“Just A Girl With A Gun; Not A Gratuitous Killer” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:
“… and Esau was a man who understood hunting, a man of the field.”
— Beresheet (Genesis), 25:27
The place: a South African secondary school.
The setting: an English class.
Lights, camera, action:
The teacher is quizzing the class. One senior—she happens to be my sister—provides the rapid-fire reply:
Teacher: “What is a taxidermist?”
Sister: “a motherf-cker.”
That was a long time ago, but I have no doubt that my witty sibling would extend similar linguistic niceties (adapted to the fairer sex) to Melissa Bachman.
Ms. Bachman is described by OutdoorLife.com as a big-game hunter, host of the hunting reality show, “Winchester Deadly Passion.” The controversy that continues to eddy around Bachman “began when she posted a picture of herself with an African lion on her webpage and Facebook page. She wrote of the trophy pic: ‘An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion. What a hunt!’”
South Africans were disgusted by the woman, seen here grinning (or, rather, grimacing) from ear to ear, as she crouches beside the dead beast. They want to ban her from their country.
“It’s perfectly legal,” roared the conservative pack animals stateside. Especially eager to exhibit their macho-girl credentials were the younger chicks of this silly species. …
… More to the point: an act that is legal is not necessarily moral…
… At best, these “conservative” screeches can lay claim to an impoverished, utilitarian philosophy, whereby such gratuitous, showy killing is condoned because it reduces man’s evil incentives to kill unprovoked.
Another gargoyle with a gun is teletart S. E. Cupp. Here Cupp is sprawled over a bear’s carcass, facial featurs deformed in Dionysian ecstasy.
The statement must first be qualified: I am a girl with guns. The writer’s weapon of choice is the Smith and Wesson 686P .357 4″. This gorgeous piece will fend off most wild beasts. But certain bedrock principles—arguably a true conservative mindset—dictate a respect for life. A life-conserving sensibility means that guns are meant for self-defense, not for needless killing. …
… Read on. The complete column, “Just A Girl With A Gun; Not A Gratuitous Killer,” is now on WND.
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UPDATE I (11/22): This column—probably one of my favorites; I’m never pleased with what I write, but this is a strong piece of writing—is making me a lot of enemies; as many, perhaps, as when I officially came out against the invasion of Iraq (Sept. 19, 2002). American “conservatives” sicken—not all, but for the most—they don’t understand a moral argument.
A paleolibertarian (at least, one who is not lazy) will make moral arguments, because of a conviction that liberty has a civilizational dimension.
Clyde Wilson, the great paleoconservative historian of the South, concurs. He writes:
Dear Lady, Good column today. I have had arguments before with some libertarians that maximum exploitation of the earth is not defensible. Stewardship with necessary use is the moral way.
It’s an honor to be called a “lady” by a chivalrous gentlemen and scholar of the South.
UPDATE II: A LESSON FROM A REAL MAN. Writes a farmer and outdoorsman from Canada:
For the most part I agree with you, especially in principle. I am not a “trophy hunter” but hunt for healthy food. I learned the lesson well when I was 13. I shot a huge bull elk from a herd that was devastating our 20 acre oats crop. I stayed home from school and it took me all day to clean, saw into six parts with a hand saw, skin and hang it. When my dad came home from working in a sawmill, he gave me a real dressing down.
“Why in hell didn’t you shoot a nice young cow?” Something you could eat in other words. Had there been such a thing back in 1954, this 7X7 “Royal” head would have easily been in upper Boone and Crockett ranking.
As it was, I only kept the antlers and eventually they were stolen from our old homestead as I had preserved them in our log “chicken house.”
It was a good lesson, as the meat was so tough and sinewy that even when my mother tried to pressure can some, it was still almost impossible to chew. Since then I always pass up “trophy” animals and only shoot when I have room in my deep freeze. Ethical trophy hunting does not distress me, as long as no meat is wasted, but publicly displaying such when most people are against any taking of wild animals, especially penned up hunts, is at best ignorant and immoral.
Bachman’s rather grotesque photo is a poignant confirmation of this. I look at “penned hunts” as no more or less terrible than shooting a steer on the farm to butcher for table meat. Penned trophy hunts are no more “hunting” than shooting fish in a barrel. Public parading of such killing is obscene at best. Killing lions, endangered in the wild as their range continues to disappear, for “sport” or “trophy” cannot be condoned. Any bets on whether the meat was saved for consumption?
… I was rooting for the lion.
UPDATE III: MANLY WOMEN ARE MUTANTS. In response to Fred Cummins on Facebook: I haven’t the faintest idea how your rant ties to my column, which came out against the un-conservative vulgarity and showy inhumanity of what goes for female conservatism. Wild animals who approach human habitat must be eliminated. I’ve said as much in “Picnic Time For Teddy Bears,” for example.
Again, nuance is lost on you guys, who find a stupid woman, playing at being a man to be a turn-on. Yuck.
As a reader once put it, “This is what happens when women try and become or perform ‘masculine’ activities. They don’t actually understand the man’s view of the world, so they fake it – usually poorly. I see this in situations like when my wife tries to watch football and be one of the guys… her comments are over the top, and lack a certain depth of understand of the game that most guys share intuitively. Your descriptions of how she *should* have reacted capture what a man would think/do in the situation much better.”
“Even if the animals we eat had decent lives, which they do not, we would still have to face up to the manner of their deaths: ‘No jokes here, and no turning away. Let’s say what we mean: animals are bled, skinned, and dismembered while conscious’. Safran Foer is talking specifically about cattle here, but the deaths of other animals differ only in minor details. Typically, cattle are led down a chute to a ‘knocking box’. Here, theoretically, a steel bolt is shot into the cow’s brain. ‘Sometimes the bolt only dazes the animal, which either remains conscious or wakes up as it is being ‘processed’. ‘Processing’ continues with wrapping a chain around the animal’s leg, and hoisting it into the air. Then, it is moved to a ‘sticker’, who cuts its throat. If the knocking hasn’t done its work, then, as one slaughterhouse worker put it: ‘They’d be blinking and stretching their necks from side to side, looking around, really frantic’. Then they move on to the ‘head skinner’, where the skin is peeled off the head of the animal. Some cattle, not the majority but a non-negligible minority, find themselves still conscious at this stage. Then, on to the ‘leggers’, who cut off the lower portions of the animals’ legs. At this point: ‘As far as the ones that come back to life \[go\] . . . the cattle just go wild, kicking in every direction’. …”
UPDATE IV: Salome Esterhuizen (FB): Mbe Disney movies is the culprit here. Privately owned game farms provide work for 100 000 people in SA.
Ilana Mercer: Salome Esterhuizen: Why is what you say a contradiction or mutually exclusive to what I say? Yes, jobs are had from miserable animals. Some argue this is an absolute good, others advocate a more evolved morality. I won’t patronize Sea World; you go and cheer with the masses. Ultimately, no one is advancing a legal remedy; this is a moral position. You’re talkign to someone who defended Michael Vick, for heaven’s sake.
UPDATE VI 11/23): WHO’S STUPID. This letter is funny: Writes John Russel @ WND:
“I’ve followed your columns for many years but until now I did not know that you are a complete idiot, both you and your sister.”
Er, someone has stepped right into it. Russel admits to having read me for years but has only just discovered I’m an idiot?! What kind of an idiot takes so many years to discover … You get the drift.
UPDATE VII: Another funny exchange is with Anon, at EPJ, Comments:
Anonymous November 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM:
Her sister is witty for responding “motherf-cker”? What razor sharp wit! When my dog barks its disapproval is that being witty too?
ilana mercer November 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM:
Anon: If you ask your dog what a taxidermist is and he replies “motherf-cker,” then I think you have a keeper—a witty dog indeed. But all your dog does is bark. (My parrot, on the other hand, talks. He makes a lot of sense too.) Best wishes, ilana mercer.
On the other hand, “Anon” (“NY Cynic”), if he is the same “Anon,” does a good job on the same site (@ Comments), debunking race-reality deniers: those who walk around, hands on honky ears humming loudly, until… they are coshed on the head by a black youth. Then another. And another. Apparently, according to some simple-minded libertarians, describing reality is a function of a collectivist habit of mind. Oh Buddha! If so, so-called self-styled individualists are doomed to extinction. “Collectivists”—as in a person who cleaves to reality—will outlive self-described libertarian individualists.
UPDATE VIII: Magda Cracknell Neé Steenkamp on Facebook: “My 2c.. I’m an animal lover raised in a family of hunters. To find that moral compass took some time… years in fact! Your comment is factual and most would agree, in fact this would never have made the headlines was it not for the way this young lady and her entourage left ‘respect for life’ behind and brought ‘wow look at me’ with, when she decided to hunt canned meat! Comes down to crossing that thin line…. ….have no problem with hunting for food.. in SA it’s a sacred culture handed down from Grandfather, to son, to grandsons …all taught by Granddad.. ‘what’ to shoot, ‘where’ to shoot it, ‘how’ to shoot it. Never take a hit if you feel it’s a miss…shoot only what you can carry and slaughter yourself. Golden Rule: if you can’t eat it, don’t shoot it! I will never partake in the hunt but I know how blessed we are, for my dad taught my kids to do by all that is right and good – Only kill what you can eat, and do it with respect! Human was not created Beast, but to rule over Beast… Canned Lion not my idea of hunting nor does it carry much weight when one applies the Godly instruction to rule over Beast! Canned Lion Hunt Stinks! As does any poaching activity or killing sprees conducted by man for man… ie: seal pups, rhino, dolphin slaughter, whaling…oh the things that people from the East do to cats and dogs …. just to many to mention. Not everybody abides by the rule: respect life and that is the problem! in fact I see white people killing animals the same way we see blacks killing whites these days…. just for the heck of it. That saddens me! And then to the topic of what happens at our slaughter houses in SA .. all one can do is weep…. For cruelty has become order of the day and sheeple eat packaged meat, never a thought of how it got there… a far worse journey than the buck my hubby killed with one shot, providing food for a whole winter!”
Ilana Mercer: Magda Cracknell Neé Steenkamp: “Canned lion”: that’s a brilliant way of putting it. I admire your tradition and agree with you ethics.