Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shootings in the schools

Today's title may draw some concern from people reading us around the globe, and it's easy to see why. After all, especially in the last few years, the mere thought of guns in schools has brought a chill to the spines of many people. Of course, for many, the thought of guns out of schools can elicit the same shudder, but there are definitely situations where firearms are acceptable.

One of those situations is, of course, hunting and hunter saftey training. After all, while there are still those who will hunt with a bow, it's much more common to hear of hunters with rifles. Given that tendency, it also makes perfect sense that most hunter safety courses focus on the proper usage of firearms.

But why are we mentioning these two seemingly disparate topics in the same post, a mere paragraph apart from each other? For that answer, we look to West Virginia, where they are thinking of a new way to combat shrinking numbers for hunters. Fewer hunters leads to less money in government coffers, and West Virginia is toying with the idea of teaching hunter safety to school children, in an attempt to spur the numbers upwards.

But for all of you worried about guns in schools, don't panic yet. After all, the guns that the kids would use would either have "dummy ammunition" or be disabled to prevent them from firing. And, with proper training, we can at least rest assured that any future school shootings, should they stem from West Virginia, will be coming from people trained in how to be safe about it.

Here's the thing. We understand that hunting is important. It's been long part of mankind's survival, and it's a way to help curtail animal populations that have lost other natural predators. In fact, for some animals, the hunting season actually helps spur their population on to better health. And, well, hunters are getting older as a group. This actually keeps them in line with many other physical activities, including professional sports. Don't believe us? Look at someone like Brett Favre and try to tell us that the population isn't staying active later in life, due to a number of different circumstances. And, equally true, younger generations aren't flocking to hunting as readily as their ancestors, but that doesn't necessarily make it a good idea to introduce hunter safety in schools.

Of course, this could also be an opportunity. The hunter safety courses could be paired up with biology, giving the dissections more of a real-world impact. And, for students a little squeamish, they can always resort to video game versions of the hunt.

Just so long as there isn't a laughing dog to mock the students with poor aim.

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