In the past couple of weeks, I have been following a story about fellow Texan, Kendall Jones.
She’s a Texas Tech (my alma mater) cheerleader and an avid hunter.
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On her public Facebook page, Kendall has posted pictures from past hunting expeditions she has taken to Africa.
In posted photos Kendall poses next to her trophies, including a lion, an elephant and a rhinoceros to name just a few.
(The rhino was only darted and tranquilized so a vet could treat it.)
You could have seen the pictures if Facebook had not removed some of them due to complaints and criticism from other Facebook users.
It seems Kendall has come under fire for being a “rich brat killing poor defenseless animals for pleasure.”
This comment was copied from her Facebook page.
It didn’t take me long to find a negative comment. There are hundreds listed.
Now, I’m not a hunter, and I don’t know everything there is to know about hunting exotic animals on the African plains.
I see that Kendall and her family have defended her, saying that through her hunting safaris she is contributing to the country’s economy, helping with animal conservation and preservation, as well as (on occasion) being able to help feed villages.
That sounds pretty good to me.
The other side of the argument is the defenseless animals that are being hunted in their own home.
The words “immoral” and “unjustifiable” have been bandied about in the comment sections attached to pictures, on Kendall’s Facebook wall, and in comment sections on news websites all over.
Personally, I think Kendall should get to do something that she loves doing, is legal and a part of the economy of the countries she visits.
People are trying to impose their own values on her. People are trying to get her banned from the continent of Africa.
Seriously, there is a petition!
There are many other things I could get worked up over before this subject even came up. I agree with the statements in Matt Walsh’s blog on the topic.
Disagreements about the treatment of animals have been a hot button topic for years. That’s not new. We have heard much debate on both sides of this argument for years.
We have seen activists throw paint and wear meat dresses. Everyone has their own set of morals and values and there are many who won’t bat an eye about making sure everyone understands exactly what they believe.
And of course the whole point of debating is to persuade another of your way of thinking.
The problem is, debating a topic seems to have gone past just trying to persuade people.
My heart is breaking over the words that are being typed and spoken and just out there against this 19 year old girl.
Kendall (and anyone who is standing up for her) are being bashed with rude and sometimes ridiculous words.
I mean, what does the size and shape of Kendall’s forehead have to do with the conversation at hand? Really?
And to be very honest, some of Kendall’s Facebook supporters have been just as cruel in retaliation.
What is with us? Why can’t we calmly explain our own positions without resorting to childish name-calling?
It’s reminiscent of having to referee as my children yelled “Poopyhead!” at each other.
Whatever the disagreement, whatever your stance on any topic, you are entitled to your opinion.
You are not entitled to verbally bash someone who is opposed to you.
I think the Internet has given people a freedom that has allowed a meanness to creep in.
We can hide behind the protection of distance and anonymity while spewing verbal abuse at others.
What happened to the concept of, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?”
I know we are not always going to agree. And sometimes I am going to be very angry that you don’t agree with me, but if I speak words in anger or malice, am I going to persuade you to change your mind?
This is a slippery slope. As parents, we need to be aware of what I am saying here.
We need to teach our children the importance of speaking in love, whatever the situation.
Let’s reinforce how to de-escalate situations, not make them worse.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)