I've lived on the South Channel of the Columbia River, within city limits, for 18 years. Every year, boatloads of hunters float by, shooting rifles at the geese on Government Island—a state park! It's unsettling, and it scares pets. Can this possibly be legal? —Shell-Shocked on the Columbia.

As often happens, Shocked, I had to edit your question for length, so I wasn't able to include the part of the story where you called the cops to ask if this was legal and they said yes. While I'm flattered that you think I'm in a position to pull an "if Dad says no, ask Mom" on the Portland Police Bureau, I doubt you'll be too surprised to learn that hunting is indeed legal on Government Island.

To be fair, those hunters aren't shooting rifles, they're firing shotguns. A shotgun's effective range is only about 50 yards, so at least they're not going to hit you or your property. But, yes, in a legal sense, you are stuck with the noise.

But perhaps we can still explore the moral side of the question. ("Moral" being a synonym for "materially useless," as in "moral victory.") Can we balance the competing interests here in an essential, philosophical sense, à la Socrates and/or Judge Judy?

First, the geese: On the one hand—beautiful wildlife! On the other, wildly overpopulated shit machines with no natural predators! Verdict: Screw the geese.

Next, there's you: On the one hand, you have the right to peace and quiet. On the other, hunting has been happening on Government Island for years, a fact that was doubtless priced in when you first moved into the vicinity. Verdict: Don't build your condo next to a rock club and then bitch about the noise.

Finally, the hunters. On the one hand, they're doing something about the overpopulated shit machines. On the other, are we really OK with people getting off on killing stuff—even stuff that needs to die? Verdict: If so, let's round up a bunch of creepy billionaires and make them pay millions for the right to hunt man—the most dangerous game—on some wild, undeveloped island. I know just the place!