Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Candlelight Vigils Horrify Me

I am having a WTF? reaction to this news story I picked up on Twitter from the Sacramento Bee. It's about something that happened in Boulder, CO. I embedded the video below. It has a lot of ads but it's kind of worth it to get to the very strange people with their odd reaction to a local event -- a police officer shot a trophy elk in the city limits. And 75 people came out and held candles and sang protest songs.

I want to be clear that I do not understand a single person in this story. The police officer that shot the elk makes no sense to me. The comments of the people they interview who loved the elk make even less sense to me. They thought the elk loved them?! You guys, it's an ELK! It's... I just don't... what... Such a different reaction from where I live where the assumption is that the animal is diseased and dying when it comes to my house day after day, not that it's protecting me. In fact the advice I got was not to go outside without a live oak bat in my hand until this rabies/brain worm/fever question is answered.

**Update: I had to delete the embedded video because it won't stop playing ads. Here's the link to it.

I have not seen Thirsty since Saturday. I did find a bobcat track in my yard yesterday, right on top of a deer track. I am now considering every possible rare and unlikely disease and injury scenario for my local wildlife. I have not seen any crows or vultures gathering. No indication that Thirsty has died anywhere nearby. If I do find him dead you can be assured I will not burn candles or sing Martin Luther King songs over him (I don't even know the words past "we shall overcome.") I will be sad that such a nice mature deer met a bad end, but that's not the worst I've seen. I once found two deer carcasses joined at the antlers. If I found an unfortunate pair like that I would almost certainly do what that officer did and shoot them to give them a more humane death. (If they had JUST gotten stuck I bet you could tranquilize them and cut off one antler each to separate them.) If I found Thirsty growling and gnashing his teeth with rabies I'd shoot him too, even if it meant spending the rest of the day figuring out how to drag his body away from my house. It's a tough life being a big buck. But they have to die for the next one to have the chance to grow up. Their body goes back into the web of life and it's all natural and understandable.

These things that happen in human communities confuse me.  I have a better chance of figuring out if Thirsty has a brain abscess than figuring out that man who thought that elk loved him.


  1. A misguided sense of environmentalism, lack of real experience with wild animals, diversion of anger toward police for other problems, and people without much better to bother doing is my best guess for what these people have all got going on.

    The cop should have known better than to shoot the deer in city limits, badge or not. Sport hunters don't shoot big game in city limits, animal control does when the animal is a problem and tranquilizers don't work.

    The neighborhood folks liked having a bit of wildlife running the streets (through an area that used to be far more wooded before this neighborhood sprung up?) and are mad they don't get to talk about it when they accidentally check the mail at the same time?

    27:40 of the episode of This American Life #482 seems much more in keeping with a reasonable approach to this sort of situation.

    Still, who the hell would call a bull elk Elmo, or sing "we shall overcome" over it's death? That strikes me badly for the elk and the civil rights movement of the 60s.

  2. Oh, and your embedded video auto-plays. Not sure if you meant that to be the case.

  3. I don't like auto-play or automatically continuing to play ads at the end either. It's not a player where I can adjust the settings though, it's some news service player designed to be as annoying as possible. I thought about just deleting it and leaving the link to it. Should I do that?

  4. Well, it sure is driving me crazy every time I come to your page! Agh! I can't even make it stop. Every time I pause or mute it, it ignores me a few seconds later and cranks it back up. Those bastards!

  5. Yeah it's no good. I got rid of the embedded video. It's like malware. After I started to edit the html it kept playing the audio in the background.