Cowardice and Prudence

Bob Murphy criticizes a parent's reaction to a child in peril. It certainly seems like an odd reaction for a parent to have, but not being a parent and never having had to rescue someone from an animal attack leads me to a more cautious response and an attempt at understanding:

Maybe animal attacks bring out something primal in us, and by our nature we are pussies* in the face of monstrous beasts. It's not like we got to where we are as a species today through macho posturing and heroic rescues. We got to where we are by being smarter than the competition, and selfish.

Just going by the story as presented by Bob, I don't think we necessarily even have enough information to go on to judge these people. If the kid was already far enough gone, and the threat severe enough, it would be reckless - not courageous - to do much more than throw branches and stones from a distance.

* After reflecting back on this comment, I regret my word choice. "Pussies" brings gender into the equation, and it's precisely this sort of macho posturing that I'm questioning.

Ironically, I will now be accused of wimpiness in the face of political correctness for recognizing my mistake and correcting it.

Share this

Actually, we got where we

Actually, we got where we are by sacrificing the older population to ensure the survival of the younger population. Those instincts run deep. I'm stunned they didn't take hold in this example.

We also got where we are by killing wild, large, and dangerous animals on a routine basis. We hunted for a whole lot longer than we have farmed. We're pretty darned dangerous ourselves, especially in numbers, especially with something gripped in our opposable-thumbed hands.

If the kid was already far enough gone, and the threat severe enough, it would be reckless - not courageous - to do much more than throw branches and stones from a distance.

Please, in the name of all you take holy, do not think like this if you are ever faced with an actual emergent life-or-death situation. If you do, someone will die. The first rule of an emergency is to ACT NOW. Seconds count. And people can live through astonishing injuries; any assessment of "he's too far gone to be worth trying to save" is probably wrong but will rapidly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

TNC

I don't know about the parent, but The Nature Conservacy is not doing good work. It's too long to quote, but the customary practices apparently worked for the inhabitants, and these customary practices were outlawed, apparently with the encouragement of TNC. Chaos ensued.

"We don't want the Komodo dragon to be domesticated. It's against natural balance," says Widodo Ramono, policy director of the Nature Conservancy's Indonesian branch and a former director of the country's national park service. "We have to keep this conservation area for the purpose of wildlife. It is not for human beings.

Ugh.