Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cop shoots Trump Chump Chimp dead

I am running Mac OS 10.5.6 again on my 21-inch iLamp. Last year at this time, it froze whenever the screensaver ran, driving me back to 10.4 (and closer to Ubuntu). In keeping with Apple's corporate philosophy of "Less is More," the newsreader RSS screensaver in 10.5 now only shows 3 news stories, instead of 10. (Thanks, Steve.) Yesterday, as the screensaver cycled through the top 3 stories from Yahoo News, I saw "Huge Chimp Shot Dead After Mauling Woman in Conn." and clicked on 3 as instructed to pop open the story in a browser page. To my surprise, I saw this:

The picture was a little surprising. Look at the powerful jaws on that thing. The vacant, staring eyes. The face, almost human, but not quite. It just doesn't seem right that people are allowed to keep 200-pound monsters like this as pets. Funny thing, though, the story didn't seem to mention the animal mauling a woman or being shot. So I looked around the news and found the promised and elusive story:

The story goes on to describe the chimp's lifestyle, how, raised as a human, he's quietly living the American dream in the suburbs, wearing clothes, surfing the internet, using a remote to channel-surf TV, riding in a truck, doing a little acting, working hard, paying taxes, and drinking a little wine. The article goes on to say that "Chimpanzees are unpredictable and dangerous even after living among humans for many years." That goes without saying. It seems like a species-ist statement considering that HUMANS are unpredictable and dangerous even after living among humans for many years.

Colleen McCann, a primatologist at the Bronx Zoo, said Tuesday that chimpanzees are unpredictable and dangerous even after living among humans for years.
"It's deceiving to think that if any animal is ... well-behaved around humans, that means there is no risk involved to humans for potential outbursts of behavior," she said. "They are unpredictable, and in instances like this you cannot control that behavior or prevent it from happening if it is in a private home."
After the initial attack, Travis ran away and started roaming Herold's property until police arrived, setting up security so medics could reach the critically injured woman, Conklin said.
But the chimpanzee returned and went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars, Conklin said. Travis knocked the mirror off a cruiser before opening its door and starting to get in, trapping the officer.
That officer shot the chimpanzee several times, Conklin said.
The wounded chimpanzee fled the scene, but Conklin said police were able to follow the trail of his blood: down the driveway, into the open door of the home, through the house and to his living quarters, where he had retreated and died of his wounds.
Herold and two officers also received minor injuries, police said.
A woman answering the door at Herold's house Tuesday morning declined to comment.
Conklin told reporters the chimp was acting so agitated earlier that afternoon that Herold gave him the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in some tea. Conklin also suggested the animal may have attacked Nash because she was wearing her hair differently and perhaps wasn't recognized.
The chimpanzee was well-known around Stamford because he rode around in trucks belonging to the towing company operated by his owners.
Police have dealt with him in the past, including an incident in 2003 when he escaped from his owners' vehicle in downtown Stamford for two hours. Officers used cookies, macadamia treats and ice cream in an attempt to lure him, but subdued him only after he became too tired to resist.
At the time of the 2003 incident, police said the Herolds told them the chimpanzee was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a stemmed glass. He also brushed his teeth using a Water Pik, logged onto the computer to look at pictures, and watched television using the remote control, police said.
When he was younger, Travis appeared on TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola, made an appearance on the "Maury Povich Show" and took part in a television pilot, according to a 2003 story in The Advocate newspaper of Stamford.
"He's been raised almost like a child by this family," Conklin said Monday. "He rides in a car every day, he opens doors, he's a very unique animal in that aspect. We have no indication of what provoked this behavior at all."

They inexplicably seem to be at a loss for reasons for the attack. Let's go over a few:
  1. He's living in the society of another species. Imagine the stress you would experience living alone (without a mate) among wolves, sheep, cats, aliens, stag beetles, bonobos, or ants, and trying to earn a living and accommodate yourself to their society.
  2. He's not human. He cannot be judged according to the standards of human society.
  3. He's aging and ill. His body and mind are in declining states of health. He may lose control once in a while.
  4. They have him on medications. Medications usually have psychological side-effects. Also, these drugs are not approved for use in chimpanzees and may affect them differently.
  5. They gave him Xanax. Same as number 4, only worse. The psychological effects on a chimpanzee cannot be predicted from the (mixed) effects on humans. Maybe the neighbor kids are giving him pot, acid, ecstacy, crack, crank, or other drugs as well to see how he reacts or test them out.
I think the officer also erred by not considering him "bro" enough to get tased. He must have not had a taser, because I would think that would be better than blowing chimp blood all over your car and uniform.

The takeaway impression of the subconscious mind:

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