A few minutes of video, for a life?
“I feel good about that shot” was all the man said after firing his rifle.
On a Sunday in October, I turned on the television to the first channel, nothing good on. Second channel? Nothing. But the third channel showed a buffalo. I stopped, thinking ‘this might be interesting’.
The camera switched to two men lying on the ground in a shallow trench. One held a video camera, the other a rifle. They were studying and commenting on the sizes and actions of the four or five buffalo in the field in front of them.
Pointing out one in particular, they commented on his beauty.
The hunter said he wanted to shoot, but the other man told him to wait, so he would not accidentally shoot the other buffalo in the way. The hunter kept saying he was ready but the other man repeatedly made his trigger-happy partner wait. Finally, he shot at the buffalo.
This is when he said he felt good about the shot.
How could he feel good about that shot?
The bison started to stumble repeatedly until the other bison noticed. They all became frantic. They tried to push him on, to nudge him, but it did no good. He just fell down. They tried desperately to push their own bodies under his, to push him on to his feet so they could run off.
He died there. All alone. The other buffalo had to flee to escape death themselves.
The two men approached the bison and feeling its neck, the hunter said, “yeah, it’s gone”. Then they went right to admiring the bison’s fur. The hunter stuck his leather gloves around a tuft of curly brown, dead bison fur. Oh, how thick it is! They spent maybe a minute talking next to the buffalo about his fur, and how the Native Americans used to hunt the bison and use every bit of its body, before they cut to the credits.
I thought the history lesson appropriate, given that they had just murdered the alpha male of a bison herd.
By this time, I sat on the kitchen floor sobbing. It twisted my stomach when the other bison had desperately tried to push him up onto his feet. They did not want to let him fall down because they knew he was dying. At first, I cried because I felt sadness for the buffalo, but then I cried out of anger. How could someone talk of the beauty of a living being, and then kill it so they could get a nice section of video next to the corpse?
This I believe in above all else. For all living things on this planet, we should show kindness. From opening a door for someone, to not taking a life.
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