Oh Mr Bunny, how I have changed

Posted on May 11, 2012


Not another review or my usual blather, not even a rant. This time I simply have a small reflection on how we change, or at least how I have changed.

I’m originally a country boy. Not growing up on the farm as such but by my teens I knew how to shoot and as I grew older, I liked hunting mainly for rabbits and foxes. But that was more years ago now than I really care to recall.

A few minutes ago, here on campus at the University of Canberra, feeling like a change from my coffee brewed in the plunger I wandered over to the cafeteria to grab a refill before they closed the coffee machine off for the day. This was later afternoon. As I was walking back to the building housing the graduate research student office, I paused to watch some rabbits.

Now rabbits are an introduced species in Australia. They are officially feral. In the bad old days, we were in a state of seemingly perpetual rabbit plague and despite reductions in numbers due to introduced disease control, they are still not that hard to find. So it is not surprising that we have a few here and there on our quite ruralised sort of campus with all its open ground, shrubbery etc.

While watching the rabbits, it occurred to me just how much I have changed. The desire to grab the rifle and start letting rip a few head shots is long gone. After the hideously premature death of my better half in 2004, any such remaining desire to go and kill things just shrivelled away. My rifles had already disappeared during the guns buy-back scheme in Australia in the 1990s. Not that I had anything fancy, just repeater and semi-automatic 22s. The licence had long been allowed to lapse.

In all honesty, if I had still had a firearm of some description around the house back when I was cracking up badly, I probably would have blown my brains out. So Prime Minister John Howard actually did me a favour there (possibly depending on your point of view).

Once whenever I looked at rabbits, I assessed how old they probably were (the amount of reddish fur is a rough guide to increasing age) and how hard a shot it might be. Now, I was just watching them feed, admitting quietly to myself that yes, they’re still strictly speaking vermin, but there was something peaceful about the sight of them quietly munching on the grass, not overly worried by the presence of a few students wandering around. Then a young kit (the correct name for young rabbit) dashed out. It seemed so harmless and vulnerable. Exactly what did I used to enjoy about giving these animals the lead pill treatment in the past – a .22 calibre lead pill injected with great velocity?

It seems that I have indeed changed.

Now if you have an opinion on what I’m blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don’t bite – at least not always.

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