Letter: Work together

Deeply immersed in the peace and beauty of December New England woods, I found a bear and her three adolescent cubs sleeping in a pile. On another trek the day after Christmas, I saw two moose browsing quietly near the forest’s summit. How inspiring! But it was in this December also that 20 children and six educators were murdered one day; shortly thereafter, four firefighters were ambushed with two killed. How horrifying. One symbolizes what is so right in this world — nature’s order, nature’s balance, nature’s beauty. The other manifests what is worst — human cruelty, human violence. Thoreau said; “Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will preserve its life than destroy it.”

I am not a hunter, but, Thoreau’s quote notwithstanding, I respect them. It is my hunter friends who I go to first to talk about my bear and moose sightings. It is they who understand best my excitement and reverence for nature. Most hunters are responsible citizens and handle their weapons responsibly, and most understand as Native American hunters before them, how to preserve nature’s balance.

It is not their guns that are the problem. Neighbor and hunter Nelson Shifflett said it so well in his powerful “My Turn” that asks hunters to stand up to the NRA. Hunters and non-hunters alike should work together to press for a ban on the military-style assault weapons that killed the children and the teachers and the firefighters. Hunters and non-hunters should build a partnership to have our legislators close the gun show and Internet loopholes that subvert attempts to get arms out of the hands of criminals and unstable people. I ask my gun control friends to recognize that hunters are not the enemy; we must support them and their rights as we build a powerful alliance to create a safer and saner country.



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