As I watch the changing face of American politics I am reminded of the Aesop’s Fable of the City Mouse and Country Mouse. For those of you who do not remember reading this story in Elementary school, the basic premise is this, the City Mouse was befuddled by the Country Mouse’s ways of life and vice versa. In the story the Country Mouse choose simple fare over living in fear of the alley cat and the City Mouse chose a richer diet even though he had to fear the alley cat. In the end both agreed to go back and live their lives in the community of their choice.
Neither the City Mouse nor the Country Mouse tried to change the others community to meet their wants or alleviate their fear. They realized that to each his own. If one wishes to live an urban* lifestyle stay in the city, if one wishes to live a rural* lifestyle stay in the country. The issue now at hand is that urban America, rather than just acknowledging rural America’s different lifestyle is bent on forcing their values and ways upon those who live in the country.
One of the primary examples of this is the call for gun control. As most politicians are urban dwellers and have more constituents in the cities, they have jumped on this bandwagon and made the gun control movement into a divisive political platform. The gun control movement has gained momentum based upon the mainstream medias propagation and exploitation of fear regarding guns. The city dweller has been convinced by mainstream media that guns will eventually kill them, either by way of a mass shooting, gang crossfire or a hold up. The city dwellers have lost sight of the fact that mainstream media, in an effort to outdo each other and boost ratings want there to be unending fear. That exploitive use of fear is nothing less than fear porn. Fear porn boosts ratings.
This mass media hysteria has instilled in urban America an almost phobic fear of guns. The average city dweller now views guns as evil, almost sentient beings that are out to hurt or kill them. They have removed the shooters culpability from the equation. “If he didn’t have a gun it would not have happened”, they reason. Alas, history has proven time and time again that the person who is bent on killing will end up killing, gun or no. They reason that if gun ownership is illegal killings will not happen. This line of reasoning is absurd and based upon emotions and not facts. Drugs are illegal, as is drunk driving, but they still happen. A madman in search of a gun will find a gun just as the addict finds their drug. Just as you cannot confiscate all drugs no one will ever be able to confiscate all guns. This is reality.
Mass shootings while heinous are not a major cause of death in The United States of America. Drunk drivers kill many more people each year and yet there is no call to ban alcohol or cars. The gun has become the city dwellers’ version of the alley cat. They live in fear of what might happen.
Country dwellers view guns as utilitarian items which when used correctly serve a much needed purpose, just as a cars do. (Cars I must point out when used as weapons are just as deadly as guns.) In the country rifles and pistols are needed. They are not optional. Each serves its own purpose. Without them the farmer could not kill wild game or varmints that are eating his crops or livestock. Without a gun a rural family may not be able to have meat on their table. Guns are an integral part of rural life just as locks are integral part of city life.
In the country when one sees a person walking down the road in camo with a rifle in hand they do not panic. They know that the person with the rifle is hunting game not humans. As for camo, in the country camo is an acceptable clothing choice for casual dining or a trip to the shopping center. Camo is not considered to be a fashion item worn exclusively by insane murderers. In the country one expects to see dead deer on top of trucks and photos of a child’s first deer killed or an adult’s trophy buck run in the local newspaper’s sports section. That is country’s normal.
Country dwellers also know that without a gun and the ability to hunt for small and big game, many of their neighbors would go hungry. This fact is even acknowledged by rural school districts. Most rural schools country schools are closed for the first and sometimes second day of big game season. If they did not close the attendance rate would be extremely low. Many children hunt with their parents. It is an age old tradition.
Many city dwellers are horrified that children hunt wild game, thinking it is dangerous and foolhardy to allow a child, even while supervised, use of a firearm. What city dwellers fail to realize is that in the country children are taught gun safety as a matter of course; just like the city child is taught how to ride a subway. Both children learn that until they are a certain age neither is an act to be done without a parent present. Just as one teaches a child street and bike safety so should they be taught gun safety.
Children when properly taught learn valuable lessons from hunting. Hunting wild game has rules that must be followed. Tests must be passed to prove that the child knows these rules. There are consequences for breaking the rules. The hunter must master basic environmental science. Such as where the game can be found in the environment and how it acts in its environment. Children who hunt realize that not everyone wins. Not everyone gets that trophy buck. Knowing this as a fact, the child respects the work involved in hunting and realizes that hunting wild game is more than running around the woods with a gun.
City dwellers get their food from stores, they are far removed from the process by which the meat got to their plates. Country dwellers know that meat does not magically appear packaged in plastic, but that it comes from an animal that was once alive. The animal’s death provides the meat. The animal does not kill and skin and butcher itself, a human must do this.
Unlike a video game, when a hunter kills a real animal it is not a clean sterile just walk away from it scenario. The animal bleeds, it stinks, and urine and feces flow out of it. The animal must be field dressed in order to be removed from the woods. Field dressing game is unpleasant work. It involves gutting the animal by opening its belly, draining the blood and hand removing the still warm inner organs. The process of hunting and dressing game does not make the hunter into a crazed murderer. If it did there would be literally 100’s of thousands of people running amok with guns. No the hunter gains an understanding of the circle of life and what it entails for all involved. The hunter learns respect for the animal and the gun.
City dwellers like the City Mouse have their ways of life, but those ways of life should not be forced upon others nor should the city dwellers mass media manufactured fears infringe upon anyone else’s way of life. To each his own.
*Urban=large cities and their surrounding suburbs
*Rural= country and small towns