Constructions of Victimhood and Blame

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Global temperatures are rising in a synchronous dance with glacier ablation and rising ocean levels. Hurricanes are strengthening, islands are drowning, droughts are worsening, and weather is gravitating towards extremes, at the same time that our modern version of the Know-Nothings is willfully denying the obvious. Meanwhile, an exceedingly few people are attacked by one of the trifling number of grizzly bears that have survived the onslaught of humanity. And of those exceedingly few people, fewer yet are killed. Fewer by orders of magnitude than those killed by surgical procedures, measles, lightning strikes, dog attacks, murderous white supremacists…and any other of a multitude of causes.

Yet you wouldn’t know this. Based on media coverage, the polemics of certain politicians, and the lament of privileged ranchers and hunters, you would think that grizzly bears are running amuck, killing all who venture near their malicious claws and teeth. Or, even among those inclined to be more temperate, you would think that grizzlies are the unmitigated malefactors, and the attacked humans, victims without exception.

Grizzly Bears Run Amuck?

Apropos, Mark Uptain and a sow and yearling grizzly were killed during September 2018 in the Teton Wilderness north of Jackson, Wyoming. Uptain was guiding a client from Florida named Corey Chubon on an elk hunt that was undoubtedly over-hyped and over-romanticized; which is to say, the reality of hunting in…

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