Mass shootings do not reflect human nature

by David Cantor

In the aftermath of mass murders, as in Las Vegas, we constantly hear that killing others arises from human nature. Filmmaker Ken Burns stated in his “Fresh Air” interview about his recent release on the Vietnam War, “War is human nature in spades.”

Yet, during my 28 years studying human beings’ killing of others, I discovered this from the leading expert on training human beings to kill in war, psychologist Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, in “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” “[D]espite an unbroken tradition of violence and war, man is not by nature a killer.” Grossman invokes findings that even with military training and indoctrination, many soldiers deliberately fire over the enemy’s head.

As consistently indicated in a great many sources on morality in human beings and other animals, we see human nature in the altruistic, protective, compassionate, and cooperative behavior that takes hold in the aftermath of mass murder, in mass resistance to war, and in spontaneous celebration of war’s end.

This distinction is crucial for understanding and preventing violence and murder and for responding to perpetrators. If killing were natural, we would not collectively be so horrified by it. Maybe it would be OK for authorities to “lie us into war” if “we” could benefit at the expense of “them.” Instead, we experience moral injury from our representative government’s promoting official violence while demonizing killers acting on their own.

We reward and celebrate peacemakers and officers who make arrests without killing or injuring the accused. We teach children how to get along with other human beings, not how to kill them because it is “natural” to do so.

For killing to manifest an animal’s biological nature, the animal must have body parts adapted to killing other animals and to protecting against prospective victims’ defenses. It helps to have thick, tough skin; long, hard claws and powerful muscles for wielding them; long fangs and strong jaw and head muscles to sink them between a victim’s vertebrae; back and limbs especially suited to pouncing and chasing.

Obviously, human beings do not possess such physical traits.

As detailed in “The Comparative Anatomy of Eating” by Milton R. Mills, M.D., human beings have none of the anatomical or physiological traits that define animals who evolved in nature to kill other animals – the above plus an omnivore’s or carnivore’s dentition, saliva, and digestive tract. In nature, killing is mostly for eating. No naturally occurring human “equipment” correlates with that function.

Humans evolved as plant-foraging apes on the African savanna, with color vision good for distinguishing a great variety of edible leaves, fruits, berries, flowers, and other plants that eventually led to what we call “produce” when our species began living unnaturally through agriculture; versatile digits and nails adapted to picking, plucking, peeling; teeth good for tearing and grinding plants – not for ripping and scarfing flesh.

Human beings’ organized killing relies on innovation, not nature – on manufactured weapons, traps, rope and, more recently, poison, electrical current, toxic fumes. For killing, our elaborate imaginative and cooperative capabilities, adapted to avoiding predation and raising families while moving about the landscape foraging for plants to eat, are distorted to plan and coordinate assaults, attacks, murders, wars, eliminationist campaigns, and executions.

Our bodies alone – our original, natural condition – aid us in spotting our natural predators, grabbing children and fleeing, defending with rocks and tree branches, not in actively planning, organizing, and setting out to kill.

In making policies and establishing practices with regard to nonhuman animals, human beings and governments typically analyze the kind of animal involved. Except that other animals’ sentience, emotions, and intelligence are denied because our innate humaneness rebels against injuring and killing.

It is peculiar indeed that we craft policies and perpetuate practices for our own species based on ignorance of such a basic fact of our animality as whether or not it is natural for us to kill.

A native Chestnut Hiller and 1973 graduate of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, David Cantor is founder and director of Responsible Policies for Animals, in Glenside – www.RPAforAll.org.

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Tonka’s Law, named for dog shot by hunter, unveiled on Facebook

READINGTON TWP. — When Elizabeth Mongno’s dog was killed after being mistakenly shot by a crossbow hunter, she wished for legislation to help avoid this from happening again.

After working with state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20th), she may be getting just that.

Lesniak will be hosting a Facebook live press conference at the Mongno’s home on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to announce Tonka’s Law, named after the Mongno’s 1-year-old Alaskan Shepard, who killed by an arrow in September.

Tonka was killed less than 100 feet from Mongno’s property line when the dog ran after deer and was mistaken as a coyote by a hunter who had been given permission to be on a nearby property by a neighbor. The hunter apologized to the family and is facing charges.

The bill will change the current law to increase the buffer between hunting and residential properties from 150 to 450 feet.

The current law was put in place in 2010, when the buffer was decreased from 450 feet, a decision Lesniak voted against.

“It was a big mistake, we recognized it then, but often times tragedies have to happen before it’s recognized by the legislature or the governor,” he said.

Dog who stayed by dead pup's side is rescued

Dog who stayed by dead pup’s side is rescued

Dog taken to area shelter.

Because the legislation passed overwhelmingly in 2010, Lesniak said it’s important for constituents to contact their elected officials to support Tonka’s Law.

The bill, co-sponsored with state Sen. Kip Batemen (R-16th), will not only attempt to put the original law back in place, but also provide better notice to property owners when hunting is going on near them, he said.

“People can give, and do give, permission for hunters to use their property. People living there aren’t aware of the nearness and the need to take extra precaution,” he said.

The Facebook live will include a Q&A session from residents invited to the home and from commenters on Facebook. Lesniak said he will answer any issue regarding the protection of pets and animals.

Lesniak wanted to present the bill over Facebook live because the House is out of session, and he wanted to announce it before session began.

“We certainly want to avoid any more tragedies like poor Tonka being killed,” he said.

“We miss Tonka so much,” Mongno said in a Facebook post. “Hopefully some good changes will come from this.”

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FElizabethMongno%2Fposts%2F10155884524392147&width=500

Another deer hunter falls out of tree stand

http://www.news-sentinel.com/news/local-news/2017/10/15/archery-deer-hunter-seriously-injured-in-tree-stand-fall-in-steuben-county/

ANGOLA — Indiana conservation officers are investigating a fall from a tree stand that seriously injured an archery deer hunter Saturday evening in Steuben County.

Mark Neuhaus, 50, of Angola was archery hunting on private ground just northeast of Angola when he fell about 16 feet while climbing into his deer stand at around 5:30 p.m., according to Indiana Conservation Officer James Price.

TV hunting shows and trail cameras

http://www.kystandard.com/content/straight-arrow-tv-hunting-shows-and-trail-cameras

Straight Arrow

By Gene Culver

I get a lot of customers in the archery shop who ask about equipment they have seen on some of the bowhunting shows on TV. Some of the stuff they ask about is good; some not so much. But what worries me about the shows is how they lead viewers, especially young bowhunters, to believe that there are tons of trophy bucks running around and they make it seem pretty easy to harvest one of these trophies.

I caught the end of a hunting show Monday morning and the host of the show was saying that the shows make hunting look easy, but that viewers don’t see the times when things don’t go well, and a trophy is not taken on film. He said we don’t see how frustrating, grueling and expensive filming hunts can be, and sometimes without reward, but that he always looked forward to his next hunt, and the experiences and memories that would last a lifetime.

I don’t know how many times I have had a parent tell me that their kid wouldn’t shoot a good 8-point buck because they wanted to wait for a bigger one, and I have had guys tell me they had hunted for up to 20 years and never taken a buck because they had not seen one big enough, with their decision made partly by the deer they had seen on TV hunting shows.

The reality is that most of us don’t get the opportunity to go to a managed ranch or lodge in Texas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas or some of the other well-known trophy-producing states — Kentucky included, where you can only harvest a 5 ½-year-old or older buck. And most of us won’t spend the $3,000 to $10,000 or more that it costs to hunt some of these places.

In my opinion, hunting locally, the best we can hope for is to hunt and try to harvest the biggest buck on the property you have permission to hunt on, whether that is a 110-inch buck or whatever, most places just never produce the giant bucks we see on TV and dream about.

The other problem I have noticed on some of the shows; if the hunter is using a mechanical broadhead they lead viewers to believe that even when making a bad shot, it will kill the animal. Don’t believe it!

Mechanical broadheads are not a miracle cure-all for a bad shot. Regardless of what type head you choose, it is our responsibility to practice and be as efficient with our equipment as possible. And for anyone shooting less than 60-pound pull, especially kids and women shooting shorter draw length bows, I know that a good fixed blade broadhead is a much better choice and will give better penetration. Shot placement and penetration are what will put venison in your freezer.

Trail cameras have had a major impact on hunting by providing hunters with photos of the deer that walk in front of their cameras, but unless you have a camera that will rotate 360 degrees or have four cameras facing four different directions at each camera station, a lot of deer won’t show up on camera. A couple of years ago, I was hunting near a trail camera and watched eight deer move by me within 30 yards, but none of them walked by the camera to have their photo taken.

Because of cameras, I have had customers tell me if they don’t have a good buck showing up on their camera that they don’t go hunting. Most of the bucks Eric and I have been lucky enough to harvest had never shown up on a camera. We hunt because we love being in the deer woods and the challenges that bowhunting presents.

Appeals Court Hears Case Accusing Officials of Animal Cruelty for Bow-Hunting Program

 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY PARKS

Several weeks into the Montgomery Parks bow-hunting season, appellate judges in Annapolis on Thursday heard attorneys argue about whether this method of culling deer is animal cruelty.

Bethesda resident Eilene Cohhn has spent about two years challenging a deer-management policy that she believes is inhumane and unnecessary. Her representative, a staff attorney with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, argues that it’s also unlawful.

“The (Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission) has the right to kill deer. They don’t have the right to make them suffer before they die, if that is avoidable,” attorney Jenni James said, adding that using sharpshooters is preferable.

But an attorney for the park system contended that prohibitions against mistreating animals deal primarily with harming pets, not killing deer.

“I would submit that the animal cruelty code really has no application to hunting at all,” MNCPPC attorney William Dickerson said.

James rebutted that she doesn’t believe the archery program counts as “hunting,” in the legal sense. While most people think of hunting as a sporting activity done for fun or for food, MNCPPC established the archery program to help control the deer population, she said. Therefore, it shouldn’t qualify for the hunting exemption to the state’s animal cruelty law, James argued.

The three judges who listened to the roughly hour-long debate pressed James to explain what distinguishes Montgomery County’s bow hunting from similar lawful activities across the state.

“Why can’t they, on their land, authorize the same thing that could be done on Fort Frederick State Park?” Judge Donald Beachley asked, referring to a park west of Hagerstown.

James said the park system’s purpose—to thin the deer herds—and ability to choose other options set this situation apart.

Beachley also referenced a state bear hunting program and asked whether that, too, violates the animal cruelty laws because its objective is population management.

The PETA attorney responded that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has greater authority to run hunting programs than MNCPPC.

The judges spent less time questioning Dickerson, although they did ask him whether the MNCPPC hunt follows DNR guidelines. Dickerson said it did.

They also pushed back on Dickerson’s suggestion that the animal protection laws don’t have any bearing on hunting activities; Judge Andrea Leahy noted that the statute requires hunters to use the “most humane method reasonably available.”

Montgomery Parks in 2015 added archery to its deer management program, which also includes shotgun hunting and Park Police sharpshooting. Through the program, groups of insured archery hunters take aim at deer in parts of Great Seneca Stream Valley Park in Germantown and Watts Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac from September through January, according to its website.

For about 20 years, MNCPPC has been hunting deer as a strategy for controlling an overpopulation problem that can damage wild habitats and increase the likelihood of car crashes.

It decided to explore bow hunting in parks near communities or other areas where shooting a firearm might be unsafe.

Cohhn said her home backs up to Stratton Local Park in Bethesda, and she often has deer meandering through her yard.

“I’ve gone out at night, and they’re on my porch. They’re the babies,” she said. “They’re beautiful animals.”

Cohhn said she wishes people could coexist with deer, but if officials find it necessary to curb the population, sharpshooting is a more humane approach than archery.

The likelihood of maiming a deer instead of killing it rises with archery, compared to shooting, James said. Deer shot with an arrow tend to die more slowly, she added.

Parks officials report that in its first two seasons, the archery pilot program wounding rate was 7 percent and 3 percent, an indication of how many deer were shot but not immediately killed.

Cohhn filed her lawsuit about two years ago in Montgomery County Circuit Court. After a judge last year ruled against Cohhn and PETA, she appealed her case to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals for consideration.

James said she doesn’t know when to expect the appeals court judges to issue a decision in the case.

Paul Ryan And Friends?

Just wondering… (with the KKK-type hoods, there’s no way to know for sure)…

Newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan wields the speaker's gavel for the first time on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron1384140_564330240283396_857016214_n

When Geraldo comes to town: KKK fight put Janesville in national spotlight – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20150803/when_geraldo_comes_to_town_kkk_fight_put_janesville_in_national_spotlight#sthash.veQaCYNi.dpuf

  Related Stories:
Marcia Nelesen
August 31, 2015
 Janesville has found itself in the national spotlight repeatedly through its history.

The hometown boy is serving his ninth term representing the First Congressional District and is also the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He captured the world’s attention when he became the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate.

How Much Bad News Can We Take?

Yesterday was a bad day—news wise. It’s not like World War III broke out—yet—but with Russian jets flying over our ships off Syria, and with headlines like, “China naval chief says minor incident could spark war in South China Sea,” it sounds like we’re getting a couple of steps closer.

Meanwhile, unless you were tucked away safely under a rock somewhere, you probably ryanwaxheard that bowhunter Paul Ryan is the new Speaker of the House (just two heartbeats away from the White House). Funny, I didn’t get a chance to vote for him, not that I would have. What’s this we hear about democracy? Is this how Nazi Germany got its start? (Hopefully this means he’ll be too busy to wait in his tree stand for a passing deer to recreationally-impale.)

And the last piece of bad news announced yesterday was that China coincidentally is ending its one-child policy. The media cited numerous reasons but stopped short of telling us that their population has decreased since the 1970s when they implemented the policy.

Having their population increase from 818 million in 1970 to 1.36 billion and counting (even under the one-child policy), it seems a strange time to decide to double their allowable birth rate. Of course, you need a lot of replacement babies if you want to be a major player in the world market—or declare World War III.

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Search for wounded bear shot by bowhunters under way in Kitsap Co.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Wildlife-officials-search-Kitsap-County-for-wounded-aggressive-bear-328448541.html

KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. — Officers with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife are searching the residential area of Port Orchard for a wounded 300-pound bear.

The animal attacked two men after they tried to kill it, and search dogs have been brought to a gravel road just off Berry Lake Road to help track it down.

“This bear has just been frequenting this area according to the neighbors, and these gentlemen had a hunting license, and they decided to do it,” Sergeant Ted Jackson with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

After the bear was shot with a bow and arrow on Saturday, the animal went dashing back into woods. Hours later, the men found the bear not far away and that’s when the situation turned dangerous.

“The bear started to turn near the father and son, the father again shot it with his bow, the bear went after him, and then turned and went after the son,” Jackson said.

Both men were treated for scratches and puncture wounds.

Meanwhile, the injured bear is still lurking around the area only a mile away from Sidney Glen Elementary.

“We’d like to get this thing out of here before schools starts,” said Jackson.

Area resident Ken Bruney is keeping a close eye out while working on his property.

“If you wound an animal you better call somebody, or do something about it,” Bruney said.

Fish and Wildlife officials say the bear hunters did not break the law, but they should have contacted authorities sooner since the animal is dangerous.

“We don’t want a wounded bear out there,” Jackson said. “You could walk through the brush and it could be sitting out here and somebody else could get attacked. We need to get it out of here and make sure we can find it.”

Officials say to never approach a wounded bear, and they are asking residents to be cautious and call 911 if you see the bear.

The search will continue until they find the wounded animal.

Deer with arrow lodged in face is saved

Deer with arrow lodged in face is saved
http://www.app.com/story/news/local/western-monmouth-county/marlboro/2015/09/01/deer-arrow-lodged-face-saved/71520410/
“The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife successfully removed
most of the arrow from the deer’s face after tranquilizing her Tuesday
morning at a private property off Suffolk Way. The doe, whom activists
have named Grace, was in good health and released back into the wild
with her fawn, wildlife officials said.”

also:

Bear hunting quota to be set at Fort Lauderdale meeting
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fort-lauderdale/fl-bear-hunting-meeting-20150901-story.html

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