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The right of self-defense?

August 25, 2011

Where do I begin? Let’s start with Huffington Post‘s report on Jeremy Hill, the Idaho dad who killed a grizzly bear who wandered onto his property. According to the video report, he was inside the house when he heard his kids scream. He ran outside and saw a mama grizzly and her cubs. So he shot her.

Oh, were that the end of that. Local authorities were satisfied that Hill acted properly, “but then,” the anchor ominously intones, “the Feds butted in.” (Watch the video and you’ll be checking the URL to make sure you haven’t clicked on by accident). Grizzlies are classified as endangered species, so Mr. Hill apparently broke the law. And now he could face jail time and a $50,000 fine.

Over on Facebook, where opinions really matter, the discussion rages on. “There’s no reason to shoot the bear. Loud noises scare bears away. He could have just shot above the bears and they would have run away and as a back up he could have called animal control or another animal service,” writes one commenter. “The bear had as much claim to his ‘land’ as he does! Respect our planet and all of its inhabitants,” writes another. And so it goes. Basically, the comments fall into three camps — 1. Bears were here first, so respect nature (this camp doesn’t address the issue at hand); 2. He used a gun and killed something. Lock him up; 3. Are you all crazy? He was protecting his children. Get real!

Any guesses which camp I’m in?

A friend of mine (who lives in the Bay Area) likes to say, “I like liberalism. I just hate liberals.” The comments above only reinforce the stereotype as progressives as unrealistic urbanites living in a Shangri-La where bears understand “warning shots” — people who sit in judgment of a roughneck Idahoan with a rifle (gasp!) while sipping lattés in a Manhattan Starbucks. But it also brought to bear (heh) another foible of modern liberalism: Liberals do not believe in the right of self-defense.

Think I’m being dramatic? Try these statements on for size:

If someone tries to rob you, cooperate. Do not aggravate the attacker.
You cannot simultaneously pursue peace and prepare for war.
Use diplomacy, not force.

In contrast, if these statements rankle you, you probably don’t vote Republican:

A .380 in your pocket is better than a .45 in the safe.
Si vis pacem, para bellum. (If you seek peace, prepare for war.)
Use diplomacy backed by force.

Do we have the right to defend ourselves and our families? Have progressives forgotten that evil not only exists, it must be repulsed — with force, if necessary? I know the bear in question is not evil, but she did pose a threat. (Despite what the “writer from Gather” said, it is not Mr. Hill’s responsibility to prove the threat. It’s the state’s responsibility to prove that he acted illegally, and the perception of threat may be inconsequential.) I can only comfort myself with the many comments from Camp #3. My favorites?

“If a wild animal threatened my child, I would kill it even if it were the last of its kind on the planet!”

and “Put yourself in his place… I’m a vegan, a member of PETA. And if it got near my granddaughter..its going down!!!!!”

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