The Edmond Sun

Opinion

May 11, 2013

HEY HINK: Think like a gaur before deciding on gun debate

EDMOND — Have you ever heard of a gaur? It’s the largest living member of the bovine family. A large gaur bull can weigh more than a ton and a half. His body may be nearly 11 feet long and he may be more than 7 feet tall at the shoulder. This is a huge, enormously powerful animal that could, no doubt, do a terrific amount of work if it would ever allow itself to be hitched to a plow. But it won’t. Man has never been able to offer the gaur a deal that would persuade it to become domesticated.

On the way to Tucson last week, I spent some time thinking about gaurs. It was the feedlots; thousands of cattle standing peacefully waiting to be packed up and transported to the slaughterhouse. They were totally oblivious to people coming and going around them. Human beings are the most deadly predators ever to inhabit this planet. In the history of the world, there has never been an animal so cunning, efficient and prolific in methods of killing other animals. People are the most deadly enemy that ever laid eyes on herds of cows, sheep, goats and horses. So you have to ask yourself, what happened to the survival instincts of domesticated cattle? How is it possible for a mother cow to allow the deadliest predator of them all to simply stroll up to her babies and take them away? She’ll even lie passively and let one of these predators help deliver them.

Once in Africa, I saw a leopard stalking a Cape buffalo calf. He made his move, expecting his mere presence would cause the cattle to scatter. He was dead wrong. These cattle won’t tolerate threats to their little ones. I’m told Cape buffaloes, like gaurs, are just too stubborn to be easy food or reliable servants.

So what bargain have domestic cattle made in return for being — like they are? Here’s what they get out of the deal. They get protection from non-human predators. Their masters don’t want anyone else feeding on them. They get an ordered life. Their comings and goings are controlled. In the more advanced economies — where predation is elevated to industrial levels — their food, housing and health care are provided for them. All they have to do in return is give over their little ones whenever their masters demand them, and be good domestic cattle happy to stand still to be milked and slaughtered as their masters design. This is the bargain gaurs and Cape Buffaloes have never been persuaded to make. People may try to control them, but the would-be controllers will have a heck of a fight on their hands.

Now, to change the subject (or maybe not), the Reuters news service cited a Justice Department report indicating that nonfatal firearm crimes declined by 69 percent over the past 20 years. But, for some reason, 56 percent of Americans believe that gun crime is higher now than it was 20 years ago. The perception that gun violence is getting out of hand is fueling an extremely emotional and divisive wave of legislation. Calls for crackdowns on gun and ammunition ownership border on hysteria. Before we choose up sides and square off for another round of polarizing legislation, shouldn’t we be confident the fight is necessary and reasonably calculated to solve a problem?

Those who are ready to get behind another instance of heavy-handed “steamroller” legislation should be encouraged to look at the facts. The Justice Department statistics I mentioned are based on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System.

Now back to cattle, wild and domestic. If you want to tame a race of cattle that treasure their independence, you don’t start your efforts with the fierce and powerful. Start with the calves and those adults that are prone to be “easy-going” and obedient. They are the ones easiest to lead around to the corrals and feedlots. But nature provides even these with horns that might be used to defend themselves. To make sure they’re safe, docile and domesticated, their prudent masters will take steps to see that these horns pose no danger. In order to be confident that cattle can be safely herded, these defensive weapons must be blunted — or better yet, removed altogether. No doubt, horn-blunting and removal plans can be backed up by statistics and emotional argument. Maybe, though, some of us can learn something from those stubborn old gaur bulls. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

 

MIKE HINKLE is an Edmond resident and retired attorney.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results