Hunting and Personal Defense

| 11/30/2009 5:02:13 PM

A photo of Mishelle ShepardHunting season is here. The roar of ATVs and frequent gunshots pierce through the usual buzz of crickets and songs of birds. After midnight, on our deserted dirt road, there is a souped-up pickup moving at a snail’s pace. It pulls into our drive and from the other side of our gate, beams its brights across the lawn. The dog goes bonkers, and I grab the gun, which I was coerced into learning to aim and shoot, though I am still fully aware that any half-skilled hunter has a better chance of hitting me creeping around in the dark, than me hitting him in full flood lights standing stationary in the front lawn.

The truck sits there in the drive for some minutes as I tuck myself behind the door and peer through the blinds, imagining myself as Angelina Jolie in Mr and Mrs. Smith, only minus the mansion and the high-tech security set-up. Out here security means me, a barking black Lab, flood lights, and my little Smith & Wesson. And that makes me think of gun legislation.

What I really want is to be the woman who screams, “We don’t need guns in this world, get rid of ’em all!”

But then I have a reality check when I think how long it would take any emergency vehicle to drive in from the closest town, down the long country road, turn onto the pot-holed dirt “street” we live on, continue for several more miles until they reach our address and jump the gate to run to our front door in order to save me from human attackers or a mad roving boar or two. Good Heavens, I’d have a better chance of survival if I just play dead!

Sounds of the Night

Even out here, as rural as East Texas gets, there is the blowtorch roar of the plane, the distant droning motor of equipment or car, and, the only man-made sound I like, the echoing whistle of the train. You could close your eyes and imagine you are in Thailand, or Corsica, or the French West Indies, or anywhere else where the nighttime sounds that dominate all others are the buzzing of crickets and humming of cicadas. In each of these places it is becoming more and more difficult to keep the motored world from encroaching on the individual’s right not to have modern noise and chaos continually forced upon him.

All this noise and busy-ness, what is so necessary in it that my rights to silence are continually encroached upon? Now, if I want real silence, the kind that nature intended, one that is rich with subtle layers of sound, devoid of roaring motors and blasting shots, I have to purchase a mechanism to go over my ears to manufacture that.

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