Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Bloody Stain

My response to an editorial in the New York Times on the perceived utility of guns in our society:

The bloody stain of our obsession with guns, and our passionate belief that guns are necessary tools in our everyday lives, seeps beyond human society. 

Witness the Port Authority's response to a few snowy owls at JFK Airport: Shoot and kill. Blast your problem away with a shotgun. Eradicate what annoys you by shooting at it. Stand your ground!

Reports indicate that the Port Authority chose guns as a first response to the problem of removing a few two-pound birds from the site.*

The moment I heard about the murdered snowy owls at JFK, I immediately thought of the connection of those deaths with our gun culture. 

It's just too easy to solve a problem by shooting at it ... and that remains an easy option for all of us -- because guns are so readily available, and because they are promoted as problem-solving tools that are necessary to our lives.

How sad that even a  few owls are victims of "stand your ground" thinking.

What a mess we've made.


* How fortunate that people with cooler heads and more knowledge offered alternatives (e.g., trap and relocate to preserve life instead of obliterating it). Did the airport "experts" at the Port Authority do any basic research to see how their peers deal with owls on site? There's plenty of evidence to demonstrate the efficacy of a non-violent approach. The trap-release method also allows scientists to gather data on owls prior to releasing them in safer areas - win-win-win for airport, science, and owls. And it costs the airport nothing.

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