With less than a week to go before the bloodbath, the town seems to have dug in its heels and resisted the massive public call to stop the event. There has even been an effort to raise money for the fire department to replace the funds that it would lose if it did cancel the hunt.
|Photo by Morgan Jamie Dunbar|
What I am afraid that many of the supporters of the Squirrel Slam do not understand (or refuse to acknowledge) is that the protest is not about taking away their right to hunt or to own a gun. While I am sure that many of the protesters, myself included, do support common sense gun control measures, that is a separate issue. This protest is not about banning hunting, where a reasonable number of animals are taken for food. It is about holding a contest to kill as many squirrels as possible, for no purpose other than to win prizes. It is about encouraging children to think of pointless, purposeless killing as a fun way to spend an afternoon. It is about a culture that cheapens and trivializes life and death.
I still hold out hope that the town of Holley will listen to the voices of all who are speaking out and decide to cancel the Squirrel Slam. If this year's event does go on, I hope that the powers that be in the town will quietly reconsider and find a more humane fundraising event for next year and future years going forward. And I hope that other communities that hold similar cruel and callous killing contests will look at the outcry over the Squirrel Slam and know that they too will risk the same negative spotlight of attention if they continue holding these events.
Update: Here is an account of Senator Avella's press conference that was held this afternoon.
Here is another account of the press conference, with video.