A few years ago during one of the many father-son campouts that made use of our farm, I was invited to join the families around the campfire for a little after-dinner conversation. We were roasting a nice big round of beef on the spit for a late-night snack when talk turned to things such as “where does beef come from.”
You see, any number of kids from the ‘burbs have come down over the years for a couple of days of hiking, horseback riding, fishing and camping. And as time went by, I began to see more of a disconnect between the younger kids and the world outside of their own very confined experiences.
On this one particular night the boys asked what I was cooking. When I told them it was a large beef roast, one of them asked, “What is beef?” I explained that it was a French word for cow meat. I’ll let you guess what the reaction was. I then asked “Where does beef come from?” The answer: Kroger’s.
The dads all laughed. I felt like crying. Here we were, under the stars, yellow sparks flying into the night sky, coyotes yipping just a few yards off in the darkness, a cool dampness beginning to settle on the tents, and a huge hunk of delicious meat sizzling on the spit, and the boys had no idea where meat came from.
So, being a lifelong hunter, I began to educate them about how God had provided all that we need and asked them if they knew how to get food if there were no grocery stores. They didn’t. They had completely lost all connection with the real world, where all of the food, water, shelter and tools we could ever need were already provided for us by God. Laugh? I think not.
So then we began talking about hunting and trapping. Before long one kid expressed his opinion that shooting animals would poison the meat. When I asked him why, he said, “because bullets are made of lead.” He even said that shooting bullets that missed would poison the ground for the same reason.
I asked him where he heard such a thing, and of course he said “from my teacher.” My sadness began to morph into a quiet anger.
Have you any idea what the Environmental Protection Agency requires if you even so much as do replacement windows in your house? Just on the chance that there is lead paint on the old frames, a cost prohibitive air scrubber and tenting system may be required. If you have an older home and want to sell it a lead inspection report could prevent the buyers from getting a loan. If you can’t sell your house, what are you supposed to do with it, tear it down? Not if it contains lead paint you won’t, at least not without the federal government requiring you to spend tons of money on hazardous waste protection.
When I asked the young man who seemed very concerned that lead bullets falling to the ground would pollute the earth, the air and the water “Where does lead come from?” he had no idea; But then again, he thought beef comes from Kroger’s.
Lead, I told him, comes from the ground. Putting a tiny piece back here and there could hardly pollute the earth from which the lead was taken to begin with.
Well I’m glad to hear that my experience was not isolated. This week the U.S. Congress had to battle the exact same flawed thinking. House Republicans blocked the EPA from banning lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.
But, I wonder, how many more years will we be able to hold off such nonsense? You see, a whole new generation of voters will be coming online soon. And the way it looks a double decker pink slime burger from Kroger’s is all they will need to survive, so long as we ban bullets and fishing tackle and people can’t harvest God’s bounty on their own.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a daily commentary for KyForward.