Based on your response to yesterday’s post, “Are Hunters Psychopaths?” the answer is clear: Yes, hunters are psychopaths. Therefore, by extrapolation, we can conclude that sport hunting is serial killing. There’s no way of getting around it. Not unless you consider non-human animals to be mere objects, possessions or “things,” but then you would be viewing them the way a psychopath views his victims. The fact that society still considers nonhumans as objects or possessions can only mean human society shares some of the traits of a psychopath.
Objectification is one of the benchmark behaviors of psychopathy.
Consider the words of Aaron Thomas, the accused East Coast serial rapist who says he doesn’t know why he couldn’t stop attacking women for nearly two decades. “They were objects,” Thomas recently told The Washington Post during a phone interview from his Virginia jail cell. “Whoever came down the street, an object,” he said.
Struggling to understand himself, Thomas admitted, “I don’t think I’m crazy, but something is wrong with me.” Yes, something is definitely wrong—it’s called psychopathy. Though not considered a defensible form of insanity that blurs the line between right and wrong, psychopathy is a disorder characterized by an inability to empathize with others, often accompanied by a compulsion to exploit, harm or kill in order to gain a sense of self-worth. Sound a lot like trophy hunting? It’s the same deal. Thomas said he carried out his attacks without regard for his victims. The same can surely be said about sport hunters in regards to their victims.
Predictably, Thomas’s early behavior involved cruelty to animals. As a youth, he dropped the family’s Lhasa apso into a post hole that had filled with water, nearly drowning it. Showing more insight than most animal abusers, Thomas told the Post, “I used to think to myself I could have turned out a serial killer.”
It’s eerie, yet enlightening, how much the obsession described by Thomas mirrors the preoccupation of an avid sport hunter. The following confession by a “lifelong sportsman” was printed in Montana Outdoors magazine, under the title, “Why I Hunt”:
“Why do I hunt? Well, I hunt because…. Yeah, right. As if there’s an acceptable answer to that question, one I can regurgitate to nonhunters at Christmas parties and still offer with a straight face to my fellow sportsmen, people who already know in their hearts and guts and bones that we hunt for the same reasons we breathe. Because we don’t have a choice. Just as some human beings are born with the gift of artistic talent and others have an innate facility with numbers, we hunters seem blessed with a genetic predisposition toward the chase.”
It is a “predisposition,” and it’s shared by stalkers, sexual psychopaths and serial killers. Sorry to burst their bubbles, but it’s not a blessing to be proud of, and it’s certainly not something to brag about.