While I was originally going to write a post updating on the going-ons around our homestead, I got sidetracked by a few kids from up the next road over who decided it would be a gas to come “away” from town and shoot frogs by the railroad tracks. (Keep in mind “away” from town is less than a sixth of a mile down the road to our house.) I walked onto the back steps and let them know that, even if they only were shooting frogs, animal abuse is animal abuse even if it is a frog and that I would call the authorities on them. The two older boys (about 13 or 14, tried to ignore me bur than the youngest, around 10 or so, loudly stated that he was going home because he wasn’t shooting frogs and didn’t want to get in trouble because of them.
Children who aren’t taught to respect guns from a young age, starting with BB guns, paintball guns, and the like, are more willing to abuse them as adults. As with any other “weapon” that we give our children – whether it be gun for “fun” or a car for transportation – if we don’t set up the rules and expectations from the beginning, they don’t truly exist for these children. The child that sees the mother driving like a maniac learns that if you’re late the rules no longer apply in the same way the child that sees his father shooting at stray cats in the yard has a hard time realizing that you don’t shot at animals – human or not – just because they don’t do what you tell them to. To make things worse, many of those that allow their children to use such firearms call them toys. By using that one word – TOY – the concept that any gun can be a fatal weapon if not used appropriately is removed. A concept is created in the minds of these children that there is no finality with their BB or pellet gun. That it’s all just fun in games.
Shake your head at me if you want. I don’t care. All the arguments of “that’s what boys do,” “how else will they learn to shoot,” “I did that when I was a boy,” and such are entirely invalid in my opinion. It’s well known that we have two serious issues in this nation that the media seems to revolve around: domestic abuse and gun violence. Both of these are easily connected with letting children running on rampant killing “sprees” of harmless animals.
What is to stop the child that doesn’t recognize life as something important from graduating to killing stray cats, dogs, or shooting at their “friends” “jokingly?” Sure, there can be the argument that BBs or pellets don’t kill in the same way that regular bullets can, but they can be lethal through primary and secondary harm. While some children may start out killing animals at a young age and be deemed “fine” later by family and friends that don’t recognize aggression or other psychological issues due to having similar or simply being too close to the person, there are many that end up turning into sickos such as the Mainer charged with peppering his dog with as many as 100 BBs.
I don’t chastise this ruffians and let them know that animal abuse is animal abuse, regardless of the animal because I’m worried about their future, though. I’m not that fore-thinking or caring. I’m more worried about the poor animals that they harm as a result. The slow, painful death that a critter has to go through due to the lack of education is never acceptable. Even the possible quick and painless, yet still pointless, death of a frog isn’t something I’ll let go by. After all, we don’t allow teenagers to just plow over people with their cars when they learn how to drive, so why should we accept kids killing off animals for target practice when they could just as easily use a hay bale and poster board?
Just a note, these thoughts are in no way representative of what my husband may think. I do not speak for him. While we have a very similar stance on this, these are my thoughts alone. – Tasha