To the editor:
As I was driving home on North Madison near Torvanger a few days before the shooting in Sandy Hook, I noticed a man in full camouflage carrying what appeared to be a serious long gun with a big deal scope walking north along the road just at dusk.
The sight was troubling enough that I called 911 and asked if it was deer season on Bainbridge as I recalled reading that we do have legal deer hunting on the island.
The dispatcher said he had no idea and when I asked if he could find out, he replied that he’d have an officer check out the man. He asked if I wanted a call back. I figured that the police have better things to do than waste time calling me so I declined the offer.
In the meantime, the shootings in Sandy Hook took place and have been especially distressing for me as I spent time at a friend’s farm there from my late teens well into my 40s. It is a beautiful place not unlike Bainbridge. I think that my feelings about that small town defined my dream hometown and landed my husband and I on Bainbridge Island — a place much like Sandy Hook/Newtown.
So I ask:
• When is hunting season on the Island?
• What can be hunted?
• Why do we need to have hunting season in a place where hunters necessarily have to compete with hikers, runners, bike riders, walkers and horses for open land? (Hunting is against the law in all the parks, and legal on private land with permission).
• Are there restrictions on the range of the legal rifles?
• Why camo dress and a long gun with a big scope when it’s pretty easy to bag a deer from your deck?
Hunting is necessary to keep populations of wild animals in check once their natural predators are eliminated but here the wild animals that formerly kept the deer population in check have been replaced, at least in part, by the their major predator — motorized vehicles.
The New York Times published a recent article about why a proliferation of guns doesn’t make us freer but instead impinges on our First Amendment rights of free speech. A gun-toting society is a society that subjects many of its citizens to fear. A fearful society isn’t a free one.