News & Politics

Washington Post Columnist Is About to Kill a Damn Raccoon

There are no garbage cans where you're going, pal. Photograph via iStock.

Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy has an unwanted guest in his Fort Washington home: a raccoon.

He plans to kill it.

We know this because Milloy’s Metro section column, published quietly online Wednesday night when many of us were distracted by the explosive allegations against Donald Trump, lays out his plan for bagging this varmint. He hopes to use a Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle ($149.99 on Amazon) and perhaps a homemade suppressor, plus a “$10 box of pellets” (here’s a box for half that price!) to send Ranger Rick to heaven.

But perhaps the most potent weapon in Milloy’s arsenal is his supply of scare quotes, which he deploys before having an imaginary argument.

I expect animal rights advocates to cite my “cruelty to animals” as a sign of childhood delinquency. Gun- control advocates will probably claim that I’m acting out a “hit man” fantasy for wanting to use a “silencer.”

Both groups do make good points about our country’s overuse of violence to solve problems. But their solutions don’t always make sense, either.

(You could make a plausible argument that the punctuation around “silencer” isn’t scare quotes but  precise writing; “suppressor” is a much better term for that piece of equipment.)

One potential hassle: Milloy says he doesn’t wish to go through the red tape of getting the Maryland Department of Natural Resources out to his house and notes correctly that it’s raccoon season; he will nevertheless need to get a $5 permit.

Washingtonian has contacted Milloy to find out how the plan is proceeding; I’ll update when I hear back. In the meantime, please enjoy what, even by the standards of the Milloy oeuvre (e.g., 1, 2), is a completely wild column.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.