Saturday, February 06, 2010

Moral Lethergy

The headlines are telling us that a NATO warship has recaptured a ship that was taken over by Somali pirates. Good news, right? But read the article and you will see that when the pirates saw the NATO special forces coming, they left the ship. No pirates shot, no pirates disarmed, and no pirates arrested. After all, there are restrictive rules of engagement, and even arresting a pirate is problematic due to a lack of laws.

But I shouldn't be too hard on NATO forces. After all, the Ottawa City Council can't even deal with some coyotes prowling around a local playground. The council has got permission from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to watch the coyotes for a month. If they are deemed dangerous, the animals will be trapped and released. But regulations require the release site to be within 1 km of where they were captured. So the whole exercise will remove the coyote for about an hour. In the mean time, our council is beginning an information campaign to tell us that coyotes tend not to be dangerous unless they are sick or provoked. And I am sure that if a child encounters a sick coyote or "provokes" it, our municipal and provincial governments will find a way to modify their information campaign, or get the coyote some therapy or something.

We have to be the stupidest people on the planet. Western civilization totters on the brink, and most of the world must wonder how we were ever a power to be reckoned with. And we can't even come up with the moral energy to deal with a coyote.

By the way, my wife asked is farmers were allowed to kill coyotes that prowl around their livestock. I don't know if "allowed" is the right word, but I suspect most farmers know how to handle the situation without asking the government to help.


Blogger uhuman said...

Shooting a coyote is easy but doesn't resolve anything - there is ample proof in many cities. Open up your eyes.
I agree we need to make sure municipal government doesn't fall asleep as they often do, but here they are actually thinking instead of pandering to panic. And they are making a more dificult choice - instead of just going with the obvious they are actually leading towards a real and not a temporary solution.

8:44 a.m.  
Blogger Shawn Abigail said...

I understand the issues of urban encroachment on the lands traditionally occupied by wild animals. I also understand that as a parent, I'm not too impressed by coyotes in the playground. And on a risk vs impact vs cost analysis, we have low/medium risk of the coyote attacking a child, very high impact if the risk is realized, and very low cost in shooting the coyote. I would be willing to adopt a more expensive capture and release strategy, except the Ontario government seems to have a policy that makes this completely ineffectual.

3:21 p.m.  
Blogger uhuman said...

Certainly risks must be weighed and the solution is not clear.
The MNR historically has prefered to kill in many cases, and appears to have bizarre rules like a 1 km max relocation distance - i'm not sure i get that one ? In my experience bears get relocated about 20 km and if they come back (and haven't been dangerous) they get shipped 200 km or so.
In this case i am told that if the creature has mange then it is seeking heat and food (mice near buildings), and that the right solution is to catch it, treat it (cheap and easy), and put it back in the wild. If that's the case then it sure beats shooting it and it should also avoid its return - and thus any risk.
I'm also concerned about hunters shooting someone, did you see that story of the guy whose dog got shot 100 feet from his house.
I too am ready to adopt somewhat more expensive solutions, there are so many wasted dollars in the city that i'd rather get those fixed, and use some of the savings to treating wildlife correctly and taking a bit of responsibility.
This brings us back to your interesting insight on the navy and somalians - the navy went in to a battle that was already won (as per Sun Tzu). It seems to me we should be able, for the most, to do that with the wildlife in the area - which means not panicking at any coyote around, and avoiding issues such as eliminating that open air carcass dump, etc.
Planning and level headedness would avoid 90% of the issues. The last 10% can be dealt with on a case by case basis, and always with responsibility.

5:50 p.m.  
Blogger Shawn Abigail said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts uhuman.

8:51 p.m.  
Anonymous jgriffin316 said...

Hi Shawn,

Just a few points

1. A coyote travels at about 21 km/h so it would take less than 5 minutes for a coyote to get back to its prey.

2. The coyotes around Ottawa have interbred with wolves and are about 70 lbs as opposed to the usual 35 lbs variety.

10:17 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Shawn.

I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but both cases as stated can be explained in terms of the rejection of biblical law.

Western civilization - to which you alluded - was grounded in biblical law and we reject it to our detriment.

We are indeed the stupidest people on the planet but, then again, the Bible itself has an unflattering label for people who reject God's authority, an authority that extends well beyond the walls of the church to the coast of Somalia and the playgrounds of Ottawa.


3:27 p.m.  

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