The sports page in today's paper caught me unaware. With November comes the deer slaughter. The first week is a "fun for the kiddies" party. These pictures had me in tears for a good half hour. Why I tortured myself by reading one of the accompanying articles I'll never know. "Mighty hunter" teaches son to rejoice in the kill." Oh, sorry.......the "harvest." Does it make it more or less wonderful to distance the prey from a living being? To liken it to an ear of corn or a head of lettuce?
I once wrote a letter to the editor about the placement of a picture of a smiling hunter and his dead deer on the front page of the BDN. My point was that pictures like that belonged on the sports page where they could be easily avoided by readers who were sensitive to them. Yes, I put it in more graphic and derogatory terms..........After the letter appeared in the paper I received a few phone calls from irate hunters, along with one man who offered to help me avoid the vengeance of of the "sportsman's" club of Maine. He had seen my letter quoted in their magazine and feared retaliation for me. He said it had happened to him and left me his number in case I needed help. That never happened, although the response in the letters to the editor column were incredibly nasty.
There is certainly no doubt that human beings have evolved very little from "lower" animals, who hunt from instinct for survival. The added quality to the killing instinct of mankind is the pleasure we get from it....it's no wonder we are constantly fighting and killing each other. Our breast-beating outlet runs the gamut of violence from wiping the life out of innocent creatures for fun to engaging in wars. I have seen photos like the ones on the sports page in history books. The difference is only that the trophy is a human head, and it is stuck on a pole,, planted in the ground in the path of the opposing forces to scare them off. It's in our genes, prompting us as children to pick the legs of spiders and kill caterpillars. to take pot shots at birds and squirrels. With encouragement and rewards for bravery we move on to bigger game. Our physical selves are too weak to kill most species, but we have brains....the ultimate weapon. We design and make weapons that grow ever more powerful, since one-on-one killing is no longer satisfying. More and more we distance ourselves from the effect of the weapons so we can observe our work from a position of safety. I wonder what will be next. It seems likely that the weapons we make now take the fun out of the kill. We have removed ourselves too much. No matter how much we enjoy pictures, there's nothing like the real thing. I guess hunting innocent animals is the best we can do.
Quite obviously I am furious that adults continue to teach children to kill with such pleasure. It's something I torture myself with year after year when November rolls around. My expedition this morning to take pictures of places where mankind's efforts are in small ways being usurped by other forces of nature. We are very powerful, I like to believe that in the end deer will be here long after we have become extinct. We are too full of ourselves, with delusions of grandeur. We need them, but they don't need us.
Is this out of my system? at least for now? I doubt it..........