To me, a hunter, the idea that guns and spirituality don't mix is like thinking that art and violence are incompatible, or love and death. The way they combine is the stuff of art, literature, music--for that matter, the Bible. For us hunters-and more Americans hunt and fish than play golf--guns and fishing rods connect us to nature, They make a human being a participant in nature rather than a tourist. We merge with nature's essence, which is assuredly a sacred experience.
|"You have more respect for the things you eat when you go through or see the process of killing them." --Madonna|
Religion is a rite that ties us to the past; think for a minute about hunting's place in the story of life on earth. Hunting is recognizable in one primitive organism devouring another, if you are an evolutionist. For creationists, hunting starts in the preserve called Eden. Either way, hunting precedes all livelihoods as "the oldest profession," an obvious truth somehow hijacked by prostitution.
Hunting today takes many forms. The most recognized--and criticized--is the one in which people buy licenses to enjoy time in the field at this time of year. But other more seemingly gentle pursuits are really hunting in disguise. Fishing, for example is simply hunting with a hook. (Please don't be fooled by "catch and release." Dragging a fish through the water with a hook through its lip, tongue or eye, then releasing it to repeat the process the next time it's hungry is the kind of torture hunters berate themselves and each other for when they fail to deliver a "clean kill." I release most of what I catch, but only to catch more and bigger fish later.)
To accommodate our participation in these different types of hunting we relabel them. Having industrialized hunting to assure ourselves of a predictable amount of food, we call it agriculture. Killing beings that we artificially propagate is called "harvesting."
|"You end up looking at the sky and the trees and you have time to meditate."--Madonna|
The case for guns as spiritual instruments has nothing to do with the weapons used in crime. I do count, however, any implement of subjugation, from shotguns and hunting bows to mouse traps and butterfly nets. We humans are natural hunters. We sublimate our instinct for tracking in all manner of collecting (art, stamps and the like on one hand, lovers on quite another), and for aggression in our sporting and business lives; in finance, to "make a killing" is the whole idea. The present hunt in Afghanistan, where we have released our packs of hounds to chase a fox, are too obvious to need much discussion.