I am not sure if her pathological aversion to snakes was due in part to her rural, religious upbringing that equated all snakes with the devil, or some other unknown bad personal experience. Whatever the case, I never really discovered its source. More than likely it was because she was raised in the country outdoors and she understood animals had their lower place in the scheme of things, whereas she a human being, occupied a higher place, and thus had the God-given right to kill any animal indiscriminately if it so happened to venture outside its place into hers. She was part of a culture that witnessed animal death without the least bit of squeamishness on a regular, daily basis like beef cattle, chickens, pigs, quail, gophers, armadillos, deer, and sometimes possums.
City people usually don’t have the intestinal fortitude to deal with animal death like my grandmother and her kinfolk. Compounding their dislike of, say, a chicken being slung around by its head until it pops off and the body flops around on the ground, is the emotional attachment most city people have toward little, cutesy animals. This emotional aspect is due it part to reading way too many talking animal books like Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit, and watching way too many talking animal movies like Disney’s stuff and maybe Babe. If you think pigs have sweet voices and can herd sheep, then the thought of them being gutted makes bacon lose its appeal. Adding to the city people’s inordinate affection for animals is an environmental philosophy that teaches all animals and people are the same. So after years of being indoctrinated with animal rights ideology, the thought of shooting Moppsy and her brother Peter is murder. Who could possible shoot a precious little rabbit dressed nicely in his blue jacket?
Welp, there is a new emotional conflict to add to the already existing turmoil city people suffer when thinking of killing little animals. More and more city folks, in order to be “environmentally friendly” and reduce carbon emissions, and basically return to nature, are moving to the rural parts of our country and taking up maintaining their own personal gardens. I must say I have fond memories of gardening when I was a boy. When my grandma wasn’t thwacking snakes, it was a delight to shuck corn and snap beans. There is something to be said with eating fresh vegetables out of a backyard garden.
As city folks learn to garden, however, they have had to learn the hard way that they are not the only beings who enjoy fresh vegetables. And those little beings aren’t wearing blue jackets with brass buttons and trousers.
The NY Times has a fun article telling of how these gardening, animal loving environmentalist are becoming sadistic, cruel, animal genocidists. I just love reading about city people experiencing nature for the first time.
The opening story about the NY artist is great:
a city-boy artist and illustrator who had moved to rural Pennsylvania, never wanted to kill the woodchucks. Sure, they were ruining the garden and digging up the foundations of outbuildings, but it was a moral issue: the artist, who is still so uncomfortable about what transpired — and so concerned about how his New York clients would feel about it that he is not willing to be identified — did not want to take a life.
He bought a “Havahart” live animal trap but did not catch a thing. And he worried that releasing woodchucks down the road would only be dumping the problem on a neighbor. So he moved on to that tried-and-true landlord’s tactic: harassment. He attached a hose to the exhaust pipe of his old pickup truck and stuffed it into a burrow — not to kill the woodchucks, just to encourage them to move on. That didn’t work, either.
Finally, the artist decided he would have to shoot the animals. First, though, he went to each hole and made an announcement.
“I said: ‘I intend to kill you. You have 24 hours to get out,’ ” he recalls. “I wanted to give them fair warning. I said, ‘If I were you, I would find another place to live.’ I also promised them I would not take a shot unless I knew it would be fatal.”
He is making this into a funny story, he says, but when he killed his first woodchuck he “literally felt sick.”
“I went outside and knelt down to it and said a little prayer to whatever the powers that be that when my turn comes, I will do it as gracefully and uncomplainingly.”
Eventually, though, he embraced his mission, and grew so obsessed with it that an aunt began to call him Woodchuck Johnny. How many did he kill that summer?
It reads like the beginnings of a serial killer. I bet Jeffrey Dahmer felt sick after he killed his first woodchuck, too. At least the anonymous artist did the kind thing and warned the woodchucks first before he orphaned their woodchuck babies.