This letter is in response to Carmen and Nancy DeCicco in the Dec. 28 issue of the Roundup: "Photos of young hunters and their kills disgusting."
I presume Carmen and Nancy have spent a lifetime as consumers in some distant place, acquiring goods from shelves. Not so long ago, the people who settled this area and made Payson a place where city people now want to come, lived largely off the game they killed.
Nearly all young people grew up handling guns -- not to shoot people, but game for the table. This is our rural culture. Today we lament the way America treated Indians 100 years ago. We submerged their culture and have given them reservations to make up for it.
Today, another wave of conquerors come. Like 100 years ago, they consider us savages. Just as long ago, the newcomers have not the ability to attempt to understand and respect historic cultures of the places where they move. Carmen and Nancy, you may be vegetarians; thus nothing is killed for you to eat. However, if you play sports, use medication, take pictures, maintain your auto, use cleaning detergents in your home, make use of leather bags or shoes, animals are killed for your convenience.
Hunting for food has preserved the human species for millennia. Without hunting, you would have no ancestors.
Today, in our sedentary society, hunting takes people away from the computer, TV screens and retail shelves that dominate our lives. Every hunter I know eats what he or she kills. Game is the most healthful protein available to us.
In addition, I can tell you with assurance that those young people you have seen pictured with their "kills" do not belong to gangs and do not spend their lives watching video games or violent TV, or sleeping with each other on the first date.
They are learning about, and honing their skills in the outdoors. Kudos belong to their parents, rather than criticism. They are teaching their children that all life comes from the earth, and that some things die so that others can live. That's why life has survived for thousands of years.
The most ominous thing I see for the future is that never have so many people used so many things from the earth, and never has such a large percentage of the population been so unconnected from the realities of life.