March was a bloody month for the gun lobby starting with the
Alabama, Illinois church and Germany shootings and ended with the Oakland
police killings this week.
And that's before the Miami mass killings, the Turlock,
California church shootings and the Mexico shootings--also in March--which the
public has largely ignored.
Not only was it
time to "militarize" new segments of society by passing the right to
carry a weapon in church, on college campuses or in state parks--lawmakers were
asking hard questions.
the right to
defend yourself and your family include military style weapons? Assault rifles?
Are lax US gun laws and loopholes fueling the bloodbath in
And does teaching children to hunt make them violent?
Michael McLendon, the
who killed his mother,
grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a
sheriff's deputy in Samson in March--also killing his mother's dogs and setting
the house on fire--is a case in point.
McLendon, who had a
cache of an M-16, an AK-47, a shotgun, two pistols and a "great amount of
ammunition," started hunting when he was 11-years-old.
Illinois shooter Terry
Sedlacek who killed a pastor through
Bible he held at a church service in Maryville in March was also a hunting
enthusiast who probably started young.
Law makers might not
be asking the question if it weren't for Jordan Brown of Wampum, Pennsylvania.
The 11-year-old shot and killed his father's pregnant fiancée, Benzie Houk, in
February with a 20-gauge shotgun his dad had given him for Christmas.
describe the family as "hunting enthusiasts" who encouraged the
11-year-old to participate in bloodsports including Houk, his stepmother-to-be
and eventual victim.
The incident came just
a year after an eight-year-old St. Johns, Arizona boy-- now nine--shot and
killed his father, Vincent Romero, and his father's friend, Timothy Romans,
with a .22-caliber rifle.
Romera also taught his
son to hunt, showing and encouraging the little boy to kill prairie dogs
according to the Very Rev. John Paul Sauter of St. Johns Catholic Church. Nor
did the eight-year-old have trouble reloading after each shot when he killed
the two adults.
children to sever their natural empathy and connection with other living
things, say child development experts. It teaches them it is okay to harm
something which is not harming or bothering them and acclimates them to
witnessing--never mind causing--the bleeding, agony and vocalizations that
So many sadistic
killers begin with sadistic treatment of animals, criminologists and law
enforcement experts consider it a behavioral predictor.
Like many states,
Pennsylvania and Arizona have National Rifle Association backed "mentored
youth hunting programs" that encourage children under 12 to hunt with
adults. While less than ten percent of the US population
hunts--a number that is falling every day--zealots
push child hunting to keep the sport from dying out and revenue coming to state
departments of natural resources in the form of hunting licenses.
In some states
children are encouraged to shoot tame pheasants the state has hatched and grown
at taxpayer expense. Video of the sure shots from birds that can hardly fly
and, in some cases, hardly see--they're fitted with blinding devices to keep
them from pecking in packed pens--is banned. In other states, children are
encouraged to raise day old pheasant chicks like pets for others to hunt.
Child hunters like
Jordan Brown and young Romero are told it is good, clean family fun.
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