A WVIP Commentary
By William O’Shaughnessy
April 7, 2021

Guns are very efficient and useful for killing rabbits, elephants, lions, tigers, squirrels, possums, grouse, bears, bobcats, quail, swans, panthers, ducks, chipmunks, skunks, buffalo, deer, llamas, camels, ostrich, wild turkeys, hippos, hawks, eagles, other birds of the air, and occasionally, innocent children … as well as presidents and their brothers, preachers, civil rights and Muslim leaders. They even took a shot at a pope.

Many of these beautiful lethal guns are operated by people with scrambled egg minds who squeeze beer bellys into upstate pick-up trucks with gun racks mounted in a rear window just behind them within reach of powerful spotlights to stun animals just before the kill.

They teach sons how to go deep into dark woodland to stalk and kill with “Kentucky windage” lest the breeze give the animal a slight advantage.

Television is routinely blamed for the violence in our society, but this is fantasy violence. On film, on a screen, into a living room. But it takes face and form and becomes real when macho fathers and grandfathers teach a kid how to march at dawn into a wood lot to stalk and kill an animal. They call it hunting, the least honorable form of war on the weak. It is on these cold mornings that children first learn the technique and protocol of killing. Some, as early as age six, are given camouflage pants and outfitted in battle fatigues and presented with BB guns, lethal sling shots, bow and arrow, and pellet guns. Thus suitably armed, they go, stealthily and proudly with their fathers, uncles, and grandfathers, to the animals habitat. They are then taken deep into the woods and instructed in the proper way to decoy, distract, or lull an animal prior to shooting it to death. They are tutored in the proper way to crouch, aim, and squeeze the trigger and handle the recoil against their shoulder. All this is so they are ready when an animal appears in the crosshairs of a magnifying scope. It’s all about power for people who don’t have any – and it teaches children that life is not valuable.

Walter de la Mare, the English poet wrote of these killings:

Hi! Handsome hunting man.

Fire your little gun.

Bang! Now the animal is dead and dumb and done.

Nevermore to peep again, creep again, leap again,

Eat or sleep or drink again.

Oh, what fun.

And don’t be too quick to blame the little chubby killers with the pimples and crew cuts who are shooting up schools in our nation. Blame the fathers. And the grandfathers. Blame us.

And our guns.

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributes was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.