The news inordinately brings the worst of human behavior to our attention, and, in our morbid curiosity, we respond. That is why the media outlets deliver what they deliver—it gets our attention. Perhaps, we like terrible news in a perverse way because it elicits a strong emotional reaction—for the same reason that people like tragic, horror, and sentimental books, plays, and movies.
Today, we read in Adelaide Now that four teenagers in Australia attacked a seventy-eight year old blind flamingo that has been at the Adelaide Zoo since the 1930’s. The bird, named Flamingo 1, is the oldest flamingo in the world. The flamingo suffered head and beak injuries, but zoo officials are hoping that he will survive. Flamingo 1 is friendly and trusting, aside from his blindness; so, the ruffians had little trouble beating him. It makes you wonder what would possess human beings to do such a thing.
This reminds me of the summer story wherein the Eskimos killed a one hundred thirty year old whale. Even though the circumstances were very different, there is still something wrong in an animal so well constituted dying “prematurely.” If a living thing happens to survive well beyond its normal range—or within its specific range but extraordinary long for us, as with redwood trees—I feel that it is somewhat of a sacrilege to kill that thing. I am a vegetarian, anyway, but impiety befalls such killing especially.