In the newspaper business, reporters never know what's going to show up in their e-mail inbox. Sometimes when we write what we deem to be controversial stories, there's not a peep heard. While at other times, a seemingly innocuous story spawns an outrageous e-mail.
Such was the case with a story I wrote that was published in Monday's Gazette on Billings resident Ken Kukus, a double amputee who still hunts despite his disability.
Shannon M. of Dallas, Texas, e-mailed me with a hate-filled diatribe about Kukus and hunting in general. Here's what she had to say about the story.
"I am appalled, enraged and totally sickened by this story. As if hunting weren't unfair enough to helpless animals, now let's chauffeur this guy around in a motorized vehicle in an enclosed area stocked with more animals to shoot than he can count! There's no way to lose! It's a canned hunt for disabled people. Hunting is for cowards, wannabe serial killers and LOSERS! ESPECIALLY via this method. Everyone involved in helping this pitiful excuse for a human is just as guilty. Shame, shame on you for glamourizing this atrocity. I'm just sorry he didn't lose his arms as well as his legs. What a total waste of human tissue and oxygen."
After my response to her that hunting is practiced by 19 percent of the population in Montana, the highest in the nation, she replied:
"Wow, impressive! The largest number of murdering, cowardly losers per capita! I will definitely steer clear, I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a grouse or something."
And so it goes. It's too bad that some folks can't see hunting as an ethical, practical and inexpensive means of controlling wild game populations, as well as a great way to spend time in the outdoors. Not all of us are out for trophies, many are just looking to fill the freezer with a little free-range meat. We'll never convert the PETA folks, and they'll never convince hunters that we're not hardwired to be predators.