Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The wonders of nature—and there are those who hate it

By SJ Otto
As I get older I do what I have always done to relax myself—No! Not going to the bar for beer—OK I do that also, but this is something else. I go out to a park in the country were I can be with nature. I like to swim in the Walnut River. And I've heard from a few friends and relatives: "You want to swim with fish poop?!"
The water in that river, and many other Kansas rivers, is fairly clear. I take into consideration that fish can't walk out of the water and use a porta potty. Pooping in the water is their only option. I personally enjoy watching the smaller fish swim around, as well as crayfish, cranes, ducks and other forms of water wildlife.
There is something about being one with nature that I really enjoy. After all, most fish don't have police or foremen to tell everyone what do and how to think. There are natural things all around and none had to be manufactured and paid for. It is all free. The fish and other animals seems to find food on their own and no one sells it to them.
I often get the felling that most people hate nature. Many people I know never venture out into a wooded area that doesn't have toilets and bottled water. Most people kill some kinds of animals, at least insects if nothing else. I kill some insects, such as mosquitoes and roaches, but I don't kill anything that leaves me alone.
Snakes are a real problem for people. I know a lot of people who say they "hate snakes." They don't usually say they hate lizards or turtles. We could assume that part of this is because some snakes are poisonous. But so are a few poison lizards. Maybe most people don't realize that the overwhelming majority of the snakes in this area, in this state, are not poisonous. After all it was a snake that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, and I think that has a lot to do with people's fear of snakes, even for atheists.
And that brings to another reason people seem to hate nature. I constantly hear of men (mostly white guys) who always kill snakes when the find them. They often chop their heads off with a shovel. Maybe they think the woods is safer without snakes, but that just isn't so.
According to Dr. James Carpenter, professor of zoological medicine at Kansas State University,

"Several types of snakes live in the area. The only venomous types, copperheads and Massasauga rattlesnakes, are usually found around limestone outcropping and ledges and in fields when they are seeking food or trying to get some sun, he said, and most are just trying to get warm.
The water snakes in this area are not venomous."

And there is this:

“There are good things about snakes,” Charles Lee, extension wildlife specialist at K-State, said. “They are important in the ecology of our world. They do a little bit of feeding on critters like rodents or other small mammals that people may consider undesirable. All species have a value.”

I've noticed fewer snakes in the places I go in the last few years. I appreciate snakes. I like to see and watch them. It is too bad so many people kill them and kill them for no reason.
Snakes aren't the only problem. Many men I know won't swim in a muddy pond because of snapping turtles. Many women I know just won't swim in dirty water. But at least most of these people don't kill the turtles.
There are a lot of white rural men who enjoy going on a so called "coyote hunting." They don't eat these animals and the just want to see how many they can kill in one day. It really isn't hunting at all. It is mass slaughter. I listened the other day to an NPR story about coyote calling/hunting:

 " AL MORRIS: They don't want me to hunt. And I want to tell them to go to hell. The reality of it is we're good people. And whether you understand or not, I'm doing something legal. And I really don't care if you like it or not."

As CAMILLA FOX said, in that same article,
"It's gratuitous slaughter, and that's precisely what cockfighting and dogfighting were. And it was up until not too long ago that both those practices were still legal in the U.S."

My question is why are rural white people, or maybe white people in general so attracted to killing things with guns. I can understand hunting a deer and eating it. But for many of these white red-necks It is as if they want to go around killing anything that moves, that they can kill legally. I think many of these people follow a culture of death that goes right along with hating nature. If man doesn't control something, many people hate it.
I for one value my time in the forests. I don't need to kill the animals I find in order to enjoy myself. And I think it is a sickness that so many people are attracted to killing things. Living things and the places they like to live have a great beauty that does not need to be killed.  

Pix by El Dorado, KS.

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