The following article, which appeared in the Boulder, Colorado newspaper Daily Camera, is yet another reminder of the “upside down world” we inhabit, in the words of a recent editorial by the Archdiocese of Mexico City. While thousands of babies are murdered daily in the United States with total impunity, and in a way that would be criminal if applied to an animal, large groups gather to gush with sentimentality over a dead elk, speaking of it as if it were a murder victim.
According to reports that have appeared in the media, the elk was killed by an over-enthusiastic hunter, who reportedly played hookey from his job as a police officer, and shot the animal while he was technically within a residential area. If true, the act would doubtlessly constitute an imprudence, if not an infraction of the law, and the officer has been suspended by the police department. But for residents of the neighborhood, the event is seen as a full-blown tragedy calling for a candellight vigil attended by hundreds of people.
“He was a beautiful animal,” said Nancy Platt, of Boulder. “He was hurting nobody. He didn’t deserve what he got.”
Vigil organizer Jim Riemersma said he wanted to give the neighborhood an opportunity to grieve, celebrate and find “a little bit of closure.” The vigil was held on Mountain View Road at the site of a tree memorial and near the yard where the elk was shot.
“I know a lot of us have had a lot of anger, a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “Tonight’s a celebration, a celebration of the elk. We loved him. But I think he loved us, too, because he returned to this neighborhood.”
Still, emotions ran hot, with multiple calls to “fire the cops” and “jail the poachers.” A meeting between Boulder Chief Mark Beckner and residents concerned about the shooting is planned for Monday.
“People live here because we love the wildlife,” said Esther Parson, who lives in the foothills west of Boulder. “To murder an animal who feels like he’s part of the neighborhood is despicable.”
This bizarre mindset was recently codified in law by the Mexico City government, which has imposed a prison sentence of up to four years on people who “mistreat an animal,” while allowing people to murder their unborn child freely during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and penalizing abortions after that time, up to birth, with a maximum sentence of 6 months.