Subtle changes

The image of a man with a rifle wandering up the main street of one of SA’s premier tourist towns would be alarming to the majority of visitors and locals.
A generation or two ago it may not have raised an eyebrow but in today’s world it is an understandable issue of concern.
The angst experienced by some people when confronted by such a scene boiled over in Strathalbyn last Friday evening.
The scenario was all rather harmless really, with a professional pest eradicator contracted by a landholder to shoot feral pigeons on their property in the town centre.
He was there at about 5.30pm and again at about 8pm when the birds typically return to roost.
The shooter says he was allowed to be there and to shoot from the opposite footpath – firing across the town’s main street – towards his targets.
He had informed the police of his presence beforehand out of courtesy.
However, his actions caused some frustration with members of the public, some of whom were concerned for their safety or the welfare of others.
As a result emergency 000 calls were reportedly made and an altercation between the contractor and a member of the public resulted in the latter being reported by police for assault.
The incident highlights how a few simple changes could have smoothed things over before tempers flared, police were called and the community alarmed.
Had the shooter been wearing an identification vest, been able to produce some documentation to show his legitimate status and perhaps placed a couple of sandwich boards on the footpath nearby to alert people to his lawful activities, he could have gone a long way to improving the situation.
This of course doesn’t placate those who only catch a glimpse of a man with a gun as they drive past but the current situation which allows a man with a gun to walk the streets needs attention.
Subtle changes should be considered to lessen the possibility of problems escalating in the future.
The current rules may work well for pigeon eradication on less public sites but they are not appropriate for the main street of a tourist town.