...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



...a mountain lion killed 35-year-old cyclist Mark Reynolds, whose body was found shortly after another cougar attack along a popular trail in the rugged Orange County foothills.

It is the sixth fatal mauling of a human by a mountain lion in California and the first since 1994
Deputies said Thursday night that they shot and killed the 110-pound mountain lion responsible for the attacks, but on Friday they weren't taking any chances. For now, they will shoot to kill any mountain lion they encounter near the trail, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, will remain closed indefinitely.
Reynolds' parents in St. Joseph, Mo., are "taking comfort knowing that he died doing what he loved most."
..."The fact of how he was killed is very disturbing to [them]. They're in shock."
Hanley, Yoshino, Anton/LATimes Jan.10.04 (reg. req.)

Ω It's a sad and horrible thing. But there's a truth in it that's completely invisible.
Start here:
6 people have died from mountain lion attacks. In California, ever, since the beginning of non-Indian record-keeping.
In California, 116 people were killed in bicycle traffic fatalities in 2001.
In 2002 in California, 126 people were killed in bicycle traffic fatalities.
Which means 10 more people died that year than the year before while riding bicycles. An increase of less than ten per cent.
In one year the difference between the previous year's bicycle mortality statistics was a growth of less than ten per cent, but that number itself, 10 people, was nearly twice the number of people who have ever been killed by mountain lions, in California.
Each year, for some time now, at least a hundred people have died on bicycles in California. Over a thousand since 1990. And most of those fatalities involved automobiles.
Over 11,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents in each of those years. Again most of them involving automobiles.
In 2002 there were 4,138 people killed in what the CHP calls Motor Vehicle Collisions. That's more than 10 people a day. Every day, statistically, on average, in California, year in and year out.
Each day almost twice as many people die on the highway as have ever died from mountain lion attacks in California all together. That isn't 6 people attacked and killed by mountain lions every year, that's EVER.

How these numbers can co-exist, why the public is so outraged by the smallest and so indifferent to the largest, is part of the same mechanism of denial that drives virtually all of what we're doing now. We are becoming something else, something other than what we were.
This has always been the case, it's the same for all living things, but what human beings are doing to accelerate the rate of that change in a particular direction is in feedback.
We're domesticating ourselves. And like all domesticated animals we fear the wild predator instinctively, irrationally, while we accept the managing presence of what shapes our lives to its own ends.
Whether that presence is a sentient thing or an accidental construct of our prosthetic compensation doesn't matter.
Whether we're being domesticated by someone, or by a machine we built ourselves, matters less than that it's happening.

Blog Archive