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Ponnada: Shotgun weddings

BY SRI PONNADA | OCTOBER 26, 2012 6:30 AM

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It’s been a week since news of a new offer hit local newspapers and radio stations. Jewelry by Harold in North Liberty is giving away vouchers for a free shotgun every time someone buys an engagement ring worth more than $1,999 at the store. That’s right, folks — get your guns and roses all in one stop.

What owner of the store Harold van Beek and his wife had believed to be a small sales promotion turned out to be sensational. In fact, van Beek was even featured on Fox Business News where he said he had seen a 1,000 percent increase in sales at his store. However, some remain concerned that this “shotgun wedding” deal is sending the wrong message.

My message, though, is that it is not only completely legal but there is nothing wrong with it.

Van Beek believes he’s just doing guys and women a favor through this promotion.

“A lot of macho males, the minute they have to do something in the romantic way — it’s sometime very difficult for them. It is my own experience,” van Beek said. “We want to help the non-jewelry-buying man find the right way to ask her [his loved one] to marry him.”

Being a hunter himself, van Beek noted that the deer season is coming up in December. He emphasized that his intentions were simply to give guys a chance to go out there and do what he, for the past few years, has been unable to hunt.

You may be thinking how inhumane it is to hunt deer. Well, guess what? If we didn’t hunt deer, the deer population in Iowa would grow 20 to 40 percent each year. In 2007, there were more than 8,000 animal-related crashes in Iowa, as reported by The Daily Iowan. Of these, 468 resulted in injuries and 11 in deaths. Now, tell me — would you rather live or stay loving the deer?

Not only do deer cause collisions on the roads, but human interaction with these animals could also cause contraction of E. coli, salmonella, and the highly infectious Lyme disease. Hunting deer reduces these risks as well as provides the hungry with quality meat. During last year’s hunting season, more than 6,000 deer were donated by hunters to the Food Bank of Iowa, thus generating 1 million meals to Iowa's less fortunate, as reported on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ website.

Some of us may be skeptical about gun-control issues. Fear not. Iowa only allows shotgun, archery, and muzzleloader hunting, unlike its neighbors Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the use of rifles in deer hunting is legal.

To me, it seems as if van Beek isn’t just helping the tough guy get the girl. Instead, his crazy concoction might have some substantial effects in protecting Iowa streets as well as feed the hungry.


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