photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Luxury of Distance

We've got chickens, which means we've got snakes.

Snakes are cool. They are amazingly resilient, wondrously adaptable, and can do stuff with no legs that I could never dream of doing with two legs, safety gear, a ladder and a rope.

Most of the time, the snakes are after the rodents that are after the chicken feed (sounds like The House That Jack Built, don't it?)but once they realize that eggs aren't nearly as hard to hunt and catch, our relationship takes a decidedly sour turn.

Everyone I know who needs to "contend with" a problem snake goes after them with a hoe. I just can't do it. I have a hard enough time smacking a fly with a flyswatter- the idea of taking a sharp metal object and dealing a blow powerful enough and with intent to decapitate makes me frankly sick to my stomach.

So until recently I did what any strong-willed independent woman would do.

I made my husband kill the snakes.

Then our friend Joe (hunter, competitive shooter, mountain man survivalist) moved in with us- the old treehuggin' unarmed hippies- and he brought with him a literal arsenal, and I received my very first lessons in shooting stuff.

And I'm not bad at it.

Of course, when Joe's here I just have HIM shoot 'em. But Joe spends alot of time way the hell up north where only the insane live (it's the thin air of the high altitude- causes brain damage) leaving me with only 2 little handguns and several thousand rounds of ammo to defend the chickens' nests. (passable Scarlett O'Hara impression- back of hand to forehead in virtual swooning position).

So when faced with a snake in a hen's nest I was able to take Louise (yes- I named my guns) loaded with birdshot, and dispatch the offending reptile with only a slight hesitation. I may have over-done it at 13 shots, but DANG they keep moving a long time after they're dead...

And a few days ago I didn't even hesitate before 1. to the body since the snake was in deep weeds 2. to the head as it was heading out of Dodge- flipping it upside down and 3. point blank to the head to be sure it was dead.

While it's a good thing that I'm able to take care of egg protection my own self (especially good news for my poor husband, who doesn't like killing stuff with a hoe either), it troubles me that with the luxury of distance and the non-physical contact of bullet vs. hoe I can take a life without pause.

Like if I don't actually have to make physical contact, it's not such a moral struggle- just like a little Kodak- it's as easy as Point and Shoot.

And that bothers me more than a little.

No comments:

Post a Comment