I haven't said anything yet about the tragic tiger attack at the San Fran zoo. But now I need to speak out. Read this. I am incredibly upset that people are trying to diminish the failure of the zoo by ginning up talk about taunting and alcohol.
Here are the facts:
1) There were people at the zoo who may have been misbehaving.
2) A tiger escaped from her pen.
3) The pen was not properly secured.
4) The tiger attacked three people, killing one.
5) The tiger, an endangered animal acting on instinct, was killed to protect innocent people.
Four of those five facts are material facts. That is, they have a real bearing on this tragedy. One of them does not. Guess which one?
The first one.
Tigers are endangered. They are precious. They need to be protected. That protection means not only protecting them from harm, but preventing them from harming people. After all, if the tiger can harm people, it becomes necessary to kill the tiger.
Tigers are animals. They do not have free will. They act on instinct. They can't think about whether their actions are right or wrong. They can only do what their instinct tells them. Their instinct is to hunt, attack, kill, and eat other creatures. Their instinct is to strike hard and fast at anything they consider a threat. They have no fear. They have no pity. They exist to kill. That's what they do.
Tigers can also jump. I mean, they can jump. Don't believe me? Watch this. Caution: it will scare the hell out of you.
Now, experts knew that the tigers at the San Fran zoo could jump across the moat and over the wall. Read this for more details. And this. And, most alarming, this. Even though zoo officials are acting as though they did nothing wrong, it seems pretty clear that everyone involved knew there was a problem. Yet, nothing was done to remedy the problem - and all that needed to be done was to run three feet of chain link along the top of the wall!
Tigers live to kill. Tigers can jump. Moats and walls were known to be too short. No corrective action was taken. Therefore, it was inevitable that, at some point, one of these tigers would escape, hunt, attack, and kill a human at the zoo. Whether or not that human was taunting the tiger is immaterial. Whether or not that human was drinking vodka is immaterial. It is just a distracting coincidence. The tiger could just as well have made her escape as a group of innocent nuns and well-behaved school children were standing in the way. Right now, instead of talking about taunting and drinking, we might have pictures of mutilated kids on the nightly news. It wouldn't be the kids' fault. It wouldn't be the tiger's fault. It would be the zoo's fault.
One person is dead. Taunting an animal and drinking in public might be infractions, but they are hardly worth a death sentence. An endangered tiger is dead. There was little choice but to kill it - but that choice need not have been made - and a dead person would still be alive - if the zoo had acted responsibly and improved the moat and wall when the problem was known and documented.
But now the lawyers are involved, and as such they are trying to shift attention from the real blame, and instead distract us with tales of taunting and vodka.
To hell with them!
A human life is gone. A natural treasure is gone. The only people to blame are the zoo managers. End of story. And the story disgusts me to no end.