One of my relatives killed a bear.
He posted a photo of it on Facebook. In it he’s holding the animal’s head with one hand, his gun in the other. He’s smiling, laughing even.
It’s a trophy.
The comments he received are as disturbing as the act itself. Congrats. Way to go. And attempts at humor: Hey, you killed Boo Boo. His brother teased him saying the bear is hardly larger than a dog.
No one but me asked why. When I did he unfriended me. And that is fine with me. He beat me to it is all. I stumbled on that photo in my timeline and wish I could unsee it.
I’m haunted by the sight of the dead bear, by my relative’s great pleasure in seeing it dead. I thought about it through the night, when the cat jumped on the bed, when I changed positions, when I was too hot.
I’m haunted by the comments just as much.
A senseless, mindless killing followed by senseless, mindless comments.
This relative is 28 years old. For the most part he supports himself. Sometimes he asks his mother for money. She gives it to him. He’s a member of the ‘entitlement generation.’ Does this have anything to do with his total disregard for animals? They are out there for us to kill. He kills deer, too. But at least he eats them. The bear is a trophy.
I wonder if it makes him feel more of a man now that he’s bagged this great beast. The bear was small, possibly a juvenile. But it was a bear, and that’s what he’d set out to do on his week off from work. It was his last day. It was the only bear he’d seen. Single-minded in his mission, nothing else mattered, but the kill.
How naive I am. I thought the days of big game hunting for the sport of it were behind us.
I think of those mindless, unthinking comments, and cringe. We have lost the capacity to think for ourselves. We stare at the TV. The pundits tell us what to think. It doesn’t occur to us to question it. We stare at vacuous reality TV, and think we have it pretty good. We’re better off than the pitiful hoarders, and teenage moms.
Or we watch the Kardashians.
And because we’re Americans, and we have rights, we pick up a gun, and we kill a magnificent, beautiful animal because we can.
How did we get here?
Thanks for listening.