Out of more than 1700 posts on the STFU, Parents blog, only two have been taken down due to emotionally charged responses from readers: Antifreeze Salad and Kittengate. The former post was about a woman who wanted to feed her neighbor's dog a salad with "antifreeze salad dressing" so it would die an excruciating death and her baby's naps would finally go uninterrupted, and the latter was about a woman who laughed off her one-year-old accidentally killing a kitten by strangling it with "love," as children are wont to do with baby animals when left unsupervised. Ever since the removal of those posts back in 2010, I've stopped posting about people who want to or have caused injury to domestic pets, because the submissions are upsetting, cruel, and riot-inducing in the comments section.
But what about animals that don't fall into the domestic pets category? Like, say, squirrels or birds that were killed by domestic pets? People never seem to have as strong a reaction to those types of dead animals, even if the submissions I receive show kids playing with them like they're toys. Remember back in 2011 when this video of a little girl playing with a dead squirrel went viral? The parents -- who were a combination of amused and astonished by their daughter's affection for the "sweet baby" dead squirrel she was flinging around like a ferret -- even brought their dog into the frame to show both the "killer and the killed," the way one might take a proud photo after catching a large fish. Somehow, because squirrels aren't valued as lovable pets, that video came off as horrifying but funny. But if the little girl had been holding a dead cat or small dog in the same manner, it probably would have just been viewed as horrifying.
With all of that in mind, today I'd like to talk about the dead animal submissions that some people won't have a problem with whatsoever. Here in America, we have a lot of land, much of which hasn't been transformed into cities, and where many people live, squirrel might be for dinner. You might let your kids play with dead animals for fun. Perhaps you and your relatives all go hunting together, babies in tow. Maybe you even give each other guns for Christmas, so you can all shoot wild animals and swig watery beer together in a communal fashion. And I get that. I do. I'm originally from the South, where hunting is a typical "sport" (I use the term "sport" loosely because unless I'm playing Oregon Trail, I don't see the fun in pitting intelligent humans with weapons against defenseless animals in their natural habitats), and I understand that for lots of people, the act of hunting is not purely sadistic or without sustentative benefit. Plenty of people eat the deer they kill. Sure they do. But before they dig in with a fork and knife, they give themselves props. They gloat. They take pictures and hold onto antlers and smile great big smiles, because look at what they did! They exerted their human dominance over stupid fucking animals, hahahaha, now THAT is a Kodak an iPhone moment! And increasingly, they encourage their kids to take part and continue the legacy of their family's hunting traditions, because if there's anything more Instagram-worthy than a grown adult standing next to a murdered animal, it's a small child standing next to a bloodied deer head. Amirite or amirite??
For some people, the inclement slaughter of animals is a part of daily life. And watching their children play with possibly diseased, dead animals is an extension of that way of life. But my question is: Why does this shit need to get posted on social media? Do people really want to see pictures of kids playing with dead animals or decked out in camouflage next to their first "kill"? Perhaps some people do (the friends, relatives, and locals who share in the glee of participating in those activities), but I'd like to think that overall, most people don't. It's probably just a provincial thing, and your level of acceptance depends on where you live and how you were raised, but at the end of the day, we're still talking about dead animals here. Whether you eat meat or not (and I do), it's never seemed right to me to brag about the killing of animals, even if it's part of an instinctual celebration of "the circle of life." Maybe I'm alone on this, but I *hope* we can all agree that posting about bloody deer heads and playing with dead animals as temporary pets isn't really how social media should be used. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments -- and please BE WARNED that today's column includes some very graphic photos that may be upsetting to some readers. (Or not.)
1. Future Hunters
To the average hunter or hunting enthusiast, this picture probably looks precious. Look at her little camouflage onesie and matching orange hat! Look at that little rifle, perfect for a child's tiny hands! She's going to be shootin' and huntin' and wipin' deer blood on her forehead in no time! But to someone like me, who's not a hunter and opposed to the concept of children learning about weapons before they can even roll over onto their stomaches, it's ominous. Why should children be taught about these things so soon? Can't they gain an appreciation later, if they want to, after long admiring their family's many dead animal heads mounted over the fireplace? Not to mention, if a person is this enthusiastic about transforming their infant into a mini hunter, are we to believe that means the parents will be more stringent about firearms safety when the baby gets older, or less?
As previously stated, I don't know much about shooting live creatures for fun or for food, but this picture looks all wrong to me. Shouldn't children only handle guns (loaded or unloaded) that aren't bigger than they are? Where is this kid's hand in relation to the trigger? And why is he being set up in this position by his dumbass father? Just to get a good shot for Facebook? Well, mission accomplished, I guess.
2. Like A Sniper
Growing up, I always had a loose list of top qualities I wanted my boyfriend or future husband to have, such as being honest, funny, smart, and thoughtful. I never realized that "kills deer like a muthafuckin' sniper" would make it to the top of some people's lists, but hey, you learn something new every day. Emily has on her full camo outfit, her toddler by her side, and her baby strapped to her chest, and she murdered the shit out of that deer, just like a woodsy gangster or a soldier in the line of duty! Good job, Emily! You murdered the competition! (Except the deer didn't realize it was the competition, which is too bad for him! Haha!)
3. Dead Ducks Make Great Friends
Um, what? He wants to keep it, but only if the duck's head gets cut off? Why is this child sitting in his Christmas jammies on a presumably clean sofa inside a presumably clean home holding a dead duck like it's a stuffed animal? At least the little girl in the squirrel video didn't heave the squirrel over her shoulder and march it inside to play dress-up. J. is one sick mommy.
Lol decomposing dead animals are such good playmates. Lol it's fun to teach little boys in particular about the joys of respecting the dead by watching them treat dead animals like personal property. Lol J. could've buried that duck with her son and given it a proper funeral, but instead she let her son traipse around the house with the dead duck like it came from a vending machine. Lololololol forever! Bahaaaa!!
4. Hunter Is A Hunter...Who'd've Thunk It
Now this is a charming photo to post on Facebook. Why post a boring status update that says something like "Proud of my son for shooting his first buck-7 pointer!" when you could post a close-up of the deer's dead eyes and bloody face? In FACT, why only post ONE picture when you post an entire ALBUM dedicated to this amazing feat!? YOU ROCK, HUNTER. Show us whatcha got! Pose for the camera now...you're going to want to frame a few of these for around the house after bringing your new deer carcass to school for show and tell.
I can't seem to pick a favorite. The deer looks especially dead in the second to last picture, where he's just kind of lying there at an unnatural angle, so maybe I'd frame that one? At the very least, we can see that Hunter takes a lot of pride in his hunting. He's got sooooo many deer to kill in his future, it's not even funny. (No, really. It's not.)
5. Dead Bird Sociopaths
It's weird how the movie "Gummo" creeps into my psyche when going through STFUP submissions, but somehow after all these years, its impact still weighs heavily on me. Remember the scene when the boys whip the dead cat? Yeah. That movie didn't serve to present playing with dead animals as being a good thing for little boys. Rather, it showed the gruesome side of living in a shit town after a natural disaster, where little boys have nothing better to do than sharpen their sociopathic skills in the woods by torturing creatures both dead and alive.
I'm grateful for Jaklin in this submission, because even though her parents considerably misspelled her name, she grew up smart enough to know when something is just plain wrong (and hygienically dangerous). What Laura is describing here is truly inappropriate. It's not okay to beat animals with rocks, or poke them with sticks, or hang them by their insides like they're Drew Barrymore's character at the beginning of "Scream." Usually when people say that a child is exhibiting sociopathic behavior, I think they're exaggerating, but in this case, I actually think Laura is raising a pair of rotten children who haven't fallen far from the tree. That poor dead bird. Those clueless, misguided kids. Even her friends think she's crazy for condoning this type of "dissection" in a public park (on a fucking public picnic table). I'm just glad the photo Laura uploaded is sideways.
Maybe city living isn't so bad after all.