Our Common Home a Killing Field: Montgomery County Launches Cruel Bow Hunting of Deer
Can you imagine the fear and agony suffered by Cecil the lion who struggled to live reportedly some 40 hours after first being shot with an arrow by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer? Cecil’s murder enlisted outrage, anger and grief from across the globe. So much so, that the dentist went into hiding. You would think that Cecil’s tragic slaying would have taught us something – compassion for other living creatures. But no, it’s like the arrow that killed Cecil has come to bring death to deer in Maryland.
We live in an era filled with death and destruction; natural and man-made – floods, drought, wildfires, war – man-against-man over ideology, territory and resources – and devastating climate change impacts that threatened our very survival on earth. Yet we can’t wait to bear arms against the most helpless and innocent among us – animals. It doesn’t matter if the murder is of a famous lion with a name in Zimbabwe or closer to home the murder of the nameless deer that share landscapes with us in Maryland or in Rock Creek Park. While we sit safe in our homes these innocent beings face unspeakable terror and pain – some like Ceil will struggle in agony for days to survive despite an arrow digging deep within their flesh. Not a pretty picture - but of course we don’t have to see it – not unless one of these wounded deer end up in our yards.
What is it that makes us choose death over life – what is it about us that makes death the first option? What is it about us that would make us willingly pull the trigger or pull a bow and sling an arrow tearing into the flesh of a living being that has done nothing more than want to live amongst us? What lessons are we teaching our kids? Something gets in your way then kill it. We have taken their homes to build ours, eaten their flesh to fill our bellies, and taken their lives so we can “enjoy killing.”
Montgomery County’s proposed bow hunting to cull deer herds is nothing more than a repeat of the killing of Cecil – we have learned nothing. I am sure they will have plenty of eager folks wanting to shoot their arrows. Some people don’t like deer in their yards - then don’t build your home where deer live. Some scream and yell about the deer crossing the highways – then slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. Deer aren’t the only animals that carry ticks – are we next to kill every living thing in the forest because it inconveniences us? As noted by the Human Society of the United States, “We understand and appreciate the county’s concerns regarding the impact that the existing deer population may have, but not only is bow hunting extremely inhumane, killing deer (by any means) will not solve problems.” There are non-lethal ways to manage deer populations. We don’t need to quench our blood lust at the expense of these innocent lives.
Somewhere in Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter “On Our Common Home” he mentions if we destroy nature, nature will destroy us. Our common home – that should mean something to us – not the home just of human beings, but a common home shared by all living beings. Compassion is a virtue to be taught to our children.