If Possums could talk

Many years ago as a teenager my best friend asked me if I wanted to go pheasant hunting with him and some buddies. I said “yes, but I don’t have a gun”. He supplied me with a double barrel 20 gauge shotgun. He also pointed out the safety with instructions to keep safety on at all times. Only release safety when you are going to shoot.
So he and a group of three brothers and I went to the countryside of wide open fields. We traipsed hastily through the fields, over fences and slogged through ditches. Nary was a bird flushed, but after a bit one of the brothers shouted “Hey Jerry come quick, Boone’s on something.” Boone was the dog
Boone was barking and sniffing and circling an old pile of wood. Not trees but old barn planks and scrap pieces of lumber.
We all looked for a moment, then one brother began to rip wood from the pile. Throwing the wood everywhere. As he continued the dog grew more and more excited. The brother had thrown out a good 1/3 of the pile when out came an opossum. This is when the possum would have said.
“Damn what is going on? I was just enjoying my nap and all of a sudden these critters tear apart my house; and they have a wolf with them.”
The dog attacked and the possum dropped silently to the ground, playing possum I suppose. The dog backed off and then suddenly BOOM! One of the brothers fired his shotgun at the possum. The possum stirred a bit and probably said.
“Damn, these folks aren’t playing nice. What should I do now?”
He moved a bit and BOOM! Another shot. This time the possum rolled on his back and let out a whimper. This was followed by another loud BOOM! And then, the possum lay dead.
We all moved on, leaving the possum there to either rot in the field or be consumed by one varmint or another. We neither knew nor cared what was to become of the dead possum.
But I had some thoughts that day and those thoughts remain with me some 60 years later.

Why did they kill that possum? Possums are rather ugly looking creatures but ugly does not call for death does it? Possums have been known to sneak into chicken coops and steal eggs and/or kill the chickens, but there were no chicken coops within miles of this pile of wood. The shooters had no need or desire for possum meat.
The possum’s cry as he gasped his last breath haunted me a bit then, and when I recall it now, it still haunts me a bit.
Now don’t call me a crybaby bleeding heart tree hugging pacifist. I did go hunting many times after this event. Not with much luck, I shot and killed one partridge and shot one deer in my hunting life.
Deer got away to be finished by another hunter up the trail a few hundred yards.

But watching a defenseless animal whimper to death did leave a memory in my heart.
And now we have this…….
Michigan Senator pushes Death Penalty for cop killers.
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/02/05/democratic-senator-wants-death-penalty-cop-killers/22922817/
This is wrong in so many ways.
“Thou Shall Not Kill”
Are cops and prison guards more valuable than just ordinary citizens?
Shouldn’t all killers be put to death?
What about rapists and child molesters, shouldn’t they be put to death also?
Where do we draw the line?
I am not about to make the call, living creatures should not be killed for punishment or for enjoyment.
Now excuse me, I am heading out for a steak dinner.

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One thought on “If Possums could talk

  1. I can’t remember ever NOT believing that all experiences of all living things are experienced by a supremely conscious “Great Spirit.” I’ve never understood why that isn’t self-evident to everyone, nor do I know how I know that when each living being dies, and is no longer preoccupied with homeostasis (self-preservation) and the appearance of the passage of time, he, she or it is freed from (no longer deceived by) any illusion of separation from that total awareness. The perception of other creatures (all flora and fauna, including other people) as ourselves in other bodies may not come naturally to some people, but I have always trusted –intuitively– that if time is an illusion (whereby ultimate reality is eternal, having no beginning and no end) all lives are interchangeable and indistinguishable from one another. –Which is why it would behoove us to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”

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