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A Nation of Fear

By       Message Walter Brasch     Permalink
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From flickr.com/photos/37650135@N07/9334782895/: Black bear eating grass
Black bear eating grass
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by Walter Brasch

Maintenance workers at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., airport shot and killed a bear and her three cubs.

The bears had crawled under a perimeter fence and were just lying around, several hundred yards from a runway. The airport director claimed the bears might have posed a risk to flights. The mother bear weighed less than most pro football linemen. While the airport officials were worrying about what a bear and her cubs might do, they probably should have been worrying why that fence wasn't secure. If bears could crawl under it, couldn't drunks or terrorists also get into unauthorized areas of the airport?

Earlier this year, the airport workers killed a bear who had gone onto a parking lot and climbed away from humans. The airport director also claimed the bear might have hurt someone. He claimed the reason the bears were not tranquilized was because his maintenance workers weren't trained to tranquilize bears. He claimed the Game Commission possibly could not have gotten to the site fast enough to assist.

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The airport director also said it wasn't the policy to publicize the killings, apparently in an attempt to keep the public ignorant of what the airport does to animals.

A week later, about 30 miles away, near Catawissa, Pa., a Game Commission officer came onto private property and killed a baby raccoon that had posed no threat to anyone.

The family had rescued the raccoon after her mother was killed by a car. The family bottle-fed the raccoon. They made a small hutch for the raccoon who often went into the woods. The family says they planned to release the animal when it was strong enough, according to reporter Julye Wemple.

It didn't matter to the Game Commission officer. Dixie had to be killed, he said. The animal might have rabies, he said. He refused to quarantine it. He refused to allow it to run back into the woods. He refused to allow the family to apply for a permit to keep the raccoon--the family didn't realize they had to go through a paper jungle in order to do a humane act. At first, he even refused to take the animal away from the house to kill it. It was a final, desperate plea by the parents who didn't want their four-year-old to see the murder.

After the officer fired two shots into Dixie--the first didn't kill her--he then cited the family for unlawful acts concerning the taking of furbearers. Maybe, the Game Commission officer thought his badge allowed him to kill rather than protect animals.

The Game Commission officer's inhumanity now allows every person to kill every animal on sight--just because it might have rabies. Maybe, it will attack us. Or, maybe, it's just an annoyance.

Fear is a dominant trait in our society.

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We buy .357 Magnums so we can blow away robbers--or in fear of neighbors who take short-cuts through our back yards at night. Or to murder people whose views are different from ours. Three recent high-profile cases revealed Whites killing Blacks because they might be dangerous.

We fear ideas that aren't what we believe, so we continue to ban books and whine about the National Endowment for the Arts, forgetting that our nation was founded upon a libertarian principle that all views should be heard.

In a nation that seems to value appearance over intellect, a nation where there are no ugly anchors on TV, we are so afraid of not looking at least as well as anyone else that we spend billions for makeup to cover blemishes; we go to spas, gyms, and plastic surgeons to "tone up our flab" so no one scorns us for being fat. Augmentations to fill out. Liposuctions to reduce. Preparation H to shrink our wrinkles.

We don't hire the handicapped, the short, the tall, the fat, the skinny because they're "different." We fear and condemn gays, lesbians, and same-sex marriage, trying to justify our contempt and our fear as a voice from God. Some among us are anti-Semitic and racist, irrationally justifying their own pathetic existence.

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http://www.walterbrasch.com

Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of (more...)
 

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