Posted by: kinshipcircle | February 19, 2009




Yes, I borrowed the title’s first three words from Dostoyevsky. As in Fyodor Mikhaylovich. Those who can’t escape their Russian Lit past recall the “Crime And Punishment” author as one reflective dude. What does a Midwest mom/animal advocate see in the 19th Century Russian essayist? The link is “Notes From Underground,” a novel starring the infamous Underground Man. The unemployed and unnamed servant sees life happening, but can’t react.

He analyzes an action, its under-action, and the thorny layers of subconscious until he slips into “conscious inertia.” Underground Guy is so psychologically paralyzed, he can’t move his limbs. Of course this all takes place in a seedy basement apartment with sickly yellow lighting.

He sees war, violence, suffering…as human tools to protest the concept of fate — the notion that every action is preordained and serves higher purpose. In fact, most human events are without purpose. It is this empty flutter that writes our history.

I thought about all this today when I read columnist Bill McClellan‘s “Couple’s dream home causes many sleepless nights,” in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He tells us how an unforgiving real estate market steals Crystal and Tom’s hope, along with the mortgage on their Jefferson County, Missouri home. The Andersons worked hard to finance the airy cedar-log cabin. They deserve to “sit on the porch and gaze into their woods.”

Tom and Crystal’s porch provides a panoramic view of the woods. Critters occasionally check out their lawn. The Andersons refer to the animals as “game.”

When a deer wanders into their yard, Tom shoots it. His head, McClellan informs, is “now mounted in their living room.”

“Hard to believe, isn’t it?” Tom gushes. “I got that deer on my own property!”

“Yes, it was all working just like it was supposed to,” McClellan concludes.

deerThis is fate? Picking off wildlife in one’s backyard? To me, it’s more of that empty flutter — a senseless life-stealing moment that serves no purpose. McClellan didn’t pull the trigger. I have no idea if the writer hunts. Still, he is an apathy enabler. The deer is merely a shot in the afternoon. Gone. Done.

I am really sorry the Andersons’ property lost over one-third its original value, destroying the terms of their bank loan. Still, I am more upset that Tom shot the deer, just because he could. And I am saddened by Bill’s nonchalant description of the slaughter.

The deer is a life that doesn’t matter. He’s scenery. But maybe his life does matter — to him, his mate, his herd. Perhaps his life serves a purpose beyond human pleasure. We take it, only because we can.

Note to animal killers: I am not interested in the hunter’s “argument.” There is no rationale I haven’t heard before. I dispute them all in “FACTS: Hunting.”

You can download the fact sheet here:

Conceivably, Tom had no idea there were options to shooting the deer. You’re supposed to kill what you don’t understand, right?

Brenda & Bubbles

— Brenda Shoss is founder and president of Kinship Circle, a nonprofit animal advocacy organization serving the global community. Brenda’s animal-focused columns run in The Healthy Planet and she has written for The Animals Voice, Satya Magazine, VegNews, and other publications. She regularly speaks at national animal protection events and produces humane educational materials.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. […] Computer Net Daily placed an interesting blog post on A RUSSIAN PHILOSOPHER, A MORTGAGE, #038; A DEERHere’s a brief overviewBrenda’s animal-focused columns run in The Healthy Planet and she has written for The BAnimals/B Voice, Satya Magazine, VegNews, and other… […]

  2. I read your 2 page pamphlet on hunter facts. I admit the data does seem fairly reasonable.

    I have hunted whitetail deer for a few years, and I try to be as ethical as I can about the entire ordeal. I often feel some hesitation before taking the shot, but every shot I’ve taken so far has been a kill shot.

    I hunt for the meat only, I could care less if it’s a buck or a doe, as long as the meat is in good shape. I’m a reasonable person, and I’ve actually tried to maintain myself on a 100% non-meat diet, with nuts et al, but it’s just not possible. Certain people require meat as part of their diet, and other foods just can’t replace the food group.

    Cow, pigs, and chickens, among others are farmed in inhuman conditions. People eat burgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken without the slightest thought that the creature lived a painful life, and was slaughtered for their greedy and wasteful consumption. I see kids through away 3/4 of a hamburger and it just kills me, there is a disconnect there that is disturbing. Deer hunting separates that veil, has been one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. They are not that different from us, anatomy wise, though their stomachs are much more robust, and obviously not as intelligent. I have gained much respect for whitetail though, and I only kill what I will eat.

    There are some hunters that give us a bad name, and that is a side effect of having the freedom to hunt. Humans have hunted wildlife for thousands of years, and it was a way of life for the early American settlers. While, I don’t take joy in an animal’s death, at least those wild animals that are hunted for meat know what it is to live free in the wild, unlike the farmed animals that feed the ignorant masses.

    I’m not trying to persuade you to pick up a rifle and wait out the morning hours. I just wanted to point out that not all hunters are indifferent to animals, life is life. There is a circle of life that even we must succumb to eventually.

    Sean, the ethical hunter

  3. I forgot to mention that the whitetail pictured above is a baby, with the characteristic white spots. They’re generally not hunted..

  4. i love deers..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: