I learned a few things today. About people in general. About naturists and naturism. About publishing a newsletter.

It came with a post I wrote for The Naturism Community. It was edgy, not the kind of naturism reporting I usually do there. It was one of those ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ posts deploring hunting and asking naturists if they could ever justify the killing of animals for sport.

I tied it to a breaking news story in this part of the world: famed Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price posing in full camouflage gear and holding some kind of long gun in an Instagram post, “taking aim at a federal firearms bill,” as the Montreal Gazette wrote. “I support the (Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights) to keep my hunting tools,” Price wrote on Instagram. 

The first thing I learned with my post is that I pushed the limits of what the naturism community wants to talk about. It made a few members very uncomfortable, and they let me know it. And a surprising number (to me) of people who commented did offer up their justifications for hunting animals. I say “surprising” because it caught me off guard. I thought there would be almost universal condemnation of hunting in the naturism community.

The next lesson was something I had pretty much come to believe already: naturism is mostly about being naked, albeit most often in a natural setting.There is no higher credo in the naturism community beyond the right to be naked in as many social spaces as possible. That’s their cause and what unifies them.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Naturists are a cross-section of society, the proverbial “everyday people” with one notable difference: their love of social nudity.

Objectively speaking, it’s just the way it is, I report to you. But personally speaking, it is a bitter pill. I guess I expected naturists to be — or wished they all were — a bunch of Greenpeace activists and supporters.

The next lesson: many people, naturists among them, feel they have the right to hunt animals for sport. Personally speaking, that is the bitterest of pills to me, as in “How could they!?” But my heart is back in my chest now. I’m being objective.

And so some of my readers didn’t like my comparison to Putin and what he is doing in Ukraine. Yes, it was edgy. They didn’t get it. I suppose I could have explained that further, but I thought they would see it. Putin’s war is sport for him. He enjoys directing the killing. In his mind, it’s his right to kill Ukrainians and destroy their country. 

I could have pointed out that today’s sports hunter in the forest can become tomorrow’s Putin protégé. When you become desensitized to killing an innocent creature in the forest, you can become the malignant monster that is Vladimir Putin, even if it is to lesser degrees. How many mass shooters in the United States started by shooting squirrels and rabbits and birds when they were kids. But I digress. (I know. Most animal hunters don’t become people killers.)

What really troubles me the most — and I am being objective again — is the lack of compassion for the animals. The lack of a universal love. The lack of understanding. The “know not what they do” part. 

I’m thinking of all the shooters now, whether they kill animals or people. WTF? What don’t they get about “Thou shalt not kill?”

I’m being objective.

I’m not judging.

We live in a world that has domesticated animals for food and work and hunted the “wild” ones for thousands of years. Mankind has long believed he has the right to enslave and kill animals. And to kill people, too.

The real story here for me, though, is that all of this introspection and reflection was brought on by Carey Price’s Instagram post, which Facebook put in my feed as “suggested reading.” 

It was a suggested reading I could have done without. I don’t need to be reminded of what hunters do to the animal kingdom no more than I would want to see a picture from a slaughterhouse in my feed. I could say it was an assault on me by Carey Price and the organization he is supporting, but, hey, I’m tough. I’m a journalist. Right?

Well, it got to me, anyway.

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive.

That happens sometimes.

It’s just the way it is.