Whatever Higher Being or Cosmic Force exists in the universe, on Wednesday in St. Johns, Arizona, that Being was teaching all of us that killing is wrong and that hunting is wrong.
That was the day that an eight-year old boy, taught by his father to use a shotgun to kill prairie dogs and other animals, walked into his home and killed his father and another man who was renting a room at the house.
According to a Fox News report, the father came from a family of “avid” hunters.
The father, Vincent Romero, 29, wanted to make sure the boy wasn’t afraid of guns, said the Very Rev. John Paul Sauter of St. Johns Catholic Church. The boy’s stepmother had suggested he have a BB gun, the priest said. Romero taught his son how to use a rifle to kill prairie dogs, Sauter said. Police say the boy used a 22.-caliber rifle Wednesday to kill his father and another man, Timothy Romans, 39, of San Carlos.
Certainly this is a tragedy for that little boy, who had no idea he was being used by his father to perpetuate a culturally sanctioned criminal act, i.e. hunting. Perhaps this little boy, being a sensitive kid, did not want to be murdering helpless, innocent animals, and instead took vengance on the man who taught him how to be violent.
Fox News has also reported that there has been some history of domestic violence from the Romero household. I would even argue that teaching a child to use a gun, to hunt and kill, is also a form of domestic violence and child abuse. These are not “lessons” adults should be giving to kids too young to make moral decisions on their own.
All this is ironic, of course. But as I have said here many times before, when we teach our children that violence is OK — by hitting them, by teaching them to harm others — they will learn the lesson. Sometimes, though, the object of their violence is not what their teachers expected.