Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kids and Guns=Bad

This story made me absolutely livid.

Kid kills someone while hunting. He mistakes a female hiking, for a bear. EASY two things to mix up, right? Yea.......And, the kid gets pretty much nothing. "30 days in juvenile detention and 120 hours of community service, and four hours of hunting safety education". For KILLING SOMEONE.

I am not saying that the kid meant to do this. I am sure it was a tragic mistake and accident, and I am not saying that he should get life in prison or anything, but this punishment seems really, really lenient.

However, what i don't get is HOW THIS KID IS ALLOWED TO HUNT EVER AGAIN, especially as a minor? He just has to take a freaking hunting safety education course (which he oddly, has already taken)????? And if his parents are truly going to allow him to hunt again, I think they are off their freaking rockers. I get when kids make mistakes, you have to let them learn from them. But, if I was this kid's parents, NO WAY IN HELL would the kid be near a gun to hunt as long as the kid was in my custody and a minor. (besides the fact that this would never happen to a child of mine, because I really don't think kids should be anywhere near guns, but that's another topic altogether).

I don't understand how the kid is not old enough to drive, not old enough to vote, not old enough to drink, but he can use a gun to shoot and kill things. Then, shoots a woman, kills her, and this is the punishment he gets. My heart really goes out to her family, and I hope it sends a message to hunters to be more careful. You just don't shoot because you *think* something is a bear. You better know. Weirdly, I don't think it sends a message at all. The message it sends is "no biggie if you shoot a person, you just get some community service". This country completely seems to cater to hunters and hunting and it makes me sick.

That woman's husband will never talk to her again. Never hike with her again. Never get to tell her he loves her. And this kid walks free, with the freedom to hunt and kill again. Nice.

Some things I will never, ever get.

****I am going to temporarily leave comments open on this. I do not want any comments attacking me though for my position on this. I will delete them. I don't care if you agree with me or not, but I also am never, ever in a million years going to change my opinion, so arguing with me about the pros of hunting and kids having guns will be pointless. Thanks.


Rachael said...

I remember when this happened last summer. It's sad, and very scary. A lot of people hike, camp and climb in that area.

I would think this kid is going to have a lot of issues to deal with and I am sure this was pretty traumatizing. I don't necessarily think jail time is the answer, but I do agree with you that the gun safety and youth hunting rules need to be strengthened and more restrictive. Juveniles definitely shouldn't be hunting without adult supervision.

Mindy said...

Do people really hunt bears in Washington? Is that legal? Hunting a bear? I thought bears were protected in most areas . . . no? And on a popular hiking trail? Hunting near a popular hiking trail? How is that legal?

Even from me, a gun owner - this gets a big WTF?

Nicole said...

One of the conditions should be that he never hunts again and cannot touch a gun again ever...or at least until he is "legally" an adult. Whoever was hunting with him should be held to the same. This person should have taught him that you do not shoot before being absolutely certain that what you are shooting at is an animal and not a person.

Lori H said...

Rach: Yea, I agree with you that jail time would prob not help, but I also agree with Nicole that this kid should not be allowed to use a gun for the rest of his being a minor.

Mindy: I guess hunting bears is legal there? Makes me sad.....And u r right, I did not even think of it like that, but it is kinda weird you can hunt that close to a hiking (popular) trail. Strange.

Mindy said...

I had to google bear hunting - besides in Alaska, where I know the Inuits doing it legally and need to due to overpopulation, bears wandering into villages, etc. - I just couldn't imagine it being legal. I was shocked to discover that it is. I don't have issues with hunting if said person is going to eat what they kill and has proper tags and such. But who eats bear? Besides Inuit? I read more and more - and it's "sport" hunting - and I have HUGE issues with "sport" hunting. And I have huge issues with it being legal to hunt near popular hiking trails. WTF?

How do you mistake a tiny woman for a bear?

While I know my cousins took off rabbit hunting in Michigan before they were 18, they never went hunting for big game without an adult present. How would 2 boys pack out a BEAR?

I don't get it - I call bull shit - and I don't think the sentence was enough.

Lori H said...

I despise sport hunting as well. It's murder, IMO. And to teach kids to hunt for sport is really morbid to me, as well.

I obviously don't like hunting as well, but if people actually eat what they shoot, I have far less issue with it. I just personally, because of my extreme love of animals, could never in a million years shoot something that is beautiful and alive. It's so sad to me.

Rachael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael said...

I live in Seattle and know of people who apply for special bear hunting permits. It is illegal to hunt brown bear, but for black bear it is just like buying a deer tag. However, you have to have gone through Hunters Ed and they are special permits so few are given out, I believe often through lottery. I just asked my friend whose family are very avid hunters-- bear season runs August-September, sometimes through October.

Here's the kicker, special permits are only $5. YES, FIVE DOLLARS. You can also get deer, bear & cougar hunting combo for $75.

Regardless, I have a hard time believing these kids had bear tags or were even out hunting for bear. From what I remember on the news, they said they were spooked and panicked- shooting her by mistake. It's not that far fetched, especially if they had seen bear earlier. Also, black bears aren't really that big... a small female is only 95-150lbs.

As for hunting near trails, unfortunately it's a big National Forest where it is multi-use and a lot of areas overlap. There are certain areas where you can hunt, during certain times of the year and it doesn't matter if it is a popular trail or not. Hunters are supposed to be aware of other hunters/hikers, as well as hikers should be aware going into an area like that there may be hunting. It's always a good idea to wear high-vis.

Now I am be no means justifying this and I am *not* a supporter of hunting. I just don't think it's far fetched for this to happen when irresponsibility and lack of experience is involved and is a big lesson to hunters and hikers a like, that we all need to take more precaution and awareness of one another in the forest.