I’ve heard stories of people being chased by dogs, bears – even golf course alligators.
Last week, the assailant was a disorderly wild turkey that could only be stopped with gunfire.
The big bird showed up on the front porch of Angela King’s home near Bogart, Ga., and became belligerent when she tried to make it leave.
She called the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, which sent Deputy Joseph Chastain out to her home.
The deputy and King’s husband first tried to shoo it away, then shoved it off the porch with a broom, according to an incident report.
“After I got it off the porch I thought it would run away, but instead it charged at me. I then tried to walk backwards away from the turkey but it continued to charge toward me,” Chastain wrote.
“I had no other choice but to shoot the turkey,” which was “disposed of,” the report said.
Attacks by wild turkeys are not only rare, but almost unheard of, according to experts.
“In a situation like this, the bird may have been domesticated or it became accustomed to interacting with humans and just became aggressive,” said Scott Vance, assistant vice president of conservation programs for the National Wild Turkey Federation.
A true, wild Georgia bird, he added, would not behave that way — even if some Georgia hunters wanted them to.
A large bird like a turkey, he added, is also capable of inflicting wounds during an attack.
“The ends of their wings can get sharp from gobblers strutting, and can scratch someone’s arms or face,” he said.
They also have sharp spurs – and are skilled at using them.
Although the Jackson County case is unusual, it is not completely unique, said Lynn Lewis-Weis, the NWTF’s regional wildlife biologist for Georgia.
“We usually hear of one or two aggressive turkey reports a year, give or take, but it’s normally in the spring, during mating season, when makes are more aggressive,” she said. “This time of year it would be very unusual for a turkey to act that way.”
GUN CONTROL ABYSS: Few things are more divisive and divergent than the debate over guns that emerged since the Connecticut shootings claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff.
Before those murdered children were even buried, there were protests against gun owners, stores that sell guns, investment firms whose portfolios include gun makers — and especially against the National Rifle Association, which was criticized for not stepping into the fray immediately.
By the time Wayne LaPierre, the group’s chief executive officer, held a press conference Friday to share the other side of the issue, the national media didn’t appear to have much interest in what was said.
Although politicians want new laws to ban sales of certain rifles and ammo clips, the NRA suggested placing an armed officer in every school.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said as many “reporters” simultaneously mocked and ridiculed his ideas through comments on Facebook and Twitter.
The difference of opinion over gun laws and gun ownership is a social abyss that has only grown wider in recent days.
Would taking away or banning certain guns prevent school shootings or reduce crime?
Similar questions were asked in 1920, when backers of Prohibition believed halting the alcohol trade would eliminate crime and alcoholism.
People still drank, however, and by the time the 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933, the briefly illegal liquor trade had spawned an even bigger problem: organized crime.
The lesson from that experience is to be careful what you wish for.
Today, we have armed officers at banks, malls, football games, bars, airports, courthouses – even the state fair.
Clearly, the NRA has it all wrong. No one would harm children at a school, right?
That would be against the law.