Saturday, April 21, 2007

Big Long Redneck Rant

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?

Well, no.

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.


That one.

(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.


Jozet said...

I don't believe that hunting is quite so stoopid, either, especially when one has the antlers of a 12 pointer throuhg their windshield and around thier neck. But okay, let's keep building suburbs. And more subrubs. And then again, more.

Having grown up with numerous guns leaning around in the downstairs coat closet and knowing that most every next house in our home town had those same guns leaning around, and having not seen a whole lot of anyone shoot anyone other than the ocassional large, orange hunter, I am hesitant to put any deer hunter in the same category as as murderer.

The number one cause of violent death in the world according tho WHO is pesticides. There are about 900,000 suicides in the world each year, and a great many of them are through pesticide ingestion. And so, WHO has quite humorlessly suggested that access to pesticides be limited. As. If.

And okay...if you drink a gallon of DDT or whatever, you're only killing yourself. But 900,000 people is a lot of yourselfs.

Whatever. But, if my hands are bloody because I'm from a huntin' family, then unless you are eating purely pesticide-free foods and not encroaching on wildlife, then stand next to me and start washing your hands.

It's not about purpose. It's about risk/benefit. Tons of benefits to DDT. Ask anyone whose family members have died of malaria. But we've decided that the risk is greater. Ask the thousands of Rwandans who were offed by freakin' machetes. Still, we don't ban kitchen knives, even though a bunch of Japanese children were slaughtered by a knife-wielding maniac not long ago.

Here's my prediction. I predeict that you could ban all the guns you want. People who want to kill lots of other people will find a way how. Ask the 52 gunless Brits who were killed in London on a bus and in the subway bombings. And meanwhile, subruban folks will be spraying Deer-B-Gone on their petunias and poisoning the groundwater and destroying the natrual pollinators and killing their own children right in their own backyards, all while cooking a hamburger from a cow who was gently euthanized while in a loving hospice. Uh-uh.


anne said...

Too true, too ture.

What's the saying? Think globally, act locally? I guess.

Is that people just don't care? Aren't informed? Don't take the time to find out? Probably an everchanging mix of the three.

Am I contributing by not taking up the debate?

I just don't know.

Don't rule out the yurt.

Jozet said...

AND FURTHERMORE (she said with a finger waving in the air)...

NOT ONLY are people who eat meat still responsible for meat-animal deaths, BUT are also responsible for the somewhat possibly larger disaster on the horizon in the way of global climate change. Cows - from the gas they pass to the amount of pertroleum used in fertilizers, pesticides, cow-upkeep, and haulig cow parts hither and yon from slaughterhouse to supermarket and back home again - leave a nasty, iceberg melting, carbon footprint. Tally-up all the gun deaths you want, and it's going to look like just a bad day in Iraq compared to what's to come thanks to the purposeful car drivers and meat eaters and leafbloers and thanks-be-to-pesticides users.

tony c said...

I'll have to go w/ Hank Jr. on this one:

The preacher man says it’s the end of time
And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry
The interest is up and the Stock Market's down
And you only get mugged
If you go down town

I live back in the woods, you see
My woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
I got a shotgun, a rifle, and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

I can plow a field all day long
I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
We make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
Ain’t too many things these ole boys can’t do
We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

Because you can’t starve us out
And you cant makes us run
Cause one-of- ‘em old boys is raisin an ole shotgun
And we say grace, and we say Ma’am
And if you ain’t into that, we don’t give a damn

stephanie said...

You know, this vegan totally supports your rant. I think people are completely clueless about where their shit comes from.

I don'tknow about the guns, they make me nervous and I don't like them, but hunter and murderers in the same category is a bit of a long stretch.

Amanda said...


If you weren't married and if you were a man and if you lived anywhere near me and you were interested in 22 year old Sociology students I would so ask you to marry me right now!

I love it I love it I love it.

And I also like.. nay, LOVE the smell of Hoppe's #9! It does smell like deer season.

I was raised in a hunting family and I never hunted until last year. I've yet to shoot anything other than a clay disc at this point, but I love that we are rednecks and I love that one of our family traditions involves shooting trap or hunting.

Deer season last year was such a blast: We were out in the bush and the moon was still out. We sat in silence and had coffee, waiting for the sun to rise so we could take out our guns (12g Remington Wingmaster. Love it.) Then on the afternoon hunt, when we all spread out in the bush, running our deer hound through it in quarters...

The deer we eat was born and raised in the forest. It lived a good life. And I could kill it just as easily as it could get hit on the road or die of starvation when someone else's suburb gets built just as easily as it could die in its sleep.

I've no qualms about eating meat I've killed, but I do think long and hard about the meat I get in a grocery store.

Some day I hope to be able to grow as much as possible of what my family eats.

I'm so glad to have found your blog in a blogosphere full of mostly liberal leaning anti-gun bloggers.

I hate to be cliche, but you go, Girl!