Normally I would feel sorry for a girl born with a rare heart disease that requires her to get both a heart and liver transplant. But when 11 year old Kaitlynn Bessette of Stetsonville, Wisconsin, shot a 335 pound black bear through the heart, she lost all my sympathy.
Why is it that when some people suffer adversity they feel the need to take it out on others? And what is going on in the mind of a pre-teenaged girl that makes her want to kill a magnificent animal like a bear anyway? How can a person who knows all too well what it’s like to be the target of undeserved misfortune say, “I felt thankful, like really thankful I shot a bear”? Are kids today reading or watching too many stories, such as “The Hunger Games,” where the heroin is a huntress? Or maybe they’re playing too many violent video games, like “Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012” (available for only $79.99 in Xbox or Wii).
Of course, Kaitlynn wasn’t out there on her own; she had the help of the Wisconsin-based “United Special Sportsman Alliance,” a hunting group that grants wishes for children (most of which no doubt involve killing animals). They must have lured the bear in with bait and had Kaitlynn safely stationed in a tree-stand close enough for an easy kill, since she wasn’t even looking when she pulled the trigger: “…I held the gun as steady as I could, I turned my head and then I shot.”
After learning that her daughter had killed a bear, her mother said, “I started instantly crying.” Crying would be an appropriate reaction to hearing that a bear’s life was just unnecessarily ended or learning that your youngster was a murderer, but Mrs. Bessette was crying tears of joy instead of sorrow, “…it was amazing.” Kaitlynn’s father was equally pleased with the carnage, “She’s a good kid. I’m really proud of her.”
The family plans to mount the bear’s remains on their wall to keep the memory alive. Had the child been satisfied with taking only a photograph of the animal, both the memory—and the bear—could live on.