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Of Rights and Wrongs

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

- through the forest and then having your entrails spill onto the ground while you're still alive."

"Quit it," she said.

"It's not pretty," he agreed. "Neither were the deer I found a few months ago, dead, on the banks of my pond. They'd bled from every opening in their bodies. They'd bled internally, too. They bleed so much, they must drink water to replace the blood. You find them - dead - near ponds and rivers. Happens when you've got too many deer."

"That's natural," she argued. "Nothing natural can be evil."

"Humans are part of nature, too," he reminded her. "If you don't kill deer, you have more deer/car accidents. That puts both humans and deer at risk. And the fewer deer taken by hunters, the more that wind up dead or dying in a ditch somewhere, put there by cars.

"Besides, I just don't see what's so wrong with me killing and eating an animal that's been here on my farm for years," he continued. "What's so bad about enjoying the meat of a critter that's been into my corn?"

She thought about this for a moment. "I just think it's wrong to kill any animal."

"Okay, let's look at this another way," he said. "You say you try to make sure no living thing is harmed by your presence, right?"

"Right."

"But what about the critters displaced by the folks drilling for your oil?" Hack asked. "How about the tankers that leak into our oceans and rivers, killing sea lions and waterfowl?"

"You use oil, too."

"But I don't drive a gas-guzzling sports car and wear plastic shoes," he said. "That plastic will be around a thousand years from now, not like my leather shoes, which will rot."

"And you wear cotton, too, I see," Hack continued. "But to grow that cotton meant draining and planting land that was once wetlands. It meant channelizing streams. Deep, fertile rivers became warm stagnant pools where no life can survive."

Suellen was quiet.

"You buy broccoli, don't you?" "Sure."

"Even in the dead of winter?"

"Of course."

"And carrots and pecans and oranges, right?" Hack squinted towards the sun as he thought about what he was going to say next. "Where do they grow these fruits and nuts and vegetables?"

"Mostly California and Florida, I suppose," she said. "Places where it's warm." "Yep, that's right," Hack said. "Where do they get the water?" "Why, from lakes and rivers, I guess," she said.

"California's Imperial Valley was once a

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