When I recently tired of watching Christmas fare on TV, I clicked through the channels until the choice came down to news or To Catch a Predator re-runs. At a house in Stockton, NBC’s Chris Hansen had cornered a predator who’d driven 300 miles in the past two hours to see a 16-year-old girl he’d met online. She’d written that she liked drinking tequila, smoking weed and fantasizing Ron Paul naked. The scruffy suspect wore red shorts and a T shirt imprinted with a photo of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Chris Hansen emerged from a back room just as the suspect was down on all fours trying to escape out the front door by barking and pretending to be a Doberman. Hansen introduced himself, asked the suspect why he was there and offered a Milkbone. Hansen then produced a suspicious heavy plastic bag confiscated from the man that contained Crayola crayons, a box of prunes and the biography of Steve Jobs. When Hansen said, “You’re free to go,” the suspect tried to commit suicide by swallowing a Gideon Bible.
I flipped on CNN just as the predator insisted he didn’t intend to have sex with an underage girl but wanted a relationship with Chris Hansen. Fortunately, the news on CNN contained no sexual content, just footage of stampeding people ripping doors off hinges, breaking glass and scrambling across other prostrate bloodied people. Apparently it was members of Congress leaving for their winter break.
People can sure act like animals. Recently in Hoquiam, Washington a man named Jobie Watkins burst into an apartment of his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend. Watkins was carrying an animal carcass. The ex-boyfriend asked Watkins “Why are you carrying a weasel?” Watkins, who was wearing a baseball cap with the name “Dianne Feinstein” on it, retorted “It’s not a weasel, it’s a marten.” Watkins then threw the carcass at the ex-boyfriend’s face and fled.
Both men were factually wrong: A jury later acquitted Watkins of breaking into a home and throwing a dead mink at another man. The dead mink was convicted of battery.
Authorities don’t know why Watkins carried the carcass of a dead mink he apparently found along the road. The same is true for a blonde woman in Burlington, Vermont, who seized a dead raccoon on the road, and in a fit of pique, walked to City Hall and slammed the raccoon against the doors. She left the raccoon weapon on the ground although it eventually disappeared. Police finally identified the woman and charged her with disorderly conduct. The raccoon was charged with hit and run.
I wondered how Gary Bogue would’ve handled these situations involving animal weapons. Bogue is the local animal expert who writes a column on pets, wildlife and environmental issues. People are always writing him about their sightings, claiming they spotted a great blue heron or a wild pig or a baby tyrannosaurus, and Bogue reports this as fact in his column along with typical stories like a local Beaver Festival or escaped parakeets passing themselves off as brussels sprouts. [Editor’s note: The word Bogue is Scottish for “carnivore.”]
Bogue should know the difference between a mink, ferret, marten and lewis. Although minks don’t live in my neighborhood, apparently their weasel cousins do. He claims the long-tailed weasels feed on mice—-“rushing at them and killing them with one bite to the head”—- but considering my garage operates as an extended stay hotel for mice, I trust the weasels aren’t doing their job.
I don’t know why small forest animals have resurrected themselves as weapons. At least our former pets have the decency to stay dead. When we put down our 12 year old standard poodle Nigel last fall, his remains stayed in the sealed little cedar box our vet provided. Once the box was positioned in the kitchen on the cookbook shelf, next to “The Dianne Feinstein Cooking for 1,000 Cookbook,” a family member questioned how one would know that the ashes contained within were Nigel’s, rather than another animal’s cremated at the same time, like a cockatoo.
A friend has an even bigger miniature coffin of dog ashes and has also wondered if it’s her dog inside. The coffin is in her family room on a shelf with photographs and serves as a bookend.
I’ve told her the dogs (or whatever is inside) are better off than if we’d buried them outside in the yard, as we did another dog, four canaries, two lovebirds, one parakeets and two designer rats, where they were technically at the mercy of predators.
Sort of like Chris Hansen.