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2010 New Jersey Bear Massacre. Hunters' Attitudes. The Nadir of Sensitivity.

Going over the many different news reports concerning the just concluded 2010 New Jersey Bear Massacre, I am seriously distressed by the crass mentality of those who participated in the killing.

A certain Cindy Partipilo commented :

" Now we can just hunt however we want but I still have a problem. They say we can kill cubs and I want my 10 year old son to kill his first cub, but he doesn’t want to do it because his class adopted some computer Polar Bear Cub for their Nature and Ecology study. Now he doesn’t get it when I tell him it’s okay to shoot the black ones, just not the white ones. How do I talk some sense into the child? Can we get them to quit teaching about saving the Environment and Ecology so we can teach our children whatever we want? "

Believe it or not, the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) permitted the killing of bear cubs. In fact, the DFW encouraged hunters to shoot all bears regardless of their weight and age. And at the other end of the barrel, even 10-yr old kids were allowed shoot and kill an animal if an adult hunter accompanied them. Dave Chanda is Director of DFW.
As for Partipilo's comment, it is symptomatic of the hunting community's core belief that teaching children to hunt safeguards their way of life particularly their alleged right to kill an animal for sport. Unfortunately, this mentality subliminates a higher ideal, one that defines us as a civilized society---our belief that all life is sacred. Furthermore, children do not have to follow in their parents' footsteps especially when they perpetuate evil. Children should be given a chance to find their own spritual and philosophical paths. In this case, it sounds like the child was resisting the killing of all bears. Talking sense to one's child requires talkin sense to one's self. I wish the kid lots of luck, and may wisdom never abandon him. Teach children compassion, not cruelty.

A certain Joan Robillard justified her hunting on the Daily Record in terms of tradition:

" I've hunted since I was 15. "

Well, that's a pretty convincing argument, isn't it? I reckon the logic behind it is that when something is done repeatedly, it becomes acceptable. This strikes me as some sort of moral equivalence, or what I refer to as a moral easement. Its simplicity belies its exceedingly dangerous application. To frame it correctly, one only needs to cite his/her personal habits, assumed good, and that would suffice. I don't believe that even serial rapists and murderers assume that their repeated offenses become good with practice. But, evidently, hunters who have killed many times and over many years have convinced themselves that such prolonged practice is justification by itself. In reality, if it was wrong the first time you committed an act of cruelty, it would be wrong everytime, and for all time.

And finally, there is a certain Joe Piserchia who hunted in the area of West Milford, NJ. He is credited by the hunting aficionados as the killer of one of the largest bears brought in, weighing 586 pounds (the bear, not Piserchia) and approximately 20 years old. Imagine, a magnificent animal that roamed the woods for two decades is now gone, probably turned into a trophy and conversation piece in somebody's home. Hark, a hunter's got the war story that would last his lifetime. And isn't that what this whole thing is about---the bragging, the blood lust, the thrill of destruction?

" I harvested him at 8:10 in the morning..."

Is there a suggestion that hunters are one with nature? Hunters present themselves as conscientious environmentalists, not shootists, even referring to hunted animals like they were clams or a mushrooms. You got to love the euphemism, the glossing over of a gruesome killing by firearm, the suggestion that no blood was spilt, like it was some fresh Spring morning and they bent over to pick some flowers. Harvesting is for crop farmers, not for animal killers. The hunter went on to talk about the kill:

" There's no drug in the world that can give you this feeling. "

Well, frankly, I wouldn't know. I don't hunt and I don't do drugs.


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