The Jackson Herald
January 10, 2001
"Young hunters kill 18 deer in Banks County hunt,"
the headline reads. Underneath, is a picture of a 10-year old
looking through the scope of a rifle.
The headline says, "young hunters," but I believe a
more apt description would be children, since all 35 of the "hunters"
who participated were under 16. They can't drive a car, they
can't vote, so give them a gun and release them on county land.
They don't have to have a hunting license. In fact, they don't
even have to take a hunter's safety course. What better time
to teach them how to kill a helpless animal.
I know not many share my views on hunting and I'm fine with that.
They say the deer would starve if people didn't hunt them every
year. I answer that if humans hadn't destroyed all of the deer's
feeding grounds by putting in subdivisions, highways and pastures
for grazing cattle, then the deer would be just fine. The advocates
say that there are just too many deer and they endanger the lives
of motorists by running into traffic. Let me pose a different
question. Does anyone ever ask themselves if it's possible there
are too many humans with cars? Perhaps too many careless humans
who drive too fast? What happens to the deer when the car hits
it? I'm sure it doesn't sashay back into the woods bragging to
all his friends about the bumper he dented. He lies dead or dying
on the side of the road where cars pass him, often hitting him
again, and animals eat him.
But the recent hunt was specifically geared toward children,
which confuses me. An annual hunt designed for families and children.
With the recent outpouring of violent crimes committed by teenagers,
many people have blamed the media. Others have blamed the teenagers'
parents by saying they neglected their children and didn't know
what was going on in their own household. However, I believe
the planners of the youth hunt event went a little too far. Is
it their belief that if you give a child a gun and let his father
teach him how to kill, then it's not considered a violent act?
Or do they believe that if the violence is supervised it's better
than if it was not? After all, they must think, the kid would
pick up a gun and try to kill something anyway, let's target
the energy at an animal. I would disagree. No child needs to
know what it's like to kill. I rescued a cat from the side of
the road that had been hit by a car. For two days, I nursed it
and carried it to the vet. The hardest thing I ever did was hold
him while the vet put him to sleep because his injuries were
too severe to treat. I would want to save my child from ever
having to witness the last breath of a creature, so forgive me
if I find it hard to believe that fathers want to subject their
children to death and call it a sport.
A religious organization and the Georgia Department of National
Resources touted the hunt as being a "safe and fun activity
that would encourage parents to spend some quality time with
their children." If people everywhere believed loaded guns
plus cornered animals equals family togetherness, then I would
have no choice but to write off the whole human race. I can think
of a million things better suited to family togetherness. (To
list just a few: camping at the national forest, seeing the latest
Tom Hanks movie, playing a board game, washing the car, almost
anything that involves a family together without a loaded gun
poised to fire at whatever is moving in the bushes.) Hunting
deer should be a serious venture undertaken by adults to feed
their families. There should be nothing "fun" about
taking the life of another one of God's creatures. To take pleasure
in another's pain is sadistic and disgusting. When it's necessary
to kill something for food, the occasion should not warrant a
trophy or a picture. How much of an accomplishment is it if the
deer are unarmed and unsuspecting? You're the one with the gun
in the tree hiding and you're certainly more intelligent than
they are. And safe is a word better suited to describing a game
of Twister, not hunting. Again, I would mention the loaded guns.
Next time the Banks County Board of Commissioners thinks to sponsor
an activity to promote family fun, I would suggest a fair or
a carnival. Something where the most damage a kid can do is eat
too many funnel cakes before riding the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
The Jackson Herald
January 10, 2001
Leading the 'old folks' around
We all remember how it was to be a wide-eyed innocent kid who
went wherever their parents led them. In those days, mom and
dad knew everything and could be counted on to lead us around.
The tables have turned in the Gary household. My parents are
both in their early 50s, but they have officially hit "old
folk" status. I found this out on a Christmas vacation to
Nashville, Tenn. They followed me around and looked to me at
the end of each day to tell them what we would be doing the next
The Opryland Hotel in Nashville is a wonderful place to vacation,
but you need a map to find your way around it. It would also
help if you had your own personal guide.
Mom and Dad left finding our way around up to me, even though
I have never been known for my direction skills. We arrived tired
after a long day's drive and were led to our room by an employee
at the huge hotel. I wish we could have called him whenever we
needed to go somewhere.
We were overwhelmed by the size of the place and I told my parents
I would go out and figure out where everything was. I started
out by heading back to the lobby where we had just checked in.
An hour later, I was still looking for that lobby. I had passed
the same landmarks several times, but never came across the lobby.
I found two other lobbies and finally gave up.
I went back to our room, sweating and holding my right side,
which was hit with painful spasms. No one said anything as I
threw myself on the bed and said, "We're going home tomorrow.
I hate this place." I think they were both afraid to say
anything, so I just went on to sleep.
The next morning, I was rested and I headed out again. I found
where we caught the shuttle for tours and to go to area attractions.
I found the ballroom inside the hotel where we would be going
for a few shows. I found a few restaurants and gift shops. I
didn't find the lobby, but I decided we wouldn't need it until
the end of the week when we left for home.
After getting over the frustration, we really enjoyed our stay
and I got the satisfaction of having my parents do what I say
for a change over those childhood days. I would sit my Dad down
and tell him to stay put, while I took Mom to a store and the
bathroom. I'm sure they sat me down many times when I was a kid
and told me to stay put. I hope I minded as well as they did
during our vacation.
And, yes, I finally did find that lobby where we checked in.
I don't know what the problem was. It was right near our room.
Sometimes what you are looking for the hardest really is right
under your nose.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate
editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.
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