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Another Culture Shock for Me....
Oh the mentality....
It has been nearly 8 years since I moved to the Deep South, and perhaps I am still suffering from a “culture shock” of sorts, but it just seems to me that common sense dictates to us some pretty simple messages. One of them is “use your head”.
Growing up in Los Angeles and in the L.A. suburbs, I saw some things that were stupid on a big city level. In the early 80’s, a girl I know wanted to buy her boyfriend a very special gift for Christmas because she “loved him soooo much”. I saw her after the holiday, and asked her what she got for him.
“A gram of coke.” She replied.
If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. So with that kind of mentality, I have to wonder why a person would allow someone they love very much to do something that is potentially dangerous or life threatening? Oh, the mentality.
Now, I feel as though I may be beating a dead horse here, but I am going to try to make a point, even though it may be moot at best. I have previously written in my hubs that I am not a fan of firearms. I agree that the world is rotten to a point where we must have some sort of protection for ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with teaching a young person how to shoot one lest he blow his toe off for lack of experience. I will admit that there is one in my household, and that all occupants in the home are proficient in its use. But, we don’t hunt; we don’t purposely kill unless our survival depends on it. We even go as far as to live trap rodents and wildlife pests to relocate them elsewhere.
Now the catalyst for this hub appeared in the local paper this evening. There on page 13A of the “People” section was the photograph of a 9 year old local boy posing proudly with his first deer kill, a 5 point buck. The caption was a message from his parents and family saying “Way to go [name], we are proud of you!” I found the whole thing saddening and disheartening. With so much negativity and sadness in the world today, why teach your 9 year old son that it is okay to kill? Why make the sudden and violent death of a beautiful creature like a deer praiseworthy? It was obvious the kid wasn’t starving and needed the meat for food, and chances are, the head of this animal will probably be mounted somewhere in his house.
I am not against hunting, as I have hunted several times in the past. I have fished, spear fished underwater in Mexico, gigged for frogs in Missouri, but there comes a time when you have to ask yourself “why? I’m not starving. Why kill these creatures for sport?” And I guess I am a bit hypocritical when I write or talk about fishing, but then I don’t kill the fish. I catch them and I release them, and I admit that the fish does experience some sort of trauma when hooked. But there have been times when the grocery budget has been tight, and I have fished for food exclusively. But I still won’t hunt.
Last night I had an opportunity to kill. A wild animal, a Red Wolf came into my yard and was fighting with one of my dogs through the chain link of its pen. I saw what was going on outside and instinctively grabbed the rifle before I went out. I had no idea what I had planned to do with it, but there was an angry wolf out there and I wasn’t going to let it get the best of me or my dogs. Had the wolf charged me, I probably would have killed it, but by shooting into a nearby tree trunk, I was able to scare it away for the rest of the night. My wife and son heard the shot and thought I had killed it, and they were relieved that I hadn’t. So was I.
So maybe what I am getting at is that culturally speaking, this 9 year old’s first deer kill was a rite of passage, a milestone on his road to Southern adulthood. Hopefully his parents would have taught him that even though in this culture killing an animal is praiseworthy, it is not an absolutely necessary part of life. I think that 16 would have been plenty young enough to start hunting.
So were his parents using their heads? Maybe. Is it a stupid idea to give a 9 year old a high powered rifle? Perhaps. But then my dad taught me to shoot at about the same age. He also taught me about gun responsibility and safety. There were no hunter safety classes back then; there was just dad, the gun and a box of bullets. I think Dad did a good job. I hope this boy’s dad did one as well.
© 2011 by Del Banks