November 26, 2004 at 7:48 a.m.
Simply put, I cannot comprehend the fact that six people were fatally shot and two others seriously wounded as the result of a brief dispute in the woods between landowners and a trespassing “hunter.”
I’m also having a hard time understanding the media’s coverage of this horrifying incident.
The other day, I felt disappointment and wonder while listening to a half-hour debate on the radio. The host and callers were discussing “cultural assimilation” and how it may have been a factor in the shootings. Chai Vang is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Laos. That is a fact. End of discussion. In my mind, it has absolutely no bearing on the matter. I’m not aware of too many civilized cultures that teach that shooting people is acceptable behavior. So as far as I’m concerned, this wasn’t about “clashing cultures” or cultural differences.
As details of Mr. Vang’s violent and questionable past are brought to light, it becomes very apparent that this man had no right whatsoever to carry a firearm, and he had absolutely no business donning an orange coat and masquerading as a deer hunter.
When I think of the word “ethics,” it invariably brings to mind the tempered, self-regulated and conscientious behavior that we strive to practice each day. I’ll go a step further and make the claim that hunters are among the most ethical people I know. I’ve yet to meet a hunter that “checks” his or her sound ethics at the woods edge after a day’s hunt. Make no mistake, what occurred last Sunday is a question of bankrupt ethics, not cultures.
The events that took place in the deep woods of Wisconsin were so absurdly and tragically perverse, I feel ashamed that in discussing these brutal and senseless murders, the word “hunting” is spoken in the same breath.
Dan Brown’s weekly outdoor column is brought to you by Frankies Bait and Marine in Chisago City and St. Croix Outdoors in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.
Dan Brown is a director at the Chisago Lakes Achievement Center in Chisago City. In addition, Brown is a fly casting instructor and trout fishing guide at Seven Pines Lodge in Lewis, WI. Recently Brown was featured on Ron Schara’s Minnesota Bound and ESPN II’s Backroads with Ron and Raven, as well as KSTP channel 5’s Eyewitness News Morning Show. He is a Taylors Falls resident and can often be found on the area lakes, trout streams and the St. Croix river.
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