Ethics Villain: No, Not Bloodthirsty 12-Year-Old Aryanna Gourdin, But Eli Gourdin, Her Irresponsible Father


Aryanna Gourdin, 12, from the town of Cove, Utah, has attracted death threats on Facebook because of her page called “Braids and Bows,” an enthusiastic pro-hunting, pro-big game killing exposition featuring photos of the girl with recent victims and her enthusiastic prose about the joys of the kill.

She’s twelve. Her father (he apparently has sole custody) is the adult hunting fanatic in the family, and he has, as parents often do, passed along his dubious values to his daughter. He either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that while many people object to photos of mature hunters posing with magnificent creatures that have been slaughtered for sport, many more find images of angelic pre-teens beaming while holding the heart of a recently killed giraffe grotesque and sickening…as indeed it is. All manner of internet hate is being focused on  Eli Gourdin’s daughter, while he casually allows her to become a target.

Her notoriety and the controversy stirred up by photos like this..

Zebra kill

or this...

antelope kill

or this…

Wildebeast kill2

… promotes his employers, Bowtech, an archery products manufacturer. The media, naturally, has assisted his vilification of his daughter by placing lovely Aryanna before the cameras, so she could express beaming pride about her bloody hobby. The pre-teen told “Good Morning America” on August 17 that hunting is “something I cherish and enjoy and I want other people to see what I experienced.”

I know I’ve always wanted to hold a giraffe heart in my hands.

Congratulations, Dad, your baby girl is now infamous! I wouldn’t take those death threats lightly either: animal rights fanatics can be crazy. Thank’s to Eli’s encouragement and parental negligence, Aryanna is hated by millions before she’s even begun her life. Her father is completely responsible for that. She should not be permitted to have a provocative Facebook page that smugly glorifies killing and appears to taunt animal advocates. She should not be allowed to give interviews that make her seem like a ghoul-in-training. Someone needs to teach her that intentionally confronting people with images that they find profoundly disturbing and hurtful is not an ethical way to go through life. Somebody needs to explain that one should have respect for others, and their heartfelt beliefs and that there is no good reason to send photos like the ones on her Facebook page out to the world, where they will inflame passion and anger.

Someone should also teach her to have respect for life, but Dad is obviously not the one to do that. I am not certain that raising a young woman to feel happy about holding a still twitching giraffe heart in her hands is….wise. Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of “Criminal Minds,” but it sure seems like a good way to deaden a child’s aversion to violence. If she doesn’t grow up to be a serial killer, there is a very good chance that she will grow up to be like Sabrina Corgatelli, a repulsive fick whom I profiled here.  There’s a resemblance already, don’t you think?


I could be wrong. I sure wouldn’t make my kid the subject of an experiment to find out.

I’m not wrong about this, however. Those repulsed by Aryanna’s bloodlust should focus their protests on her father, not her. She’s still a child. This isn’t her fault.


Pointer and Source: Res Ipsa Loquitur

69 thoughts on “Ethics Villain: No, Not Bloodthirsty 12-Year-Old Aryanna Gourdin, But Eli Gourdin, Her Irresponsible Father

  1. I was, once, a hunter. I hunted deer, javelina, squirrel and a few other things because I ATE them. Okay, there was a certain animosity between me and the javelina, but they generally lost, and I still ATE them. Trophy hunting should be illegal, and practitioners let out into the savannah with an hours head start…no weapons. This is hunting, not combat. Ready or not, here I come.

    • OH, the family’s argument is that the animals are eaten by poor local tribes. Of course, they fly all the way to Africa for the fun of killing them. It’s consequentialism. Does anyone believe that they wouldn’t still kill the game, whether someone ate it or not. And if the little girl was photographed smiling while watching a starving kid munch a giraffeburger, that wouldn’t be troubling. She likes the killing, not the feeding.

    • I am presuming that you are being ironic with your statement. At least that’s what I hope.

      It is a well known fact that children who abuse animals usually grow up into some sort of sadistic psychopath/sociopath. Hunting isn’t technically abusing animals, but what this girl has been taught to do is to enjoy seeing a living creature die at her own hands. This has to have taken a toll on her psyche. We all need to memorize her name so that we know who she is when she grows up into whatever monster she grows up into.

      As for her father, he is no better (and actually much worse) than any parent who exploits their child for personal gain. This is pure and simple child abuse. I can’t help but wonder how long this has been going on, how damaged the girl is by his abusive use of her to be a horrific poster child for his business. How did he get sole custody? What the heck is going on here?

      This terrifies me, because I can’t help but believe that there are more Aryannas out there — not necessarily with the same personality disorder, but maybe even worse.

      • Thanks Patrice. See my several comments below, as well as comments of one who seems to think that because it’s legal it’s not unethical, and that a parent teaching awful if legal behavior is somehow okay.

      • but what this girl has been taught to do is to enjoy seeing a living creature die at her own hands. This has to have taken a toll on her psyche.

        I agree we shouldn’t teach children to take pleasure in killing but we’re not all that far removed from chopping off a chicken’s head and then bringing it in to be plucked for dinner. If it weren’t for the rise of the factory farm more people in the US would still be at that point. Didn’t you read Charlotte’s Web as a child? Do you think anyone who grew up having to kill dinner has a damaged psyche?

        The father’s a smug poke-em in the eye, jackass. He’s teaching his child to be the same way. He’s using the killing of innocent beasts to troll people. That’s the bad part.

      • Hunting those big-game animals should be seen as wrong but only because there are so few of them left.

        Pretty interesting and revealing to step back from Patrice’s *hyper-liberal* condemnation. When a hyper-liberal gets his rhetorical engines revved up one immediately notices the near-religious sentiment. The condemnation is much more than condemnation and looks like demon-identification. Once identified, it becomes a focus for a furious, unstoppable, over-the-top expression of pure ire. If he had a button to press that would deliver electrical shocks the girls would sizzle and fry.

        The high-faluting self-righteousness is what grabs my attention. It has a Calvinistic tinge to it. Dare to oppose it and the full force of moral condemnation will be let down loose upon you and crush your skull. To hunt is to express ‘sadistic psychopathology’ now is it? The ‘transvaluation of values’ in that statement is fantastical! Psychologically-based and soul-empowered reigious condemnation of a girl who — though it doesn’t attact me much — engages in an activity that has been part of human activity since the dawn of time.

        Yet if you were really to carry the ethical imperative forward it would have to be universalzed into an ‘ahimsa’ ethic: non-harmfulness for all living things, for any living things. The PETA position essentially.

        OMG. Hyper-liberalism, aligned to deep psycho-religious and demonological currents, and expressed through Cultural Marxist ethics and empowered by an uncontrolled emotionalism.

        Where am I? 😉

        • There’s no slippery slope here, Alizia, and there’s nothing “hyper-liberal” about seeing something wrong with raising kids to have no respect for life, and worse, to actively “love” taking life, to be proud of it, and to treat it as an accomplishment. I would worry about a child who enjoyed pithing a frog, or who stomped on mice and held them up, grinning, for selfies. This isn’t a primitive culture that sends young men into the bush to battle wild beasts as a right of passage. But such cultures had respect for their quarry.

          • Except that for ages and millenia to be a hunter and to engage in the *game* of hunting, which was also a spiritual discipline, and one that always (in the anthropological ethnographic accounts), always involved respect for the animal.

            I believe that I discern in your position an example of what you have termed the sense of ‘evolving ethics’. Therefor, now, the enjoyment of the hunt and the literal thrill of it, in your view, cannot any longer be enjoyed. It must be condemned and if it happens that someone still enjoys it, they must be defective in relation to the higher ethic which you recognize and define. I think this is the basic logic that you operate from.

            In my view, it is quite possible for normal and decent people, now just as it was so in the past, to go out into the fields and enjoy the hunting of game, birds, or fish, and that it does not automatically warrant condemnation, as if they are morally defectives. There is also nothing necessarily wrong if a person is proud of it or sees it as an accomplishment.

            It may very well be true (and this is my understanding) that it is no longer viable to continue hunting wild animals. That is because there are too many humans, and they are expanding, and not enough natural reserves and wild animals, and it is getting worse. The core of the opposing ethical argument should be focussed there, or so it seems to me.

            Perhaps I am taking this beyond the limits of the situation, but I do notice a confluence or an infusion into this issue of other issues. I do notice the emotional aspect, and I also notice the demonological aspect. I do not wish to use an irrational or over-rhetorical term when I say ‘demonological’. It is a fair term and I can explain and defend its use. I have made this effort over a spread of posts and only someone who has had the great good fortune to read everything I have written will know that I have a developed position.

            I did not say that I think it wrong or impossible to educate people that hunting scarce animals is wrong — it is indeed necessary and I cannot see a way round it (though the hunters will hate to face that fact). But to pile on all this other emotional stuff, and to speak about psychiatric prisons, state interventions, and other such things, indicates to me that there is much more here than meets the eye. I have given names to this: ‘Hyper-liberalism’ and such, and I have done it fairly, not hysterically. In any case I can explain and defend it all.

      • Hang on a minute Patrice. ”

        It is a well known fact that children who abuse animals usually grow up into some sort of sadistic psychopath/sociopath”

        You’ve got that backwards. Violent sociopaths often have a background that includes violence toward animals (or other beings that are smaller/weaker than the subject). Bedwetting and fire-starting are the other commonly seen childhood traits. These traits do not cause violent sociopathism; in fact, no one knows what “causes” people to become violent sociopaths.

        And as an aside, there are many other forms of sociopaths that are not violent.

  2. First, in what country can these animals legally be hunted and killed? If there are any left, I’d be surprised. So, if this was some private game preserve with animals at the ready for murder at the pleasure of others, this puts Michael Vick to shame with its horrific and grisly nature.

    To the main point, however. This child needs to be removed from her father forthwith, and be placed in a rubber room while she is deprogrammed. Meantime, the father needs to be investigated by anyone who has any stake at all in this — including child services, the mother’s attorney, animal rights activists (to find and shut down whatever venue was found for this behavior), all the way to Homeland Security (any guy who’s this nuts and who has both guns and crossbows needs to be watched). What is happening here? It’s too awful to contemplate that this child and her father are anything other than a horrible, horrible anomaly. At least that’s the only way I can deal with it.

    You’re right, Jack. She is likely in danger. I can empathize only so far. I wouldn’t have done this when I was twelve, but then I was raised and groomed for entirely different things. Is this Stockholm Syndrome?

    Frankly, I don’t know and in a way don’t care. And I’m really furious with you for making me even aware of it. As pathetic as that is…

    • To the main point, however. This child needs to be removed from her father forthwith, and be placed in a rubber room while she is deprogrammed. Meantime, the father needs to be investigated by anyone who has any stake at all in this — including child services, the mother’s attorney, animal rights activists (to find and shut down whatever venue was found for this behavior), all the way to Homeland Security (any guy who’s this nuts and who has both guns and crossbows needs to be watched). What is happening here? It’s too awful to contemplate that this child and her father are anything other than a horrible, horrible anomaly. At least that’s the only way I can deal with it.

      Wow, just wow.

      Removed from her father for encouraging a hobby you and I don’t approve of? We allow parents to teacher their children evil anti-social stuff, how else would any religion last?

      Investigated by child services? Did she miss school or become injured while murdering majestic beasts? Homeland security? Anyone who has guns and unapproved beliefs needs to be watched? Listen, if you want to round up all the guns, melt them down and make a nice iron throne for me to sit on; then I approve. Let’s not do it based on what the gun owners think though okay?

      Side note. Surprising as it may seem, I also liked to use pink arrows when I was a teenager. I never shot anything except straw-stuffed archery targets but still, pink arrows, were just awesome.

      • Yes, and when children act out their evil anti-social stuff they are arrested, or at least, of it’s not illegal behavior, are shunned by society. I can and will denounce activities I disagree with, and suggest that those behaviors are worth looking at as unhealthy and against the mores of the vast majority of our society. Shame on you if you don’t believe that societal mores aren’t at least as important as laws and the ability to do things even if they are sickening.

        Aside: No I do not think that anyone with guns should be investigated. I live in Virginia which has a conceal-and-carry law, and neither do I think firearms should be relegated to the police, the armed services, and criminals. But I do agree that background checks should have a psychological component, and why don’t you find me a plurality — not even a majority — of psychologists and psychiatrists who don’t think that Aryanna’s Dad is more than just misguided in his training and socializing of his daughter?

        In other words, get off your high horse. (Speaking metaphorically, until you disabuse me of the metaphor.)

        • I can and will denounce activities I disagree with, and suggest that those behaviors are worth looking at as unhealthy and against the mores of the vast majority of our society.

          Please do denounce activities you disagree with.

          Please don’t think your disapproval makes it okay to investigate people

          Shame on you if you don’t believe that societal mores aren’t at least as important as laws and the ability to do things even if they are sickening.

          No Aliza, societal mores are not as important as the ability to do things other people consider sickening. This father and daughter, they sicken me. But you know what? Homosexuals bring up the same feelings in some people, a lot of people.

          We inflict social sanctions on people who sicken us. We don’t investigate them, certainly not with the department of Homeland Security.

        • On more serious of a note: What I think it wise to focus on, and to ask questions about, is the underlying attitude that is expressed here. I do not joke when I say that I believe that I notice a religious element; a zealousness; almost a possession.

          It is obvious in those dedicated to Liberal/Progressive/Neo-Marxianism, but what is also worrysome is how the contageoun has spread: this is a common mode of thought/feeling and one notices it even among the conservative.

          (You might want to get hold of some of my “Alizia’s Political Sobriety Rationality Drops”. Check them out on Amazon).

          I have come to recognize that this is a common, observable characteristic of what I term hyper-liberalism. There has to be invented a word to express an evolution or rather a perversion of good sense liberalism. There is a point where it gets unmoored. It becomes outrageous. Like they are going to come out with torches and pull sleeping people out of their homes for a trial in the Public Square.

          What is this infection? What is the cause of it? What does it tend toward? What is the result (will be the result) of it on the Republic?

          • Religious element? Zeal? Possession? Hyper-liberalism?

            DEAD WRONG. I am a conservative. Deeply conservative. Used to be a Republican, but no longer.

            Please do not attribute to me your labels, which may be easy, but do not apply. I was responding to one particular, and particularly horrifying, situation. Do not “detect” anything that isn’t there.

            • I respect the self-definitions that people offer of themselves. At the same time I have a sort of a *project* that I have launched upon which, from time to time, I try to articulate so that people here will understand that I am attempting an honest approach. That project is to see, and to describe, how progressive/liberalism has *infected* conservatism. If you say to me ‘I am a Conservative’, and yet you seriously hold to the inner logica, and the outer manifestation, of what you wrote (one of the most bizarre sets of formulations I have read on this site so far), then I am forced — as an intellectual person, as one concerned with and involved in ideas — to question not your self-definition but the validity of the term ‘conservative’ to describe yourself.

              I am honest in what I say and what I write and I do not mean you offense. (I have to keep saying this because 1) it is true and 2) to counter the incorrect definition that I am a ‘troll’.

              If you are ‘deeply conservative’, and if these conservative values are part of American conservatism, then I will further say that you and they are in very deep and very serious trouble. If you cannot see why that is so, and if you yourself cannot critique your own position, then I will also suggest that you might not have a clear sense what ‘conservatism’ is. Or perhaps I shoud say ‘should be’.

              I do not say that I have it mastered, but I beleiev it *fair game* (heh heh) to describe what I see and to present it on a forum dedicated to the review of Ethics and ethical principles.

              ‘Religious element’, ‘zealousness’, ‘possession’ therefor STAND as valid and rational terms which I can explain and defend. This is not about *you*, it is about diseases of thinking that have infected our intellectual and social culture.

              • Frankly, it is not up to you to decide if I am ‘in trouble’ or not. You do not know me, except perhaps through several (and only several) replies to posts on this blog. Use me to confirm your own biases, if you will, or to conform to your personal definitions, but do not except me to play along and give those biases and definitions any credence, especially as they apply to me. And do not, do not, generalize so completely that I become part of your ‘infection’ theory. It’s preposterous. You ought to think through your sociological research methods, and the way theories can be proven to be fact. My last reply to you, O, Sociologist!

        • I have many times thought that the “thrill of the hunt” should be the “thrill of the kill”. I’ve certainly never felt the kind of orgasmic thrill these people describe when hunting…and killing. There is a certain satisfaction in a clean kill, but that is more relief that the animal that you intend to eat did not suffer.

    • E2 hath written: “To the main point, however. This child needs to be removed from her father forthwith, and be placed in a rubber room while she is deprogrammed. Meantime, the father needs to be investigated by anyone who has any stake at all in this — including child services, the mother’s attorney, animal rights activists (to find and shut down whatever venue was found for this behavior), all the way to Homeland Security (any guy who’s this nuts and who has both guns and crossbows needs to be watched). What is happening here? It’s too awful to contemplate that this child and her father are anything other than a horrible, horrible anomaly. At least that’s the only way I can deal with it.”

      Somewhere though along the road of this process please don’t forget the *hugs*.

      I love it!

      1) Empower the state to ‘remove’ here from her father’s care.
      2) Place her in a psycho-prison and subject her to Chinese brain-washing techniques (there will naturally be a framed photo of our Fearless Leader on the wall I hope?)
      3) Subject the father to a legal attack by the massively powerful state, with infinite resources, to *punish* him in such a way that he will not ever recover.
      4) And least and not the last involve the Political Police which will come in the famous *black helicopters*. They’ll swoop in, swoop him up and take him to off-shore black sites for *interrogation*, but yet according to very very high American standards.
      5) “What is happening here?” What is happening is that a new Goodness is spreading across the land! It lives in people like you. Its just the Spirit we need right now.

  3. P.S. Why didn’t I see this before? Her name is Aryan-na and she’s from Utah. Daddy clearly has some agenda other than killing large herbivores…

    • Heh heh.

      “Aryanna is an Americanized respelling of Arianna which itself is an Italian form of the Greek Ariadne (the mythological daughter of the mortal King Minos of Crete and the goddess Pasiphaë, herself the daughter of Helios the Sun god). According to mythological legend, King Minos attacked Athens and in an ancient form of a “peace pact” the Athenians were required to sacrifice seven young men and maidens to the hideous half-human/half-bull monster known as the Minotaur. A young Athenian man Theseus was one of the victims sent into the Minotaur’s maze for sacrifice, but Ariadne saw him and fell instantly in love. On the precondition that Theseus marry her, Ariadne gave him a magical sword to kill the Minotaur and a red ball of wool to guide him out of the labyrinth. Afterwards, the two lovers fled by sea, but as they took refuge on the island of Naxos, Theseus abandoned Ariadne while she slept. Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy, took pity on the girl and married her himself. The name Ariadne has been popular since medieval times in the eastern Mediterranean region, but it was actually the legend of St. Ariadne who helped propel the popularity of the name rather than the mythological damsel in distress. St. Ariadne was a 2nd century slave in a Phrygian royal household (modern day Turkey). She ran away after refusing to take part in pagan rites and found herself on a hillside. The hillside miraculously opened up, presenting Ariadne with her tomb. Her feast day is September 17. Etymologists believe that Ariadne comes from an ancient Cretan dialect from the elements “ari” (which is an intensive prefix) coupled with “adnos” meaning “holy” giving the name’s full meaning: “very holy”. Not just a little holy, but VERY holy. The Romans got the name Ariadne from the Greeks and Latinized it to Arianna. Aryanna is a modern American spelling of this classical name.”

      I am going myself to take up the hunting of Minotaur. If anyone has any recipe ideas I’d love to hear it.

      • Aryanna’s father and his political views and activities—which I deemed and deem irrelevant to the post, though other ad hominem attacks have focuesed on them—suggest that E2 may be on to something. Why would Aryanna be an “Americanization”? I’ve never seen it before.

      • Please don’t lecture me on Greek mythology. You may assume if you like that this father did in fact know about Ariadne and the Minotaur and so named his daughter. But do not believe for one second that this is more than an opinion and not a fact. As is my opinion. Just an opinion, and I am free to express it without the lecture. See Jack Marshall comment below.

        • To understand me, and you can take this at face value or disbelieve it, you need to understand that I approach all these questions and all my responses from a place of light-heartedness. I can see why you and others imagine that I am ‘lecturing’ but it is not quite as you take it. It is almost an aesthetic-intellectual point for me: to use the essay-form.

          I simply did a bit of research on the name Aryanna and posted what I found (thus the quotation marks). I did this because I am and always have been interested in names and their origins.

          But what is at issue here is that you have identified a person and an activity which you feel justified in bringing down the full force of the state. You would, according to what you write, destroy them. Is this a joke? Will you back away and say ‘Oh well, I was just a bit over the top’?

          But you then went further. You wished to locate the Nazi. (Unless I am not understanding your ‘Aryan’ reference). And you justify this because you feel capable and authorized to be such a judge, and additionally you know what must be judged. You have located what is understood, culture-wide, to be an Absolute Evil (what an English philosopher calls ‘ontological malevolence’) and you have associated this girl’s activity with it. This is a form of noe-liberal demonology.

          You can find a way to back away from all of this, and perhaps you will. And in fact you E2 as subject are completely IRRELEVANT to the largeness and the importance of the issues at stake. But if you cannot see this, I am not sure that I can be of further use. Yet I have said what I wished to.

          • Oh please. Get off my back. I am expressing opinions: some of them, like yours, are ‘light-hearted.’ And if you find my opinions so ‘irrelevant’ to the issues ‘at stake,’ why bother with them? The only rationale I can find (and you will disagree but please don’t tell me as I am irrelevant) is that you like using my opinions and others’ opinions as a springboard to either espouse your own opinions or to present yourself as erudite member of the conversation. I thought the Aryan comment was a light-hearted, provocative, ironic comment. based upon the name, the behaviors, and the location of the subjects. (If you’re into research look up Utah, Aryan nation, and American militias…) That’s it, kiddo.

            • On your back? This is a public space devoted to conversations on the theme of ethics and society. I am only doing here what one is supposed to do!

              You misunderstand. When I say ‘irrelevant’ I do not mean that you as a person ore irrelevant — you are not — I mean that what we think, and how we see, and how we orgainze perception and frame issues is something that stands larger than any individual. We are ‘informed by the era that produces us’. To understand this is (er-hum) ‘metaphysical work’. So, the way that you think, see and frame things is ‘sympomatic’ of patterns.

              This is my focus: how ideas function in our present. I am opposed to ‘progressivism’ and to ‘cultural Marxism’ and it is my self-appointed task to ferret out this perverse style of thinking.

              It is sort of a modern version of big game hunting. 🙂

              Obviously I have political, philosophical, and ethical ideas. Obviously what I think and how I see is part of my critical analysis. And yes, it is very true, I am attempting to make a case for my views regarding the corruption of reason, and the vast ethical shifts (degenerations) that are occurring, But I have never pretended to be anything else.

              And nothing you or anyone else says will deter me or dissuade me from clearly seeing, and clearly articulating, what I see. No matter where that thinking and seeing go. That is my object: intellectual freedom.

              • I said, no further responses to you. Find someone else who will respond to you, so that you have your platform. Or, novel idea, why not respond to the post itself and not to other responders? This is my last post to you. Period. And you can concoct what you like in response to this particular message if you need to to have that platform, but you won’t be getting anything further from me. Frankly, your self-important posing is very frustrating. I say this in the spirit of free speech and the importance of honest discussion. ‘Bye.

                • I speak and Empires fall. The orbit of planets goes off. There’s an earthquake in Kazakhstan.

                  I’m amazed. But it isn’t the first time. Un delicado canadiense hizo algo similar. I try to understand why this results, but I can’t. It is exactly this sort of analysis that we are obligated to undertake, of each other, that I gave to you, in the social and political context. What, you just fall apart? A broken person on the ground crying?

                  Reactions as yours always has some effect on me, I admit, but I see it as another facet of emotionalism which purpose is to shut down conversation and the exchange of ideas. Be as you wish to be. I resolve it to have as little effect on me as possible.

                  You did tell me that I could concoct what I liked? Well there you have it.

                  I’m off to hunt Minotaurs. If I get back alive I’ll tell how it went… 😉

                • Some additional thoughts:

                  There are many ways to participate in our government system and to *perform* as a citizen. Voting, working for a campaign, writing letters to congresspersons, getting involved. Obviously though one of the most important and relevant is *engaging in conversations*. Therefor, it is in my view an act of cowardice and is anti-participatory to fail in that responsibility (to talk, exchange ideas, defend one’s values and ideas, etc.).

                  The other thing I have been thinking about, since I am reading ‘Ourselves and Our Posterity: Essays in Constitutional Originalism’ (a defense of what I understand as a conservative approach to understanding the Constitution), comes out of this issue:

                  To grasp the Constitution means to grasp what those original persons meant, understood, believed and valued. If the Constitution has validity and *sacredness* (in a social-political sense) it has it because genius is recognized and valued. And since it is the adopted law of the land you cannot, in fact, oppose it. You are bound to honor it as a ground ‘below which you cannot allow yourself to sink’ to paraphrase I think Scalia. That is the political contract.

                  Therefor, not only must one underrtand the words that were written, one has to understand what was meant and understood at that time by those who formed them. But what informed them were many different things: philosophy, a sense of what divinity is, a general anthropology and a way that these specific men viewed and understood themselves, and then importantly an understanding of Ethics which combines all of the previous. Ethics for these men could not be separated from their contextual existence nor any other aspect of what made up their belief and understanding and which was infused into the Constitutional entity.

                  We are said to deviate and to go off-track when, in our present and without a strong connection to the belief and understanding of those men at that time and with their preoccupations and concerns, we thrust ourselves with our present understanding and concerns into *subtleties* of interpretation which, in truth, were no part of the considerations and understandings of those men at that time. If this is so, then it stands to good reason that our present is one of improper injection of nowaday understandings and desires into and though a set of understandings which are not compatable with the original sense. If it is possible to deviate in this way, it should be possible to see and understand how and why this deviation occurred: to describe it and to describe a *cure* for it.

                  Conservatism holds to the original sense of the original values, but liberalism (hyper-liberalism, progressivism, Marxism etc) desires to push the boundaries of established understandings, and to morph them in ways not contemplated by those original thinkers. And those who do this always seem to feel and to understand that they have a special permission to do this. Because they are ‘progressives’ and because they have been ‘anointed’ by enlightenment of one sort or another.

                  So — you thought this was going to veer off into outer space, right? — what interests me in this issue of wanton killing of large animals for no good reason (and this pretty much does describe it) is that to see things in that way, when it was not always that way, represents a shift in valuation and value-assignment. When the country was expanding to the west it was understood that nature had to be tamed. Nature was seen as a danger and even an *evil* to be overcome. Wolves, bears and of course Indians and forests required subduing. And if you wantonly killed any of them, you were seen as doing good. And you could well glory in the activity, and teach it to your children as a value. You might well take that photograph of the 12 years old next to the savage bear and that child would have reasons to feel proud. In truth there is a substantial aspect of Americanism that is still tied up in these valuations, these self-understandings (and this is a problem).

                  But values have been transvalued. Oh man have they. Now, to that one who goes out with a rifle to kill even prairie dogs and varmints, a whole force of moral condemnation is spilled down on them and under its weight they are crushed. What fascinates me is the emotional intensity. It is essentially female and feminine. And of course one notices the same thing both here (on fora in general) and all around us. Female hysteria. (Sorry girls but that is what it is). When you can’t reason someone out of their belief or understanding you will attempt to take it to the emotional-psychological level and insert *intrusions* into the psychic body. Political voodoo. Beth, Elizabeth, and then of course the female-men like Deery and Chris: they act not through idea but through what is called a form of Mind F**k. Others have a borderland relationship to the same emotionalized methodology of conducing politics.

                  Is this fair and relevant to bring up? It is not exactly *ad hominem* though it is critique of persons in some sense.

                  When ethics get determined by emotionalism it generally seems to be true that the ethical shift is a ‘liberal’ one. Its the softhearted, empathetic, ‘subtle’ transvaluation of values. The examples are pretty easy to dig out: Instead of a ruthless and adamantine decisiveness that sees and understands abortion as completely unconstitutional, some enlightened authority deigns to give himself the right to moral legislation which effects gravely the Republic (though its partisans see it as *positive*).

                  Another: Instead of overt condemnation to homosexual perversion (the making illegal of sodomy was how it was legislated), someone injects a whole other valuation into the picture. It is a transvaluation of values pure and simply. The same for pornography and a whole range of different issues: from the top down some imperial authority is defining values or articulating new ‘subtleties’.

                  Basically, I am confused by some aspects of the valuations I notice on this blog. On one side they seem ‘conservative’ and on the other quite liberal and even ‘hyper-liberal and progressive’.

                  That is why I say that it seems to me that conservatism has been *infected* by progressivism. If it is true at the SCOTUS level, such infection must be clearly discernable in people themselves.

                • Now, there are further complications here worthy of examination. It seems to be a question of *functions* and I mean this similarly to the separation of powers question. (In this sense it is emotionalism and desire which has jumped out of restraint and control by reason).

                  What the girl did — hunted and killed for ‘no good reason’ and for no apparent benefit — was not illegal. Forget that this happened in Africa and outside of US jurisdiction and suppose it happened in the US. If it was not illegal, it was not unconstitutional, and thereofr no one could have any legal argument against it. There is effectively no power which could act against either her or her father or the bow manufacturer.

                  But in the absence of a retribution-vehicle — some ways and means to punish these people — the retributive desire jumps the tracks as it were and seeks a way to do harm with as full of force as is possible.

                  And that retribution takes place through political voodoo. Someone establishes an ethical rule or norm that was violated. The violator and the violation are criminalized but *spiritually* since on a terrestrial level no law was broken. A chorus of terrifying Angelical Judges, who have the keys to the Dungeons of Hell and all the force of the Surpreme Being behind them (on what other base do they configure their authority?) rush forward with insults, attacks, emotional witchcraft, and as well death-threats, to do all the harm possible in the absense of any other mechanism.

                  And if this is so it leads to some interesting questions and these questions and problems obviously have relevance because these retributive tools are used ALL THE TIME and in many different contexts, including on this blog, to enforce the will of those who use it. And more than that they are used in the world around us. A chief example is the horrible screeching female social witchcraft employed against Brock Turner. The Furies got out of their jar and attacked a guy who had an encounter with a drunk floozie who came to regret a whole string of her choices and framed his own description of his encounter with her as the most vile rape imaginable, and they got the whole nation and 1/3 of the world involved in it.

                  Hysteria, social madness and contagion, a deeply unconscious desire to avenge wrongs real and also imagined; a theatre of torture and punishment that becomes a participatory experience — and here is an important point — is one that is thoroughly enjoyed, indeed it is a veritable pleasure-in-itself. It is nearly Mediaval and in some senses surpasses it for its cruelty and violence.

                  What is gained through unbending conservatism and what is lost? Is what is kept and preserved of greater long-term value than what is obtained through liberal leniency?

                  Conservatism can then be seen as the harder road, and the one requiring circumspection, a wide familarity with cause and effect and consequences, and maturity. Liberal ‘desire’ is a danger … and the desire-metaphor is apt and revealing: it is possible to be seduced, in a moment, away from sane restraint through emotion-fueled licence and desire.

                  Our era cannot as far as I am able to tell be described as one of either conservatism or of restraint. It is one of *hyper-liberalism* and this liberalism is contageous! It is an era that gives itself over to *liberal desire*. And the consequences become vividly visible. People then complain and shout Woe and seem at the same time unable to recognize that it is all consequential to their own desire.

                  More when I know more … 🙂

  4. The best, and in my opinion only, valid argument for hunting being ethical came from my father while we were hunting whitetail deer years ago.

    He said to me: “For every deer we kill, two more live through the winter. Further, the death we bring is much more kind than dying of thirst, which is the way most deer fail to survive the winter.”

    (Note: I should probably make clear that my father is a biology major who has spent most of his life hunting whitetail deer. If he says whitetail deer die by thirst in the winter, I believe him. Apparently, when the water freezes over they can’t break through to get a drink, and the way that deer maintain territory often makes it impossible for them to get to running water in time.)

    I’m not one hundred percent sure this same argument would apply in a tropical climate.

    My father still hunts as much as possible. I do not hunt at all (although I might hunt a little if, for instance, my father was dying of cancer or something because it would mean something to him to hunt again with his only son before he dies).

    We both continue to draw a very distinct line. Hunters who eat their prey and who hunt primarily for the meat are generally ethical. Hunters who hunt primarily for the trophy are much less ethical, although they are tolerable so long as they are also eating what they kill. Hunters who hunt and don’t eat what they kill are the scum of the earth.

      • I assume that they do eat what they’re hunting. First, all of the things in the picture are eaten in various parts of the world. Second, removing the organs of an animal, as is being done in the first picture, is usually the first step in preparing an animal to be skinned for its meat.

        I think it’s pretty clear that they belong in the second category of hunters. If they were in the first category, they would not be concerned at all with posting these pictures.

        It’s possible they are in the third category, but I doubt it.

        They most certainly do not belong in the first category of hunters.

        • They are in the 4th category: the kind that uses the carcasses of dead animals to preen, troll and gloat on the web, as if they have proven something about their self-worth because they shot something that was itself unarmed.

          They don’t eat any of their prey. They say they give it to local tribes, which is better than leaving it to rot, but that’s not why they hunt. They love hunting—killing. Which is sick.

          • I don’t really understand “They love hunting – killing. Which is sick.” I assume you wouldn’t judge as sick an internally coherent culture that includes hunting or the killing of animals. It seems safe to assume that a child brought up in that culture would find a successful hunt to be cause for celebration, and for the sights of that experience to become normal, and not shocking or upsetting. It’s a short road to smiling in a picture with a dead animal. I would be interested in your argument that it is an elevated ethical response to be shocked by scenes of culturally non-deviant gore.

            I don’t know what the specific permissions are for hunting the animals Aryanna killed, but for another specific hunt of a black rhino bull a few years ago, I think the facts are clear: this old bull could no longer breed, yet was still dominant, and in fact had killed two other young bulls of breeding age. The considered ecological judgment was made that this rhino had to be culled, and the right to hunt him was auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars, much of which went to further conservation efforts and discourage poaching by supporting local incomes. This hunt drew perhaps-millions of death threats or similar from people who were sad and knew nothing. I, again, know nothing about the wildlife management decisions regarding the specific animals Aryanna killed, and make no argument about this particular situation.

            I think Valentine’s formulation is correct, and very much appreciate that it comes from a perspective of ecology, and from within a culture that includes hunting. I am concerned that a lot of comments seem to come from people who enjoy the privilege of never having to encounter the killing of animals, and who freely pathologize familiarity and non-revulsion with animals dying, especially when those judgers enjoy the fruits (so to speak) of outsourced animal-killing services. That goes double for protecting those who exploit other humans so their consumer goods will be cheaper.

            • You’re spinning. The issue is glorifying killing, and training a child to love taking a life of a creature just to take it. They fly to Africa just to kill—the fact that quarry A or B was old, or that it is eaten by someone else later is irrelevant. She is killing to kill, unnecessarily. Normal human beings who have to kill a living thing..for ecology, for food, for compassion…aren’t joyful about it, and if they are, I wouldn’t trust them.

              “I assume you wouldn’t judge as sick an internally coherent culture that includes hunting or the killing of animals.” If that culture extolled killing just to kill, I certainly would. That’s a sick culture, cruel by design. Indiscriminate killing can’t be squared with any ethical values, and a culture that posits one is not going to thrive. As it happens, there is no such culture. Primitive cultures that depend on hunting for food never go in this direction.

          • I’m not sure about this. My father, despite all of his ecology and ethical arguments, loves hunting and he loves it for the thrill of the kill. I’m not sure I would describe him as sick.

            I mean, sure we ate the deer. But we definitely didn’t need to kill deer to live. He was chasing the thrill of killing. This is true of most hunters I have met.

            Many people love hunting. Many people love killing. To me, it’s a semi-normal human instinct. To, at some level, enjoy killing I think is far more natural than privileged persons such as you and I may realize.

            See this for example:

            Finally, I’m not at all confident that we aren’t being highly hypocritical here. After all, I love my cheeseburgers. Surely, that cow had to die for a cheeseburger to be made out of it. Is it really more ethical to be separated from the kill? In killing deer, the deer at least had a fair chance, and there was a mutual respect between deer and hunter. This sounds odd, but I think there’s a mutual respect between lion and prey as well. Through factory farming and grocery stores, we’ve eliminated a need to kill to have meat. This has gotten us to a place where perhaps we can feel better about ourselves because we aren’t actually the persons who killed the animal. But can we really say we’re acting more ethically today than we were acting yesterday? Somehow, I don’t think that we can.

            • Last paragraph is absurd and forced. There are good reasons to eat meat—for one thing, we’re carnivores. Killing food to eat, like many other unpleasant jobs, are occupations people undertake voluntarily but for compensation. Yes, someone who eagerly sought to cut cattle’s throats for no pay would be sick. None of which excuses or vindicates someone who travels long distances to fondle the heart of a freshly killed giraffe.

              • There are almost no good reasons to eat meat. We are akin to monkeys. Monkeys do not eat cows, deer, or anything of the sort.A girlfriend I had for three years was vegan and refused to eat meat. She was always skinny and had a ton of energy. By contrast, I was always groggy and fat. Food has a certain ecology to it: the closer it is to sunlight (plants) the better it is for accessing energy for us. Meat is also where we acquire cholesterol and heart disease. In short, other than the fact that meat is friggin’ delicious, there are almost zero reasons to eat it. It is friggin’ delicious though, so I hope we’re not going to argue that point at least.

                I’m not positive what you mean by “sick”. I think my reaction to it was that you were saying the desire to kill was unnatural. I think it is totally natural, but that doesn’t mean I believe that it’s ethical to follow every natural instinct that a person may have. If by “sick” you simply meant less than ethical, we may be doing that thing when we’re arguing when we agree with each other.

                Finally, and this is the primary question that I have here, is whether or not you believe that a person who hunts primarily for the thrill of killing is acting unethically even when he or she eats whatever he or she manages to kill.

                • Monkeys are omnivores, and will eat meat when they can. No vegan diatribes here, please: it is not unethical to behave like a rational human being, and as part of the food chain. Being a healthy vegetarian tales a disproportional amount of time: my time and productivity is worth the lives of the occasional fish, pig, chicken or calf. And the fact that it is tasty is not irrelevant. Life is tough enough–nothing wrong with enjoying meals.

                  The desire to kill is very natural, and people who can’t process societal norms that find it nevertheless wrong are called sick and dangerous.

                • There is also a more *expanded* ethics which offers perspectives to the larger ethical issue of the degree and nature of the harm we inevitably cause just by being living biological beings:

                  A very strong argument against meat production and consumption is that it is very polluting. I have read articles that indicated consumption of ocean products, now, is not justified. The ocean is being hunted to the point of harm.

                  It is hard to find ay justification in the killing of endangered African big game. And when the whole issue is taken and looked at it is pretty hard to justify people who kill in that situation and enjoy it. The girl and her father are ethically wrong strictly for what they are killing in my view

                  But I could easily defend the joy of the hunt if it were … rats or wild pigs or the feral animals that destroy ecological systems. When we have identified a clear ‘enemy’ how much easier it is to associate joy and pleasure with the kill. And if one is *doing good* why not?

                  There is an interesting talk on Heidegger called Death’s Ontology’ on YouTube and I was taken by Heidegger’s meditation that the world — what we call ‘life’ — is in truth a giant death-machine, and everything careens into death eventually.

                  There IS a perspective where another life can be taken and understood in this way: that my own life is just as much negligible, fragile and ephemeral, and that I might see myself also as both non-important and also … already dead. Not a justification for carelessness but an interesting fact.

                  Death? So what? You recycle back into the system anyway and the system just goes on and on …

    • With the way we’ve removed the predators and the way deer breed it only makes sense to have an annual cull.

      I have a complicated relationship with hunting. I’ve never done it but I’ve caught fish so it isn’t as if I can claim moral superiority. It makes me slightly uncomfortable but that’s not reason to get in anyone’s way. I believe that there are animals out there that need their population controlled (or in the case of feral pigs, eradicated), so why not let people eat them, but there’s been a rise in anti-social behavior associated with hunting. A little poaching now and then, yeah that’s too be expected. But people posing with giant hearts instead of giant harts? People stopping at roadsides and shooting from inside their cars? People letting feral pigs loose to destroy woodlands because in a year or too there’ll be hundreds to hunt?

      • I’ve heard that hunting feral pigs is (1) necessary and (2) difficult because they will charge the hunter. USDA says they are a nuisance in many areas of the US. Seems to me that Aryanna could find this type of hunt as much of a challenge as African big game, and a lot cheaper.

  5. Do you see a difference with people who kill huge fish and hold them up? That seems ok. How come? What about deer hunters who pose with deer or wild boars? I’m really curious to your thoughts. It seems people think the animals in Africa are worse even if they too are food. How come?

    • Let’s see:
      1. Fishing is a traditional, ancient and still active method of acquiring food.
      2. Fish are regarded as lower species, and Nemo to the contrary, are not thinking, emotional or sentient to the extent that mammals are.
      3. Trophy fishing and game fishing are similarly revolting: they are similarly killing for sport.
      4. Blood isn’t involved. Guns aren’t involved.
      5. A child grinning next to a dead marlin would be similarly nauseating.
      6. Not fish, but close enough: imagine the uproar if a girl killed dolphins and posed with them. Killed dolphins with a a bow and arrow…

        • No, but worth asking. Being enthusiastic about killing for no good reason is being enthusiastic about unethical behavior. Going out f one’s way to boast and preen about unethical behavior is the intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

      • thanks for your reply.

        i think we add the meaning as to what is “bad” and “good” and we’re not consistent.

        i can understand the “challenge” of wanting to hunt as sport. i don’t like it myself, and i think it’s wrong. i remember crying when my grampa shot a bird eating his fruit from his very large garden trees. he explained to me that he had to shoot them because if not they’d eat all the fruit. (in italy when he grew up humans have little food and they ate the birds too they shot. in the usa, he didn’t eat the birds, but still didn’t want him eating his food. it still made me cry.

        i think sports in general can be icky, boxing. that seems wrong. also, bull fighting is very cruel. seems man has a long history in engaging in sport that is not “Kind”. for me it’s inconsistent when people just go after large game hunters. i may not agree but i can see how it can be sport and justified of one knows the food is being eaten. (which i have heard that happens on these large game hunts, and research seems to say it’s true)

        also, the way we kill all the animals we eat in our country, which people don’t see, many think is very cruel and when i recently saw a video showing it, i had to agree. perhaps it’s the seeing of it that alerts us to the cruelty?

        what we don’t see we tend to forget.

        i have 2 uncles who hunted and posed with deer they caught. (and ducks) they were excited about the skill involved, BUT from them i recall learning a great respect for the deer when they cut it up and used as many parts as possible for food, etc. (using the fur and horns for other things) they were keenly aware that the animal had sacrificed it’s life and it should be i’m not sure these hunters are “bad”, they may just think very different about it. i’m a bit curious to hear them when asked about it.

        that being said, even though i do eat meat, it does make me sad when i think an innocent creature was killed. (i grew up on a farm where we raised and butchered sheep, goats, cows, chickens, ducks, and recently found a letter we wrote my dad saying “we love sylvester (our cow) can we not kill him when he grows up and keep him as a pet? please daddy?”

        ok those are my thoughts.

    • I don’t see much difference. Trophy hunting, regardless of the trophy, is uncivilized, as even the Brits have come to realize as they’ve outlawed the ancient and traditional sport of fox hunting. (Tho you have to give the Brits some credit: you’ve never seen a large portrait of a nobleman with a bloody dead fox…)

  6. tl/dr
    To clarify: the father is teaching his young child to hunt. Not necessarily a bad thing. He is also teaching her to trophy hunt certain animal species that are considered “protected” in the US (and certain other countries). He is using his young child as an advertisement for his hunting company (not necessarily bad), but by showing pictures of her with dead trophy animals which are publicly posted. Bad, bad, bad. Since this type of action by others has resulted in huge negative public reaction (including death threats), the father’s action of allowing these photos to be publicly posted is amazingly ethically wrong and potentially life threatening to his child.

    Had the photos shown her standing next to a white tail deer she had taken in, oh, say Wisconsin, there would not be such a negative reaction by the public.

    As for hunting in Africa; each nation has its own laws and regulations regarding hunting, what species can be hunted, etc. This can include ranch hunting (similar to the US, where animals are specifically raised to be trophy hunted) and hunts of free-ranging animals. Some countries are very specific and only allow hunts of animals that they have determined to be “surplus” in that specific environment, or are causing problems for a specific community. It’s likely that some have a primary motivation of money.

    Each nation may or may not be a signatory of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES lists which species are considered globally endangered (i.e. consider the Japan whale hunt controversy – while most nations follow the whaling moratorium as CITES lists many whale species, however, Japan, a signatory country, continues to hunt under the guise of “research” and so far has avoided sanctions). So, for example, if Kenya has signed CITES then allowed all of its elephants to be killed, other nations may not be able to stop the killing, but the signatory nations could sanction Kenya in other ways. (And I apologize to Kenya, they do an excellent job of managing their wildlife – I just picked a country out of a hat).

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service enforces the US regulation called “The Lacey Act”. The Lacey Act regulates the import/ownership within the US of any species that is listed by CITES or the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). It does not regulate what US citizens may do in other countries.

    If the hunter wants to import any portion (meat, hide, trophy head, etc) back into the US, the species cannot be listed on CITES (since that is an international treaty). If the species is not on CITES, but on the US ESA, they must first obtain a permit from the USFWS. Which is not that difficult to do. FYI, such permits require a public notice – for those interested, you can go to the USFWS website and sign up for email alerts for all public notices issued by USFWS. And note, you’d be surprised at how many species are NOT listed on CITES.

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