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This essay exactly captured my feelings about guns, hunting, and safety. The difference between me and the author is all about context. I live on the outskirts of a large, liberal city in the West where the mention of guns or hunting leads to gasps (sometimes) and sideways glances. One child refused to enter our house (in spite of the assurance that guns and ammo are locked separately). So Greville is in gun mecca and I am in gun desert. Both of us would like some middle ground.
This must have been an incredibly difficult essay to write. Bravo to the author for her articulation and candor. In a political and social climate where conversations about guns and safety should be of urgent concern, I'm surprised this essay hasn't generated more discussion. Why is this such a hard subject to talk about?
Lovely essay--well articulated. I do wish we could talk more civilly about the nuances of kids and guns.I do appreciate rural culture, and I understand the tug of tradition.But here's the thing I don't understand: I value spending time out-of-doors with my kids, too. I suppose I just don't understand why fishing, or bird watching, or gardening, or cross-country skiing, or picking wild berries, or a whole host of other outdoor activities (that don't require a gun) couldn't serve the same sorts of functions that hunting seems to for the author's family.
So much of this debate is dependent on culture - I grew up rural, with a locked gun safe and knew how to clean and shoot a rifle, shotgun and pistol before the age of 10. The ethic of respect for what a gun can do was ingrained in us, yet our family did not particularly hunt recreationally. My father had a childhood where hunting was for subsistence and he was disgusted by the waste and entitlement he observed with many weekend hunters, he has tremendous disrespect for the NRA and their stance on automatic weapons. Today I live in an urban center where guns are only known for the role played in street violence. All of my guns are 500 miles away, locked in my parents gun safe. For personal protection, I have chosen to have a dog, a baseball bat and a can of pepper spray. It bothers me that my children have so little exposure to responsible gun use compared to media representations of gun violence.
Thank you for this essay.As a meat-eater, I believe that it's important to recognize the ethical benefits of hunting. It's well-regulated, the meat is wild and presumably living in extremely good conditions compared to the vast majority of other meat killed for food, and it's also more reverent, somehow, to do it yourself. Or at least, it can be.However, I struggle with gun culture and the NRA, which I believe do not represent the hunter so much as the gun seller. I appreciate the ability of the author to articulate her family's decisions without any hint of judgment or defensiveness, although she seems to share the insecurity that is universal among parents, gun-owning and gun-hating alike.
I was very glad to read this article. As a born-and-bred urbanite, I have very little experience with guns or with gun-centric cultures. I think the author articulated her fears and her response to them very well and proved what everyone should already know: that there are responsible and thoughtful ways to approach any choice in life. I was, however, made a little uncomfortable when she talked about the value of taking up a hobby at a young age. It is good to have knowledge of the natural world, and good to know where your food came from. But to think of any activity dedicated to the killing of another living being as a hobby is disquieting, at best.
@Anonymous on Feb. 23 . . . I'll admit I cringed to myself when I saw my use of the word "hobby" in print. I can see how a reader would find that disquieting; "hobby" has an almost frivolous connotation. How better to say it? "Way of life" maybe, one that teaches a reverence for life even in the taking of it. Thanks for all the comments -
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