Empathy and reason win more debates than juvenile attacks

I was watching one of my favorite British antagonists, Piers Morgan, the other night argue with Corey Knowlton about his $350,000 purchase of a black rhino tag in Namibia. Initially I completely agreed with Morgan in the argument, because while I have built up a tolerance and even appreciation for hunting during my time in Texas, I’m still not sold on the idea of hunting as a sport purely for trophies.

However, as the conversation continued I found myself more and more siding with Knowlton and his decision to go to Namibia and kill this rhino.

The argument between the two men demonstrated a few important things and I suppose some general good tips for life—if you’re planning on arguing with someone.

Australia, like Britain, is a fairly anti-gun and anti-hunting type of country. There are still ways to purchase a gun, but it’s pretty difficult, and actually knowing someone who owns a gun is far and few between. It’s just as unlikely to know somebody who goes hunting on a regular basis or who enjoys hunting.

Before moving to Texas, I had never seen a gun let alone held one, but of course by the end of my first semester I was able to tick that box off of my bucket list. Next on the bucket list was hunting. While I have been hunting, I have still yet to shoot a deer (or any animal for that matter), and maybe I never will, but the thing that has changed most, and maybe what should be ticked off my bucket list, is my attitude towards hunting.

If you had asked me my opinion four years ago, I would have told you I thought hunting was cruel, senseless and not at all humane. However, ask me now and you’re going to hear a different answer. For those who think I just jumped on the Texan bandwagon because I couldn’t handle the pressure of being in the south and speaking out—you are wrong.

The reason my mind changed is because of people like Knowlton—who instead of ranting about what they think, and sounding more like five-year-olds throwing a tantrum than any mature adult trying to convey an opinion—take the time to explain to me what it is to hunt and show me the kind of lifestyle that many hunters take on.

The kind of lifestyle calls for you to respect the animal, and it isn’t just about the killing portion of the hunt but the whole experience. Like a good friend explained to me, “it’s not called killing, it’s called hunting.“

This isn’t me having a go at anti-gun and anti-hunting lobbyists. It’s just my observations on the effectiveness of certain tactics when shifting a person’s opinion. In my experience opposing views are far more efficient and well received when you aren’t acting like a cranky five-year-old trying to cut off your friend in an argument by covering your ears and yelling over the top of them like a certain British tabloid journalist recently did. So next time you enter into a heated debate, try collecting valid facts, listening to your opponent and maybe they’ll be more inclined to listen to you.

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