By: John Roach
Well, it’s about time we get to shoot some new things.
For decades the good, binge-drinking people of Wisconsin have had to be content with shooting deer, squirrels, woodcock and grouse.
But now they’re talking about letting us shoot the few wolves we have managed to reintroduce into the state. Plus, we may get to stalk another aggressive creature, the dreaded and ferocious sandhill crane.
The sandhill, or as I like to call it, grus canadensisis, is a large bird that has recently made a comeback in these parts. In the spring you can hear its ancient call, a sound every bit as haunting as the cry of the loon. They are a large, absolutely beautiful bird.
One of the last things you consider when you see one is, “Wow, I would really like to shoot that thing.” And yet, that is just what your poorly dressed lawmakers at the Capitol are considering.
They also want us to shoot wolves.
The majestic and functional wolf, adept at controlling the deer population, is finally beginning to thrive after we spent decades and millions of dollars reintroducing them to their natural habitat in the northern reaches of the state.
I have actually seen a wolf. It was a lone creature, romping over first ice on one of the large lakes outside Minocqua. It, too, was beautiful. Again, it never crossed my mind to dispatch it with a high-powered rifle. Or chase it down with a pack of dogs and an ATV.
Aaaaand now cue the NRA. I can hear them huffing, so let me assure you that I have been hunting. And I have shot pistols. Not a big deal. And I absolutely understand the notion of subsistence hunting and fishing so important to families in our state. Let’s face it, our plentiful white tails are fine and valuable protein on the hoof.
But, really, aren’t we getting a little gun happy in Wisconsin?
We lead the nation in morbid obesity. Do we really need to add sandhill cranes to our crowded diet?
And we only have eight hundred wolves in the state. That is effectively the same number as annual high school national merit scholars, and we haven’t declared a season on them. Yet.
We have all sorts of other things in abundance. Can’t we shoot them first?
Let’s have a season on dairy cows. Family pets. People who insist on driving fifty-nine miles per hour in the passing lane. Chicago Bears fans. Women wearing tight, low-slung, thong-revealing jeans who shouldn’t. Men who beat women. Smokers.
And, of course, let’s shoot high school students who drink beer in the spring.
Which, by all accounts is what happened to Bo Morrison.
Bo was a twenty-year-old kid from Slinger. He was not a national merit scholar, but he had just enlisted in the United State Marine Corps to protect and serve us. Bo was at an under-aged beer party when a neighbor called the cops. As kids all over Wisconsin do when the cops are called, they scattered to avoid a ticket and parental wrath. I personally know one very smart kid who spent the night on a neighbor’s roof in an attempt to dodge the cops and the scar on his reputation.
At any rate, an unarmed, probably tipsy Bo Morrison ran and hid on a nearby porch. The porch owner, Adam Kind, who knew the cops were in the neighborhood, heard someone outside. Instead of shouting the kid away, or yelling to the police next door, Mr. Kind stepped onto his porch and shot Bo Morrison once in the chest with a forty-five-caliber handgun, killing him.
The unarmed Bo Morrison could have been a thug, rapist or murderer. But a felon picking a home three hundred feet away from the police squad cars to create mayhem would have to be very, very stupid.
Which, interestingly enough, is what the shooter, Adam Kind, is. Stupid.
Not a sandhill crane. Nor a wolf. Adam Kind got to bag himself a human being.
The law in our state allows Mr. Kind to shoot kids from a spring beer party if they are on his property. The laws in our state also allow you to wander in an open field during a lightning storm with a three iron over your head.
But just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
Adam Kind took an incredibly bad shot. Bad in a moral way. Bad in an NRA way.