The headlines give the story away.

A hike into horror and an act of courage

I have read countless articles that began as this one did. I knew what was coming. The usual plot goes like this:

Some nice folks are wandering in the wilderness. The day is pleasant with chirping birds, sunny skies and green grass. Suddenly from nowhere emerges an animal with murderous intent. Its jaws and claws rip and rend. Blood spurts, the nice folks scream and there is general terror all around. One man emerges a hero and manages to more or less save the day but not before suffering horrible injuries.

The animal is in this case a Grizzly. He is rather small, weighing in at 400 pounds or just a shade more than Rosie O’Donnell. The prose describing the horror is suitably purple.

Johan looked up. Jenna was running toward him. She had yelled something, he wasn’t sure what. Then he saw it. The open mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the flattened ears. Jenna ran right past him, and it struck him — a flash of fur, two jumps, 400 pounds of lightning.

It was a grizzly, and it had him by his left thigh. His mind started racing — to Jenna, to the trip, to fighting, to escaping. The bear jerked him back and forth like a rag doll, but he remembered no pain, just disbelief. It bit into him again and again, its jaw like a sharp vise stopping at nothing until teeth hit bone. Then came the claws, rising like shiny knife blades, long and stark.

You may read the article for more such. And the guy was indeed a hero of sorts though he was remarkably unprepared and astoundingly lucky. He did have that silly stuff that environmentalists claim will stop a bear attack. His daughter tried to get at it during the attack.

She had reached down to pick up the bear spray. The small red canister had fallen out of the side pocket of his day pack, and there it was, on the ground. But she couldn’t remove the safety clip, and the bear was coming at her again. She screamed.

I bet she did, and rather loudly too.

Johan and his daughter Jenna were avid hikers, but like most of their kind were given over to the philosophy that the best protection from bears is to make noise, carry pepper spray—its ‘safety clip’ well in place—and so on. We have heard such advice before. In fact, Johan Otter, according to every dictate of the environmental movement, was doing everything right.

It did him no good. And he was warned the night before of what he might encounter.

Johan was eager to experience the wildness of the park, and the first night he did. A black bear, just outside the lodge.

I would say that Johan Otter got a full measure of ‘experiencing the wildness of the park.’

The one thing he did not carry—and probably would not, considering his preppy California pedigree— was the one thing that would save his life and the lives of others every time. A gun.

The value of a gun does not depend upon the weather or the mood of a wild animal. The value of the gun depends upon the laws of physics. A certain weight of lead traveling at a certain velocity impacts and penetrates the tissue of a bear and continues through its body rending bone and organs. The more pieces of lead sent into the bear, the more damage is done until the laws of biology intrude and the animal expires.

Trouble was that in National Parks firearms are prohibited. One walks in bear country armed with only a hope and a prayer—and luck.

Did I write that firearms are prohibited? Why, yes I did—except to the rangers at the park. In fact the rangers who saved Otter and his daughter were carrying shotguns.

In other words the citizens were to be unarmed while the government employees had the right to self-defense. Sound familiar?

It should. Some weeks ago at Virginia Tech a monster intruded into a group of unarmed citizens. You know the rest. Of course the government employees were well-armed indeed. Thus they survived. Those unarmed did not.

There are many morals here—and all of them obvious ones.

(Hat Tip: Bookworm Room)