I sent Part I to a hunter friend and asked for his input, and was surprised by his reaction. I pride myself on the thoroughness and veracity of my research. As a journalist, I fully understand the need to verify all my facts before they get published. Anything less could be disastrous, yet my “friend” accused me of writing stories. Was I pissed? Hell yes!
I realized that my “friend” did not really know me at all. He did not know that I do not make up stories, nor do I repeat stories I read unless I have verified that they are not just stories, but the truth! There is no noble reason for my thoroughness; I do this because I am anal… I refuse to publish something that is not true because I do not want to be perceived as stupid and untrustworthy. I loathe being called a liar even more.
Part II is supposed to showcase the hunter’s side of the wolf controversy, but as I take a forced step backwards (after the slap), I begin to see a different side to this controversy… one that has yet to be explored, but is probably the most telling piece of the story. Once exposed, I am hoping for a miracle, but I know only a few will begin to grasp the implications and fewer still will be able to acknowledge their role in this controversy. Everyone would have to admit to certain failings, and most people are not willing to do that. To err is human, to forgive divine… this no longer means anything to anybody.
Let me be the first to confess my failings.
I do not hunt, and I do not live in wolf country, so I cannot speak for hunters, but I can share the knowledge and insight that I have gained since being introduced to these wolf hunting pages. I saw posts on pro wolf pages that enraged me! Filled with self-righteous indignation, I was determined to get my point across. Here is my first post:
When I stumbled upon this page, I was horrified! When I started reading the comments, I saw I was not the only one. Most people in this country do not know what is really happening to the wolves, but your graphic pictures of dead and dying wolves, the gruesome trapping videos, and your veneration of each other for this torture and killing will educate and outrage the masses. Nothing calls a citizenry to action more effectively than outrage! Maybe we should thank you…
When I posted this, I was called every name in the book (some I never even heard of) and some of the comments bordered on the psychotic, but that would not stop me! Then something happened… I was in a heated argument on a thread with several people when out of the blue, one of the women asked her friend to post something she wanted me to see because “she had to go feed her horses…” Wow… I went back to the thread the next day and saw that another hunter was defending me. I decided it was time to do less finger pointing and more research. The more I read and saw, the more I realized that these hunters are under constant attack and reviled by activists and self-proclaimed wolf experts who seem to believe that they alone know the truth and they are somehow better than these hunters. Hunters were labeled sub-human, and the more they tried to explain, the more they were ridiculed. How would you react?
It was then that I realized, just like you and I, that these hunters are hardworking ranchers, farmers and hunters who love their livestock, their families, their pets, their homes and their country. They are also victims of a wolf introduction, appropriately labeled an experiment by our own government that has the potential to take all they love away from them.
I see posts from pages like Good Wolf, The Wolf Army, Howling for Justice, and many more; each a bit more radical and hateful than the last. For some reason, hate spreads rapidly, like poisonous venom; it enters through the extremities and quickly travels to the brain, closing the mind. Then it makes its way to the heart to cloud and blacken the emotions. This psychological process is called “dehumanizing the enemy;” whereby opponents view each other as less than human and thus not deserving of moral consideration. Because the other side has come to be viewed as a “diabolical enemy,” the conflict is framed as a war between good and evil with the anti-hunters believing they are good, and the hunters are evil or vice versa.
Stereotyping allows you to “dehumanize” and group a whole set of people under one title (i.e. anti’s or hunters), and judge them all together, dismissing any uniqueness. Along with stereotyping, the propaganda technique of demonizing the enemy aims at evoking a very negative emotion by associating the “enemy” or opposing group as evil, immoral, subhuman, or barbaric. This view of the enemy is necessary in order to generate the level of hate required in order to justify the violent comments and hatred directed toward the other side.
As human evolution goes, this is as far as we have come…