Yesterday, while Deven Patrick Kelly was out on a killing spree at the First Baptist Church in New Braunfels, Texas, I was at my own church: The Church of the Woods, deep in the Cascade foothills. I was on the search for the delicious little golden caps called chanterelle mushrooms. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much luck in the mushroom arena, but I did find five different scenes of utter carnage.
Shotgun shells and bullet casings littered the ground in these wooded grottos. Florescent skeets were propped up on rusted cans or shot-filled trees. Targets depicting people were pinned to tree trunks. There were broken liquor bottles, beer cans, ammo boxes, cigarette butts, and the remains of stuffed animals dangling from tree limbs. This was all on public land — an inheritance and a responsibility we all share.
Coming across these places was not just disgusting, it was disturbing. Who does this, I asked my husband? Who goes into the woods and trashes it? How can they be so thoughtless? So selfish? So disinterested in our land, our country, our duty to place and space, let alone one another?
Could they be the same people that like to say, “It’s not time to talk about gun control,” as we move from one mass shooting to another? Could they be the ones who like to declare that owning guns — any type and any amount — is their “God given right”? The ones who like to pull out their patriotism and compare its size with those, “Libtards?” Could some of them be the ones who take offense to a bent knee during the anthem or tell others that if they don’t like America, they should just damn well leave?
I have friends who are good and responsible gun owners, and they are as disgusted as I am with what I found yesterday. They are also alarmed by the insane things people do with their guns lately — Texas, Las Vegas, Colorado, Walmart, churches, schools — on and on it goes, with the NRA continuing to demand that it would not make one tiny bit of difference if we, say, had background checks on ALL gun purchases.
No Sir Ree Bob.
Granted, shooting up trees and leaving behind a mess is hardly worth commenting on when compared to the heinous crimes being committed with those weapons. Still, it speaks to an attitude which disregards responsibility. And irresponsibility and gun ownership, in my mind, are a dangerous cocktail.
So, I continue to wonder, who goes to the woods to shoot the hell out of it, and then leaves it looking like a crime scene? Drunk teenagers, who were never taught better? People who have the American flag bumper sticker right up next to the NRA’s Stand and Fight?
I’m just spitballing here, but I have a feeling that I’m not far off target.