2004-11-24

When hunters go bad


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Being a Wisconsin native I've taken an interest in the hunter murders.

First of all, the claims that he was threatened and that the victims shot first were certainly expected. It's time to build a defense, so did we really expect him to say, "I just, out of the blue, decided to turn and shoot the whole group." I'm not pretending I have any idea what went on. I'm just suggesting that we weigh what is now being said against each party's situation and motives.

And, by the way, self defense covers one or two shots. How do you justify tracking down a man and shooting him in the back. Clearly Vang had problems. Right now we're in that phase of the story where we're hearing all the "he was a good guy" details, and the racial angle. There is something else here that probably won't come out until the story has cooled.

I'm not against hunting, by the way. By and large most hunters are responsible and respectful of the sport. And I'm certainly not a gun control freak. Gun control treats a symptom, not a root problem.

Here's my concern regarding hunting: Vang, the Hmong suspect in this latest episode, is far from the only person we'd be horrified to know was walking around in the woods with a loaded assault rifle.

There are those who don't use good judgment. When I lived in WI, I knew some folks who preceeded their hunting excursion with a trip to the tavern at 6am and some who carried their alcohol into the woods with them. More innocently, each year there are a handful of stories where hunters are shot because they or another hunter were just being plain stupid.

Then there are those in our society who just aren't right in the head. Right now a handful of of them are out there thinking, "Hmmm, that's a pretty good idea - a situation where a weapon, heck, even shots fired are not suspicious."

I respect those who hunt, but I don't participate myself. There's just something about walking into a situation where a bunch of people are carrying loaded weapons and your health depends on their being reasonable and sane.

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