Recently, I watched the documentary Blackfish. If you are unfamiliar with this doc, it’s about how a corporation mistreat d wild animals, the animals being Orcas (killer whales). When it comes to corporate wrong-doing, I tend to agree with Mitt Romney when he said that ‘corporations are people too’. When corporations commit terrible crimes or are involved in horrible atrocities, indeed, there are actual evil people behind those actions.
It was evil-doers (people) who made the decision to exploit Orcas for profit and those same people are now trying to salvage their corporation’s reputation and profits with ads ad campaigns that try to persuade us that they are benevolent organizations and that what they do, helps animals in the wild. There’s no sense in trying to hide behind a corporate name when lobbying a defense of the previous actions taken by that same corporation. Corporations can be evil people too, just like us.
To go a step further, I personally helped them conduct their crimes against wild animals – guilty as charged, throw the Crimes Against Wild Animals book at me. During the late 80’s, while living in San Diego, I helped fund those crimes. I purchased a season pass each year so that I could go watch those crimes being committed at Sea World park. If there’s blame to go around, it certainly starts with Me because without my money, they wouldn’t have been able to keep the lights on. When I say Me, I really mean all of us who paid Sea World money – not me alone.
Humans are no strangers to treating animals badly – often times those animals being ourselves (Yes Virginia, we are animals). This article doesn’t convey anything new in that subject area. It’s a bit of a given that we humans can be rather inhumane at times. But what always causes me to cock my head sideways and one of my ears to droop down, is the fact that we know about these things yet we continue doing them… for a long time after having that knowledge. Abuse of animals seems to be a pre-ordained integral part of human life for some of us.
When a bundle of information is presented in a very clear and concise manner, sometimes we listen and on rare occasions, we even take action or cease taking action in the way of not joining in on committing the atrocity. Blackfish was one of those bundles for me. It struck nerves so deep that it made we weep like a congressman confessing to adultery in a press conference – only my tears were real.
This article isn’t so much about how Tilikum, the killer whale (IKR – he really was a killer whale), was mistreated or about how a corporation like Sea World can get away with very bad practices, (yet survive well enough to fund a misinformation campaign via Google), it’s more about how, in the face of absurdity, it can take forever for us humans to wake up and modify our bad behaviors.
Sorry Readers – my normal articles are futile attempts at creating humor. This one doesn’t lend itself to knee slapping yucks. If you’re looking for chuckles and hilarity, you may want to wait for my next article “10 Reasons Why Global Warming Will Actually Be Super Great For Our Planet!”.
After I watched Blackfish I realized I could never go to Sea World, nor any other corporate wild animal park again. The evidence of abuse presented was irrefutable and the fact that I gave those bastards the money to commit those abuses… all I can say is “World, I’m very sorry. It was stupid of me. It won’t happen again.”
Yesterday (January 17, 2014), I listened to a recording of what is believed to be Adam Lanza, the mass murderer behind the Sandy Hook Elementary killings. He used the name Greg to call in to an Anarchist radio show, sometime prior to the killings. As I listened, just like the host, I found myself pulled in to what he was saying and surprised at how well spoken and intelligent sounding he was. Please note the words “intelligent sounding”. Many humans sound intelligent but later go on to do unintelligent things. Heck, Neil Young and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson liked Charles Manson at one time. Sounding intelligent is impressive but acting intelligent is a whole other crème brulee.
What the killer articulately spoke of regarded an animal abuse that had taken place. He recalled how Travis, the face-eating chimp had been raised as a human all his life, even having a habit of surfing the internet. What was most eerie about his presentation was that it appeared that he was speaking metaphorically about his own abuse.
Sure, it’s entirely possible that via a random genetic mutation, something could cause a child to go nuts and kill multiple people but I don’t believe that this is the cause of most of these types of crimes. Most times, we see that it was some form of mistreatment that occurred which later manifested into a heinous crime. Adam Lanza was an adult, age 20, who was 100% responsible for his actions, in terms of legal responsibility.
However, I blame his parents when it comes to moral responsibility. Having learned how his parents treated him, it seems clear that he was the product of a bad upbringing. I believe that when he spoke of the mistreatment of Travis the chimp, he was also trying to convey his own experiences. This in no way excuses his behavior, rather it provides a possible explanation. He should still be made to answer for his crimes.
Let’s discuss Travis for a spell (not my friend Travis, who lives in Coos Bay & who arguably is an end-product of our society’s failure to mold our citizens into respectable pillars of the community, but Travis the face-eating chimp). Adam Lanza was correct in stating that what caused Travis to go nuts was that he had been raised as a human, not as a Chimpanzee. Travis was no different than Tilikum in that both were in less than optimum environments that were not favorable to becoming the animals they should’ve become.
If Adam Lanza was actually trying to tell us where he was at prior to the Sandy Hook murders, in terms of his mental state, then he too could be categorized as an animal that was raised in an inappropriate, less than ideal environment. This of course, is an understatement. In a sense, we are hearing what Tilikum or Travis might tell us, if we’d had the ability to understand them.
Let’s visit the evidence in Executive bullet form:
Tilikum (killer whale):
(Too many attacks to list for Tilikum, so I’ll just list the deaths.)
- 1991 – Keltie Byrne, a 20-year-old marine biology student was killed after slipping into Tilikum’s pool.
- 1999 – Daniel P. Dukes, a 27-year-old was found dead and nude, draped over Tilikum’s back.
- 2010 – Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old trainer was drowned after a “Dine with Shamu” show.
Apparently, Tilikum is still performing today.
- 1996 – Woman says that he bit her hand and tried to pull her into a vehicle as she greeted him.
- 2003 – While riding in a car, unbuckled his seat belt and chased a man.
- 2009 – Went berserk and caused so much physical harm that the woman’s face needed to be transplanted.
Niki & Amadeus (chimps):
- 2012 – Two chimps caged in Africa, violently attack a 26-year-old American grad student, nearly killing him, leaving him mauled for life.
Adam Lanza (human):
- 2012 – Fatally shoots twenty children and six adults at an elementary school in Connecticut. Kills himself.
What’s your point Mr. Danny? I’m glad you asked Mr. and Mrs. Reader. My point is this: We have plenty of evidence that treating animals badly results in bad things, yet we continue to participate and fund such mistreatments. Even after seeing black & white (blackfish) evidence presented in an ironclad (Iron Sides?) case, we still seem to be unable to process the evidence and correct our behaviors accordingly.
Let’s quickly summarize some things, for a I fear I’m losing your attention.
Mistreatment of animals by keeping them outside their natural environments – still occurs in droves.
Mistreatment of our planet’s resources – hey wait a second! That’s not fair Danny! You were talking about ANIMALS – not The Environment! Well, guess what? When we trash our planet, we’re mistreating a whole bunch of animals all at once, including humans. This, even though we know it’s wrong, still occurs in bushels. Watch the documentary Chasing Ice, then tell me you’re not afraid of what we’ve done thus far. I couldn’t sleep for nights after watching that film.
A recent survey shows that 23% of Americans don’t believe global warming is happening.
Seriously? I sadly confess though – I suspected the percentage of non-believers to be even higher.
How much evidence do we need to prove to us, things that should be rather obvious? Does New York have to flood? Do Orca’s need to start devouring Sea World crowds en masse – LIVE on CNN?
Does Travis need to rip all our faces off?
As for Sandy Hook and gun control, well… this is neither the place nor the article for that discussion. Why? I’m not your typical bleeding heart, red-diaper-doper-baby liberal in that I don’t believe gun control at this juncture will stop or alleviate the stupid, senseless killings that occur. Maybe it would’ve made a difference in the past but it seems there are so many guns now that getting rid of enough of them to taper the number of mass killings with them is impossible.
I’m not an expert in crime stats either but according to wiki, there were roughly 1700 fatal stabbings in the U.S. in 2011. Compared with guns, which boasted almost 8,600 fatalities, knives appear to lose that death race hands-down. Still, a crap load of people died by knives. I’m unsure we could outlaw knives and I’m even more unsure of whether we can control guns now that every other crime-fearing American has one in their bedroom, car or purse.
Even if we outlawed guns altogether, the ability to make the damn things in our garage is here. Several states and municipalities are already trying to head plastic guns off at the pass:
According to Don Thompson (Associated Press) as reported in today’s Manufacturing.net, the “ghost guns” that can slip through metal detectors and be assembled at home without safeguards are spurring efforts in California and elsewhere to bring these weapons and their owners out of the shadows.
Outlawing guns in this country may be a fanciful dream who’s ship has long sailed. I can’t imagine outlawing knives and now that we can make guns in our garages, I have a hard time seeing us able to do the same with guns. I know… I know… my bleeding heart, red-diaper-doper-baby green card just got rescinded but it’s reality folks. Sometimes reality is a bitter shot to swallow – with or w/o salt and lime.
What we have left in our arsenal is in fact, something the NRA (hollowly) promotes – better mental health. Do they also promote raising taxes to pay for better mental health? Nah. That’s not on their agenda. But none of that is my focus. The focus of this article is more about what we should be doing to minimize our rampages into death and misery.
So what can we do Danny?
We can listen. Listen to what Adam Lanza, Travis, Niki & Amadeus and Tilikum were telling us. The old saying that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ is close but not quite complete. A better saying might read:
‘Very disturbed animals often kill other animals. Deal with what causes these disturbances effectively and we just might make some progress.’
Any self-respecting marketing consultant would tell me that my version is too long and too much to comprehend… and they would be correct. It’s even too long for a mission statement. But someone also said that if you criticize something, you need to offer a solution. I believe it goes something like:
‘If you’re not part of the problem, you’re a complete fucking idiot.’
And with that little golden gem of information, wisdom and guidance, I bid you farewell, arrivederci, au revoir and catcha’ on the flipside. Long live the queen! Replace batteries when red LED comes on. Stop draggin’ my heart around. And… let’s make the world a cooler place.
The following resources were used as research to develop this article:
Niki & Amadeus: