Animals of assorted species and definitions have dominated my thought processes this week.
The human animal was at the forefront again when our justice system, moving at its usual warp speed pace, finally sentenced one of the little darlings who gave our province a whopping international shiner one year ago.
Why someone who has no criminal record, turns himself in and pleads guilty has to wait a year to learn his fate remains a mystery to me.
What is clear is the judicial system in general, and Judge Reginald Harris in particular, is determined to send a message to the miscreants who believed losing a hockey game was the spark needed to launch an impromptu reenactment of the sacking of Rome.
Surrey's Emmanuel Alviar learned this the hard way when his expected community service sentence took a sharp U-turn in front of Harris' bench.
Alviar got his community service all right, 150 hours of it. He'll begin that work after he spends one month in jail and then embarks on a year of probation. He'll also have a criminal record as a lasting souvenir of his riotous night on the town.
He should have stuck with a tattoo when he sought out a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.
Good for judge Harris. While the Judge's sentence may seem a tad harsh to some, there is no doubt there are now more than 300 other fellow rioting stupidiots working their way through the justice system who experienced a spontaneous laundry problem when they learned of Alviar's fate.
Message delivered - on the rioting front at least.
The next time the Canucks play a game of consequence, wannabe hooligans who still possess the cognitive ability to recall Alviar's sentence might celebrate/mourn in a more socially acceptable fashion. (I would have said think twice, but clearly the rioters of June 2011 couldn't even think once before acting out their desires to reconnect with their inner vandal.)
Looking at the bigger picture, however, the ramifications of the sentence imposed by the good Judge Harris turns the appreciation for his ruling into a bit of a head scratcher.
So if smashing windows, throwing rocks and acting like an untamed jackass is a ticket to jail, probation, community service and a criminal record, what is appropriate for more serious crimes? Moronic as their actions were, there's little chance the vast majority of the Stanley Cup rioters will tear up the streets again.
So why is Alviar sitting in jail for crimes against property while drug dealers who have ruined the lives of countless Canadian citizens are routinely sentenced to house arrest where they can presumably continue their illicit activity?
It just doesn't add up.
Tuesday morning brought animal news of a different sort as a young humpback whale washed up on the beach in White Rock and died shortly after. The poor beastie had become tangled in fishing gear and apparently starved to death.
The sad story of the beaching obviously struck a chord with many fellow mammals as hundreds of people flocked to the scene to marvel and mourn the creature's passing.
It's never a joyous occasion to witness the devastating impact humans have on other creatures who share this increasingly shrinking blob of rock, water and gasses and Tuesday's death was no exception.
Tearful pilgrims laid flowers around and upon the corpse of the cetacean in tribute to the loss of a creature they never knew existed mere hours earlier.
What is it about humanity that we mythologize some animals on this planet while dismissing others as being pests?
How many of those people who mourned the death of this unfortunate humpback bother to swerve when a raccoon exhibits a lapse in judgment and scampers onto the road? Whales, dolphins, grizzly bears, spotted owls, panda bears, spirit bears, bald eagles - all have somehow attained most favoured species status in the eyes of humans.
Skunks, coyotes, opossums, squirrels and raccoons - to name a few - don't benefit from such positive public relations and nobody gives them a second thought as we nonchalantly drive past, or over, their mangled bodies.
When was the last time you saw roses laid on the corpse of a rotting skunk carcass? And yet these so-called pest animals are just as important to the ecosystem as the majestic, noble and awe-inspiring humpback whale that washed up on the beach Tuesday.
Michael Booth can be reached at mbooth@ thenownewspaper.com
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