Monday, September 26, 2011

Innocence Destroyed and Innocence Nurtured

Photo: Young child holding goose for banding. The goose was later released.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a hundred thousand.
Yesterday, I posted a YouTube video that was disturbing on many levels:
There is the obvious lunacy, cruelty and intolerance of rounding up a pitiful family of nine defenseless geese from a lakefront community.
But, if one watches the video closely and carefully, there is much more.....
There is the trauma to the children of this community who witnessed a hideous "ganging up on" and "bullying" of defenseless wildlife who had no means of escape.
Anyone who doubts this only need study the expressions on the children's faces towards the end of the video as well as their body language.
At least three children old enough to have some grasp of the situation are standing with heads lowered and arms folded and crossed tightly and defensively across their bodies.  
They don't say anything, but the disturbed and puzzled looks on their faces says it all.
We know the people of this community did not consider at all what they were doing to the geese.
As the gander of the group tries desperately to seek escape and protection for the family of geese and as the birds huddle tightly together and are seen vainly flapping and attempting to fly on flightless (molting) wings, one can hear the videographer  laughing.  Other "adults" are heard throughout the video self-congratulating, laughing and boasting that they "got all nine geese."
Indeed, it appears that an entire "army" of people in the community set out to overpower and "get" this innocent family of geese living peacefully on a large lake.  
But, the children are not laughing -- especially at the end when they seem to realize on some gut level what has just happened.
A couple of the adults continue to laugh and say something about a "resort," but it appears that the children aren't buying it.  They simply stare silently and solemnly as the terrified geese are driven away.
My personal belief is that the insidious images of this event will sit in the subconscious of these children for many years and will affect them in various ways down the line.
Some may develop a distrust of adults and a skepticism of things told to them. (i.e. "The geese had to go! They were a nuisance. They went to a nice resort!").   What was told to the children simply did not fit with the images they witnessed.  
Children can be extraordinarily sensitive and perceptive as they are not emotionally and spiritually blunted like many adults.  What we assume they do not "understand" quite often are understood far better by children than us.
Along with a kind of damage or destruction of innocence and trust, there is also possibility that some children can develop a fear of being "overpowered" (like the geese) corralled (i.e. "controlled") and coming to some unfortunate end at the hands of those who overpower and control them (like the geese).   This could cause the children eventually to "overcompensate" for the fear by becoming "bullies" themselves and trying to "get others before others get them."
In short, there is no way to think that what these children witnessed on June 19 of this year was in any way "positive" to their psychological health and emotional sense of security and well being.  On the contrary, the overpowering and insidiously cruel roundup of the geese by what appears to be an army of human bullies can only be considered to be extremely damaging to the psychological health of the impressionable children forced to bear witness.
Innocence was destroyed in this video and on this day.
But, it wasn't just the innocence of the victimized geese -- but the children of this community, as well.
But, the "adults" seemed as blind to that as they were their tyranny against the geese.
If it is despairing to realize how we are damaging some children through celebrated actions of bullying and cruelty to animals, it is important to realize that not all parents are so blunted and spiritually bankrupt as to traumatize their kids in such egregious manner.
Also on YouTube is a beautiful video of a young girl (about the same age as some of the kids on the goose roundup video) who, with the support and encouragement of her Dad, rescues and nurses back to health, a sick Canada goose. (Funny how the goose shows no fear of the girl and makes no attempt to escape.)
Hope for the future can be realized with the knowledge that some children are fortunate to grow up in homes where awareness, empathy and sensitivity to the world around them is encouraged and nurtured rather than thwarted and warped.
Though only about 12 or 13 when video was made, young Zoe already has wisdom and confidence far beyond her years.
That only all children could be raised with such love and connection to life and nature. That only all children could be allowed to hold on to their innocence and trust through the formative years of childhood.
It would be a far better, more peaceful and happier world for both humans and animals and things like "bullying," teen suicides and "goose roundups" would be virtually non-existent.  --PCA

1 comment:

PCA said...

The photo on this entry was of a child holding a goose for banding. The goose was later released.