Thursday, May 24, 2007

murder most fowl

ever just kill something because you could?

Ever feel remorse because of it?

If taking a life is murder then I am responsible for much death. But by life, I’m not talking people (they kill themselves off - smoking, drinking, speeding, drugs, hate, obesity - quite readily by themselves),

no, I’m talking about the so called “lower” life forms. Mosquitoes, spiders, ruffled grouse and a toad . . .

Yup, guilty on all counts, but unlike Charles Manson (up for parole again - yeah, right), I do genuinely feel sorry for those creatures I have offed.

Well, maybe not so much the mosquitoes - that’s more of a survival of the quickest thing.

. . . I recall (I see you rolling your eyes and thinking - oh, no he’s going off on some when-I-was-a-kid-thing again . . . well I am, so suck it.)

When I was a kid going partridge hunting with my dad was a way of rural wilderness life. We would head out to some deserted country road with our .22 rifles and forage for the elusive, but quite stupid, ruffled grouse.

It was always best to go out while the sun was just coming up and catch the birds pecking for stones on the side of the road. The thrill of coming around a bend and seeing one on the road was, for me, quite exhilarating.

My dad would stop the car and we would, as quietly as we could, get out and ready our weapons (to a partridge a .22 rifle is a weapon of mass destruction - just clarifying). Now, for those who have never hunted ruffled grouse, I have to tell you their heads are about the size of a pea - which means the brain housed inside is even smaller. And trying to hit that head with a .22 rifle at one hundred yards is almost impossible.

But, after several shots (the bird would most likely just look up then resume pecking again), either I, or my dad, would bag the sucker . . .

. . . supposed to be lovely father-son bonding memories, right? Well, I recall, after the kills, feeling kind of sorry for the birds. And I even remember petting one (quite dead I assure you) in the back of the car and telling it everything would be alright (yeah, I was like six). What did I know?

We did eat them, so it was not just killing for sport. And I don’t hunt anymore, nor will I. The desire has left me.

Why did the desire leave me . . .

. . . enter the toad.

One last instance, which is forever burned in my mind, was the demise of a friendly toad by my hand - and my Lakefield 12 gauge shotgun. It may be fun to blast imps in Doom with one, but taking down a defenseless toad is, well, kinda stupid and pointless.

I was walking (not six anymore, but like sixteen - I know, no marked intelligence improvement there it seems) down a country road hunting for partridge when I spied, in a small pool off the side of the road - a toad. Hey, I thought to myself, I wonder what will happen if I creep up to this guy and take a shot at him?

Gee, Mr. high-school doofus, what the hell do you think will happen?

As you may well have guessed, the toad, sitting on a stick, paid me little to no attention. I mean why should he, master of his environment, king of this little pool, flies buzzing about him - dinner on the wing - pay me any heed?

Cause I was armed, dangerous and dumb - that's why.

I sighted down my (must have been ten pounds) shotgun and closed the bolt action securing the toad’s fate in the chamber. With some sort of demonic glee (what other kind of glee can there be at a moment like this?) I pulled the trigger. If you have ever watched any World War 2 footage of sea battles you know what water explosions look like.

Well, one second Mr. Toad was grinning the good life, the next he was no more - literally. After the water, mud and stick fragments came back to earth, the toad was absolutely gone.

What did I feel? - kinda sick actually.

It was one of those quintessential moments in my life. I realized right then that what I had done was terribly wrong, that taking that life was sick and that I, by doing so, must be sick as well. I put a stop to that kind of behaviour. I stopped hunting - I put the shoe on the other flipper so to speak. How would I feel if somebody took a shot at me just because they could?

Now I don’t want to sound hypocritical (I eat meat and I know these defenseless animals are slaughtered for food) but the act of killing in cold blood I find distasteful and disturbing.

Here's hoping Manson stays where he is.

His kind, in my opinion, serve no real purpose in this world.

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