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Friday, April 1, 2016

Living in a World Full of Madness

I'm not sure whether to feel outrage, depression or surrender, but the goings-on in this world are weighing heavily on my mind. And they make me angry ... very angry.

Recently I read about the brutal murder of three rangers and a member of the armed forces by elephant poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This brings to eight the number of rangers and soldiers killed by poachers just last year in the DRC.

Fourteen elephants were poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe, the same country where Cecil the lion was lured from the preserve where he lived -- in supposed safety -- and killed by an American 'trophy hunter.' Zimbabwe announced that it will not seek his extradition from the United States. There are reports of still more elephants and a pride of lions being poisoned in Zimbabwe. Thousands of elephants and rhinoceros are slaughtered every year for their tusks and horns, so some Asian can have an ivory trinket or an Asian man can feel more 'virile' by consuming ground rhino horn.

A judge in Austin, TX, ordered the death of a dog after it bit a 2-year-old child's face at an adoption fair. Despite ignoring repeated requests from the rescue group's staff that the parents not put the kid on the ground in a pen with five dogs, the parents not only let the kid run around inside the pen, but they allowed the child to hug a dog named Neville. The second time the child tried to give Neville a hug, he reacted and snapped at the child. The parents -- who in my opinion should be charged with child endangerment -- are now suing the rescue, and Neville is facing execution, all because of the stupidity of the parents. What kind of parents let their 2-year-old run around in a pen full of dogs -- dogs that undoubtedly were already stressed from being in a strange place with unknown dogs? What kind of parent ignores the requests of staff and then lets their precious little angel to hug a strange dog? How would the parents feel if a 6'6", 300-pound stranger walked up behind them and gave them a hug? Neville's life was ultimately spared after a legal challenge and massive public uproar.

There have been more mass shootings in the United States. Fourteen people were gunned down in San Bernardino, CA, by a couple -- one of them born in the U.S. -- who pledged their loyalty to ISIS. How many police officers have been gunned down on purpose in the last year? Gun violence in this country is out of control, with no agreement on what to do to stop it, and no apparent willingness by any of our so-called 'leaders' to do anything about it. The NRA's solution is to arm everybody so there will be lots of "good guys" to shoot back. Just what we need -- a return to the wild west. Why are we letting gun violence and mass shootings become the new normal?

Crime in Albuquerque, near where I live, is out of control. Carjackings,shootings, road rage killings, all are now common. Once in a great while, someone is stabbed to death, but the vast majority of killings involves use of a hand gun. 

ISIS continues its war on innocent people in Europe, Pakistan and other countries. The most recent attack targeted families with children celebrating Easter in a local park. Attacks in Belgium killed and injured hundreds, while plots in France were stopped before they could be carried out.

Swaziland has sold 18 young elephants to zoos in the US after tearing them away from their families. One has reportedly died already. Calls to remove protections from the American grizzly bear are growing. Western-state politicians are trying to force the federal government to hand over public lands -- lands that belong to all Americans -- to state and local control so they can be exploited by a select few cattle ranchers, oil and gas companies, and mining operations. Bison are being slaughtered -- this year's goal is 1,000 dead animals -- by the National Park Service at the behest of cattle ranchers, who also successfully demanded the extermination of a wolf family for killing four precious cattle for which the cattlemen are being reimbursed. Since when are cows more important than wolves and other wild animals?

The campaign to elect a new president has reached its lowest point ever. I don't care for either the leading contenders from either party. One is a blustering bully; the other is of very questionable integrity. Is this really the best a country of some 330 million people can do?

Religious fanatics and their political cronies are attempting (and in one case, have succeeded) to pass legislation that allows people to refuse service to others if they object to their lifestyle on 'religious' grounds. So it's now OK in North Carolina to discriminate against gays. What's next, a religion-based refusal to serve women or fat people or Hispanics?

Once again, four wolves (including the alpha male and female) have been slaughtered in Oregon for allegedly killing a couple of cattle. I am so fed up with state fish and game agencies kowtowing to the almighty cattle industry. These cattle ranchers often graze their cattle on public lands and refuse to do anything to protect the cows. When a wolf or other predator kills one of their precious bovines, the ranchers are reimbursed for the cost of the cow. And then they demand -- usually successfully -- that the offending wild animal be slaughtered. I have given up beef and will continue to do so until some balance and sanity are introduced into these state commissions, which are typically packed with pro-hunting, pro-trapping, anti-wildlife appointees beholden to cattle ranchers and hunting outfitters.

We little people, the people who care about other people and about our world and the animals struggling to survive in a world governed by the greedy, uncaring corporate masters, have no voice. It's all about pleasing those with the big money and influence. 

My heart aches for what this world has become .. and even more for what it will become if there isn't a fundamental shift in the way humans live and think. What happened to our morals, ethics and compassion? I fear it may be too late to recover.