Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Bad Press For Hunters

It happened again. A hunting accident made national news. This time it is only a suspected hunting accident, but that doesn't matter. People will see the headline and judge all hunting over this one incident. Some news outlets (like this one and this one) even twist the facts, lie even, to make it more damning.

Two kids were shot while playing basket ball outside at their school in Edinburg, Texas. One is in critical condition. The school is within 600 yards of farmland that is leased to deer hunters. The police have a "working theory" that the kids were hit by stray bullets from hunters.

Three area hunters were brought in for questioning, but none were arrested. These hunters were spotted from a police helicopter. One of the hunters was carrying a .223 semi-auto, the other two were carrying .30 caliber weapons.

The police have not reported whether or not these weapons had been fired and have not recovered any shell casings. A bullet is lodged in one of the students. If it is removed they should be able to match it against the hunters guns. There have been gang problems at the school, but this shooting is not believed to be gang related. (see Edit below for more recent news)

While none of the news articles mentioned why the police think hunters are involved, I would wager that they could tell from the wounds that the bullets were fired from rifles, not handguns. Since hunters have access to the land around the school, that would make hunters reasonable suspects. Gang members (thankfully) do not tote around 300 Winchester Magnums.

If it is true that hunters were involved, then someone really dropped the ball. Why was gun hunting being done so close to the school? Did the land owner not tell the hunters of the schools close proximity?  Perhaps the hunters were not safely checking behind their target. It could have even been an amazingly reckless "hunter" firing randomly. While rare, it unforgivably does happen.

Of course, it would not surprise me if it ended up not being hunters. It could have been a reckless person target practicing or a crazy person actually trying to hurt someone. As far as I can tell by reading news articles, there is no evidence linking hunters to the crime/accident.

Unfortunately, the news headline has the words "hunters", "shooting", and "school" in it. That is all most people will remember. Hunting, more so than any other sport, has to be above reproach. It is because the accidents are sensational. One mishap and the non-hunting public turns against us. They do not look at the statistics showing that hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities possible. I wrote a post on this recently.

The fact is that there are a small minority of hunters that are idiots. They don't obey game laws, they are unsafe, and they have no discretion when in public. We have all met them. They cause accidents, they bring bad press, they hurt our cause, and jeopardize our freedoms. One of these "bad" hunters can undo the good works of a hundred "good" hunters.

I know we don't like to talk about it, but the question is, "What do we do about these "bad" hunters?" I don't know.


After I wrote this post more information came out. The "hunter" that was carrying the .223 AR-15 was an illegal alien trespassing on the property. He was not hunting, he was poaching. This man was between 400 and 600 yards from the school. He is in custody and is the prime suspect. He faces a long list of federal and state charges already, so he should be getting some jail time regardless (unless our justice system craps out on us again.)

The other two "hunters" were not hunting. They were target practicing over 800 yards away. How many news outlets do you think will print a retraction?

A bullet has been recovered, so they should be able to identify the weapon soon. Actualy, they should already know if it was a .223 or .30 cal bullet, eleminating one of the groups.

I also found out that there are no laws in that area preventing people from hunting near a public building. So, even if they were hunting, they were not breaking any laws. The school has proposed building a wall around the complex to keep the students safe from hunters bullets. I think this is premature, as they do not even know if it was a hunter who fired the shots which hit the boys. Considering the twists this story has already taken, we don't even know if it was an accident.

Edit #2:

Finally someone picked up on the truth here.

DreamHost Promotional Code