As quickly as the Cuckoo swooped over Manikata and was shot and killed by Stefan Micallef, the hunters rallied to the defence of this poacher. It becomes increasingly evident that the hunters and their families themselves do not even understand the implications of killing a protected bird.
Stefan Micallef publicly declared that he mistakenly took the cuckoo for a turtle dove. This may have been the case, as we are all human and we do make mistakes, but his attempted cover up of his supposed mistake makes him equally culpable. This is the same situation as a hit and run accident. If you crash into a car, and it was your mistake, you have to stop and take responsibility for your actions. If you decide to just run and attempt to evade punishment, it makes things even worse.
However, hunters do not think in the same logical way as most people do. In fact, they are collecting donations for Stefan Micallef’s fine, because they feel that he should be compensated for being publicly humiliated and vilified by the public. Additionally, I find comments from Stefan Micallef’s family and friends as being completely irrelevant. While it is quite acceptable to be upset at what happened, they shouldn’t take umbrage at the way people are reacting to this situation.
Stefan Micallef broke the law, mistake or not, so he has to live with that and the ensuing shame. Hopefully, this will deter other hunters who mistakenly or purposely shoot protected birds (#wishfulthinking). However, in a country that has become desensitised at the implications of killing protected birds, what do you really expect? (Uwijja, san l-ghageb kollhu ghal ghasfur wiehed miskin? Mhux kullhadd jizbalja!)
In any case, the hunters should prepare their cheque books – it is going be a long and expensive spring hunting season this year…