Saturday, April 9, 2011

G is for Guns

I came across this sign outside a shop a few doors along from a large liquor store. Get your discount wines and spirits then pop along and get your discount guns. Sounds like a lethal mix to me.

In New Zealand hunting, fishing and shooting are part of the national stereotype and still marketed as a tourist attraction in much the same way as the big white hunter was in Africa. The macho man image is still more predominant than the new man image. The government still employs hunters to cull deer and other mammals (introduced species that have outlived their usefulness) and fishing is very definitely a major family sport... although most people fish to put something on the table rather than to count and throw it back.

Trophy hunters sicken me. Living by the water's edge, we regularly have to endure the sight of magnificent sea creatures strung up for the photo shoot. Why don't we learn from past experience? We know what happened to the Tiger and Rhino populations. What is it about
this sort of battle against nature that is so attractive?

In rural areas, the sight of four wheel drives and utility trucks with pig dogs in the trailer is common. Deer and wild pig are still popular prey. Skilled marksmen will be in the minority and most hunters will lack the knowledge and skill to ensure a clean and quick kill. Guns in homes is not an uncommon reality. And from homes, they somehow manage to migrate into the hands of people who have other prey in mind. The pro-gun lobby will never admit that they are unable to police all registered gun holders and will never know how many guns and rifles are used in rural areas with no control at all.

Recently a school teacher out on a group camping trip was shot and killed while cleaning her teeth. A mistake.  Another recent case, young lads out in a truck at night with searchlights to dazzle the fleeing animals.... a tourist attraction this. Fast, high adrenalin sport from the back of a small truck bouncing along over rough pastures. A recipe for disaster. And it was.

Big boys toys? Come on guys. Grow up. We share this planet, remember?


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