Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hug the People and Animals You Love

Two heartbreaks in four days is almost too much to take. I hope the next several days are good days.

The two heartbreaks involve two of my interests/passions -- auto racing and wildlife.

On Sunday we watched the last Indy Car race of the season, but 12 miles into the race, there was a horrific crash, the worst crash I've seen in the 25 years I've been watching racing. If you watched the network news on Monday, all three networks led with the story. There were fifteen cars involved in the crash, several of them on fire, a few flying through the air, and many mangled beyond recognition. I'm so used to seeing these car crashes when the end result is the driver or drivers getting out of the car and walking away. But this one was different; I knew right away that serious injuries were involved. But I held out hope that no one had been killed. Two hours later, my hopes were dashed when they announced that one of the drivers, Dan Wheldon, had died of "unsurvivable injuries." He won the Indy 500 in May, but he wasn't just a great driver. He was a great guy, one of the "nice guys" in auto racing. Some of those guys are arrogant jerks and some are nice guys; he was the latter. He was only 33 and was married with two little boys who are much too young to ever remember him (the older one is only two years old). Sunday was a sad day.

Then today I heard about the tragedy in Ohio, the nutcase who let his wild animals loose before he committed suicide. Authorities say they tried to tranquilize one of the tigers, but the 300-pound tiger "freaked out" so they decided the only choice was to kill the animals because they were so dangerous. They killed 18 tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, three mountain lions, two wolves and a baboon. They were able to save and transport to the Columbus Zoo one grizzly bear, two monkeys, and three leopards. It's heartbreaking, just heartbreaking to think of all the animals that died. I understand that authorities did what they had to do to protect all the humans nearby. It was getting dark and the animals were aggressive and were panicky at being out of their familiar cages. It wasn't a good situation at all. I'm not mad at authorities. I'm mad that Ohio doesn't have laws restricting the ownership of exotic animals to people/facilities who know how to care for them. I'm mad at the nutcase who acquired all these animals, didn't take care of them when he was alive, and set them free right before he killed himself.

But mostly I'm sad.

Hug the people you love. Hug the animals you love.

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