There's a proverb that says may you live in interesting times.
These certainly qualify for sportsmen.
Look at what's been happening. As reported here last week, British retailer WHSmith had banned the sale of hunting and shooting magazines to kids younger than 14. The decision came after a campaign by Animal Aid, an animal rights group, that compared the magazines to pornography.
Sportsmen organized and convinced the retailer about the error of its ways.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation collected more than 12,000 signatures on a petition in opposition to the ban. The Countryside Alliance, another pro-sportsmen group, lobbied for the ban's repeal, too.
WHSmith heard those voices and relented.
In the meantime, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has begun promoting a ban of its own in this country.
PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman recently sent a letter to Hudson Group, which operates newsstands and bookstores in airports, urging it to place hunting magazines next to publications such as Playboy and Penthouse and not sell them to anyone younger than 18.
In its letter, PETA alleges that hunting can cause target animals to starve during winter, disrupt their migration patterns and result in wounds that cause animals to die slowly in agony.
It goes even further, claiming that hunting desensitizes youngsters and can, at times if not always, lead to murder.
Like other forms of casual or thrill violence, hunting spawns a dangerous desensitization to the suffering of others.
According to published reports, many of the young people who have opened fire on their schoolmates – including 16-year-old Andrew Golden, who along with an accomplice, killed five people at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and 17-year-old T.J. Lane, who killed three people at Chardon High School in Cleveland earlier this year – had first expressed their bloodlust by hunting animals, Reiman's letter reads.
Not every hunter will kill a human, of course, but in this era of escalating violence, it is irresponsible and downright dangerous to allow kids access to magazines that promote killing for ‘fun.'
Hudson officials have not publicly responded.
But the National Rifle Association and other sporting groups want sportsmen to write Hudson president Joe DiDomizio at jdidomiziohudsongroup.com and make it known how they feel about the issue.
Perhaps if they do, PETA's proposal will quickly go away, as did the one like it in Britain.