2V I Shot the Bunny
August 28, 2007
The following story is rated R for extreme violence. Sensitive people are advised to skip to another blog.
When a Masai boy in Kenya notices a lion killing off cattle (or less politically correct, when he simply notices a lion), he uses a spear to kill the lion so he can complete his rite of passage to become a man.
When I was 12 years old, I held our aggressive Muscovy duck while a neighbor chopped off its head. However, I am out of practice at getting in touch with my inner savage. Now that I have reached the emotional age of 13 at the chronological age of 63, it’s time for me to get in touch with my inner savage again and take another whack at the rite of passage business.
Although we have no cattle pasturing and no lions roaming on our five acres of woods, we do have rabbits preying on Mrs. Random’s organic vegetables, bringing her quickly in touch with her inner savage. First I helped her kill a rabbit with rocks, and finished it off by stomping it with my boot. The next day, by herself in the garden, Mrs. Random killed off another bunny by herself.
Both of us grossed ourselves out by getting in touch with our inner savages. As is typical of civilized humans, we decided to make it easier to kill by using a weapon of remote destruction, namely an air rifle that shoots pellets.
The day after our first futile effort with the air rifle, my wife said, “There’s a rabbit in the front yard.”
I loaded and cocked the air rifle. The rabbit was nibbling weeds in our front yard. As it was not in the garden, perhaps I violated the Rules of War. Nevertheless, as it was about 30 feet away, it was at the distance to focus it in the rifle scope as I leaned my arm on the porch railing. Convenience trumped civility. I leaned my arm on the porch railing. I sighted carefully, took a breath, squeezed the trigger. The rabbit moved a couple of feet, and then stopped, apparently mortally wounded. I reloaded and fired several more times. The rabbit collapsed. I examined it. It looked pretty dead. I tossed it into the woods for the convenience of the crows or the coyotes, whichever scavenger was more convenient.
I suppose we could have cleaned the rabbit and eaten it. I have been told that the wild rabbits are infested with viruses, and are not good for humans to eat. It is more convenient for my inner squeemer to believe that.
Later the same day, I saw another rabbit, closer to the garden. Circumstantial evidence made it easy to infer evil intent. As Cameron noted, rabbits sometimes move very fast. However, rabbits have two responses to danger: flight or freeze. The rabbit moved into a pile of brush left over from a chainsaw outburst and froze. It might have been hidden from a coyote looking from the side, but it was visible to a human looking from above. I came to the conclusion that rabbits are sort of prey on training wheels for beginning hunters.
It took several shots before it stopped writhing and twitching. I am not sure of the etiquette of savagery here. Is it more appropriate to stomp it again, although I find myself reluctant to do this again, or is it acceptable to shoot several pellets into it until it stops writhing?
Perhaps Michael Vick can provide me with some guidance.