It would take a real monster to watch Bambi and not have your heart break at the scene where the titular character’s mother is shot by hunters. Or, at least, that’s what a Missouri judge is hoping will be the case for David Berry Jr., who’s just been convicted of illegally poaching hundreds of deer and felony firearms violations, earning him a sentence of one year and 120 days in prison. On top of that, he must watch Bambi at least once a month during his sentence.
The case has been called “one of Missouri’s largest cases of deer poaching,” with David Berry Se, David Berry Jr. and Kyle Berry all arrested and charged with crimes against deermanity. Authorities claim the trio would illegally hunt the deer, decapitate them and then abandon the carcasses in the woods. In total, it’s thought that the three men could have illegally killed hundreds of deer in the last three years, in locations ranging from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Canada.
Perhaps after having Disney’s 1942 classic drummed into his head after he’s watched it 16 times, Berry might realize that pointlessly shooting a living animal as it goes about its life just isn’t cool. Some might take issue with using a children’s film to teach morality in this way, but it sounds to me like these guys have an infantile conception of right and wrong, so if it takes Thumper to beat some sense into their heads, then so be it.
Sentences of this kind are pretty unusual, and the only similar case I’ve found is from 1987. Here, a 77-year-old man who killed his wife and then tried to kill himself was sentenced to 30 days in jail, two years of house arrest and to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Leaving aside the weirdly short sentence, if someone had just tried to kill themselves, I absolutely wouldn’t allow them to watch It’s a Wonderful Life as that film depresses the hell out of me.
Anyways, I hope Berry enjoys Bambi, because he’s going to know the film pretty intimately very soon.