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Killed Her a B'ar when She Was Only Eight
November 3, 2005 11:15 PM   Subscribe

The first bear kill of the Maryland hunting season was made by an 8-year-old girl, notes Joel Achenbach's blog. It's quite an interesting news story that makes one wonder what values many of us are teaching our kids these days. Just as interesting, however, are the comments, which at least in one case deals with gender stereotyping: I think that it is important for our kids and especially our girls to experience life and if part of life is killing game, then so be it. After all, if our girls just sit in their little bubble wearing pretty dresses and playing Bach on the piano, we may just end up with lots of Condi Rice's (re: Eugene Robinson's Op Ed). The blog got lots of comments -- many more than my measly entry will.
posted by PlanoTX (69 comments total)

 
I wouldn't go hunting -- and personally, I think most of its proponents are full of crap. It's not a "sport" if the deer don't know they're playing; and lots of things were "part of life" until we developed as a civilization, and then they weren't any more.

Having said that: When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time participating in archery shoots, most of which were held at gun clubs. Most of the guys hunted, and in the fall I got to taste rabbit, venison, and even a pretty good spaghetti sauce made with bear meat. In hindsight, I think they should have stuck with targets and left the animals alone...but it wasn't like they were militia members, polishing rifles and plotting terrorist strikes. They were regular guys, and pretty darn nice. They got drunk every weekend, and I never saw a fight.
posted by cribcage at 11:30 PM on November 3, 2005


I don't have too much problem with hunting, as long as the hunter makes use of their kill. After all, various animals are raised and killed primarily for their meat. Some animals such as deer are likely to be killed and eaten anyhow, it's not like we're taking away the immortality of Bambi's mom.

Many hunters are very responsible with their weapons. Of course, many more are not. A kid who is taught well and supervised by a responsible hunter will likely learn to respect the power of a gun. A kid whose half-drunk dad hands him a 12 gauge and a Bud... Well, at least Darwin is trying not to make the same mistakes twice.

That much considered, I don't see a lot of difference between trophy hunting for wild game and trophy hunting for humans. Mostly that the former is legal.
posted by Saydur at 12:02 AM on November 4, 2005


It's not a "sport" if the deer don't know they're playing;

it's not a sport if the deer run out in front of a car, damage farmers' crops, or starve to death in the winter because there's too many of them

part of life is death ... and that death can come at the hands or arrows of other animals

furthermore, the deer know damn well they're being hunted
posted by pyramid termite at 12:06 AM on November 4, 2005


it's not a sport if the deer run out in front of a car, damage farmers' crops, or starve to death in the winter because there's too many of them
I don't recall anyone saying it was.
posted by Joeforking at 12:24 AM on November 4, 2005


I think anything that teaches children the origins of the food they eat has intrinisic value.

I'm too squeamish and self-involved to actually hunt meat for myself; but I can't imagine how anyone could possibly find fault with this evolved activity.

The specific gender of the participants seems wholly irrelevant.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:58 AM on November 4, 2005


I disapprove of hunting full stop, but it's a very emotive issue am I'm not going to change anyone's mind in this thread. But am I the only person who thinks it's a bit weird that this girl with the shotgun was eight years old? If that's considered socially acceptable, no wonder the US has a gun problem.
posted by londonmark at 12:58 AM on November 4, 2005


Dan'l Boone kilt him a b'ar when he was only 3.
posted by JParker at 1:09 AM on November 4, 2005


FIRST PELT!!!1!
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:11 AM on November 4, 2005


I think it's weird that Condoleeza Rice has anything to do with this or why girls shouldn't learn to play classical composition using pianos.
posted by Dean Keaton at 1:29 AM on November 4, 2005


Let's put Joel Achenbach in a pretty dress and teach him to play Bach at the piano.
posted by speicus at 1:40 AM on November 4, 2005


Sounds like the bigger issue for you people is that it was a girl, which makes me think you have some sort of latent sexism. 8 year old boys have been hunting with fathers for decades.
posted by angry modem at 1:48 AM on November 4, 2005


Do we know what she'll kill next? From her cold dead hands.
posted by tkcom at 2:09 AM on November 4, 2005


What's wrong with hunting? The fact is, you can't convince deer to use birth control, so a certain number of prey animals have to be killed every year or they will overpopulate and starve, as well as becoming a major nuisance.

In the past, we had predators to kill them for us, but we wiped out most of them because they were a hazard to us or our animals. Now, we have to take over the predator's role and control the populations ourselves. And if some people want to volunteer for that job, and even pay to do it, I don't see any reason not to let them.

Now, if we can only find a way to teach them not to drink and shoot, or give deadly weapons to young children...
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:21 AM on November 4, 2005


Unfortunately, most little girls don't have "bubbles" to sit in nor do they learn how to play piano, much less have a piano in their household.

As for killing game being "part of life" I really can't recall the last time I encountered "game' that needed killing. Out here in the West we just pray our cats won't be murdered by the overly sized surly squirrels and we can make it to our cars before they chuck something at our head; and be sure to close the cat door at night so the racoon won't chase us into the bathroom again.
posted by bat at 3:28 AM on November 4, 2005


What's wrong with hunting? The fact is, you can't convince deer to use birth control, so a certain number of prey animals have to be killed every year or they will overpopulate and starve, as well as becoming a major nuisance.

In the past, we had predators to kill them for us, but we wiped out most of them because they were a hazard to us or our animals. Now, we have to take over the predator's role and control the populations ourselves.


See, the problem is that the same hunters who tell you that the herd has to be culled with guns will tell you with a straight face that you can't reintoduce predators because they'll kill the deer.

A few will see the irony and tell you instead that wolves will kill children and livestock, crap on your lawn, steal your identity and support terrorism.
Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don't harass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you--alas, it is true of almost every one of us!

Dostoyevsky
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:32 AM on November 4, 2005


Joel Achenbach is always a good read.
posted by caddis at 4:02 AM on November 4, 2005


This Dostoyevsky; I like him.
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:57 AM on November 4, 2005


I'm sort of shock by how viscerally anti-hunting you all are. Curious: are you vegetarians? Do you eat farm-raised meat? Wear leather?

I think it's great that this girl has learned firearm safety and the hunting tradition with her family. To londonmark: the children who learn to hunt with their families are actually very unlikely to grab a 9 mil and shoot someone. The gun problem in the US is distinct from that (unless you want to get into detail about NRA politics, which is probably not appropriate in this thread).
posted by miss tea at 5:09 AM on November 4, 2005


...the children who learn to hunt with their families are actually very unlikely to grab a 9 mil and shoot someone.

I wouldn't know and wouldn't disagree, but that wasn't my point. Why are you teaching your kids to use guns at all? So you can't drive till your in your teens, can't vote till your 18 (I guess?), can't even drink till you're 21, but you can pick up a killing machine at age eight and go rampaging through forests with your folks on a Sunday afternoon jaunt?

That's way, way through the looking glass if you ask me.
posted by londonmark at 5:45 AM on November 4, 2005


Shooting animals with high-powered rifles is not what I would call a "hunting tradition"; I would call it a mockery of such. Go kill an animal the way humans have done for the past 50,000 years -- with spears and arrows. If an eight-year-old fells a bear with a spear, then (and only then) will I be impressed.

That girl is being taught nothing useful, except the cheapness of life. She is nothing but a butcher.
posted by solipse at 5:46 AM on November 4, 2005


But am I the only person who thinks it's a bit weird that this girl with the shotgun was eight years old? If that's considered socially acceptable, no wonder the US has a gun problem.

Why is it weirder than her using a bow and arrow, or a golf club, or softball bat, or any other sporting implement that could be used to kill people if you wanted to turn it to that use? Or different than her using a chef's knife?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:03 AM on November 4, 2005


But am I the only person who thinks it's a bit weird that this girl with the shotgun was eight years old? If that's considered socially acceptable, no wonder the US has a gun problem.

Oh yeah, you hit it spot on there. I can't even remember what life was like in America before the little country girls with hunting rifles started robbing people at the liquor store.
posted by bradth27 at 6:20 AM on November 4, 2005


See, the problem is that the same hunters who tell you that the herd has to be culled with guns will tell you with a straight face that you can't reintoduce predators because they'll kill the deer.

I've never heard a hunter say that as an argument against reintroducing large predator animals to the edges of suburban areas.

You see, the argument I'd think of about reintroducing predator animals around here is that they'd just be getting hit by cars same as the deer. Well, that and they'd be likely to carry off cats and small dogs (as coyotes do in the Southwest, for example.) Given that we already have health issues with feral dogs and cats, I cannot see how bringing wolves, coyotes and bobcats back to the Boston-NewYork-Washington corridor is really going to help the deer overpopulation issue.

The fact is, around here, we do have 'sport hunters'. We also have organized hunts by the state police to cull the overpopulated herds and then donate the resulting venison to food banks. Would you argue that the state police sponsored hunts are evil and sadistic?
posted by Karmakaze at 6:34 AM on November 4, 2005


I'm sort of shock by how viscerally anti-hunting you all are. Curious: are you vegetarians? Do you eat farm-raised meat? Wear leather?


Yes, no and no. Thanks for asking.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:39 AM on November 4, 2005


I cannot see how bringing wolves, coyotes and bobcats back

an interesting point is that coyotes have been slowly coming back, anyway ... here in s.w. michigan, there's been instances of coyotes getting suburban cats and dogs ... wolves are very slowly coming back to the u p and i've even heard rumors of panthers being sighted here and there
posted by pyramid termite at 6:44 AM on November 4, 2005


but you can pick up a killing machine at age eight and go rampaging through forests with your folks on a Sunday afternoon jaunt?

Rampaging? And I'm the one through the looking glass?
posted by miss tea at 6:54 AM on November 4, 2005


TNKFK: Offering the Great Outdoors and Hunting as POSITIVE ALTERNATIVES to the use of drugs and alcohol. A nifty companion book.
posted by caddis at 7:08 AM on November 4, 2005


Solipse: see How to bag a bear with a bow and arrow.
posted by caddis at 7:18 AM on November 4, 2005


Game should be shot with bows and arrows only, never with guns. And only for food. I mean, BEARS do not need a population-thinning job, and they are intrinsically worth more as BEINGS than a little stupid kid, and shame on her parents for teaching her otherwise.

Furthermore, a person who uses a gun to kill a harmless little deer from 500 feet is a dirty rodent living out a sick dominance fantasy and should be tickled until cardiac arrest.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:19 AM on November 4, 2005


TNKFK? From Wikipedia:

"Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em! To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em." (Source: "Ted Nugent to Fellow NRAers: Get Hardcore," Associated Press article, April 17, 2005)
posted by londonmark at 7:19 AM on November 4, 2005


Pretty smart of the family to up there chances at the the tag lottery by entering the eight year old. However a .243 is a pretty small round to be hunting bear with, even if that bear only masses 100kgs. I'm hoping father/uncle was using something a little more substantial as a back up.
posted by Mitheral at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2005


[Bears] are intrinsically worth more as BEINGS than a little stupid kid

Yeah, that line of reasoning is going to win you a lot of support.
posted by callmejay at 7:50 AM on November 4, 2005


Well, I kind of agree with that. In the grand scheme of things, a bear contributes more to the planet than one person. I get what they were saying.
posted by agregoli at 7:56 AM on November 4, 2005


[Bears] are intrinsically worth more as BEINGS than a little stupid kid

Yeah, that line of reasoning is going to win you a lot of support.


I think that gb was being facetious (at least I hope so).
posted by caddis at 8:03 AM on November 4, 2005


I'm sort of shock by how viscerally anti-hunting you all are. Curious: are you vegetarians? Do you eat farm-raised meat? Wear leather?

I am a vegetarian. I don't eat any meat at all, and I certainly don't use leather. Interestingly, I am not entirely against hunting. I don't eat meat because I find it disgusting that people can buy these perfect, sterile-looking pieces of meat in the supermarket without ever having to deal with its bloody, painful origins. If you can't bear to understand and see the process of life being taken in order to make your burger, then you have no right eating it. I can't bear it, so I don't eat it.

On the other hand, if you can hunt respectfully, killing only what you need and using it all, I have a lot more respect for you than for grocery-store meat eaters.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:14 AM on November 4, 2005


Hunting drunk and giving guns to young kids is bad though. Bad, bad, bad.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:15 AM on November 4, 2005


I'm of two minds about hunting. I grew up in a hunting family, got my first rifle at 9, went on my first deer hunt at 10, and have gone on multiple squirrel/rabbit hunts since then. As a child, my father's motivation for teaching me how to use a gun was so that I would have respect for them and not treat them as toys. I've never pointed a gun a person, and I never will. But, I don't own guns as an adult, they make me uncomfortable because it's like having a pet you can't completely control living in your home. When you leave the house you have to think about the gun, is it locked up? Could anyone find it if they broke in? When you have guests over with small children the same thoughts occur over and over again. For me it's just easier to not have a gun that it is to worry about the possible consequences. I also don't hunt as an adult because although I like the taste of venison, I just can't see the need in my life to hunt deer, or bear, or anything. Even my father, the man who taught me to hunt, now only hunts squirrel because they are pests in his area. He decided years ago that dove and duck hunting was wrong because they are pretty and mate for life, rabbit hunting was more work than it was worth, and raccoon hunting is just an excuse to get drunk.

However, that said, I know that some of my fondest memories are wandering around the woods with my dad "hunting". Most of the time we just wandered aimlessly in the woods and happened to have a gun in hand, most of the time there was very little shooting and even less killing. Just a little girl and her daddy bonding. I also remember deciding that I was never going to hunt deer again because I didn't want to get up that early.

Hunting is a very complex and integral part of the culture in some areas of the States. And honestly, I'd rather the kid have an idea of where food comes from and how to handle herself and a gun than have no clue. Of course as a farm kid, I'm sure she has a far better grasp on life and death in the world than many of her contemporaries who live in towns and cities.
posted by teleri025 at 8:16 AM on November 4, 2005


Why are you teaching your kids to use guns at all? So you can't drive till your in your teens, can't vote till your 18 (I guess?), can't even drink till you're 21, but you can pick up a killing machine at age eight and go rampaging through forests with your folks on a Sunday afternoon jaunt?

So when their friend up the street finds his dad's gun and starts showing it off to his friends they know how dangerous it is and how to unload it?

This thread is a shining example of why I have no hope for the Dems any time soon.
posted by kableh at 8:33 AM on November 4, 2005


be sure to close the cat door at night so the racoon won't chase us into the bathroom again.
posted by bat at 6:28 AM EST

You are lucky it is only racoons! I had possums coming through my cat door when I lived in California. Ugh. Nasty, toothy, snarling things.

an interesting point is that coyotes have been slowly coming back, anyway ... here in s.w. michigan, there's been instances of coyotes getting suburban cats and dogs
...

A coyote was spotted on the street where my mother lives in suburban california. Of course her house (where I grew up) is in front of the flood control, but I don't remember any animals other than gophers and rats. Now she has squirrels, coyotes, and possums.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:35 AM on November 4, 2005


If an eight-year-old fells a bear with a spear, then (and only then) will I be impressed.

Could she be trained to do so consistently?

I'll see you in the green.
posted by S.C. at 8:41 AM on November 4, 2005


So many appeals to emotion, so little time.
posted by knave at 8:49 AM on November 4, 2005


Dan'l Boone kilt him a b'ar when he was only 3.

I believe that was Davy Crockett, wasn't it? Dan'l's greatest contribution to our frontier culture was being the progenitor of Johanne Sebastian Boone, beloved ancestor of Pat and Debbie. Dan'l's older brother, Flan'l, as a sports evangelist, aided the embryonic development of baseball by depositing future Cleveland Injun shortstop Ray Boone in his sperm bank.
posted by PlanoTX at 9:01 AM on November 4, 2005


I watched deer starve to death in my rural Maryland neighborhood, and I saw them with sickly fawns born at the wrong time of the year because their natural cycles are so screwed up, and I found their bodies after they slowly died from some inept bowhunter's misplaced shot. There are too many deer. There are beginning to be too many bears - where I live now, in North Carolina, there's a mother and two cubs who regularly wander through my mother's retirement community, which worries me a bit.

Yes, this is a result of suburban sprawl and predator eradication, and no, it isn't pretty, but it's here, and hunting is the immediate, short term, effective solution. Shooting deer or bear with a rifle is infinitely more humane than bowhunting. Bowhunting is very difficult to really do, and all too often the result is an injured animal who slowly bleeds to death weeks later. I eat meat; I happily eat venison when friends who hunt give it to me, and while my kids have never been hunting, if the opportunity arose I wouldn't say no.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:22 AM on November 4, 2005


My viewpoint, when I initiated this topic, wasn't so much the pros and cons of hunting, which in this case was in season and totally legal, as it was the idea of an eight-year-old child packing a rifle in search of bear. This is not a little pop-gun vs. an abundance of squirrels. It's an eight-year-old in her own big-game safari. TOO YOUNG for that game, imo.

I know someone will point out that both Dan'l Boone and Teddy Roosevelt were only 3 when they got their first wooly mammoths. I'll grant that. But this is a different society. Take the poor girl fishing instead. (Then we can have this topic all over again when she lands that whale to be mounted on the living room wall.)

From our ever-truthful visual media, we know that the bears' main contribution to the ecology is to thin down the over-population of salmon and keep them from clogging up the nation's rivers. Now the GOOD NEWS is that I just saved 20% on my 'being eaten by bears' insurance from Geico. I bet Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend wish they'd bought a policy.
posted by PlanoTX at 9:49 AM on November 4, 2005


I mean, BEARS do not need a population-thinning job

Actually, in that area, they do. That's why permits are issued to cull them.

I grew up about an hour from Kitzmiller (where this happened), and still have family out there. Last year, my dad told me about two separate incidents of folks he knew having problems with black bears on their properties. One of them actually tore the screen out of their kitchen window.

It's becoming more common, to the point that the old-timers up that way say that, at this rate, "In 50 years, black bears will be roaming the streets of Washington DC, searching through dumpsters."

Not sure I buy that, but I do know that the deer are moving into the suburbs & cities. Over generations, they've learned that they're safe [from hunters] there, and have become somewhat tame. When I was a kid, we rarely saw them on our property, but the last time I visited there were hundreds of tracks on my dad's property. I asked about them & he said they "visit" at least once a week.

I'm not a hunter, but after reading some of these comments, I have to say that I find it really disturbing that so many people would condemn hunting when it's so obvious to me that hunting is vitally important to the survival of the animals themselves.

If you've ever seen malnourished whitetail deer, consider yourself lucky. It's a sad, pathetic sight...
posted by ksmith at 9:51 AM on November 4, 2005


Those wishing to introduce their children to the joy of shooting stuff while keeping the danger quotient down can always come to Canada, home of bait hunting. This involves setting out food near a hunting blind, and charging brave hunters for the privilege of blasting the unsuspecting bears (presumably while sitting on a comfy chair) - oh the fun! Some of the outfits offering this service more or less guarantee kills.

Oh, yeah, and in Ontario the licence [215K PDF] to do this costs less than pretty much anything else you can get from the provincial government these days - residents can bag a bear for $35 Canadian (sorry, Yanks and others, you'll have to pay $175).
posted by senor biggles at 10:04 AM on November 4, 2005


If you're going to grow up in a gun culture, it's best to learn young (but well supervised) so that gun safety is deeply ingrained. I was taught to use a rifle, and handgun at age 9, and ongoing thereafter. Although I am by no means a 'gun nut' at the age of 34; on the rare occasions when I go out shooting at the range with friends (some of whom are competitive shooters), I've noticed that I'm even more careful with gun handling than they are.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:17 AM on November 4, 2005


I find it really disturbing that so many people would condemn hunting when it's so obvious to me that hunting is vitally important to the survival of the animals themselves.

I would much prefer we repair the local ecology and add back top predators like wolves and coyotes than let people shoot animals randomly, many of whom are healthy and beneficial - not sickly or lame like the ones predators target.
posted by agregoli at 10:24 AM on November 4, 2005


kableh writes "This thread is a shining example of why I have no hope for the Dems any time soon."

. . . the fuck?
posted by jenovus at 10:58 AM on November 4, 2005


“kableh writes "This thread is a shining example of why I have no hope for the Dems any time soon."
. . . the fuck?”
posted by jenovus at 10:58 AM PST on November 4 [!]

Probably in reference to the many knee jerk “hunting bad - Hunters stupid like Ted Nugent” comments.

But there are good and bad hunters as there are good and bad Mefi’ers. Meh.

I hunt. I’d rather not have predators reintroduced wholesale unless they’re controlable or specialized.
But I think we can all agree on what works - after it works.

This story doesn’t bother me so much. The news coverage bothers me. There is - unquestionable - a fascination with firearms in the US instead of the matter-of-factness that should be there.
When I was teaching my wife to shoot she wanted to take a picture holding the pistol. I told her I wouldn’t take it. Would I take a picture of her holding a screwdriver?

The novelty of it that is there shouldn’t be there.
This is a story of a guy spending time with his kid teaching her how to shoot and use a rifle properly. We wouldn’t be all over it if he was teaching her how to use a trowel. I grant, unless you sucker someone into looking for a cask of amantilado you can’t kill someone with masonry skills.

I recognize humans as hunters and herding animals is a concession. I respect you vegan folks, but y’all still have canines in your skull and a digestive system that can process meat.

That said, it’s sad this is getting the hype that it is. It would be nice if the kid got recognized for doing something charitable.

But hunters aren’t typically good at recognizing good PR.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:39 AM on November 4, 2005


PlanoTX writes "TOO YOUNG for that game, imo."

It's not like they turned her loose with a gun and knife and said "go punch your tag". Her dad was standing right there.
posted by Mitheral at 11:48 AM on November 4, 2005


agregoli wrote, "I would much prefer we repair the local ecology and add back top predators like wolves and coyotes than let people shoot animals randomly"

The introduction of predators to an ecological system to control the supposed "pests" ...

Wasn't that the idea behind kudzu grass, the buffo, and predatory fish that have taken over many northern rivers and lakes? Ecologists have a rather spotty record with "natural" solutions. Introduced predators run amok because their own checks and balances are deficient.

So perhaps hunting is not so evil. What we need to work on now is to make algae- and mosquito-hunting attractive to young kids armed with non-ballistic weapons.

The idea of an 8-year-old being taught firearm safety by a "responsible adult" falls into the same category as that 8-year-old being taught safe drinking, safe driving, and safe sex by a "responsible adult". Something here does not compute.
posted by PlanoTX at 12:42 PM on November 4, 2005


PlanoTX: I know someone will point out that both Dan'l Boone and Teddy Roosevelt were only 3 when they got their first wooly mammoths. I'll grant that. But this is a different society. Take the poor girl fishing instead.

First of all, your society doesn't change the fact of whether or no it's ok to kill animals for food/sport. It's either ok or not, and whether you live in 2000ce or 200bc the ethics are the same.

Animals live in a complex world that involves eating and being eaten, usually called the food chain (but it's not necessarily as cut and dry as a chain). If you can claim any "natural" rights for an animal, it's basically that they get to walk around the world until they die, and that death may or may not come from a predator.

Human Beings are predators, so are our two closest friends dogs and cats. (I've been thinking about this a lot lately)

I think in terms of treating animals ethically, beyond vegetarianism/veganism (which I think takes things too far), the most ethical method of eating meat is hunting and killing your own food, which is similar to only eating "free range" meats (meat where the animal got a halthy amount of space and life before being eaten, and hopefully isn't shot full of antibiotics).

But the fishing thing surprised me--- it's somehow barbaric to take a gun or bow and shoot a mammal and eat it, but on the other hand tying a hook to a string and hooking and then suffocating a fish is somehow civilized?

Is that because the mammal deserves life and the fish doesn't? Or is fishing less cruel (it doesn't seem less cruel to me)? Perhaps you find mammals cuter than fish, and thus more deserving of rights and/or consideration?
posted by illovich at 1:11 PM on November 4, 2005


Why are you teaching your kids to use guns at all? So you can't drive till your in your teens, can't vote till your 18 (I guess?), can't even drink till you're 21, but you can pick up a killing machine at age eight and go rampaging through forests with your folks on a Sunday afternoon jaunt?

So when their friend up the street finds his dad's gun and starts showing it off to his friends they know how dangerous it is and how to unload it?

Right on! This is the reason my two kids (boy and girl) will be running cars on auto racetracks and taking racing school courses before they are allowed to drive a car on the street.

This thread is a shining example of why I have no hope for the Dems any time soon.

Aw, see, there, how you went and ruined it? I am a Dem, and I thought your point was a good one.

Your final line is a shining example of why I have no hope for anyone who takes an us/them position in politics any time soon. Sigh.
posted by davejay at 1:16 PM on November 4, 2005


Personal thoughts: I don't like the idea of hunting for sport, but I wholly support hunting for food. I also don't like the idea of factory farming and standard slaughterhouse practice because it's unnecessarily cruel, but have no issue with cattle killed for food after spending their lives roaming open grassland in uncrowded conditions.
posted by davejay at 1:17 PM on November 4, 2005


I hunt. I’d rather not have predators reintroduced wholesale unless they’re controlable or specialized.

Controllable? What does that mean? That a coyote won't show up in your yard and take a cat? Well, that's definitely a risk. But I think that it's a much more responsible and natural way of dealing with the wilderness than saying, "Well, we killed all those predators, guess we have to kill the deer now..." Personally, I have no problem with a coyote occaisonally getting into people's yards or pets if those people live in an area where coyote's are. They will have to accept that as a risk, and defending your property with a gun against a wild animal I have no problem with.

The introduction of predators to an ecological system to control the supposed "pests" ...

No, not what I was saying at all. I'm talking about adding BACK the predators we destroyed in the first place, not some new cockamamie species. If the deer population is out of control because there aren't any non-people predators in the region, I don't see how the logical solution is to shoot them instead of repairing the ecology. Shooting them just adds a whole new dimension to fucking with nature.
posted by agregoli at 1:18 PM on November 4, 2005


Hmm, this is now time #4 I've noted irony in someone's name.

Heh, londonmark, how'd banning guns in the mid-90's treat ya? 4x violent crime increase? When violent crime in America dropped 50%?

Which country has the gun problem, now?
posted by effugas at 1:42 PM on November 4, 2005


PlanoTX writes "The idea of an 8-year-old being taught firearm safety by a 'responsible adult' falls into the same category as that 8-year-old being taught safe drinking, safe driving, and safe sex by a 'responsible adult'."

I think we're culturally too far apart here PlanoTX. Raised on a farm I was safely driving on private property by eight. Teaching safe drinking to 8 years olds is easy: "Don't". I can't remember exactly when I got the sex talk, sometime in elementry school, but I knew where babies came from and how they got there _well_ before the official talk. Rifles are a tool, no more dangerous than a tractor. I didn't get my first firearm until around 12 but I'd been using them well before that and I owned an air rifle that you could hunt rabbits with at 10.
posted by Mitheral at 1:45 PM on November 4, 2005


I'm talking about adding BACK the predators we destroyed in the first place, not some new cockamamie species.

But the habitat in which those predators lived no longer exists, and it never will again. Period. I agree that rolling back the clock would be the way to deal with the situation, but that notion goes beyond idealism, straight away into fantasy. It cannot happen.

It's too late. Whatever balance used to exist to keep these things in check is just plain gone. Bring back the coyotes, and our great-grandkids will be debating the ethics of hunting the coyotes to keep their population under control, etc. Or maybe something even more fucked up. Who knows?
posted by ksmith at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2005


It's not idealism or fantasy - it's reality, and it can happen if people actually want to try. Many areas have done this - just the other day I read an article about it. I'll try and dig it up.

The "too late" mentality with nature is sad, and only going to destroy things further.
posted by agregoli at 2:29 PM on November 4, 2005


First of all, your society doesn't change the fact of whether or no it's ok to kill animals for food/sport. It's either ok or not, and whether you live in 2000ce or 200bc the ethics are the same.

I might suggest that the ethics MAY HAVE changed: cattle ranching, chicken farms, egg farms, mosquito eradication, fish farms. I'm not sure how you define "ethics" here unless you're a complete vegan. Is it OK to boil a lobster to death just because we consider it a delicacy? And how do you justify the captivity of zoos, even though many zoos are key participants in endangered-species preservation programs? What were zoos like in 200 bc?

But the fishing thing surprised me--- it's somehow barbaric to take a gun or bow and shoot a mammal and eat it, but on the other hand tying a hook to a string and hooking and then suffocating a fish is somehow civilized?

No, fishing is NOT more civilized. It still ends up in the taking of life. However, universally it is a socially acceptable parent/young-child togetherness activity. Bear-killing is not. Shall we go clubbing baby seals as a family activity next? (We do have young seals and sea lions along the California coast. Why not promote tourism with a new activity?)
posted by PlanoTX at 2:36 PM on November 4, 2005


[The introduction of predators to an ecological system to control the supposed "pests" ...]

No, not what I was saying at all. I'm talking about adding BACK the predators we destroyed in the first place, not some new cockamamie species.


I was not negating your premise, but merely noting that it hasn't been a preferred method of many 'ecology managers', which instead introduce exotics that run amok.

Both, however, have much the same limitations. Coyotes and wolves did have non-human predators that have also disappeared. So when you have to introduce the wolf, you may also have to introduce the mountain lion or wolves will overpopulate. What controlled mountain lions? Maybe it was some parasite that infected them and caused sterility. Should we reintroduce those, too?

The ecosystem has hidden complexities, which we often discover to our chagrin.

Today, the hunter and government-administered hunting limits often are an effective replacement for the top of the non-human food chain. However, that's not anything we should be proud of.
posted by PlanoTX at 2:48 PM on November 4, 2005


It's not idealism or fantasy - it's reality, and it can happen if people actually want to try. Many areas have done this - just the other day I read an article about it. I'll try and dig it up.

Please do. I'm not saying this as a challenge, but I'd be shocked to find an area with a significant human population (as opposed to a preserve or national park) that had long term success with this.
posted by ksmith at 3:05 PM on November 4, 2005


Mitheral writes, I think we're culturally too far apart here PlanoTX.

You're absolutely right. There are two cultures here, hunter and non-hunter. However, that does not make either culture right or wrong. There's no difference here between those and differences in ethnic cultures. We accept those as 'cultural diversity'. It should be the same for hunting and non-hunting, the respect for the views of those that are not ours. The paradox is that all this discussion comes from the intrinsic non-acceptance of the other view. Cie la vie!

I tend to write from a non-hunter perspective. However, the NRA has many valid points in its platform. The possession of a gun should not per se become a crime. However, the use of a gun in the commission of a crime should be dealt with much more severely, such as lengthened prison sentences or non-eligibility for parole. The same goes for bats, knives, tasers, pepper spray, and all other items we often don't regard as weapons of violence.
posted by PlanoTX at 3:09 PM on November 4, 2005


ksmith: Whatever balance used to exist to keep these things in check is just plain gone.

That is much the same as what I said later. I was not trying to steal your fire. I just hadn't read it when I wrote my own later comment. Thanks for your views.
posted by PlanoTX at 3:15 PM on November 4, 2005


(Achenbach's) blog got lots of comments -- many more than my measly entry will.

I never imagined that this would become a 65-comment topic. Thanks to everyone who participated.
posted by PlanoTX at 3:20 PM on November 4, 2005


I'm just waiting for the bears to bear arms. Then there'll be a season on 8-year-old girls who hunt.

It'll be sad...but someday we'll need to start paying our dues on this rock instead of borrowing against tomorrow's land-rape/animal-profit/pollution-sink.
posted by spincycle at 3:51 PM on November 4, 2005


effugas wrote:
Heh, londonmark, how'd banning guns in the mid-90's treat ya? 4x violent crime increase? When violent crime in America dropped 50%?

Which country has the gun problem, now?


It is true that violent crime has increased in the UK as of late. But can you honestly ask which country has the gun problem now? Clearly the US is still the nation with a gun problem. I live in Lincoln Nebraska (US) half the year and North London the other half, I have seen more guns and gun crime in Lincoln than London.

Guns scare the hell out of me. They were everywhere when I was a kid, my friend's parent had them on their walls so that everyone who might enter their house knew what their take on the fourth amendment and WW2 was. When I was eight my friend rang my doorbell and when I answered he was pointing an unloaded gun he had taken from his dad. When sleeping at another friend's house I was shown a (claimed) live grenade from WW1. At the time, none of this seemed even remotely strange.

I know all the arguments made by those who support guns, honestly I believe many of them, but the situation is in dire need of change in the States. There can be no denying that, right? I don't claim to know what the solution is, but I know it won't be found till everyone gets rid of some of the zealotry they have about guns.

To be an American it seems you need to have tossed away your sense of moderation in order to speak.

The left needs to learn that getting rid of guns isn't the answer to curbing gun violence, if we said tomorrow that guns were illegal we would experience an increase of violence during the years that follow. Having a gun doesn't make people want to hurt others with it, the solution is to find something that makes people less inclined to hurt others.

The right needs to learn that guns aren't as nice and wonderful as they claim. You can call them tools all day, it doesn't make them less capable of killing and no screwdriver has been used to kill millions of people. Far fewer people have altars on their wall displaying the 12 different phillips-heads they own (Yes, I know in the dictionary sense of the word guns are tools but that is hardly the breadth of it). Being so casual about guns to liken it to a screwdriver makes the situation worse. Telling everyone that guns are perfectly safe is just plain wrong, they are made to kill things plain and simple.

I'm not sure what needs to happen to help reduce gun violence. I don't think taking everyone's gun away will help matters, but many of those who currently have guns shouldn't. There needs to be real punishments for those who mishandle guns, and even sterner ones for those who allow their children to mishandle guns.

I was taken hunting when I was a child (granted duck and pheasant is a far cry from bear hunting). I enjoyed the time with my dad and was shown how to properly handle the guns we had. I think that if you want to share that with your kid you should be allowed to. I was taught well by my dad, and I have no reason to think this little girl isn't being taught well by hers (yeah, an 8 y/o killing a bear is a tad creepy but one of the trademarks of humanity is realizing that everyone was raised wrong except your kids).

Anyway, I'm sorry about the long post I just needed to throw my voice to the wind.
posted by herting at 3:10 AM on November 5, 2005


Somehow this cartoon about deer hunting seems to fit perfectly with our discourse on b'ar killing.
posted by PlanoTX at 1:05 PM on November 12, 2005


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