Sun Tzu and the War Against Shooting


There was a feeling of deja-vu when the BASC notification came through on my mobile phone today. Buried in the mundane depths of a day job which is the anti-thesis of my outdoor persona, I had to grit my teeth. My shooting, my addiction to being in the wild (and writing about it as often as I can) is what keeps me sane. It is being challenged yet again in an annoying war of attrition by ‘Wild Justice’. Even the name sticks in my craw. Justice? These crowd-funded mercenaries still have the blood of predated curlew chicks and blinded lambs on their hands. Now they are choosing to claim that the release of poults into the countryside has an adverse effect on native fauna. Discounting the fact that this countryside has been carefully managed to ensure not just the poults survival, but that of other vulnerable species too. The benefits of involvement with shooting, as a pastime, are totally lost on media demi-gods and animal rights extremists. The benefits of shooting to the countryside, its flora and fauna … and to our rural communities … are well evidenced. By the time I got home, I felt much more composed. The reaction of BASC (click the link) had been immediate and well received in my camp.

So why am I so relaxed about this latest skirmish? I am a lifelong reader of ancient philosophy, including a masterly piece by an iconic Chinese military strategist and philosopher called Sun Tzu. It was called The Art Of War. One small but important piece of advice from this was “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”. But do we know ourselves?

By the time I got to check social media tonight, there was already evidence of our own community engaging in long-distance sniping at members of the Wild Justice trio. A futile exercise. Have you not wondered why they haven’t simply ‘blocked’ you? It’s because they’re using your media posts to build the case against shooting. Do yourselves a favour and ‘block’ them from your timeline to avoid the temptation of being drawn in to a boyish ‘pissing contest’. Rise above it. The American writer E.B.White once wrote “One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy”. Use your time more wisely.

Finally, a word of warning to Wild Justice should they deign to read this? A famous man once said “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war”.

That man was Napolean Bonaparte. And we all know what happened to him, don’t we?

Copyright Ian Barnett, Wildscribbler, July 2019

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