May 01, 2007


Natalie Imbruglia covered the tune in 1997. I thought it was a cute tune for what it was but I remember it most for a singer I dated very briefly in the late 90's. I was mildly heckling her at a solo gig she had (we used to play "stump the band" with each other - it was all in good natured fun) & requested she do the song thinking she wouldn't since it was a solo gig (plus I didn't think she knew it). Not only did she do a really great job on it with just an acoustic (she was a really great singer & a damned good guitarist) but later she told me she had recorded the song a few years earlier on some Euro/Dance/Techno compilation CD she was asked to sing on. & yes; that taught me to not underestimate her. :) The song is concerned with disillusionment & the indecision resulting from it but it's a lot lighter in texture than that description would have you think. It's simple & well written with a memorable chorus, & what more can you ask of a pop tune? Anyway, here's the vid.

"So this is what it feels like to have your flesh torn..." That's from this article about two victims of an attack in a gun free zone. It wasn't a human on human attack though; a man & his daughter were mauled by a grizzly bear in a national park. Here's a Wikipedia page that lists (by decade) fatal bear attacks in the u.S. & Canada. I found interesting that the last fatality in Colorado was in 1993 & the bear broke in the victim's trailer to kill him.

National parks (if you didn't know) are "weapon free" zones. It's a federal felony to have any sort of weapon in a National Park unless it's disassembled or otherwise inoperable (how exactly do you detail strip a knife???). I found this story over at The War On Guns & he has some relevant thoughts on this tragic attack as well as an interesting discussion going in the comments.

On a similar theme Instapundit threw in a link to a book he recommends that seems interesting. It's by David Baron & titled The Beast in the Garden: The True Story of a Predator's Deadly Return to Suburban America. It's about a young jogger in Idaho Springs, Colorado (about 30 miles west of Denver) who was killed & partially eaten by a cougar in 1991. From there it discusses Boulder, Colorado & the threat of cougar attacks that the residents don't seem to want to understand.

Not too long ago a kid was attacked by a cougar just west of Boulder. He was the straggler in a group of hikers & by the time they realized what was happening the kid's head was firmly in the cougar's mouth. They drove the cat off & the kid spent a few days in the hospital but he survived. In California cougar attacks have went up recently due to bans on hunting both the cougar & wild sheep that it preys on, plus increased human presence in its turf.

Cougars ain't no joke. Ever watch a house cat take a mouse? Imagine that kitty is about 6.5 feet long from nose to tail, weighs around 120 pounds & has a leap that'll cover 30 to 40 feet horizontally (or over 15 feet vertically). They will take down deer & occasionally elk so humans aren't too big for cougars by any stretch. Under the right circumstances you are the mouse & if you are unarmed odds are you will lose. It seems that women & kids (because of their size) are more inviting prey to cougars, but that doesn't mean they won't take a man down. From the Wikipedia page linked above:

"Though quite capable of sprinting, the cougar is typically an ambush predator. It will stalk through brush and trees, across ledges, or other covered spots, before delivering a powerful leap onto the back of prey and a suffocating neck bite. It has a flexible spine which aids its killing technique. Kills are generally estimated at around one large ungulate every two weeks; the period shrinks for females raising young, and may be as short as one kill every three days when cubs are nearly mature around fifteen months..."

Attacks on humans aren't that common historically but when you're the "1" in the odds it doesn't matter too much. According to the Wikipedia page in 2004 a mountain biker was attacked by a cougar in California & later that day the same cat attacked another mountain biker. Here's a list of confirmed cougar attacks in the u.S. & Canada since 2001.

Anyway this started off about a grizzly attack & drifted into cougar attacks but the point is basically the same - a person needs a weapon to defend against predatory animals & in many cases the .gov has forbidden such measures. It doesn't happen that often, but when a bear or big cat (or gator or wild dog for that matter) attacks it's not usually within earshot of the local ranger. Hell, sometimes it happens in a neighborhood. & lest we forget two legged predators roam the National Parks as well:

"Of 274 million visitors to national parks last year, there were 13 murders, 44 rapes, nine armed robberies, 60 aggravated assaults, 270 burglaries and 100 vehicle thefts, according to Park Service records. Closer to home, Yellowstone National Park law enforcement officers issued 4,000 tickets last year, of which 32 involved firearms in some manner."

That's from this article from last year about a bill to repeal the ban on defensive implements in National Parks. Yes; the numbers seem small compared to the traffic, but when you're one of the smaller numbers it's not that much of a comfort that the odds were with you. I did a quick check & there isn't a bill pending in the House or Senate to repeal the ban on weapons in National Parks, though Sen. Webb (D-Va) said he'd introduce such a bill at some point.

Placing a legal penalty of possessing the means to stay on the desirable end of the food chain seems downright heartless to me, as well as morally & legally repulsive. The law has been in place for a while though & it won't change unless you get off your ass & start expressing displeasure with your congress critters about this gun free zone & demand they remove this proscription against self defense on the trail.

For more reading I found the following articles:

"Predator Attacks Escalate as Americans Encroach on Wildlife Habitat"

"First fatal wolf attack recorded in North America?"

Animal Attack Files 1997-2004

"Alligator Likely Stalked Jogger On Land Before Attack"

Animal Attack Files 2005-present

Southeastern Outdoors Fatal Alligator Attacks page

Posted by Publicola at May 1, 2007 04:15 PM | TrackBack