Story of little hunter is just sad

Michael Boylan's picture

“Merrit, Tre Merritt
King of Dewitt, Arkansas”

To the tune of “Davy Crockett”

The story of five-year-old Tre Merritt, a descendant of Davy Crockett, killing a 445-pound black bear lit up the internet on Tuesday. There were stories about the tiny hunter on both and Drudge Report, as well as video clips of little Merritt holding a rifle and driving an ATV.

It was all so charming and downright creepy.

Personally, I don’t like hunting. Shooting animals that were just minding their own business in their natural habitat doesn’t seem fair, but to each his own. However, I eat meat and wouldn’t turn down a helping of venison, and, Lord knows, after a deer jumps across the road in front of my car I think about getting a gun and blowing away all of those 300 pound squirrels with antlers.

Here’s the thing, though, as a parent I don’t think giving a child a gun is a very good idea. I know, he was under adult supervision, but adults have accidents with guns under adult supervision. And what really freaks me out is they were teaching this kid how to shoot at 2 1/2 years old - no matter how you look at it, that’s wrong. We are a country that obsesses over the children of celebrities and yet we delight in the story of an armed toddler in Arkansas.

It is scary.

Plus, when you watch the video piece of Tre Merritt, his father and granddad it shows Tre driving a four-wheeler without anybody else on it.
Great idea, folks. Would you like to teach Tre to juggle knives or swallow fire before he enters first grade, too? Let’s see how he does on Uncle John’s Harley.

This story just bugs me on a lot of levels. Not only is it the danger thing, but this kid got to watch a bear die in front of him, with all of the bleeding and other wonderful things associated with gun death. When I was five, “Bambi” was a very upsetting film to watch and this kid probably watches it and roots for the hunter to shoot when he gets a clear shot.

And is there really a need to kill bears? If they are attacking you while peacefully camping, sure, but this poor bear was 50 yards away and Tre and his granddad are sitting up in a tree stand. Hardly a sport. It’s just being a sniper. I’m sure there will be a spot in Iraq for Tre in about 13 years.

We worry about children seeing simulated murders on television and yet, Tre and his family are praised as local legends and heroes for murdering animals for “sport.” Tre killed three deer last year. Hooray. Can we take him to Africa to kill a lion? Maybe get him some real big game?

It’s one thing for adults to decide that hunting is the way they want to spend their time and I can accept a parent teaching their teenager to hunt, as a form of rite of passage or whatever. It isn’t really necessary anymore for survival, but hey, one man’s sadistic torture of animals is another man’s fun. The story of Tre Merritt is sad though because he started his rite of passage before he was even potty-trained. Tre didn’t get to decide if he thought hunting was something he wanted to do, his family just put a gun in his hand and told him when and where to shoot.

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Submitted by Nitpickers on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 3:38pm.

PARENTS want the glory from this kind of thing.
Something to brag about.
That is what is sad.

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