A Recent “Sports” Article

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A few nights ago, I had dinner with my buddy, Trace. Trace is the quintessential outdoorsman and his love for hunting is nothing short of contagious. This brief conversation over dinner renewed my desire to do something I thought I’d never be able to do as a person who is blind: hunt. Yes, with guns!

Now, I wasn’t a hunter when I could see, so why would I want to do it now? Simple answer? The challenge.

So, as I have a new interest in hunting and the adaptations I’ll have to make, I did what any good American would do who has an interest in, well, anything! I googled it!

After culling through a few dozen sites selling duck blinds, I finally came to some different articles on blind hunters.

One article was written by a famous sports writer last winter. His topic wasn’t as much related to blind hunting as slamming lawmakers for legalizing blind hunting(in Texas) instead of taking up more important issues(apparently Jeff Pearlman doesn’t think civil rights is an important issue).

He belittled those who are blind and the congressman from Texas who proposed the legalization of blind folks being able to hunt with the assistance of a sighted guide. To Jeff I say…BITE ME! And, I have a lot more things to say to him, too. So, Jeffy, if you have your google alerts set up to feed your feeble little ego every time someone writes about you, then I hope this makes it’s way to your in box. And when it does? Let’s talk! Actually…screw it…let’s just talk right here!

If there is a legitimate complaint about those who are blind hunting with the assistance of a sighted guide, then say it! But to mask this issue into an editorial against Bush, the NRA, Texas or those of us who may actually benefit from such a bill is dishonest journalism. This makes you a dishonest journalist. One who seems to wish he was writing for the NY Times(or some equally despicable publication) instead of for sports rags.

Seriously! Do you think anyone, including those of us who may actually be blind hunters, think this should be done without assistance from someone sighted? You’re right-sending a blind person out into the woods with a firearm IS dangerous. So is giving an idiot a word processor and a column in sports magazines.

I fully plan to contact the Texas congressman who proposed this bill for his state. When I do, I’d like to invite him to hunt with Trace and I sometime in the future. I can guarantee no one will walk away with any injuries. I can’t say the same for those of us who were hurt by your words. Again, Jeff Pearlman, for your December article…you should be ashamed. Oh, and BITE ME!

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=pearlman/070514

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Showing 3 comments
  • Jeff Pearlman
    Reply

    Engel:

    Well, while I don’t Google alert my name, my good mother does—and always fills me in. So here I am.

    First off, I enjoyed your post, and think you make some good points (despite the unnecessary journalistic insults). I also understand why, as a blind man, you want to be able to do anything/everything anyone else can do. It makes complete sense.

    That said, blind hunting DOES NOT make sense. Even with the help of a sighted person, I do not believe on without sight should be allowed to drive a car, operate a forklift or—more than anything—hunt. Accurately firing a gun is hard enough for people with sight. To ask someone without sight to do so—even with help—is inane. Is this truly a civil rights issue, as you say, or an issue of pro-gun politicians going to the utmost of extremes?

    However you feel, I write this letter with complete respect. If you felt demeaned by my column, such was not my intention, and I apologize.

    Jeff Pearlman
    anngold22@gmail.com

  • Marcus Engel
    Reply

    Mr. Pearlman,

    I’ll hand it to you, you have guts. When an article is written with underhanded bias, I fully expect that writer to be a yellow bellied low-life without the fortitude to respond (to borrow some Texas slang). You proved me wrong and I thank you for it.

    Yes, your article was insulting and demeaning to those of us who are blind. Believe it or not, I’m not the hypersensitive person with a disability who looks for reasons to be insulted. Truly, I find that doing as much as I can shatters more stereotypes than complaining about the limitations others place on me. That only makes sense.

    Please, though, let’s compare apples to apples. A laser scope, a shotgun with a range of less than 200 feet, 12K acres of private land, a sighted guide with 40 years experience hunting-these elements combine to make me, a blind hunter, much, MUCH safer than your average (i.e. sighted) weekend hunter from the ‘burbs who only comes out for a Saturday hunt once per year. Cars and forklifts? Again, let’s keep the discussion on the tracks it’s on: blind hunting and bias.

    I’m not the NRA. I’m not a staunch conservative. I’m not a political donor. I have about as moderate of political views as you’ll ever find. That’s the whole reason why I’m touching on this subject at all: it’s about my rights as an American, blind or not.

    Secondly, it’s about you, a journalist, doing your best not to belittle other human beings. Keep the article on why you think blind hunting is a bad idea and I’ll read it and simply disagree. Throw in blind insults, assumptions about the abilities of blind people and decorate it all with your political views and some funny little anecdotes – that all equals poor journalism.

    Anyone who writes knows they will, sooner or later, insult someone. This should be one of the unfortunate happenings of writing. It should not be the goal. Right or wrong I may be, but your article seemed written with the intent to sway political beliefs of others by demeaning those of us who can’t see.

  • Jeff Pearlman
    Reply

    Hmmm … I have to go back and read the article again. Keep in mind that it is a column, not a straight, unbiased piece, so I am allowed to express my opinion.

    That said, I do tend to sometimes come off as snarky, and snarky is sometimes rude, and rude is sometimes offensive. I don’t think I’ll ever agree with you on the legalization of blind hunting, but I can agree that I’m capable of writing a shitty column that unintentionally offends …

    If that’s the case here (and from your vantage point, it sure seems that way), I again apologize. I have zero agenda against the sight impaired (sadly, my father is slowly losing his sight), but it obviously came off that way. Again, my bad …

    Jeff

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