Unemployed Utah Man Offers His Body as Target Practice
Desperate times really do call for desperate measures. It's one thing to be far along in your career, and have the extraordinary circumstances of a financial downturn lead to the loss of your job; if you're lucky, the contacts you've built might present you with a new professional opportunity.
At least there's hope. But for a generation entering the workforce amid the worst economic climate in 80 years, the story's not quite the same.
They don't have the same established credibility to fall back on. Instead, they are forced to think beyond the corporate jobs listings, and must resort to more creative tracks. But few have gone as far as the man who goes by the name, Mork Encino. Or as far as he says he's willing to go.
The 28-year old Utah resident has created a website called, "Huntme4sport.com." His enterprise, as the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports, is to allegedly offer his own body as target practice for well-heeled hunters.
The pricetag? $10,000. (An additional $2,000 is charged if the shooter wants to practice on a naked Encino.) For the target himself, the risks pale in comparison to the potential payout.
"I do like to think I have some tricks up my sleeve," Encino said during an interview with US 99.5, which bills itself as "America's Country Station. "But certainly the advantage is with the hunter."
While Encino goes on to note in the interview with the radio station that his mother is not too pleased with the "hubbub" over his cottage industry; it is that very attention to which he is hitching his star.
Embracing the mantra, "there's no such thing as bad press," Encino hopes that his experience on the firing line will lead to a more conventional job. In an interview with AOL Jobs, he even concedes his hope is for the public attention to allow him to avoid actually having to follow through.
"I'm still holding out hope for something a little bit better than getting blown away," he writes via e-mail. "Maybe thats foolish of me. I have received several inquiries of varying levels of sincerity."
But by the metric of Internet hits, the campaign is working. He's already been written up in newspapers including the Daily Mail in addition to websites including deadspin.com and Brotherhood of Slaughter.
On Brotherhood of Slaughter, Encino posts his manifesto, in which he aims to inject an air of both levity and gravity into his endeavor.
"I seek hearty gents who fancy themselves sportsmen and bored of the usual game. I am a new breed of prey with thick pelt and smooth hide. I'm faster than a wild turkey, smart as any GODDAMN wild boar and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the monetary health of my family," he writes.
But his story is illustrative of the plight of the young and unemployed. Americans aged 20 to 24, the demographic category used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are currently experiencing an unemployment rate of 14.5 percent, more than five points above the national average. And as many observers, such as the scholars at the Economic Policy Institute have noted, the long-term danger lies in the creation of a new "lost generation." The longer that proper entry into the workforce is put off, the challenge of establishing a career only grows greater.
Indeed, the outlook of such a scenario is far bleaker than a mere cyclical delay for the young workers themselves, argues Don Peck, in his essay, "How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America," published in the March 2010, issue of the Atlantic.
"If it persists much longer, this era of high joblessness will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults -- and quite possibly those of the children behind them as well. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar white men -- and on white culture," he wrote. "It could change the nature of modern marriage, and also cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a kind of despair and dysfunction not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years."
Indeed, figuring out whether Mr. Encino is for real or not is besides the point. What his publicity campaign proves more than anything is just how high the stakes are.
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Dan Fastenberg has more than a decade of experience working as a journalist. Most recently he was a reporter with TIME Magazine covering politics with analyst Mark Halperin. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America. Follow Dan on Twitter. Email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Dan to your Google+ circles.more...