“If in doubt, shoot the bear.”

So instructs Wesley J. Smith while discussing the fate of the Idaho man charged by federal prosecutors for killing a bear–a grizzly, not a black bear, mind you–to protect his wife and kids. From the story:

Hill was showering. His wife, not able to sleep, looked out her bedroom window and spotted the bears an estimated 40 yards from where the kids were playing. She ran outside, shouting for the kids to get in the house. Hill, finishing a shower, heard the screams and looked outside. Seeing the bears, he grabbed the only weapon at hand, a rifle, which was wrapped and unloaded. He found three bullets, loaded the weapon and raced outside. He didn’t know where his children or his wife were exactly, but could hear his wife’s panicked screams. He stepped out onto the back deck from their bedroom and saw one of the bears climbing halfway up the side of a pen for the children’s pigs. He ran out and fired a shot at the bear closest to him.

As would any man with common sense. Jeremy Hill killed the bear and self-reported it. Local prosecutors didn’t charge him. Self-defense, you know. But federal prosecutors have, and Michelle Malkin notes the penalty is steep:

He now faces up to a year in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Malkin details the plea for intervention from Idaho’s GOP governor to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.  <Crickets.> The call for help will go unanswered. As Smith noted:

This is just blind, obtuse, bureaucratism, tinged with radical environmentalism.  Protecting endangered species is a good thing, but not at the expense of a real potential for loss of human life.

My new definition of surreal: punishing a man for protecting his family from an animal, one noted for its savagery. Two men have been mauled to death by grizzlies in Yellowstone this summer.

Local law enforcement believes Hill “acted reasonably.” The federal government is doing anything but.


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