The U.K. Daily Mail is having a bit of fun with the “Americans are gun crazy rubes” bit again, with a photo-heavy spread about hog-hunting on a Alabama plantation. Without a doubt, the worst part of the spread is the focus on six-year-old Ryan Chavez and his father, Jeremy Chavez.
Hog-hunting isn’t just a shooting sport in many U.S. states. It has become an economic necessity as the beasts—which are extremely prolific breeders—wreck agricultural crops and landscaping to the tune of millions of dollars in damage. The feral hogs are also known to attack when cornered or scared, which is just one of my concerns of allowing such a small child to join the hunt. My other concern is that he simply isn’t big enough to handle the weapon he’s been provided.
The article leads with the photo above, with the unbalanced Ryan on both knees. There are doubtlessly more unstable positions one could adopt—the crane position from Karate Kid comes to mind—but they are few and far between. He could fall forward at any moment, pointing the weapon who knows where as he falls.
There is no support for his frail arms, and he’s attempting to use stock that is woefully too long for his short six-year-old arms, designed for youths almost twice his age. His father, woefully out of position, can’t see that Ryan is attempting to use the wrong eye to acquire the sights. This is a disaster waiting to happen. He is in little danger of hitting a hog, and a significant risk to anyone around him.
This however, is the “killer.” Father Jeremy has wandered downrange and left a six-year-old with a weapon in his hands. You simply do not do this. No one should go downrange until weapons are on safety, with the chamber open, a chamber flag in place, and the weapon grounded. It’s hard to envision a less-safe action on the part of his father, and I’m stunned that the owner of the property is allowing this.
I could care less about the actual hunting aspects of the article. This child has no business participating in a hunt with a weapon he is too small to handle, with such obviously inadequate marksmanship and safety training.
This is a disaster waiting to happen, and I’m ashamed of the adults involved.