Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fun With Death

Killing With Kindness or, On Men and Manatees

Last autumn I reported on “Beggar” and how this formerly free and independent-minded fun seeker was transformed into a dependent and dead dolphin because he was in the habit of hustling handouts of hot dogs, chicken wings, chips, beer, gummy bears, tacks, beef jerky, candy bars, nachos, jalapenos, KFC, screws, wine coolers, pretzels, Texas Toast, barbecue ribs, cokes, cookies, nails, hamburgers, and pina coladas from swimmers, boaters, waders, surfers, fishermen, flat boarders, jet skiers, hang gliders, spear fishermen, snorkelers, scuba divers, kayakers, and drunks up at nearby Venice Beach (“Kumbaya Koolaid,” 9.28.12).   

Now, it would seem Florida is having a major problem with dead manatees.  These whale-like mammals with the sad Emmett Kelly faces seek out the creeks and estuaries of Florida to hole up for the winter until the sea warms.  Seems folks, in spite of laws against it, cannot resist playing with the slow-moving creatures.

Aptly named Ryan Waterman loved the water.  Ryan was swimming the other day with his kids over at Ft. Pierce.  When he saw a manatee calf Ryan could not resist the chance of a lifetime and began playing with the animal.  Soon, while a family member snapped photos, Waterman lifted the calf from the water; he then put one of his young kids on its back; perhaps he even gave his new friend some beer and pizza.  Fun, fun, fun.

Well, when the images went viral, Florida Fish and Game brains were not laughing in the least.  That sort of behavior is exactly how stupid humans screw up nature and how the beginning of the end began for Beggar.  Waterman faces both state and federal charges.

There are only around 3,800 manatees left in Florida and each year close to a hundred are killed by humans.  Last October a woman up near St. Pete was seen riding another manatee and in December others were witnessed messing with and trying to ride a sick sperm whale as it flopped in the water.  The whale later washed up dead.

Ron Waterman meant well, and I’m sure he is a regular guy, but give me a freakin’ break. . . . What kind of retard in this day and age would assume it is okay to hold up and ride on an endangered species?  Ignorance of the law, which Ron predictably pleaded, is no excuse.  If any animal in the world just seems to scream, “Hey, I am endangered . . . I am endangered . . . Help! . . . Please protect me!” this animal is the one.

Fact is: I much prefer to live among those people, like Ron, who “love nature to death,” as opposed to those knuckle-dragging cretins who hunt nature to death; but either way, nature is still dead. 

The essence of the problem is: Not lack of education, not lack of laws, not lack of penalties, but too many people, too little space, too little time. 


One Wrong Move--Over at the South Florida Polo Club last Friday, Jose Calverio was walking a horse from the field.  Jose was an experienced groomer in the hire of a professional polo player and he certainly knew horses better than most.  And so, one must ask: “Why did Jose come running up behind another horse when he knew that 99 times out of a hundred such stuff spooks a steed.”  The startled equine instinctively kicked back with about a million pounds of force and Jose was . . .  well, had a ton of space junk hit Jose square on the head he could not have died any deader.

Death By Amtrak—Just as armadillos find it hard to cross roads, so to do Floridians have trouble negotiating railroad tracks.  Two more folks killed this week up at the Captial of Train Track Deaths, Lakeland.  Despite flashing lights, lowering gate, train horn blasting, brakes screeching, nope, nope, nope, and nope--these two just had to cross the railroad to see what was on the other side.  Since the train was only traveling at 35MPH it would seem that drugs, drink, suicide, and/or terminal stupidity played an important role in the crash. 

Fact is, unlike virtually all Northern States, the entire State of Florida has only a few railroads to deal with (in three years here, I do not recall even seeing one railroad track); and so, it seems Florida folks, having little experience with RR tracks have little understanding of them.  Guess the analogy is similar to a bit of snow coating Atlanta and Dixie drivers crashing by the thousands for lack of practice.  Or maybe, like Florida geezers and canals, maybe Sun Shiners of all ages have this all-compelling attraction to the iron road which soon ends up fatal. 

“Florida has ranked in the top 15 for states with the most train versus car accidents,” runs a local report.  “According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 52 incidents at rail crossings last year, resulting in 11 deaths.”

These state stats do not even take into account the pedestrian and cyclist deaths, nor the homeless-sapiens who are cut in half, some of which who have been reported on in this sensational blog.

So, the question then arises: Why do Floridians Try To Cross the Railroad Tracks?  To prove to the chickens and armadillos that it positively can’t be done.


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