On May 19, 2017, professional hunter Theunis Botha was killed in Zimbabwe when the elephant his client shot fell on him and killed him. While the author and hunters across America perhaps expected the breaking news to incite backlash from anti-hunters, the scope and depth of their sheer vitriol and euphoria was astounding. To date there have been 5,000-plus engagements across the author’s social media platforms alone, the majority of which continue to negative, marking the reality of the times in which we hunters live—and the extent to which anti-hunting extremists will go to destroy us. –Karen Mehall Phillips, Editor, NRAHLF.org
A friend of mine died quite unexpectedly. He left a wife and five children. He was respected professionally and an innovator in his field. He staunchly fought for the preservation of wildlife with both coin and deed. He was a good man who will be missed by many. And yet my friend’s death is celebrated by thousands who did not know him. Why? Because he was a hunter.
Tommy Knut: I’m so happy he died. All hunters deserves to die.
Intellectually, I know the world is full of haters. I know most anti-hunters are either uninformed about the role hunting plays in this seven-billion-person world or chose to ignore facts and feign righteous indignation. But the magnitude of vitriol—the tsunami of unadulterated, black-hearted hatred spewed by these people—is hard for me to get my cerebral arms around. The sheer weight of it all gives me pause to consider my own position on the issue. Could I have been wrong about hunting? If right and wrong were determined by majority-rules social-media postings, hunting would have gone the way of the pager and New Coke long ago. Then I looked more closely at the harsh rebuke of the progressive masses and came to a startling conclusion: I differ from them.
@BFairthorne: This news has literally made my weekend. Fantastic - truly fantastic.
It is not just that I differ with them. I do. But it is more than that. At my very essence, I am different from them and radically different, as I cannot imagine any circumstance in which I would ever behave as these people.
@UCLA_gym_fan_12:I wish there was video of his death. I'd watch it every day.
A hunter dies and the social-media mob celebrates. Not due to a personal beef; it is doubtful few if any even knew the man. They metaphorically spit or worse on the man’s grave because this mob has an incredible animus for hunters. But it is nothing new. The antis have always hated us. At this point, I could go on about the necessity of hunting in the modern world and how the question of hunting’s benefit has been scientifically answered, but that is not my purpose today. The question is how do seemingly intelligent people ignore facts and respond to the matter of hunting in such an emotion-based way. In the question lies a clue to the answer, as well as insight into the animal rightist’s slippery slope into depravity.
@Longball8:I'm almost positive he felt his eyes pop out his dumb f***ing skill. So happy this makes me.
Psychologists tell us mob behavior differs from that of the individual and it would appear the same is true on social media. One person makes a derogatory comment, then others join the fray until, ultimately, the frenzied “piling on” grows exponentially with individuals competing to post something even more vile and odious than the previous poster. This kind of behavior is common with emotional issues, and hunters can be just as awful as the antis—to a degree. But that is where certain individual behavior deviates from that of a normal human. There is a dark, more insidious element that seems to reside exclusively in the camp of the antis.
Frank Solis: ***k this ***hole, I wish he had died a slower death. I hope his wife and kids have to scoop him up.
This event has proven to me there are those who despise hunting to such a degree they cannot or will not separate the act from the actor. In their minds, the act of killing an animal somehow transforms the hunter into an amoral entity. This judgmental objectification deprives hunters of every facet of their humanity—their rights, dignity and empathy forever denied in the eyes of anti-hunters. But there is more. Not just hunters’ humanity is stripped away. Apparently, so too is the application of any law or social mores as it relates to these anti-hunters.
@DebbyHoleman: Hope he lived long enough to feel his rib cage pierce his heart and his skull become squeezed and gurgle on his own blood.
In the anti-hunter’s quest to save life on this planet, they wish death and worse for the hunter and do not see the irony. Their sadistic, callous desire to cause pain and suffering for those who do not share their values is indicative of a depraved heart—a corrupt, immoral person who gladly will sacrifice the lives of entire human families for that of a single animal.
Their words: @stinkaapjes Hope he suffered a lot and his family dies also painfully..
In my life I have never hated as these people do. Imagining my own nightmare scenario of losing a child at the hands of a depraved criminal, even at this lowest point of life, the depths of my hate would never spill over to the perpetrator’s family. Never. The hate of revenge is imaginable. The hate wishing pain and torturous death to the innocent is to me unimaginable. It is also how I know I am different from the antis.
Hannin Iktilat Stevenson: Hope he suffered. Hope his wife can’t pay the bills and an animal kills her on one of her hunts. Hope his kids get taken away…
There are certain core beliefs I hold sacred in my life: I believe in God; in the sanctity of human life; in love and happiness; in equality and freedom. I have another core belief, which now I question: the fundamental good of Man.
@KimKaosDK: Its great news - I hope all his friends die the same way - sooner the better
In a way, I should thank the antis. Their vile rhetoric has made me more jaded, more guarded now. It is not a mental stretch to imagine some of these corrupted souls transitioning from keyboard cowboy to stalker, to imminent threat to my family—and I will plan accordingly. It is sad that friends cannot share freely amongst friends without self-righteous haters trolling for words that violate their personal values but, regrettably, that is the world we live in today.
Raphaël Dupuis: I hope he suffered before dying and I wish you the same.
I still believe in the fundamental goodness of Man… just not in every man.
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Editor’s Note: About the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Form (HLF) The National Rifle Association launched the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF) in 2014 to address the cultural, political, demographic and technological challenges to hunters and hunting in the 21st century, bringing together dedicated hunters to save hunting's future. In 2016 the NRA and NRA HLF launched this website, NRAHLF.org. Then in April 2017 the NRA rolled out the “NRA Hunting” campaign featuring engaging TV ads that represent the next phase in NRA’s efforts to go on offense against the well-funded anti-hunting, animal-welfare extremists.
As the often violent anti-hunters work to exterminate all hunting, we must expose their actions. Tell the truth about how it is our hard-earned dollars that fund wildlife conservation worldwide. Share social media content that informs hunters on issues and calls out attacks against us as they arise. Spreading the word to preserve hunting entails a Herculean effort between the NRA, firearm and hunting industry companies, and like-minded hunting and conservation organizations from SCI to the NSSF to the Dallas Safari Club and beyond. Please do your part by sharing this story link.