Monday, November 17


The wordplay is intentional: Hunters treat children in general the same way they do their non-human prey: Some "thing" to be bagged and brought home to increase one's status, never mind what the animal or child actually wants. Kids who will go along on a hunt are another kind of prize, perpetuating the myth of hunting as a vibrant, necessary hobby. As the number of adults interested in "bloodsports" continually dwindles, hunters get ever more desperate to inculcate the young'uns into the culture of death. "The decline, says the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, "means there aren't as many 12-year-olds hunting." True - or as many ten-year-olds dying.

In a story that's already become a sad cliche, another boy was killed in a hunting accident while hunting with his father. "Neighbors say Christopher Mattison is an avid sportsman and they say his son was an animal lover." Gosh, I wonder whose idea this hunting trip was?

But even the worst-case scenarios don't need to be invoked to argue against this craven exploitation of youth. As this Louisiana TV station editorializes about the infamous beaver-trapping Girl Scouts, "our young people should not be taught old ways of doing things merely because 'that's how it's always been done.' One of the great gifts new generations bring to older ones is the discovery of the better 'mouse trap,' or in this case, perhaps, a better beaver-reduction plan. Rather than recruiting Girl Scouts in the ugly business of trapping, we would prefer seeing Alaskan youngsters taught about the causes of beaver overpopulation and ways humans might avoid conflicting interests with wild animals." Yeah, it might be nice for kids to learn something productive, instead of being forced into roles as collaborators in dead-end cruelty.

UPDATE 12/1: Father faces charges in boy's hunting death: "Tyler, a fifth-grader at Seven Oaks Elementary School in Baltimore County, had never hunted from a tree stand with a crossbow and had not taken a hunter safety course or obtained a hunting license as required by state law." What a little scofflaw, huh? Wonder where he learned that kind of morals? Oh, BTW, "Police also allege Mattison [the father] had been drinking beer that day. A backpack in his truck had six empty beer cans."

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