A couple of thoughts as we approach that thrilling Mayan festival known as the End of the World..
WHY ARE WE STILL KILLING FOR FUN?
Sometimes news stories compel me to look at the calendar just to check which century we're living in.
Tuesday was one of those days as the front page of the Vancouver Sun featured a story about a contest offering prizes for killing wolves.
Based in British Columbia's Peace River country, the contest featured cash prizes for the biggest wolf carcasses, including a $150 booby prize for the smallest wolf killed (so, does a nursing female count as a daily double?). There are also draws offering such items as rifles and taxidermy work.
Now I have no problem with hunting if the goal is to acquire meat the hunter will use as food. At one point in human history our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and some of us like to keep that tradition alive.
What I do have a problem with is trophy hunting or killing wildlife just because we can.
I grew up in northern B.C. and I remember even as a kid having a hard time understanding why someone would spend thousands of dollars to travel to the hinterlands just to shoot a mountain goat, cut its head off, and leave the carcass to rot on a mountainside. It didn't make sense then and it doesn't make sense now.
This contest is just an extension of that killing-for-the-hell-of-it mentality. Surely we've come far enough down the evolutionary trail that we don't have to recreationally blow away every other species in the food chain to prove our worthiness at the top of the food chain.
Contests like this should be treated like an all-you can-eat buffet: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should..
SERIAL KILLERS SHOULD BE ROOMIES
Last month, a B.C. Coroner's jury issued a recommendation that prisoners who have been convicted of multiple murders should be kept in single-occupancy cells. In fact, they should be allowed to "jump the queue" and be assigned private living quarters ahead of other prisoners.
In other words, if you have serial killer on your resumé, you should get special treatment from prison officials - your own cell with no mere car thief or white-collar crook to disturb your beauty sleep.
Rather than give the worst prisoners the best treatment, perhaps a different approach is needed. Instead of moving them to the front of the line when a single-occupancy cell opens up, serial killers might turn out to be ideal roommates for each other.
And if one or both psychopaths aren't happy with the living arrangements, I'm sure they'll work something out..
MAYBE RETHINK ESCAPE TO CANADA
The response to the U.S. elections on Nov. 6 has been interesting to say the least.
The Republicans wondered what went wrong and then quickly warned that President Barack Obama and the Democrats were going to steer the U.S. economy off a fiscal cliff (because, after all, the economy was in terrific shape when George W. Bush left office).
The Democrats, meanwhile, were smug with their success, but lamented how the Republican-dominated House of Representatives would make it hard for Obama and the Democrat-dominated Senate to pass meaningful legislation. Kind of sounds like both sides lost.
After turning off the television and booting up the computer, social media offered some (sadly) predictable extreme responses to the subject at hand.
Racism, intolerance and fear mongering were common themes in messages posted online.
The most disturbing aspect of the posts that sprang from the poisoned keyboards was their source. These people are so comfortable in their ignorance and hatred that they posted their toxic missives using their own names.
Of course, the messages weren't all trips in the way-back machine to the political world of the 1950s. Most amusing of all were the disenchanted Americans who claimed they have had enough of the oppression they face in their daily lives and declared their intention to leave the country for greener pastures - Canada.
Good thinking Jim Bob. Who could tolerate living in a country where people of different ethnic groups can be elected to public office, where gays can marry, where there is socialized medicine, where military spending is not the federal government's highest priority, where there are waves of immigrants coming into the country and where marijuana is tolerated by the general public?
Yup, Canada is a great place to get away from that sort of thing..
Michael Booth can be reached at mbooth@ thenownewspaper.com