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Hunting Rifle Portraits Do Not Perpetrate School Shooting Culture

Several years ago, Broken Bow Public Schools in Nebraska was criticized for permitting its high school seniors to pose with rifles, hunting dogs and trophies. However, despite what some has said, acknowledging the time-honored sport of hunting does not perpetuate a school shooting culture.

High School Seniors Pose with Hunting Rifles

One of the most responsible things parents can teach their kids is the proper use, care, and control of firearms. In addition, teaching your kids the art of hunting is giving them a skill they can use for a lifetime to help them retain independence and self-reliance.

But too many Americans have bought into the nonsense that hunting animals for food and sport is the ultimate form of debauchery, and they become very irate when they hear of parents who teach their kids how to hunt.

And they get positively apoplectic when parents allow their child hunters to pose for pictures with their hunting weapon of choice.

Several years ago, school board members of Broken Bow Public Schools in Nebraska permitted high school seniors to pose with rifles, hunting dogs and trophies, as a way of letting them express their sporting interests, as other students do for other sports.

“The board, I believe, felt they wanted to give students who are involved in these things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport,” Superintendent Mark Sievering said.

He went onto say that the notion of posing with a firearm had been discounted without a formal policy on the matter in place, mostly out of deference to the unfortunate instances of school violence.

Public Claims Senior Hunting Portraits Perpetrate School Shooting Culture

As you might expect, reaction to the policy was not universally positive. Some said they thought the poses would perpetuate what they believe is a “dangerous gun culture” in the country.

One Tweet read, “While gun deaths remain a public health epidemic, NE school district allows in senior pics.”

Another read, “Now this is just what I’d want my child to do: Pose in their senior HS pic with a friggin gun.”

Some child hunters as young as 11 have even faced death threats.

The Concept of a School Shooting Culture is a Fallacy

The reality, of course, is much different. First, there is no “epidemic” of “violent school shootings,” but rather a collection of isolated incidents that, understandably, receive a great deal of media coverage and which are always heartbreaking.

Second, the issue of “choice” is missing from the opposition. While not all parents want their children to pose for a senior picture holding a bolt-action or crossbow, that’s okay because that is their choice. However, other parents who do support hunting-themed portraits should also have their choice honored.

It’s not as if the kids are bringing hunting rifles to school and posing for their pictures there.

What is also clear from these and other photos of gun-toting seniors at Broken Bow Public Schools is that these are not the faces of crazed, over-medicated problem children. They are proud of their sport. And this is something that the school board members at Broken Bow Public Schools obviously recognized.

Time-Honored Tradition of Hunting Should Be Celebrated

Once upon a time, high school-aged kids got up early to hunt in the woods and, after hunting, cleaned game and then drove straight to school with a shotgun or rifle hanging from the gun rack in their pick up trucks. Boys and girls – especially those who attended rural schools – went to class wearing Buck knives on their belts, and no one so much as gave it a second thought.

Today, however, first-, second- and third-graders can’t even point their fingers at friends on the playground and say “bang, bang, you’re dead,” or draw a picture featuring a character with a firearm, without being carted away by cops and having to defend themselves in court.

Not all change is good, especially when it comes to how too many Americans view firearms and the Second Amendment.