movie it will be some mom or dad who is demanding "More Country Style Ribs, Pronto! Little Suzie's soccer team is coming over for a cookout and I need those ribs!"
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't survive on the animals I kill by hunting. Not by any means. I too, must purchase meat. And regrettably, it is often times at the grocery store. I don't want to give any false impressions here. Hopefully, as things get rolling with our farm, it will one day be completely avoidable.
But it the mean time...
I hunt because there is a connection that I don't want to lose. I do it to remind myslef that I do not exist alone in a vacuum. My choices affect others - other people and other creatures. Some day it will be animals that I raised. If I am going to eat meat, what is so wrong with wanting the animals to lead a good life and die a humane death? It is one job I place enough importance on to be done right that I am willing to do it myself.
So, there you have it. Why I kill things. My manifesto. You can comment if you want to. But don't expect a debate - there won't be one.
Hopefully, it will give some insight into the minds of killers for those of you who are grappling with it.
And if it puts me in with the likes of Seung-Hui Cho, so be it.
At least I'm trying to get out of company with the other mass murderer that's been in the news lately. You know, the one who dosn't have to take responsiblilty because the blood isn't physically on his hands?
I guess we are all barbarians in our own way.
Edited to add: On the off chance that this post is inspirational enough to make someone want to exlpore options other than grocery store meat, Eat Wild is a great resource for getting started. Click on the "Shop for Meat, Eggs & Dairy" button and you can can search your state for farms that are committed to the well being of the animals they raise. Often times you can even visit the farm you are interested in. Please, please, please consider supporting these people.