Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turning innocents into killers - The American Dream

Dear Americans everywhere,
Would you be happy to let me teach your young children how to be killers?
Would you like it if I handed them a high powered rifle with a telescopic sight?
Would you like it if I showed them how to use it, not to shoot some cardboard target, but living flesh and blood?
Would you be happy if I suggested this would be the ideal way of taking the minds of terminally ill children off the affliction that had cast a deep shadow over their entire family?
Would you believe me if I was to tell you and the children that the whole idea has God’s complete blessing?
          Well I can’t answer for you, but I can give you my opinion and that is that the concept is SICK, SICK, VERY, VERY SICK.
          But it’s being actively promoted in that United States of America of yours as something special; something exceptionally good. Isn’t yours the country that some people believe is the most civilized in the world?
          So how come there is not a public outcry every time this is even remotely suggested let alone shown on television on the ESPN channel.
          You know what I’m talking about don’t you. It’s that Catch-A-Dream programme that grants outdoor wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

          Said like that it sounds very noble. But it’s the killing part that makes me shudder. It was graphically illustrated by something I saw on ESPN which started by warning viewers who might be squeamish that the programme contains impact shots.
          With that introduction you must surely agree that most parents would immediately think that this was perfect for their kids to watch or better still to actually take part in the videoed action.
          We all want them to be exposed to impact shots as soon as possible to make men out of little boys. And well your guess is as good as mine as to what psychological benefit it is for little girls. Perhaps it will make them more able to adjust to the pain of child birth or to be more comfortable in a mink coat when they grow up?  
          There was Dana Redman, a beauty who looked no more than about 15 and who showed no outward signs of her debilitating illness. She had cystic fibrosis we were told. This is a most unpleasant, hereditary disease that affects the pancreas and other glands in the body.
           She was in a tree-house, not the normal one that some kids have in their back yard, but one specially designed to make killing as easy as possible. She said almost apologetically she had never shot anything before.

          But her Dad and the macho men with her were going to make sure that what the commentator described as the "fulfillment of a young girl's fantasy" came true that day if it killed them. After all what they had in mind is what every girl her age dreams of.
          In the wood below the tree house a deer with its big brown eyes wandered unperturbed. It was almost within stroking distance.
          Dana drew a bead on it and fired. Unintentionally or was it intentional she spared the animal’s life as her shot went wide. We will never know what she was thinking.
          That wasn’t going to satisfy the blood thirsty circus that was sweeping her along. So later in the day she was once again in the tree house playing a true life big game hunter. And this time the animal was not so lucky.
        You should have seen the celebration. It was as if she had announced her engagement or some other momentous event in her life. Her parents couldn’t have been more delighted.
          Dana posed for photographs with her arms around the dead buck so nobody would ever be able to forget the day she became a killer. "I'm so proud of you", her Dad Wesley told her.
          Beaming he faced the camera saying, "This has been a dream of a  life time not only for this little girl, bu for me." Did his daughter ever have any say in the matter I wondered?
          The Catch-A-Dream organisation claims that hunting exposes the children to the "Wonders of God in the presence of the Creator who is the Author of  real hope." It isn’t for the deer, the turkeys or anything else that the kids are encouraged to blast away at.
          Would God sanction this, do you think, as a good way of uplifting children who might not be far off from joining the very animals that they were being encouraged to kill?
          You Americans, especially those in the hunting fraternity, might have some serious explaining to do at the Pearly Gates.
          Shamefully yours,
          Jon, a member of the League against Cruelty to Sick Children.

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