Noisy Neighbors

Dateline: July 3rd, 1776. Lakeland issued its declaration of independence from Britain.

Following Lakeland’s lead, the rest of the country followed suit and the rest is history.

What on earth is he talking about now?

Well, that is the only excuse I can imagine for the city of Lakeland to have its celebration of independence fireworks display last night. And not to be outdone, apparently the intelligentsia in the Itchepackesassa community just north of the city, followed suit.

This sneak attack on wildlife caught creatures throughout the area totally by surprise and rumors are that they were routed by our brave men and women armed to the teeth (if they had any) with firecrackers and smoke bombs.

Villainous raccoons, depraved possums, and treacherous squirrels ran for their lives when faced with such overwhelming firepower of our valiant troops. Their winged forces fled in flocks (try saying that one fast three times without stumbling) as our victorious pride shone brightly in the early evening skies.

July 3rd will forever go down in the annals of history as the day we humans showed creatures across the planet, that we are the boss. Forget the burning northwest, global warming, and impending hurricanes, we mercans have proven once again that we can bring any planet to its knees.

Grand Wizard Billy-Ray Duke (Bubba, to his friends) said last night that any psychological damage to the slave pet communities was purely collateral damage and not intended. He also pointed out that there is a buy-one-get-one-free deal now at Bubba’s Puppy Farm, should any of the slaves need to be put down due to any resultant PTSD.

OK, OK, I am exaggerating slightly. But seriously … WTF!!!

Even our cats overnighting within the protection of our four walls ran scared as the quiet evening sounds were decimated by the explosions and bright lights that shattered the serenity.

Poor Beauty stayed under the bed for a good hour.

And what about wildlife?

With no bed to crawl under nor walls to hide behind, they obviously hid in fear for their lives hoping for their survival.

I confess that I did grab my camera and step outside for a few minutes to see if I could capture from my driveway any of the “action” around and I have added some pics at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.

But it did all raise a recurring question in my head about the role of humans on the planet and how we abuse our dominance, all in the name of fun.

There is no doubt in my head about how beautiful some of these fireworks patterns are. They create wonderful designs against a dark sky and they definitely are responsible for many ooh and aah moments that echo throughout the night.

In many artistic and creative ways, they bear witness to how inventive and creative humanity is. And I applaud that.

When we as humans entertain ourselves or express ourselves in ways that hurt or intimidate other creatures then we are saying our entertainment or expression is more important than the well being of other creatures.

And I have a tough time swallowing this.

As a species I can completely understand that our own well-being can outrank the well-being of so-called lesser creatures. This runs hand in hand with the whole evolution and survival of the fittest that Darwin correctly described.

Our own superiority in many ways catapulted us out of the food chain and into the role of dominator on this planet. And until we destroy it or are invaded by a superior species, we will continue in that role for the foreseeable future.

But with this role comes a responsibility. A responsibility that has to recognize the needs of other creatures.

And their needs MUST be given a higher priority than our wants.

Once our own needs are satisfied, our wants take over and we aspire to do things that create, enhance, or entertain us. We are fully entitled to do that.

But we are not entitled to place any of these wants on a higher level than the needs of other creatures. Just as we would not accept any of their wants overrunning our needs.

So blood sports for example …. they are without justification. Talk about population control vs culling. Talk about how fish don’t feel pain like we do. Create as many excuses as you want. But none are a valid justification.

Killing for food is justified because it satisfied our needs. Killing for fun is not. I think a lot of us recognize that a measure of our humanity is how much we reject their arguments.

But our humanity has to extend beyond the killing and hurting. It needs to accept that the general well-being of creatures is also something that is a need and therefore over-rules our wants. Taking away their environments, or (like last night and tonight) causing stress and fear within vast tracts of the natural world, is completely unacceptable.

Five or six years ago before I fully understood the impact of them on our non-human cohabitants, I bought a box of assorted fireworks. But I had this realization before I lit the first one and that box has sat unopened in my laundry room since purchase. They likely will continue that way unless they one day spontaneously combust and burn my house to the ground.

Yes, I would love to experiment with them now that I know how to control my camera better and I think I could get some very cool shots.

But frankly, the coolest of my shots doesn’t justify a single moment of fear in the smallest of creatures. Nor should it.

… just a thought.