Sunday, January 23, 2005

Hunting For Freedom

A few days ago my mom told me a story about my uncle Lawrence and my cousin, Bevin. Earlier this month, Lawrence purchased a hunting license and lent it to Bevin. Now Bevin hurt his foot a few months ago and had it wrapped up in a thick cast. Given his temporary impairment, Bevin loaded up in some kind of vehicle (my mom didn’t know) instead of hunting on foot.

Bevin and a friend of his stalked a deer to the edge of their property (yes, Lawrence had to purchase a license to hunt on his own land) and shot it. The animal ran off, stumbled across the property line, and died. As the pair left to dress the deer (leaving their load guns in the car), the game warden came over the hill and pulled the two aside. It seems they just broke four laws.

The warden charged them with: hunting without a license, hunting on another’s property, hunting from a vehicle and letting a loaded gun be unattended. I don’t know how much the total fines were, but you can bet the sum was around four hundred or five hundred dollars.

My uncle Bruce lives in Florida and whenever he comes up to visit, he hunts. When he heard about this story, he thought it was crazy—he’s never encountered a game warden, not once. Why did he show up at this perfect time? It turns out Lawrence was chatting to a friend of his about lending Bevin his license. This friend happened to be the very same game warden that would later issue four fines.

You can’t trust the state. You can’t trust it to let people use their property as they see fit. You can’t it them to let people hunt as they wish. You can’t trust it not to baby-sit the general public, not to punish people for endangering themselves. You can’t trust it look beyond appearances and circumstances—maybe the deer was shot, as in hunted, before it crossed the property line—if it means they can make a little money. Hell, you can’t even trust it enough to tell it a story without being stabbed in the back the moment it becomes convenient. Don't give The Man and inch. Not one.

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