Fair warning: In this blog post, I cross a line of social etiquette. In layman’s terms, I “showed my rear” (as my Mom would put it)…
I was browsing the Facespace the other day when I came across a post in my town’s group page. The post annoyed me, but I scrolled past it. A few hours later I came across it again. Due to Facebook’s algorithms, people had commented on it and it was back at the top of the group’s feed. I clicked to read the comments and went from annoyed to incensed* relatively quickly. *(The transitive verb meaning indignation, I don’t mean it made me smell like that funky earth store in the mall that sells rainsticks..)
This is when I made my first mistake… I clicked on it the post to see what was being said. I hoped that maybe someone drew attention to the killing of the snake that posed no threat to anyone, and I can show my support by “liking” their retort. Then knowing that social justice had been served, I could move on without allowing myself to get sucked down to their level.
Well, a polite Mr West did stand up and speak out. Immediately following, ignorance roared defiantly and was rewarded with a larger portion of fake internet points. One thing about this chick’s retort really bothers me. If she has time to kill it, doesn’t she have enough time to get her and her family to safety? I didn’t want to derail this train of thought before it left the station, so I kept scrolling.
I should not have kept scrolling. Our hero, Mr West has certainly done his best to compromise, but the opposition is launching compelling counter-measures… “If something should happen, I’m not going to research it first” was the tipping point for me. Snakes are something to be respected, but they aren’t the demon they are made out to be. Her child is more likely to die as a result of: texting and driving (3,000 teens), drinking and driving (10,322), second hand smoke (42,000), mouthing off to the wrong person (14,173), communicable diseases (59 out of every 100,000 citizens), dogs (30-35), spiders (6.5), horses (22), or seasonal flu (3,000). Those are the yearly deaths compared to 5 deaths due to snake bite. This is where I wavered. Even though I knew I shouldn’t, I began to find myself sinking deeper into the rarely-ventured lower levels of humanity and wage verbal combat with a native. That’s where I made my second mistake.
I didn’t use foul language, but the language was laced heavily with sarcasm. I shouldn’t have even been there, I should have left it alone. At this point, I have already allowed a stranger, some random pixels on a screen, to frustrate me to the point of getting sucked into a pointless Facebook fight. In response, people got defensive, some wiser people tried to change the subject, and absolutely no one appreciated my reply. Someone else tried to come up with a better option and suggested moth-balls to prevent the snakes from entering yards.
It’s not like we have a shortage of them or anything. It’s not like we have a shortage of them or anything. It’s not like we have a shortage of them or anything. Off the top of my head, I would like to run down a list of things that we don’t have a shortage of: buffalo, whales, dodo birds, tasmanian tigers, pandas, whooping cranes, rhinos, tortoises, several species of trout… Oh wait, we didn’t used to have a shortage of them. We don’t have the surplus anymore. The last 4 years has seen more species declared extinct than the previous 20 years, and we are going to keep piling it on.
I am not perfect. I have killed my fair share of snakes in my past, venomous and non. Snakes conjure up a primal fear deep within most of us, especially in those who have been bitten. They become doubly wary of the cylindrical reptilia. It’s easy to treat snakes like we do sharks and kill them on sight. They scare us to death so we should kill them for it, right? I don’t, not anymore. I attribute my change towards conservationism to fly fishing. The education provided by fly fishing has opened my eyes to the need to tread lighter. To change the way I think. I try to not kill at all unless I have a distinct need for it, and I feel bad when something dies by my hand accidentally. My day has been ruined because a Mockingbird decided to zig instead of zag, or when one single trout fed on the same streamer 3 times in a row and couldn’t be revived the third time. I do what I can to make up for the mistakes of my past. Maybe that’s why it bothers me. I understand death is part of life, I am not preaching an end to killing things. I believe we should however, work to limit pointless and wasteful killing. Maybe it should get under my skin, and yours too. Maybe we should use peer pressure to our advantage and shame people publicly until they change, or maybe I should keep my mouth shut and keep scrolling. Who knows what good either does.