Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Ominous Predictions"

Full moons and banging drums. Its been a rough few days in New York City.......
I am not sure if there have been a series of full moons or the recent rallies and Occupation Wall Street movement in NYC has set everyone on edge and seemingly ready to do instant battle.
Speaking for myself, I am normally someone who likes to look at all sides of an issue before taking an actual position.  I like debate.  I like dialogue.  And I like to learn how others think -- including those who have a different perspective on something than I do.
Perhaps this is one reason for engaging in numerous conversations with officials at USDA regarding goose roundups and killings around the country.  We obviously don't agree.  But, I like knowing the opposition's justifications and rationalizations for doing what they do and advocating what they advocate.
It may come as a surprise to those who view me as "radical" or extreme on protection of Canada geese to learn I am usually moderate on most other issues and view myself as a political Independent, (as opposed to straight "Republican" or "Democrat" or "liberal" vs. "conserative").
I hate all the partisanship, polarizing gridlock and political oneupsmanship in Washington, and feel that both parties have let the American people down.  Too much time spent on obstructionist tactics, blaming the other party and political posturing for purposes of winning elections than seeking true solutions, understanding of others positions and compromise.
The country is in a mess.  But, it seems few are actually listening or openly communicating. 
Rather, there is tendency to distort reality and seek reasons and ways to attack.
In the past few days I have found myself on the front end of accusations and attacks from those within my own field of goose or animal advocacy.
In one case, I was told I am "pushing the cart too fast" on goose advocacy.
A charge I found stunning considering there are no geese in Central Park for the past two months at a time there would normally be more than 100.
If I could be accused of anything on the goose issue, it is (to my belief) being too slow and reactive, as opposed to being proactive enough.
But, I attempted to be "proactive" this week by suggesting to others in the cause, that questions pertaining to details of the goose harassment program should be posed to the leadership of another park that still has geese.   (I apparently failed to do this adequately with Central Park officials and have since awoken to the rude surprise of no geese at all in my local park.)
But, I seemed to run into a wall of resistance and fears that pushing such questions now would result in "alienation" from park leadership.
Well, one has to wonder:   If we don't raise such questions now -- during a time more than 3,000 geese have been destroyed from city parks over the past three years and while hundreds of other geese have been harassed and chased out of "safe" areas like Central Park only to be killed elsewhere -- when do we raise them?
When there are no geese left to either harass or kill in all of New York City?
It will be a little late then.  --  As it is apparently too late now to raise these questions to Central Park leadership.
But, if it was a little disconcerting and frustrating to be accused of pushing "alienating tactics" by merely suggesting that goose harassment needs to be questioned and addressed now, it was mind blowing to be accused of "supporting" the use of horses at events like the Occupy Wall Street rally held at Times Square over the weekend.
A poster on a Facebook page questioned the use of horses at the demonstration and requested that someone play "Devil's Advocate" and explain the logic or rationalization for it.
Putting myself in the position of a cop or "devil's advocate" I attempted to explain why horses are used at large events for purposes of "crowd control."  Should matters get out of hand, horses are large animals, that although not dangerous or violent, can intimidate or compel people to move back.
Anything can, after all happen at large crowd gatherings. Especially if people are angry about something. What happens if someone shows up with weapons?  What if a few people become violent?  What if a panic sets in among the crowd?
Personally, I don't like the use of horses at large crowd events -- especially demos that have greater potential for getting out of hand and becoming volatile or chaotic.
But, the fact is that horses are trained and used for this purpose, not just in the US, but all over the world. And they will continue to be used, whether we like it or not.   Its an unfortunate fact of life and just one more example of humans putting our needs above what would be a natural setting and life choice for an animal.  I attempted to warn others to expect police horses at future large scale demos, but somehow all of that was interpreted to mean that I personally "support" the use of horses in this way!
I don't.  But, I understand the justifications and rationalizations for it, just as I understand the rationalizations for killing geese.  
But, I am hardly a "supporter" of goose killings anymore than a supporter of using horses in wars or to control large, potentially volatile crowds.
Yes, its been a rough and frustrating few days.
Everyone talking, chanting, banging drums and endlessly hurling accusations.
But, seemingly no one actually listening or communicating.
Yesterday morning, I walked my dogs around the Reservoir, the Pond ( Upper West Side) and Harlem Meer.
Not one goose to be seen anywhere in a more than two hour walk.
"Pushing the cart too fast?"
I have to wonder what would the reality be were I pushing the cart too slow or not pushing at all?
I have also been accused over the past few days, of "ominous predictions."
That accusation is unfortunately true.
Its hard to look at the recent past in terms of NYC goose killings and harassment, as well as the current reality of no geese in my local park and feel "optimistic."   Such would seem to warrant some major dysfunction of the brain to process information and facts or quite frankly, the eyes to even see.
So, back to the original question:
Has there been a series of full moons or have all the recent "occupies" and demos set people on a kind of war path of hypersensitivity and over-reaction to seemingly everything from mere suggestions to the presence of horses at large crowd events?
I don't know.
It just seems really ugly these days with all the unhappiness, gripes, grievances, endless accusations and complaints.
I just really miss the presence, peace and serenity of the geese.
A presence I was able to find even on the darkest day in NYC, 9-11, but cannot find now.
"Ominous predictions," indeed.   -- PCA

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