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Monday, January 14, 2008

Tiger Beat: Clever Letter Contrasting Lethal Zoo Cat, 9x Muni Bus Brightens Everyone's Day

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2008 at 11:22 AM

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Sometimes you can sit back and let the readership do all the work for you.

Take, for example, the kick-ass letter we received from "Will in San Francisco" regarding Tatiana the slain Siberian Tiger, the 9x bus, life, the universe and everything.

Some highlights:

*The very utility of a tiger is to maul and attack things (that, and to make more tigers to maul and attack things). Do we get mad at pie when it is delicious? Or is it the same frustration we have when men are stubborn and women are irrational? Known functions of the subjects in question, but certainly not desirable, like pie. But we accept that a tiger is dangerous. That is the very reason it was taunted, and not the koi.

*On Thursday, Dec. 27th, a girl was killed in San Bruno by a Muni bus. The 9x, the bus I ride to work each day. Though six people this year have been killed by city buses (as opposed to one tiger slaying), and that was the second incident that morning at that intersection resulting in an injury, the city is filing no charges or citations, the news is still replete with stories about the tiger attack and largely ignoring this other death, proving that tiger death will always trump bus death...

*And where were the zoo workers with their tranquilizer guns in the twenty minutes before Tatiana was pumped full of lead? Couldn't they have at least tased her, bro? And now we're being told that the wall was four feet too short. Bravo. Couldn't you have cut corners on the flamingo exhibit, instead?

Click "More" for the complete text

Three guys mauled by escaped tiger at the zoo, one dead. Police respond. They move in on the tiger, which moves in on them. They fire. Tiger dead. Mayor 'deeply saddened.'

It is thought that the 'victims' were 'playfully' taunting the tiger by dangling their foot over the wall, as police found a shoe and some blood in between the barriers. Then, the tiger 'accidentally' escaped. But the word 'Victims' implies somebody was just walking in the mall when a tiger jumps out of the Hot Topic and eviscerates him. 'Playfully' implies that the taunters weren't aware that a tiger is three-hundred pounds of hell-fury on claws. And 'accidentally' implies that the tiger didn't escape on purpose, with some ease. And where were the zoo workers with their tranquilizer guns in the twenty minutes before Tatiana was pumped full of lead? Couldn't they have at least tased her, bro? And now we're being told that the wall was four feet too short. Bravo. Couldn't you have cut corners on the flamingo exhibit, instead?

That area of the zoo is now a 'crime scene,' raising the question of whether the tiger, if it had lived, would have gotten a fair trial in a court of law. Every article also reiterates that this killer had a history of violence. It attacked a zookeeper last year, and though the zoo was fined by the city, and the keeper was denied recompense from the city (which doesn't make a lot of sense either). Do we really hold animals up to our own moral compass? Hey, if Peta wants to argue for the rights of chickens, then maybe tigers should go on trial. One headline even read, "Did This Tiger Hold a Grudge?" indicating the media's skewed perspective. They think she's people.

The very utility of a tiger is to maul and attack things (that, and to make more tigers to maul and attack things). Do we get mad at pie when it is delicious? Or is it the same frustration we have when men are stubborn and women are irrational? Known functions of the subjects in question, but certainly not desirable, like pie. But we accept that a tiger is dangerous. That is the very reason it was taunted, and not the koi.

Perhaps its role in this incident changed its intrinsic qualities. That is to say, we hold a tiger in a zoo to a different standard. True, if I had read that in some faraway village, a tiger was dragging off children to devour them, then clearly it must be killed, as a matter our own survival. However, we put this tiger in this zoo. We were supposed to control the environment. Humans have access to higher brain functions than, as yet, primitive beasts do. If anything, we should be exonerating this tiger based on these factors.

I mean, I'm all for killing animals. If there are too many deer in your hometown, and you really feel like wasting money on a little laminated card, then by all means, Oregon Trail it up. If your cat is dying slowly of feline leukemia, then do what has to be done. I understand that the role of a pig in our society is to be eaten. And I for one, think that we wasted our time all those thousands of years domesticating dogs and cats and, to a lesser extent, useless ferrets. Though an arbitrary point now, it would seem to make more sense to have tigers protecting your house than Irish Setters, to farm manatee instead of cows, and (my personal favorite), to walk your rhinoceros down the street instead of your pit bull. But that's not what happened, is it?

So perhaps we simply hold humans (now numbered 6.6 billion) in higher esteem than Siberian tigers (about 400). There's a basic economic principle being contradicted here. But I don't think this is a value of life issue.

On Thursday, Dec. 27th, a girl was killed in San Bruno by a Muni bus. The 9x, the bus I ride to work each day. Though six people this year have been killed by city buses (as opposed to one tiger slaying), and that was the second incident that morning at that intersection resulting in an injury, the city is filing no charges or citations, the news is still replete with stories about the tiger attack and largely ignoring this other death, proving that tiger death will always trump bus death, and begs some other questions...

1. Which is worse: to taunt a tiger in a cage, or to run out into a city bus? That question was not intended to make a point, I sincerely do not know the answer...

2. Is Gavin Newsome 'deeply saddened' about this incident as well? And if so, maybe he just has a chemical imbalance and doesn't even read the news.

3. Many people seem to be 'anti-zoo,' (a concept so alien in stupidity that it confounds me still) and pro-public transportation. I for one think that moving masses of tons of metal require more scrutiny than an isolated animal attack. I dunno, I guess the Muni system looks bad on a daily basis, while people usually think of a day at the zoo as... well, a day at the zoo. And shouldn't somebody point out that buses pollute slightly more than tigers?

4. "It's a Zoo in There." That's an actual headline. God, I wish I'd been attacked by a tiger. Or hit by a bus. Or hit by a bus full of tigers.

5. Why didn't they shoot the city bus?

PERSONAL INFO:

Will

San Francisco CA

Minimal work done by Joe Eskenazi

Photo | http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/category/features/status-reports/page/2/

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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