The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

In Defense of Animals (Best Defense is a Good Offense Department)

Last week Palo Alto police shot and killed a 108-pound mountain lion that was roaming the streets of the city. San Jose Mercury News letter writers, this is your finest hour.

The swift decision to kill the mountain lion who wandered into the wrong place in Palo Alto was sad (Page 1A, May 18).

The police officers stated that the tranquilizer gun would not have worked fast enough and that the lion was a threat to children. How easy it is to kill an animal and yet child molesters and gang bangers are not shot on sight -- and they are a greater danger to our children. Instead they get a trial and go to jail with three squares a day while our tax money pays for all of it.

The lion was just doing what was natural -- looking for food since we have taken up all of its habitat with new homes.

Suzanne Stephenson

The police officers were doing what was natural, namely defending their fellow humans.

And what's with the "gang bangers"? Do people who use the phrase to describe gang members know about its other meaning? Don't let Suzanne wander around the San Fernando Valley with a gun, is all I'm saying.

Someone wiser than I once observed, ``Whenever people say, `We must not be sentimental,' you can take it that they are about to do something cruel.''

Yes, to have darted the mountain lion with a tranquilizer and then released it to a sanctuary would have been sentimental -- indeed, it would have been the action of a virtuous society. Obviously we have not yet evolved to that higher ethical plane of existence.

So as evolution progresses, people will be born with the ability to shoot tranquilizers? I should have read more than one Richard Dawkins book.

A cat treed by a dog and surrounded by at least 12 armed police officers posed no possible threat. Let us be honest about that. A god of the wild had condescended to visit us -- but we were not worthy of it.

Ronald D. Brown
Mountain View

Ronald's enthusiasm for the "god of the wild" has eliminated whatever common sense he may have had. What were twelve policemen to do had the cat decided to jump off the tree and over some fence? Oh, I forgot. We must evolve to a plane of existence where all policemen have the physical abilities of Tarzan.

Why do you think there are mountain lions in our backyards? Has anyone stopped to realize that maybe, just maybe, development on the Peninsula and in South Bay has gone too far? Maybe someone in government or law enforcement needs a tranquilizer dart shot in his butt as a wake-up call -- we've overdeveloped, and we are the problem, not the mountain lions.

Don't make the wildlife pay for our mistakes. What a sad, sad day.

Jamie Wolf
San Jose

So Jamie, you volunteering to leave your "overdeveloped" San Jose neighborhood?

You would think that Palo Alto was some inaccessible wilderness that had never been viewed by human eyes until it was "overdeveloped." People have been living in and around Palo Alto for over a century.

How can liberals simultaneously decry homelessness, and complain about development? How the hell are people supposed to have homes if no one is allowed to build any? And why is it wrong for humans to do what comes naturally to them, which is to find and inhabit empty space?

The issue here is why wasn't our community prepared to deal with encounters with wild animals?

It was, thanks to the efforts of one Samuel Colt.

And what are we to do next time?

The same thing?

There are more mountain lions out there, here by my house in Almaden, and all over the Santa Clara Valley. Are we going to shoot them if they dare tread on our territory?

It's like watching a six-year-old child grasp the fundamentals of addition.

Let's get prepared for the next encounter and have it end intelligently and humanely. Let's educate the public and work as a team to protect these animals.

Pat Lockyer
San Jose

Who can keep the Valley's residents safe and also protect wildlife? We need someone who will educate and work as a team: Action Item!



Maybe these same liberals will seize upon their passion for wild animals by allowing all citizens to carry tranquilizer guns...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:26 PM  

Of course, that would inevitably lead to the streets of Palo Alto turning into Tombstone, a rather "sleepier" version of the O.K. Corral.... :P (Paul Hepburn)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:28 PM  

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