|George "Buster" Singleton|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “We are not as smart as we think” was originally published in the Dec. 18, 1997 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
We Americans are a stupid people. We continue to believe that all that we have been blessed with will forever be here for us to waste and destroy. We give no thought to being conservative, and save and protect that which the Almighty has blessed us with. We care less of those who are elderly and perhaps in need for something to eat or clothing to wear. We do nothing about the trash and filth that litter our land and scar our roadsides.
Since the opening of this deer hunting season, I cannot believe the number of rotten and decaying deer carcasses that can be seen along our highways and county roads. As I travel around the country of ours, I cannot believe people, who are supposed to be intelligent and sane, have killed and discarded the number of wild deer, many of which have not been touched except perhaps the antlers or maybe a small portion of the rear leg.
Just the other day, I came upon a large buck deer that had been killed and thrown beside the highway near the community of Franklin. This was one of the largest bucks that I have seen since I’ve been here in the area. Nothing had been touched but the antlers – they had been sawed off and carried away. A conservative guess was that around 70 pounds of good deer meat, that I’m sure somebody would have been proud to have, had been discarded there to rot and pollute the roadside.
It has been a number of days since this deer season has opened. During this time, I have counted over 40 deer carcasses along the roadways of our county. As I visited the old McDuffie cemetery above Franklin the other day, I counted five deer that had been killed and their remains had been dumped near the narrow road that leads to the cemetery. Perhaps, 10 to 20 pounds of venison had been taken from the carcasses. The remains lay discarded there to rot and decay. I know that there are people within our area that would have been delighted to have been given some of this meat.
The way I was taught was that if I hunted and was fortunate enough to kill wild game, it was to be used. No one killed for the sport of just killing. And, no one dared to kill more game than they or their neighbors could use. The wild meat that couldn’t be used by the family was taken and given to someone less fortunate. Old, elderly couples within the community was carried venison and squirrel meat that would be served on their tables; they were always delighted to receive it and nothing was wasted. Or perhaps, the community would have a wild game cookout and everybody enjoyed and benefited from the wild game.
But, it seems that today, most hunters enjoy just killing the game. No thought is given as to the use of the meat, like giving it to some family that might enjoy or might even need it. No thought is given about organizing some type of club or group whose job would be to locate those in the area who might want or need the venison rather than throwing it away.
We think nothing about driving down the public roads and stopping to kill a deer just for the sake of killing or perhaps just to see it fall. While sitting in the comfort of our vehicles, we shoot the helpless animal and then drive away, enjoying the macho feeling that we have killed something. The dead or crippled deer is left there along side the road to waste away and mar the landscape. We return to our favorite coffee shop and brag about the skill we put forth in shooting the game from the window of our vehicle. We give no thought of the thousands upon thousands of hungry people throughout the world who would do almost anything for a handful of the deer meat. Yes, we Americans can be very stupid at times.
We truly believe that nothing can happen to our country and our world of fantasy and make believe. We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the abundance of game and food that we enjoy is here to stay. Nothing can take away the good life.
We give little or no thought of the blessings that have been bestowed on our country by having plenty to eat and warm places to stay. We know nothing anymore of hardships and famine, of not having clean water to drink. We, the people of this country, have been truly blessed.
I don’t wish to sound like the prophet of doom, but I think we Americans are approaching the crossroads of time. Within a few short years, I believe that we will begin to witness times like we have never known. I believe we Americans are traveling a parallel path to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. We are spending millions upon millions on stadiums for entertainment. We elevate and worship our modern day gladiators just as the Romans did. We pay millions for these to perform in our arenas as we sit and scream and watch the contests of make-believe going on below us. To give an example: If our Savior had appeared during the time of the Auburn-Tennessee football game, He would have had to wait until the so-called contest in the arena was over.
Maybe I’m wrong, but much has to happen for me to change my mind. It hurts me greatly for my fellow Americans to waste and destroy that which we have. The crossroads are fast approaching. And when we face that dreadful day, all that will be heard will be the wailing and the gnashing of teeth. The time is drawing near; we best heed the signs of warning.
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)