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Hunting for an Identity

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Dear Mr. Migaldi,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write and publish your essay "Natural Born Killers" [November 26]. Your gentle yet firm handling of the confusion that men (and women too) experience when defining their identities struck a vibrant chord with me.

As a man, I too have had to wrestle with cultural definitions of success and masculinity which clash with my own sense of what I feel is right and ideal. Like you, I have enjoyed skeet and target shooting and other recreational activities in which the goal is to better myself without "hitting someone over the head."

I have felt somewhat like that small boy who is told to not tell the truth that the emperor is naked in the fable about the emperor who believed that he was wearing gossamer finery when in fact he was wearing nothing when I criticize football, sport hunting, and other culturally sanctioned activities that seem to needlessly embrace violence against others.

The problem, as I see it, is that it seems all too easy for people to gain feelings of personal strength by their demonstrating superiority to others rather than taking their strength from their own internal values. I see this as a major human shortcoming which needs to be overcome if the species is to succeed and survive.

To my way of thinking, if the culture continues to rely upon the hunting ethic (aka unregulated trade) which may have worked when the world population was small, and resources plentiful, we will find ourselves killing each other for limited space, rather than cooperatively planning to limit population and share resources equitably.

Again, thank you very much for writing an emotionally and rationally integrated piece.

Richard Katz

N. Lakewood

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