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Not a simple hunter’s tale

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When I read about the hunter in Wisconsin who shot eight people yesterday, I visualized the news item as a blog entry. As other bloggers can attest, it becomes habitual to do that after you’ve had the weblog habit for a while. I even had a headline: “Hunter bags 5, maims three.” The blog entry would have been simple. It might have taken one of two forms. A reminiscence about growing up around people who hunted, and, getting rid of the last gun I owned when I was in my early twenties. I could have talked about the bear that got away. Or, I might have blasted a myth: that hunting is a pure-hearted, safe sport. Actually, self-injury or accidental shooting of others is not unusual at all. Nor are drunken hunters who couldn’t shoot straight if their lives depended on it. I would have sought and published statistics to support my claim. I thought the story was about an intoxicated or insane man who became so possessive of a hunter’s roost that he shot anyone who came near it. But, today, the saga of the hunter who shot eight people took an unexpected turn.

The Associated Press reports.

HAYWARD, Wisconsin (AP) — A man suspected in the killings of six hunters told investigators he began firing after he was shot at first and some of the victims called him racially derogatory names, according to documents filed Tuesday.

A judge set bail at $2.5 million for Chai Vang, 36, of St. Paul, Minnestora, who is suspected in the killings Sunday of six deer hunters and the wounding of two others.

. . .Vang, a Hmong immigrant from Laos, was arrested Sunday about four hours after the shootings as he emerged from the woods with his empty SKS 7.62 mm semiautomatic rifle.

Vang told investigators he didn’t realize he was on private property when he climbed the tree stand, according to the probable-cause statement released Tuesday.

A hunter approached Vang to tell him he was on private property, and Vang started to leave as other hunters approached, the statement said. Vang said the hunters surrounded him, and some started calling him racial slurs.

Vang said he started walking away but looked back to see the first hunter point his rifle at him and then fire a shot that hit the ground 30 to 40 feet behind him, the statement said.

That’s when Vang told investigators he started firing at the group, and some fell to the ground and others tried to run away, according to the statement.

Vang is said to have killed five people at the scene. Another died in the hospital. Two survived their wounds. Friends of the deceased and authorities portray the gunman as aggressive, pursuing and slaying unarmed men and a woman. They say only one weapon was on hand for the eight victims, and it may not have been fired.

The St. Paul area has had tensions between its predominantly white population and immigrant Hmong for years. Conflicts have involved unusual courtship rites, hunting and trespassing.

Chai Vang, a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, has a history of domestic violence. He waved a gun in one incident.

It is premature to speculate about how this episode will go down in history. The number of casualties guarantee it some notoriety. Will it be man versus society or man versus himself? A sane man or one damaged by mental illness? Were the victims the innocents Wisconcin authorities describe them as, or did they harass and fire at Vang because of his race?

Holidays give us more free time to ponder the things we read about or see on the news. As the crime of the week, the killings in Wisconsin will be one of the topics many of us will give at least some thought to. Initially, I thought it would be a simple tale of a hunter gone awry. It isn’t.

What’s the art?

A Simonov 7.62 mm Carbine (SKS).

Note: This entry also appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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About The Diva

  • cmon folks

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this guy is a cold blooded murderer. People go to jail for defending their homes with guns, certainly verbal insults do not constitute “fear for one’s life”. I’ll wait for the trial for the official guilty, but i wouldn’t take any bets on his innocence.

  • Peter Duncan

    I hope Ms Diva (where ever she is) won’t mind if I ‘take over’ her blog….

    When first arrested, Chai Vang told authorities the one member of the hunting party took Mr Vang’s gun and began shooting his own hunting party. Mr Vang also claimed that he was marched around the ‘killing field’ at gun point. After authorities pointed out that the facts of the case did not support Vang’s version of the truth, namely that the first injured hunter radio-ed back for help, Mr Vang changed his story. Now he claims he was fired upon and was simply defending himself. Something smells!?!

  • Peter Duncan

    Thanks for the info. I am sorry to learn of her re-location. While she could be caustic, she was also very informative. I will miss (some of) her comments. The discussion concerning her lips drove me wild.

    Hasta la vista baby!!!

  • PG-13X

    Peter, So you do not continue to waste
    your time,Mac Diva has moved away from
    the neighborhood and it did not leave a
    forwarding address.

  • Peter Duncan

    Ms Diva,

    I am no lawyer so please forgive me if this question does not make sense to you.

    Even if Mr Vang is able to prove that he was fired upon first how in God’s name can anyone over look the fact that he shot and killed six people (and attempted to kill two more). Some of the victims were shot in the back. Most of them were unarmed. Even if somebody did call him a name he over reacted and took the lives of ordinary people.

    I understand he has obtained three lawyers to defend him. Perhaps you could tell us a bit more about these gents, given your talent for research.

    Lastly, I do not understand when people say that cultural differences might have played a part in all of this. It seems to me to be a case of someone taking matters into his own hands.

  • Oh, Scoota likes be ‘ironic,’ Peter.

    It is not looking good for Vang. If there was provocation, he might be able to use a diminished capacity defense. But, as you say, removing the scope while running and under fire seems very unlikely. The best evidence for him would be some proof he was fired on first.

    I am kind of surprised the trespassing issue is still not resolved in regard to the Hmong in the St. Paul area. I would have expected people from some legal organization — the fraternities, National Lawyers Guild, good-hearted DAs — to have taken on an educational role in the Hmong community.

  • Peter Duncan

    It was a very tragic day in Wisconsin. Of course, Vang contends he was provoked into shootin 8 people. There are two surviors that tell a different story. Vang claims to be fire upon. Others claim that Vang did all of the firing. Here are some of the facts. Vang was on private property and in somebody else’s deer blind. As he was walking away he took his scope off of his rifle (scopes aren’t effective at close range). He emptied his rifle and then reloaded. He shot one man as he lay wounded on the ground. He shot a 21 yr old in the back.

    Something snapped in Vang’s mind and it is a tragedy and not some sort of celebration like the blogger b4 me said.


  • Scoota Rey

    Hey, I’m glad that those people were shot and killed if that racial slur / hate-crime allegation is true.

    (Instead of glad, I should say “not sympathetic”)