Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Condemning Creature Hunting in Calgary

This is a story that deserves to be front page news across the country - and not because it is a good news story, either. It is one of those dark things lurking in the closet that need to be dragged out into the sun and forced to stand there, with light beating down it, until it relents and disappears in a puff of smoke. When I read it I was not only stunned but horrified, disgusted and deeply, deeply worried.

If you read the story you realize that the "creatures" being hunted are not animals or wildlife. They are, in fact, homeless residents of Calgary becoming targets of the cell phone cameras of some individuals who have chosen to make a "sport" of photographing homeless people and sharing the resulting photographs online. What this says about us as humans is shocking - and what it could lead to is even worse.

This behaviour is dehumanization at the very worst. It is horrifying to see people of any age treating homeless citizens as "less than human" and using them for entertainment purposes that can only be viewed as callous, cruel, abusive and borderline harassment. Homeless individuals have every right to expect respect and dignity just as we all do, and those who would target them for their own entertainment and "sport" are perhaps the ones who do not deserve to be treated with respect or dignity. What worries me is the tendency of these things to progress from photographs to far, far worse, leading to homeless citizens being the targets not only of abusive photographs but abusive words and physical treatment. Some of the "creature hunters" claim they do this to help the "creatures", offering food, money and gift cards to them, and are using this to "raise awareness" of homelessness in their community - but I think any person with a brain can see through that spin and straight into the heart of the matter, which is the exploitation of others for entertainment - and, regardless of the reasons given for engaging in it, it is not okay or acceptable.

Here's the deal, people. This is a free and open Facebook group, so you can see who belongs to it and who is contributing to the dehumanizing of our fellow citizens. I would suggest checking it out and seeing who exactly is doing this. Maybe you'll see a family member or an employee. Maybe you'll see someone you know, and maybe, just maybe, some of these people who think it is okay to dehumanize and abuse others using social media as a vehicle will learn that their actions have consequences when they lose their jobs, their friends and their families. One can only wonder if they will become the targets of the very cameras they now wield on others.

Drag this into the light, people. It is the only way to combat the darkness that lurks in the corners of our world. 


  1. Booo! What a simply horrific and callous thing to do.

  2. Theresa, this absolutely sickens me. As I looked through the horrendous facebook page and news stories (and the comments readers left) connected to this dehumanization and humiliation of fellow human beings I found myself angry and disgusted, to say the least. But I would suggest that this mentality runs rampant. Perhaps most people would not post mocking, humiliating photographs of others on social media but we don't have to go far to hear words of condemnation and ridicule - those who elevate themselves over those who struggle with addiction, speaking without any compassion or love. Unfortunately humans have created class and superiority based on things that are completely superficial. Our worth is not based on what we do, where we live, where we were born, who our parents are, fame, the money in our bank account, the clothes on our back, education, job, our struggles, our life experiences... but we don't have to look far to see how often we, as a society, base one's worth based on these trivial things. How often have we heard our peers mock and judge the homeless of our own city? We are fools to think that our worth and value are wrapped up in anything but the fact that we are breathing in and out. No human, no matter their struggle, is a "creature".