Boy, this internet thing is crazy, isn’t it? All you’ve gotta do is post one video to YouTube of yourself killing a bear with a musket you were given by West Virginia University for use in your capacity as the school’s mascot, and you never hear the end of it:
In fact, the video caused such a stir that the school decided it’d be best to take a precautionary measure against such an event repeating itself, and prevent the guy, Jonathan Kimble, from using that particular gun for actual hunting purposes again:
“While Jonathan Kimble’s actions broke no laws or regulations, the university has discussed this with him, and he agrees that it would be appropriate to forego using the musket in this way in the future,” said WVU spokesman John Bolt.
Thing is, most people don’t seem particularly upset that Kimble used the musket for hunting in the first place – ad why would they? As the school itself said, he didn’t break any laws. If you give a person a musket – a person who, by virtue of their interest in the West Virginia mascot position, is enthusiastic about the possibility of firing the musket (with no ammo, of course) to help fire up a rowdy crowd of thousands and thousands of people while wearing this… does that sound like the type of person who wouldn’t want to take the thing hunting?
No, judging by the comments on the YouTube video what seemed to rub most people the wrong way was that the bear Kimble killed was not particularly large, as seen in the photo above (which he posted to his Twitter account). A sampling of comments:
My cousin killed a bear before…it was coming up the tree to kill him. shot it in the head with a bow and arrow. He has it stuffed in his basement. It’s “shit your pants upon seeing it for the first time” big. That guy is hunter. This guy just sucks.
What a lowlife piece of shit. Really. A baby bear up in a tree..? What I just saw strikes me as murder, not sport.
Really? A baby bear? I’ve hunted for over 40 years, and this about the stupidest, most irresponsible thing I have seen yet.
In fairness, not all comments were negative:
It was by no means a baby bear…not every bear is the size of a grizzly. I’ve seen several black bears here in WV, they don’t get much bigger than the average dog.
Honestly, though, given that Kimble said WVU mascots have been taking the school-issued rifle on hunting trips for a while now (and again, did no one think they’d do that?) the most amazing thing is that it took this long for an issue to arise. As Kimble himself also said, “Hunting can be a controversial topic,” and the cuter the animal involved, the more controversial it’s bound to be.
Of course, it’s not just shooting something cute WVU’s worried about here – we think CBS’ Matt Hinton hit on it when he surmised that the school, in making its decision, was having nightmare visions of some inevitable future point when a mascot did break the law with a school-issued gun. So at heart, this issue isn’t about guns, or what it is and isn’t right to hunt. No, it’s much more likely about something less complicated: ass-covering.