by James Strauss

Kristie Noem does not live in Wisconsin. In fact, she doesn’t live anywhere near this state. She lives in a state of mentally troubled, morally broken, and mean-spirited existence. The geographic state is South Dakota and the person named her happens to be the governor of that state as well as a contender for being selected by Donald Trump as his choice for the vice presidency if he’s elected.

Last week the governor published her book, a book in which she went into a great deal about putting the dog down by blowing out its brains in a gravel pit on her property. She also dragged one of the family goats into the same ‘charnel house’ environment to blow its brains out. The offense Cricket had committed which required execution? Not hunting well. After only fourteen months on the planet Cricket loved to play and hunting didn’t seem to fit the personality she was given at birth. This happy-go-lucky dog followed that woman into the pit and then sat before her as she held the gun to her head and blew out her brain.

When I was five years old, living on South Manitou Island out in Lake Michigan, the Coast Guard, which my dad worked for, closed up operations and everyone had to leave. Our family was to be flown out aboard a small pontoon plane and the pilot said our family dog, Bobo, was too heavy to take along and the dog would have to be left on its own. That dog was the caretaker of three small kids, me being one of them. My dad, indicating that Bobo would suffer if left to try to make it on his own during the coming winter, took Bobo into the forest and shot him to death, just like Kristie.

Even though the loss of so many Marines that I had under command in the Vietnam War (I was a Marine Corps Company Commander in combat), I will carry the sound of that gunshot to my own death. Bobo was family. You don’t kill family. Ever. You don’t even allow family members to be killed unless you are five years old. My father paid a price in our family for the remaining years of his life. His continued explanation that he had done Bobo a favor never flew, never got off the ground. In 2018 I traveled back to South Manitou Island, hiring a private boat. The foundation ruins of our home were still there, all turned to barely recognizable rubble, but I wasn’t there to see that. I went into the forest to be where Bobo spent his last moments of life, fully trusting he was with and protected by the family. I walked around and verbally apologized for my dad’s conduct that day so long ago.

Kriste went back to the house and told her kids what she had done. According to reports, the children did not react, If this contemptible woman ever reads this article, which I certainly doubt. In that case, she may realize that the shots she fired in that nearby gravel pit are burned forever into her children’s minds and their carrying of those sounds will be those of comforting or acceptable behavior toward their mother.

Kristie Noem is not the governor of Wisconsin, thank God. If she was, Wisconsin residents, being members of a state populated by a very warm loving population of dog-loving human beings, would already have risen up and discharged that woman from office, and quite possibly already have shamed her out of the state. Her book was withdrawn, the one she wrote about how the killings of the animals should give everyone the idea that she was a person who could make the tough decisions and then carry those decisions out into action.

I learned up close and very personally in that Asian war that shooting at people is easy, while getting shot at is terrifying at the very core of my being. I learned that shooting people is relatively easy but getting shot by other people is even worse than the terror of being shot at by somebody intending to kill you.

Both Cricket and Bobo were spared that kind of terror. Both of these loyal, loving, and kind animals went to their deaths humanely, in that what killed them wasn’t the bullets. The bullets just finished the job. Both dogs died of misplaced trust. The American public, in general, should not make the mistake those loving animals made. Kristie Noem should not be shot, not like she shot those two animals. No, she should be shunned as an example of how humanity has moved down from the trees, across the savannahs, and into a social order called civilization which refuses to accept such awful and even terrifying conduct not just on the part of its leaders but from the rest of the population itself.