Here is a photo of my friend and hunting buddy Jason and me. Jason is a family man and a man’s man; he is happily married and has a six-year-old daughter. Not long after we became hunting buddies some years ago, I told him I am gay. His response was, “and that will affect our hunting how?” Since then, our friendship and hunting partnership flourished. It was under Jason’s guidance I took up whitetail deer hunting. Hitherto, I was first and foremost a gamebird hunter. Upon taking up deer hunting with Jason as my mentor, I took four deer to date, starting in the 2012 season with a nice doe, a nine-point buck in 2016, a spike horn buck in 2017, and an eight-point buck in 2020. As a result, I have a presence online as a gay hunter. I publish a blog, Geoffrey’s Hunting Diary, subtitled “memoirs of a gay huntsman.” In addition, I have a YouTube channel called The Gay Huntsman. Those who view my videos and read my blog posts find the emphasis on hunting and not that I am gay. Yes, Jason gets it; my sexual orientation is irrelevant–it has no bearing on our shared passion for hunting and our friendship. Continue reading
″These two guys that got killed wouldn’t have been killed if they hadn’t been cruising the streets picking up teen-age boys. […] I don’t much care for queers cruising the streets picking up teen-age boys […] I’ve got a teen-age boy. […] These homosexuals, by running around on weekends picking up teen-age boys, they’re asking for trouble. […] They really are.” (AP News)
Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen-year-old from Illinois, who got into deadly confrontations with rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, showed he is more a man than the older men who attacked him. He found himself in the same situation that millions of young men throughout history have: when confronted by an attacker in warfare or civil unrest, you make the stark choice–it is him or me. Rittenhouse did everything possible to avoid the confrontations. He tried to leave the rioting scene when he was separated from the older men he accompanied in a local business’s defence. He was asked to take part in protecting the local business that was set on fire in the rioting the night before. He armed himself, yes, for self-protection, and that is how he used his rifle, an AR-15, in the end.
Moreover, he knew how to use his rifle. He fired five shots at the first attacker (when the first shots were fired), and one shot each at the second and third attackers as a last resort when cornered by them. Regrettably, two of the attackers died, and the third suffered a grievous wound to his arm. Whether he should have been there or not is academic. The fact remains, had Rittenhouse not used deadly force to stop the attackers, he would be either seriously injured or dead at the rioters’ hands. A second-hand account of what happened to the attacker who survived states, “I just talked to [name redacted] too–his only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him. Coward.” (National File) Following the shootings, he ran to the law on the scene, trying to surrender to the police. The police on the scene told him to move along. He turned himself in to the police in Illinois, and he faces several criminal charges in Wisconsin.
He will have his day in court. He killed two men and wounded a third. Being a man means facing the consequences of your actions. I think he understands that. He will have to live with the reality that he killed two men. It will remain on his conscience for the rest of his days. He is caught up in a critical situation, not of his own making that will determine the rest of his life. As the investigation into the shootings is underway, the available evidence supports the argument that he acted in self-defence. It will be some time before a judgement is handed down–he faces six charges. In the meantime, he will endure the media’s efforts and various interest groups to paint him and his family being all manner of villainy. I wish him well as he rides out the storm ahead. I hope he will be able to get on with his life when the court proceedings are concluded. Given how the young Rittenhouse handled himself when he came under attack that fateful night, I think as he matures and leaves his adolescence behind, he will become a fine man. He aspired to join the police force; I hope he can realize his ambition as he showed excellent character strength for such a young man. I think he will be an acceptable candidate for the police force if he stays the course he took before the unfortunate events in Kenosha interrupted his career path. Regardless, his life will never be the same.
Posted by Geoffrey
I remember in 1968, my mother enrolled me in a class at the Holy Family parish in Kingston, Ontario. The class was to prepare me for my First Communion. I was seven years old, and in the class, I received my first lessons from the Roman Catholic Church in its perceived need that I learn humility. I have fleeting memories of the classes–on the whole, I think I enjoyed attending them. After our lesson, we got to play games like hide and seek. One night we got to watch That Darn Cat. The experience that lingers in my memory was delivered by the young woman who taught the course. She told us that Jesus, as a boy did not talk back to his parents and teachers; neither did he fight with other children. I think the children in the class took this lesson to heart. The experience was not unreasonable in and of itself–Christianity, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, teaches that we should try to be like Jesus. Knowing that I talked back to my parents on occasion and got into scraps with my siblings left me feeling a little abashed–so I did my best to follow the example set by the boy Jesus. I learned at that early age that I am not perfect–that despite it, I should strive to do good and avoid doing evil. At the time, I did not appreciate that it was easy for the boy, Jesus, as He was Divine, unlike the rest of the children in the class and me. Continue reading
The words “gun lobby” and “gun nut” are slurs invented by prohibitionists–people opposed to gun ownership and hunting–to besmirch the character of gun owners and hunters. I heard the term “gun nut” used on American television sitcoms like “All in the Family” as early as the 1970s. I shrugged it off at the time as inconsequential. I had no reason to believe as a boy that there was anything wrong with gun ownership and hunting. I remember how other children brought things like duck wings for show and tell in kindergarten and primary school. Wings taken from the wild ducks that their older brothers and fathers shot while out hunting. Other children proudly told the class about their fathers, who had returned from successful big game hunts. My dad and my uncle enjoyed hunting cottontail and jackrabbits when I was a boy. It was not until late in 1989, following the mass shooting at the engineering school at the University of Montreal that I first heard mention of the “gun lobby” used as a pejorative term in public parlance. It came as an unwelcome surprise. Continue reading
The Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau enacted the prohibitions of 1500 makes and models of semi-automatic rifles via an Order-in-council. It came as no surprise as I knew long before now that the Liberal Party of Canada does not care about the rights and freedoms of Canadians when it comes to gun ownership. I am a gun owner–I started handling guns in 1969 when I was eight years old. My father gave me and my siblings our first lessons in the safe handling of firearms. He bought a .22 calibre pellet rifle and taught us how to handle safely, take aim and shoot at targets in our back garden. While my siblings did not take up an interest in guns, I am a lifelong enthusiast for firearms and hunting. My dad gave me my first shotgun, a Savage hammerless single shot in 16 gauge, back in 1975 when I was fourteen. I had to wait until I was fifteen and completed the Hunter Safety Course and pass the safety test before I got my first hunting license. Once certified as a licensed hunter in 1976, I took to the field with my single shot 16 gauge shotgun and never looked back. Continue reading
The Liberal reign of error under the leadership of Justin Trudeau continues. On May 1st, the Liberal government announced a new round of prohibitions of 1500 makes and models of semi-automatic rifles via an Order-in-council. The decision to prohibit these rifles is arbitrary, and like every other policy, the Liberals imposed on Canadians are rooted in divisive identity politics. Justin Trudeau made no secret of his faith in feminism–repeatedly declaring since he became Prime Minister in 2015 with a majority in parliament. He proudly formed a gender-balanced Cabinet “because it is 2015.” He would like everyone to become feminists. Rest assured, Justin Trudeau is a true believer in feminist doctrine–or so he says. Unfortunately, the Trudeau government stumbled in its zeal to promote feminist causes when it passed Bill-C-16 into law. Bill C-16 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, added gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. Bill C-16 was passed into law by the Parliament of Canada in 2016. Continue reading
An accusation was levelled at me last year when I publicly rejected the notion that gay became “queer.” The charge, in short, is that I am a selfish gay man. Now that gay rights are secured–the removal of the stigma of being gay, the freedom to live openly, to participate fully in society, the right to marry among them–I am content to “pull the ladder up after me.” That I reject “queer theory” is true; I made no secret of that. In particular, I object to the conflation of the transgender ideology with male homosexuality–notably gay rights advocacy. In a recent essay, I discussed the emergence of a movement called the LGB Alliance–an initiative to separate the T from the LGB. The problem I found with the LGB Alliance is that it is part of a struggle among feminists–a quarrel over whether transgender women are women or not and if there is a place for transgender women in the feminist movement. I stand by what I wrote in my earlier essay: feminist causes have no bearing on gay men’s issues, no more than does the transgender ideology. The gay rights movement and transgender ideology are unrelated and neither the twain should meet. Continue reading
The wheel of fortune has turned, and as the Covid 19 pandemic spreads, Mika and I watch the chaos unfold around us. The pandemic is bad enough in its own right–just as the flu takes a terrible toll every year–the Covid 19 virus will take a dreadful toll before it runs its course. So far, we are making the best of staying home–we are naturally reclusive, we keep to ourselves at the best of times. It is unlikely that we will be exposed to the deadly virus. We are working from home–Mika works for the federal government at Statistics Canada, and I work in the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. For the time being, we are drawing our salary and benefits–we accept that we are fortunate. Beyond that, our house is paid for, and we are out of debt and Mika informed me that we have enough in savings to sustain us for a while should one or both of us get laid off.
What concerns us the most is the economic upheaval that will result from the quarantine currently in place. We are among those fortunate enough to have our jobs and full salaries still–for the time being. We are in a comfortable position because of a blend of our efforts and good fortune. Both Mika and I experienced hardship in our lives. I did not land my full-time job at Carleton University until I turned thirty-nine. In the years before I started working at Carleton, I went through tough times. I struggled to get by on temp work and contract jobs–often in return for bum’s wages. I experienced long bouts of unemployment and went on social assistance when I was between jobs. I underwent personal bankruptcy over the Canada Student Loans I had no hope of repaying. Trust me, I tried to repay them, but given my spotted employment record in my thirties, the situation was hopeless. I never gave up. I applied myself during bouts of unemployment, working voluntarily in libraries to keep up my skills as a librarian.
Mika is hearing impaired. He has partial hearing only in his right ear. He was born this way and grew up with this disability. It did not stop him from excelling in school. He went to Queen’s University on an academic scholarship, where he studied mathematics and computer science. He works for Statistics Canada as a programmer. Yes, he applied himself to overcome his disability and had the good fortune to land a full-time job with the federal government shortly after he graduated from Queen’s in 1996. Mika is savvy at financial management too. It is his skill at managing money that ensured our prosperity as a couple. It is his skill and discipline in financial management–he is no spendthrift–that will get us through the crisis.
In our isolation, we have not lost track of the gravity of the situation. On a personal level, we have friends who fear that the loss of employment could lead to the loss of their home. Mika and I increased the wages for an acquaintance we employ to clean our house. We offered him a hand up, and he happily accepted. He was laid off from his day job and is waiting for his Employment Insurance benefits to kick in. Yes, the federal government instituted a guaranteed income for workers–seventy-five percent of their wages and salaries–and bailouts for small business owners who are forced to close for the duration of the crisis. It is like we are passengers on the RMS Titanic. The ship is sinking, and though there are not enough boats for all the passengers, the federal government has at least thrown out a lifeline to offer as many people as possible a chance to survive.
Mika and I are fortunate. We have each other and lots for which to be thankful. We kept the wolf from the door throughout our lives through a combination of our efforts and good fortune. It is distressing to think that the Covid 19 pandemic and the economic crisis it spawned could spell a drastic reversal of fortune for us. However, as I wrote in an essay I published last year: “The wolf is always at the door and you never know what fortune will bring but rather than despairing I accept I am still among the living and intend to live my life to the fullest.” Mika and I will keep our friends and families in our thoughts as we weather the storm. We hope that the current crisis is resolved with as little hardship as possible to everyone across the world.
Posted by Geoffrey and Mika
I remember an incident from many years ago that took place as I stood in line at a fish market. I stopped by the fish market to buy some fish, sole if I remember, for my supper. As I stood in the line, an older woman walked up and tried to cut into the line. She said to the woman standing behind me that she had left the line to quickly pick up an item she forgot–that she intended to take her place back in the queue. The woman turned to me, the one who wanted to cut into the line and said, “tell her.” I said nothing as I stood there quietly, waiting to pay for the sole. I thought to myself, “leave me out of this–the dispute is between you and the other woman.” What made recall this memory is the growing controversy over transgender rights. A recent development in the debate is the emergence of a movement and groups of activists called the LGB Alliance. The LGB Alliance is a response to the ascendency of the transgender rights movement. The LGB Alliance, purportedly, is an initiative of gay, lesbian and bisexual rights activists who want to separate the movement from the transgender rights movement. I welcomed this development–the gay rights movement breaking off from the transgender movement as transgenderism has nothing to do with being gay. However, it quickly dawned on me that just as the transgender movement has nothing to do with being gay, neither does the LGB Alliance concern itself with the interests of gay men. Continue reading