Somebody Definitely Needs a New Heart

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.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

32 thoughts on “Somebody Definitely Needs a New Heart

  1. I am wondering if this child was raised knowing that in order for her to continue living, someone else had to die; a heart cannot be transplanted otherwise. To accept this concept she may have had to harden her heart and dull her otherwise childish open-hearted love of animals into cold acceptance. In other words, she values no life except her own; furthermore, she cannot conceive of any life other than her own as being important . Who is at fault here? Not the child.

    • Remember this is the same state that is fighting tooth and nail to allow wolf/dog fighting. I am so embarrassed to be from here. This little girl gets a second chance at life and her biggest wish is to snuff out another life? And people wonder why Wisconsin has been a breeding ground for notorious serial killers?

  2. I appreciate the fair comments here; the willingness to look objectively at this young girl and see why she would commit such an atrocity. Unfortunately, I don’t feel very fair and objective. It may be that I am just feeling, and what I am feeling is with 7 billion people on this planet, I am grateful she has a life threatening disease. It will be no loss to the planet to lose her, and if she dies young, it may save the lives of other animals which I deem more important to our world than her small twisted life.

    • Thank you, Costance, for having the courage to say out loud what many of us are thinking but are too cowed to express because of the public sympathy that naturally flows to a child with a life-threatening disease. Personally, my sympathies are with the bear who no doubt wanted to live as much as does little Miss Liver-transplant and likely clung to its now-abridged life as tenaciously as does any terminally-ill person. When I hear maudlin tales about the “Make-a-Wish” or “Hunt-of-a-Lifetime” foundations fulfilling the dying wish of some child to kill something before they depart this planet, my only regret is that their terminal illness hadn’t taken them a tad sooner. Although we all have to be mindful of the pitfalls of overt misanthropy in the public arena, I think we know among ourselves that scum is scum regardless of age or pre-existing medical condition.

  3. Jim, you wrote: “Why is it that when some people suffer adversity they feel the need to take it out on others?” It reminds me of that hunter who, a few years ago, was attacked by a deer he thought he’d shot dead. He called it “15 seconds of hell.” The fact that his life as a hunter caused lifetimes of suffering and hell to other species never crossed his mind. It speaks to the self-serving nature of anyone who would take a life for their personal enjoyment and fulfillment. Unfathomable in more ways than one. Thank you, always, for speaking so candidly to these issues.

      • I just found out something disturbing. My ex’s Mom is learning the Bow and arrow to hunt Feral Pigs in NC. I have known her for 12 years. I always thought she was a gentle Soul. I just don’t know what to think now. I can’t be friends with someone who wants to kill in such a Medieval manner 😦 I guess it is true. Hunting runs in Families.

    • This kind of comment, from someone on Facebook, is more constructive: “Why couldn’t she have taken a photograph of the bear instead. Wildlife photography is more challenging, requires more skill and patience, and above all, develops more of a love of wild creatures than does hunting.”

  4. How can parents go along with such an horrible act and be proud? Shame on them. And no, I don’t feel sorry for their “heartless” little girl.

  5. Wow, talk about a lack of appreciation for life. She would make a perfect candidate for the 12 most vile list. (goes back to hunting fellow humans with a suppressed semi auto sniper rifle in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3)

  6. Hunters know their “heritage” is dying. They will do anything they can to get more people to kill animals for sport…..People need to wake up and take back their wilderness and animals. The SLOB hunters and trapper- sadists are counting on people’s indifference

  7. wow – I think we have a clue here – “…I held the gun as steady as I could, I turned my head and then I shot.” It sounds to me that she was kinda put up to the whole “come on lets go hunting, you’ll have fun.” “I turned my head” …… you turned your head because?????? Children live & learn by what they see their parents do or say. It is very sad that this young girl did what she did.
    I unfortunately do not feel any sympathy for her either because of her rare heart disease. My allegiance is to the wildlife of this earth (more so to humans) that is how I have been & always will be.
    I will say a prayer for the bear that was lost to a shotgun.

  8. I was totally sickened by this article. I can’t believe that parents think that teaching their children how to kill is a good thing. What has happened to the human race??? Where will it all end????

  9. I just hope she does NOT get a new liver and new heart. By her decision to slaughter this magnificient creature, she has, as far as I’m concerned. shown that she is just not worth it……

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