Taking the High Road

Recently I read a piece of advice for writers that I’m going to try and take to heart. It went something like this: “If your words can possibly be misconstrued, they probably will be.” My writing style tends to make people have to stop and think about what it is I’m really saying, but I’ll work on being a little clearer so as not to lead readers to the wrong conclusions.

One thing I must be leading some to believe is that I hate all hunters. Not so; what I hate is the act of hunting and its end results. It’s the ignorance and the killing I hate, not necessarily the people.

I know that many hunters are just doing what they do to animals because it’s the popular thing to do if they want to fit in with the people they associate with. In that case I hate the peer pressure that seduces them and their weakness to resist it. But I don’t outright hate those people because I know if they were influenced by peer pressure to take up hunting, there’s a chance they’ll respond to social pressure against hunting one day and join their fellow hunters who have turned away from the sport.

And off course I don’t hate those who hunt out of poverty and desperation. For them, I mostly feel pity (although I know what it’s like to be poor, and yet I still resist the temptation to take an easy meal at the expense of the local wildlife).

Then there are those hunters who actually enjoy killing or making animals suffer. Those are the people my hatred is reserved for. But at the same time, I feel no love lost for the people who sadisticly threaten hunters with violence. How can we expect to stop violence against animals unless we set an example by taking the high road?

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10 thoughts on “Taking the High Road

  1. Applying similar logic: we shouldn’t hate, the slavemaster, just slavery; we shouldn’t hate the terrorist, just the terror; we shouldn’t hate the Nazi, just National Socialism … “By their works ye shall know them.” Please, please don’t go all soft and squishy on us, Jim! The thing that I admired about your book and that attracted me to this website was your uncomprimising stand towards wildlife thrill-killers. “Hating the sin but not the sinners” sounds good if you’re seeking a cum-by-ya accommodation with these sociopaths, but as a tactic it fails if your goal is to unflinchingly expose the brutal crimes they commit and justly turn public opinion against them. Yes, the rare hunter has pangs of guilt and may put up his guns or traps just as, I suppose, the occasional pederast takes pity on his victims. Unfortunately, here in the real world, as we both know, most wild animals will be extinct long before the majority of sport hunters ever comprehend the nature of the evil they do. No one in their right mind believes that if one could just sit down with, say, the Trump boys and have a heartfelt conversation, these scumbags would suddenly see the error of their ways and go and sin no more. There are already plenty of phony environmentalists, disingenuous apologists and fawning politicians pandering to this murderous collection of trash. So, give us hope for at least one courageous voice willing to call a spade a spade.

    • Don’t worry, Pete, I haven’t changed my position on those who kill animals for fun and excitement. You’ll never catch me making compromises or playing one type of wildlife killer off another. I used to fish, but I don’t go around defending fishing while attacking hunting.

      At the same time, I don’t hate myself for having gone along with a locally popular activity, before finally seeing that fishing is not a victimless sport.
      “Hate” is not a word I use lightly. As I said in the blog post you’re answering to, I reserve my hatred for those who get off on the killing and will never see the light or change their ways.

      But, though Farley Mowat used to be a hunter, I don’t “hate” him. I live where the vast majority of my neighbors and coworkers are hunters, but not all of them are rabid, Ted Nugent-types with lifetime subscriptions to wildlife snuff magazines. They just do it for the same stupid reasons I used to fish and eat meat–because that’s what’s popular; that’s what their fathers did; they grew up doing it; it’s “what’s for dinner,” etc.

      I do think there is a chance that some of them will someday lay down their weapons, so there’s no point spending all our energies hating them in the meantime, especially if we want to sway public opinion away from the evils of hunting and trapping (and fishing). If there’s one thing I keep hearing from people it’s that they are put off by hatespeach of any kind (even if it seems justified to us).

      Anyway, thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

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