Real-Life Horror: Oh, What “Fun” It Is To Kill Birds For No Reason

What this blog post is not: a statement/judgment against, or any sort of commentary on or about the subsistence hunts, practices, et al, of Native people throughout the world.

Onto what my post is about:

I am familiar with all the nuances of bird hunting; allegedly linked to conservation, and other pro-hunting arguments like that, which are used to support and defend even sport hunting.

Here’s a prior, FAQ-style statement from the Michigan Humane Society about the hunting of doves: http://support.michiganhumane.org/site/DocServer?docID=281

Like in the below linked statement from PETA, I don’t agree that allowing hunters to go out and shoot migratory birds and other targets of sport hunting, etc. is an effective way to manage a local ecosystem. https://www.peta.org/issues/wildlife/wildlife-factsheets/sport-hunting-cruel-unnecessary/

Admittedly, I played Nintendo’s “Duck Hunt” when I was a kid. It made me sad even if it wasn’t real and I didn’t play it much after the first couple of times. And never once could I imagine going out and shooting a duck in real life.

I always hear the argument that violent video games make people violent, but it’s seemingly unquestioned that putting a gun in a child’s hand and taking them out into nature to shoot at an actual living lifeform, and terming it as a fun (or necessary) activity, doesn’t cultivate the callousness needed to commit a violent act.

Personally, I do not understand how shooting beautiful, defenseless birds is classified as a “sporting” activity–essentially considered a fun, entertaining pastime, and one that is even encouraged among young people.

Though only a handful of states have banned migratory/dove hunting, and it’s largely allowed in United States, I am sharing information about the birds my new home state allows people to hunt: https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/When-to-Hunt/Migratory-Bird. (There’s other wild species on the website that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) allows people to hunt and fish.)

(You know, nobody thought the passenger pigeon would go extinct, because it was so “plentiful” as is the current argument I keep reading about doves, to excuse/support hunting of certain doves now!)

I’ve heard firsthand accounts about hunters and their behaviors, locally. (I’m keeping the source anonymous for their safety, and keeping my relation of their account general, for the same reason.) During hunting season here in Kansas, I’ve been told that hunters routinely and knowingly trespass on private property, leave behind a swath of destruction and a mess on private land that has to be cleaned up by the property owners in question, and these hunters have deliberately shot at people in their yards/at their homes. 

If things like this happened to me, I would be raising all kinds of holy hell until something was actually done about it. I would consider that an absolutely unallowable state of circumstances. If one gun is fired, on private property, at a person/a person’s home, then why is anyone allowed to be shooting guns off out there in the name of “hunting”? Putting my feelings about sport hunting aside, I don’t understand why the KDWPT are continuing to issue permits, with these kinds of reported-to-law-enforcement activities going on. Yes, I’m from an urban area, but maybe because of that, I consider gunshots flying around in close proximity to people to be unequivocally unacceptable. To put it mildly. 

Also, if hunters are really out there disregarding known property boundaries, and are, in fact, shooting at people and their homes, what other rules and regulations are they out there flouting?

It makes me wonder why the local law enforcement/powers that be are so eager and willing to trust people who are out shooting things on a regular basis, and to reward them with hunting licenses.

Do you really think these kinds of irresponsible hunters are following other regulations as established by the KDWPT? (My common sense conclusion would be telling me that they aren’t, even as a new transplant to this sort of rural environment!)

Things like obeying the regulation for non-toxic shot, for example?

More information on the regulation here: http://www.huntingwithnonlead.org/state_info.html and on the KDWPT website: https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Hunting-Regulations/Migratory-Birds/Non-Toxic-Shot-Non-Toxic-Shot-Only-Areas

If you’re interested, here’s a full list of the statutes KDWPT is regulating by law:

https://ksoutdoors.com/Services/Law-Enforcement/Regulations

How many of these are these gun-toters actually obeying these regulations? What’s the statistics on that, I wonder?

And, around the world, the following linked article states that illegal hunting continues even in countries with strong laws against hunting birds through the Spring migration period, and with an EU ban as well.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/26/conservationists-appalled-at-illegal-killing-of-25m-birds-a-year-in-the-mediterranean

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-tradition-of-bird-hunting-in-malta/

So it makes me wonder why hunting is allowed to continue, because these numbers point to a trend where hunters move through an environment where there are no repercussions for their actions, they can act with total immunity against wildlife and nature, and they grow more and more confident they they can do whatever they dang well feel like.

So, I argue that the more hunting is allowed, especially for sport and trophies, the more hunters feel like they can take advantage of the (laxity?) of it.

I believe that because they have guns, and plenty of them, they start to feel they are immune, and they have the freedom to do whatever they want to.

Illegally hunt animals. (Poaching, anyone? https://ksoutdoors.com/Services/Law-Enforcement/Operation-Game-Thief)

Conduct activities such as those that were related to me by way of firsthand local accounts.

And, gee, I don’t know, storm the United States Capitol building, for example?

While I abhor hunting and the killing of all wildlife, especially as a vegetarian, maybe there are ethical, sustenance-only hunters out there. But, as the saying goes, “a few bad seeds” and all that. And it’s time to put an end to the “few bad seeds”. It’s well past time for humans to start making sacrifices for wildlife and nature, in order to restore the balance between the human community and those inhabitants of the natural world, even if you are resistant to adopting a more sustainable diet for the planet. 

Then when that balance is achieved and continues to be preserved, and human-caused climate change and widespread extinction of non-human species is a thing of the past, then you can talk to those who make more suitably stringent, and common-sense regulations about the “right to hunt”. And the powers that be might be willing to listen.

I might be willing to listen.

But I’m not going to listen, right now. This sort of mentality has dominated human thinking for hundreds upon thousands of years. And it’s time for it to stop. Especially with the whole natural world at stake because of our bad-seed choices, as humans. Yes, even mine. And I’m working as actively and as expediently as I can to undo what I’ve been conditioned by society to believe it means to be human.

It’s time for change. It’s time for our sacrifices, to repay all that animals and trees and nature have given us over the time humans have been on this planet. It’s time for humans to curtail their space and activities–to make room–so that wildlife in all its forms has room to once again thrive.

To (partially) quote the character Lindsey Brigman from the movie The Abyss:
“We all see what we want to see. Coffey . . . sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.”

Here’s some links to people/groups that are looking with “better eyes”.

https://www.facebook.com/lovemourningdove/

In articles like “The Mourning Dove: An Animal Rights Article”  from All-Creatures.org, click link here.

I encourage all my eco-warriors, eco-writers, and just plain anybody who wants to write/has written a similar environmentally inspired blog post, to share their links in the comments.

Weary Wednesday

It is Wednesday, isn’t it?

I can’t believe August is already almost over. It seemed to take forever to get moved in, and to get the house, well, if not entirely ready, at least set up for life on a daily basis. It’s surreal to be in a more permanent residence. And it’s also odd to be in a town this small. Especially in a town in Kansas. Hopefully, though, I’ll find at least one like-minded friend. But I work so much that making time for social activities is a bit of a lost cause.

Kitties haven’t fully acclimated yet, but I’m also hoping they’ll like their new place! They are probably glad have the house to themselves–free of lurching intruders that make lots of noise. The cats are a little hard to see in the photo, but I didn’t want to stress them more by pestering them for a better photo.

hidingcats

So, the office is set up and ready for work. I’m both glad to get back into my normal schedule, but it was nice to be offline for a little while.

I should have some new “Five Things Friday” author interviews coming up sometime soon. And I’ll get back to reading everybody’s blogs! I’ve missed them!

Wednesday’s Book Look: Wild and Wishful and Out of this World

Sometime soon, I’m going to check out a little artsy town here in Kansas called Lucas. I’m still trying to figure out how to decide where I want to spend…well, if not the rest of my life, at least the next few years. Kansas is (relatively) affordable. When compared to places I’ve either looked at or lived in (Portland, OR, Seattle, Florida, New Mexico, Vermont), that is. Anywhere in New England is pricey, too, though I love the idea of living in someplace like Bangor or Salem.

Lately, I’ve just wanted to laze about and read books (anybody else feelin’ this) or *gasp* do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

But a mid-life crisis or whatever’s preoccupying me lately, is no excuse to be slacking off! Right? *laugh*

Still, I did manage to sneak in some reading amidst the moving and relocation planning (on top of work and writing).

And I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Great Plains Nature Center. Well, the center was closed because of the holiday, but it was a wonderfully overcast and drizzly day to walk the nature trails out there. https://gpnc.org/

It was rad to see the efforts to “re-wild” the prairie and such, but also sad. The traffic noise from the nearby highway/street was not only constant but incredibly loud. Can you imagine having hearing way more sensitive than a human’s and having to listen to that all day and all night?

By the by, this week is #BlackBirdersWeek2021, as organized and hosted by Black AF in STEM (https://www.blackafinstem.com/). Check out the events on the Black AF in STEM or on the Twitter page: https://twitter.com/BlackAFinSTEM/.

I’ve got two short stories coming out in environmentally themed anthologies. One is a cli-fi anthology called Terraforming Earth for Aliens (to be released soon), and the other is called Shark Week: An Ocean Anthology which is now available for preorder: https://books2read.com/b/md79dZ.

So, in my dreaming of a better world and a better livespace, I’ve been reading myself into other worlds as well.

In addition to reading a few of Tess Gerritsen’s books for the first time (what could be better than to read about a who-I-might-have-been alter ego, Jane Rizzoli), I’ve escaped into worlds wrapped around horror, around the paranormal, and around science fiction and fantasy.

Quick reads, but no less immersive. And I even got to visit New England, by virtue of one of the spooky tales in the journal, Dream of Shadows (Issue 1, December 2019). https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07ZTXLC9L

And, until I’m able to move into a haunted house of my very own, I can live vicariously through the ghostly encounters trapped in the bound pages of ParaABnormal Magazine (December 2020 and March 2021). Though, within those pages lie a book whose powers I may not want to channel. https://www.hiraethsffh.com/magazines

While all the stories in Space & Time Magazine (Issue 135, Winter 2019) were wonderfully escapist (and the articles interesting), there was one story that I really cherished. There’s a part of me that never really stops thinking about, and missing, the members of my cat/animal family I’ve lost over the years. But, as the years fly by faster and faster, I feel the presence of my bygone and, hopefully, once again, cats even more strongly. As a result of these feline ghosts swirling around me, I found Jennifer Shelby’s “The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe” especially poignant. https://spaceandtime.net/

Even though I have taken in some (former) feral cat rescues, and they fill the too-quiet spaces of my introvert-bubble of an apartment, I still feel lonely without them. They’ve each filled a special role in my cat family unit, and I hold onto some perhaps unrealistic hope that I’ll see them again.

That we won’t be alone, out there, in one of the universe’s parallel dimensions.

Wednesday’s Book Look: Haunts, “Hard Times”, and…animals, of course!

So, it’s going to be Steampunk Weekend at the Old Cowtown Museum here in Wichita!

The Old Cowtown is a living museum with both historic and recreated buildings that represent the history of Wichita.

And, according to the book I just finished–Wichita Haunts by Beth Cooper–there’s plenty of ghosts and paranormal activity at the Cowtown Museum site. Here’s hoping they’ll be in attendance at the steampunk-themed event–better ghosts than a pack of hyped-up-on-sugar feral children running around! I’m gonna bring my copy of Wichita Haunts, and maybe I’ll get a ghostly autograph!

Seems like it will be a good pick-me-up for my case of the Springtime blues, either way! (Mild spoilers ahead. And, links for stuff in the post included at the end.)

Although, from the perspective of Les Egderton’s main character, Amelia Laxault, in his book Hard Times, I ain’t got no business having any kind of blues, seasonal or otherwise.

Amelia Laxault is a girl in rural, 1930s, East Texas.

Need I say any more? I mean, come on, the book’s title, Hard Times, should be a dead-drunk giveaway in itself. (Unless you didn’t have to read Grapes of Wrath in school, that is!)

Okay, okay: yes, it’s going to be just as dark, gritty, and gut-wrenching as you might expect. Put aside the box of tissues and just grab a dang bottle of whisky, already. Trust me, you’ll need it.

Also, there are dogs. You’ve been doubly warned.

As a PBR* chaser to Hard Times, there’s also dogs and cats (and a hamster!) in my short story “The Lights Went On In Georgia” which appears in the latest volume of the EconoClash Review (“Lucky Number Seven”, as editor J.D. Graves says in the introduction).

Poor animals. Even in fiction, their fates always seem to be at the terrible whims of humans. But you know, I was watching two PBS DVDs I got from the local library–A Squirrel’s Guide to Success and Animal Misfits: Odd, Bizarre, and Unlikely Creatures–and I couldn’t help but feel a little more optimistic amidst how sad I always feel about animals and nature, stuck on this planet with us.

I started to think how (we) humans have become disconnected from nature by all this technology (speaking of the industrial nature of the 19th century as reflected by Steampunk), and I wondered whether we’d actually dead-ended ourselves into an evolutionary stasis because of the artificially constructed environments we now move through almost primarily. Are we in a vacuum, binge-watching Netflix while nature and plants and animals are busy figuring out biochemical ways to evolve and adapt under our environmental onslaught?

Spec fic writers, get your pencils and paper out!

*PBR = Pabst Blue Ribbon, if you hadn’t figured it out.

Oh, and here’s the links I mentioned earlier. Unless you’re already dead-drunk on that there whisky, and haven’t made it this far in the post.

Steampunk Weekend at Cowtown: https://www.visitwichita.com/event/steampunk-weekend-at-cowtown/33057/ and https://www.oldcowtown.org/

Wichita Haunts by Beth Cooper: https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9780738582870

Les Edgerton’s Hard Times: https://bronzevillebooks.com/portfolio-item/hard-times/

EconoClash Review #7: https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/graves-econoclash-review-7/

The Squirrel’s Guide to Success: https://shop.pbs.org/XC8032DV.html

Animal Misfits: Odd, Bizarre, and Unlikely Creatures: https://shop.pbs.org/WB7702.html

Wednesday’s Book Looks: The Four S’s: Supernatural, Sisters, Scotland, and Synchronicity!

*possible book spoilers ahead* (None of these are affiliate links, and weren’t requests for reviews.)

It’s probably something to do with the recent time change here in the United States, but I have been feeling especially discombobulated and spacey this past week or so. I’ve been slogging through my social media at a snail’s pace, and my work and writing schedules are all out of whack. (Plus, I REALLY don’t like eating while it’s still light out!)

So, off into the darkness we descend!

The First S: Supernatural!

Okay, so back A LONG TIME AGO in the 1990s, vampires were all the rage. As much as we goths pretended to be too dark and spooky for the more…romantic?…stylized?…view of vampires, we loved Anne Rice. (But, you know, vampires are MONSTERS.) I didn’t even mind Tom Cruise as Lestat in the movie version, but probably because I only knew him as Jack from the movie Legend previously.

Vampirism, though, had shifted from monstrous (and damned) creatures of the night that we related to as like misfits into something more mystical and otherworldly. The “damned” had evolved into alluring creatures that were admired, not despised, and I reckon maybe we wanted to feel like that for a while.

For a very little while. Because TV cameras and news crews descended onto the clubs, to capture the “depraved” shenanigans of this sub-subculture Vampire movement.

So, it was a real treat to read a collection of vampire stories that didn’t involve sparkly vampires as written for the next generation(s). And it’s a collection of bloody tales that could have been complete moldy vampire cheese, but, luckily for me, wasn’t.

Anyhoo, The Vampire Connoisseur took me right back to those days where I both felt shunned by mainstream society (Oh wait, I still feel like that!), and felt a longing to be immortal and therefore immune to pangs of emotion and the nibblings of a conscience and the ravening bites of aging. (Full title: Todd Sullivan Presents: The Vampire Connoisseurs)

Here, most of the vampires within are unequivocally monsters, either via their own awareness, or through the awareness of the characters that observe them. And sometimes the death at the hands of the monsters is welcomed, as illuminated by the arc of the stories.

And sometimes the vampiric monsters are creatively reimagined, as in Priscilla Bettis’s tale “The Sun Sets Nonetheless” which had the double spook factor of being set in the state where I live. [Earthquakes, tornadoes, and now mysterious blue-skinned “creatures”?!?!?! Maybe Priscilla Bettis will let me camp out in her (completely imaginary and fictional) back yard in Virginia, where they only seem to get the occasional rogue hurricane! *wry laugh*]

Pick up a copy of Todd Sullivan Presents: The Vampire Connoisseur on Amazon https://bookshop.org/books/todd-sullivan-presents-the-vampire-connoisseur/9781649050090 or on Bookshop https://bookshop.org/books/todd-sullivan-presents-the-vampire-connoisseur/9781649050090.

And, if there’s something I love as much as REALLY GOOD vampire stories, it’s GHOST STORIES! Here in Kansas, we had storms and grey skies and fierce winds wailing outside the window and the only thing lacking to read Ghost Stories for Starless Nights by is a crackling fire! And toasted marshmallows, of course! (But a little ghostie told me that you can find virtual haunted campfires over at Haunt Jaunts. But that may just be a pesky poltergeist starting rumours! https://www.hauntjaunts.net/virtual-haunted-campfires-2021-line-up-and-schedule/#Virtual_Haunted_Campfires_2021_Cost)

Sadly, the starless nights here are not due to the storms or anything else natural or supernatural but to the obscene levels of light pollution here in Wichita, but at least I can escape into the atmospheric and haunting world(s) of Ghost Stories for Starless Nights. Join me around the fire, won’t you? https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Stories-Starless-Nights-Publishing/dp/B088N4WKL5

The Second S: Sisters!

Speaking of romantic notions, I, when I was real young, wanted a sister so badly. Especially a twin sister. I had a pretty lonely and isolating childhood, and I thought that having a twin sister would have given me a ready-made friend. (I blame Trixie Belden, Little Women, and even Anne of Green Gables with all that “kindred spirit” blather.) Once, I dreamed of a girl that lived in the attic and I swore that she was real. So did a psychic who did a reading for a family member once. I at least had an imaginary sister. For a little while, anyway.

However, the sisters in Tochi Onyebuchi’s War Girls are sisters in the most complex, complicated, powerful, and real ways. And the world they navigate–a 2172 Earth ravaged by climate change and military conflicts–provides an equally harrowing setting for the two young women.

War Girls not only captures the bond of sisters but also the heartbreak of that powerful bond.

And it made me want a sister even more, despite all the complications and pain that seems to be involved.

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/War-Girls-Tochi-Onyebuchi/dp/0451481674 and on Bookshop https://bookshop.org/books/war-girls/9780451481672

The Third and Forth S’s: Scotland and Synchronicity!

I have wanted to live in Scotland ever since the 90s, when I visited. Finances and cats and a lack of more shrewd and focused life planning have complicated the issue, but at least I got to take a tour of the Glasgow School of Art before the terrible fire. (<—loves Mackintosh)

So, when I read The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery #1) by Paige Shelton I just about died! Essentially a woman who works in a museum in WICHITA, KANSAS gets the job offer of a lifetime to work in a rare BOOKSHOP in EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND and, well, I think there’s a mystery involved somehow. But all I could think about was THAT’S ME!!!!! Well, a me in another life, anyway. And I was torn between loving every word of my alternate universe and being supremely envious of my own alternate self! Mock jealousy aside, it was such a lovely, hopeful, escapist read! In my next life, I’ll be sure to have more clear vision of who I am, and how to build a life and make choices to nurture and preserve that innate self.

The Cracked Spine on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Cracked-Spine-Scottish-Bookshop-Mystery/dp/1250057485/ and on Bookshop https://bookshop.org/books/the-cracked-spine/9781250118226

On the heels of reading that book, I had a dream where I was hanging out with a soulmate-type person and they liked me exactly how I was. It was a very pleasant dream.

So, to sum up, supernaturally spooky adventures, “kindred spirit” sisters, Scotland and synchronicity, and hope for a “maybe someday” that’s all my own.