Teaching young people to kill
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2009:
BISMARCK–The North Dakota Senate on March 19, 2008 voted
47-0 for a bill to allow “apprentice hunters” aged at least 16 to
hunt without taking a safety course first, if accompanied by a
hunter at least 18 years old who has taken the state safety course.
The move to ease the rules for youth hunters followed a
national legislative trend promoted by wildlife agencies and the gun
lobby, in hopes of rekindling youth interest in hunting. Hunting
license sales have fallen steadily throughout the U.S. for nearly 30
years, with the steepest decline among teens.
The Washington House of Representatives bucked the trend on
March 10, voting 70-26 for a bill that would require hunters younger
than 14 to have adult supervision when hunting on public land.
Washing-ton state law since 1994 has allowed anyone of any age to
hunt alone if licensed and if the hunter has completed a safety
The Washington bill was introduced after a 14-year-old was
charged with first-degree manslaughter for killing hiker Pamela
Almli, 54, on August 2, 2008. The 14-year-old and his 16-year-old
brother told investigators that they were hunting bears.
At least three recent murder cases have involved youth who
were introduced to hunting at an early age.
Tim Kretschmer, 17, of Winnenden, Germany, on March 11,
2009 killed eight girls, a boy, and three female teachers at his
school, killed three more people as he fled the scene, and then
shot himself as police closed in to arrest him. Kretschmer
reportedly took his weapon from his father’s arsenal.
Using a shotgun that his father Christopher Brown gave him
for Christmas, Jordan Brown, 11, of Wampum, Pennsylvania, on
February 14, 2009 won a Valentine’s Day turkey shoot at a local gun
club. Two days later he shot his father’s girlfriend, Kenzie Marie
Houk, 26, as she lay in bed. Houk was eight months pregnant.
Jordan Brown is charged with premeditated homicide.
In St. Johns, Arizona, a nine-year-old boy on February 19,
2009 pleaded guilty to one count of negligent homicide for killing
his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and Timothy Romans, 39, on
November 5, 2008. The boy’s mother, Erin Bloomfield, 26, who
divorced Romero in 2002, told New York Times reporter Solomon Moore
that Romero gave her son the .22 rifle he used to kill the men, and
that he had hunted with both.