Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shoot first, Ask Questions Never

So I sat outside last night, enjoying the cool air, and feeling amazed at how quiet it was for a Friday night. When I first moved here there seemed to be a lot more noisy and obnoxious people, people blaring loud music out of their cars and having loud parties on their patios at late hours of the night. But lately things have quieted down, either the rowdies moved out, or maybe the fact that there are now bicycle cops patrolling the complex at night might have something to do with it.

Either way, I like it. I enjoy quietness. My nights spent on the patio are not for conversation, or to listen to music, but to rest in the peaceful quietude of the desert night. Not absolute silence, but a momentary absence of man-made noise. That's what I seek. I enjoy listening to the sounds of the night, birds, insects, wildlife; but people and machines, not so much. I mean there is a time and place for everything. If I were instantly transported to NYC, I wouldn't begrudge it, the absence of wildlife would be made up for with the presence of entirely different sights and sounds that I may never have experienced elsewhere. It is what it is. It's a different environment. Sometimes people and man-made structures, are preferable to the solitary wilderness experience, and other times it's the other way around. But here, I look forward to the quiet desert nights, there is a certain peacefulness to it that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

Well anyway, it was a really good night, good in the sense that there was a lot of moisture in the air, which I love, and cooler temperatures, which are a welcome relief. It was about 78 degrees, which to some people isn't by any means a cool night, but after a long stretch of daytime highs in the hundreds and some nights still in the nineties, to me it was an absolutely perfect temperature, not too warm, not too cold, but just right. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm sitting out there on my patio, which is walled in, for about a half an hour, drinking a beer, not reading, or writing, just sitting there, listening, looking up at the sky, and thinking. Then I hear something in the distance getting closer, the sound of someone walking a dog, or so I thought, but it turned out to be a family of javelina. There were four of them, two adults leading in the front, and two kids playing follow the leader in the back. Really cute. They didn't stick around, just passing through. Walked right by on the sidewalk in front of my building, apparently going for a walk around the block. The whole sighting must have lasted no more than 30 seconds. But I'm always excited to see javelina, as it doesn't happen too often, maybe just 4 or 5 times a year. Although it's possible they come around more often than that, but I'm just not around to see it. So, when I do, I'm always grateful for it.

I was excited to see them, but at the same time it made me feel sad. I thought of an incident that happened just recently, a few miles away, where a woman walking her dog in the early morning was attacked by a javelina, and ended up in the hospital. The result was that seven javelina found in the area were shot and killed, and they may not even have been the same ones that attacked her. Apparently they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the person who shot them, who was officially authorized to do so, thought that they were exhibiting unusual behavior, but mostly their crime was that they were getting too close to people. And it wasn't even on the same day, but like over a week later. I thought, why couldn't they have just relocated them away from the city. But apparently they didn't think their lives were worth it. I was very upset by it. I mean I didn't lose any sleep over it or anything, but it just made me feel very angry with people, and sad for the future of wildlife that are increasingly running out of wild spaces to live.

I don't know exactly what happened that caused this woman to be attacked. I don't know if there really was something wrong with these javelina, or even if this woman was entirely innocent. But I do know that in most instances, javelinas attack people only if they are startled or provoked. For instance, if you get too close to them, try to feed them, or pet them, attack them, or corner them, especially if there are babies present, in which case they would be even more aggressive, may cause them to attack. Either way, the attack would be strictly defensive. If you stay away from them, they will stay away from you. You show them respect, they will show you respect. Usually.

But either way, I still think it would have been better, at least kinder, to have just relocated them somewhere else. It saddens me that the solution was to kill, without even determining whether there really was something medically wrong with them, and without even determining whether these javelina were even responsible for the attack, considering that it occurred several days earlier. It was after the fact. The guy who shot them looked like a fucking asshole, too, like someone who enjoyed hunting javelina for sport. But of course that is my emotions speaking. So what?

Pardon me if I have a problem with the fact that whenever animals hurt people (or have the audacity to freely roam looking for food within sight of some asshole who thinks all animals that are not pets should be caged or shot, and all bugs should be squished) the penalty is usually death, even if the person provoked it, but when people hurt animals, it's just a slap on the wrist. And it saddens me very much.

*This is post 4 of 20, part of my 20 Posts in 30 days challenge.

No comments: