Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Going to be hard to top that one.

Cops get together, and tell war stories. They generally start with, "There I was..."

And we generally try to top each other with tried and true stories of our experiences. Sometimes, we even have video, which we save to our "greatest hits" personal tapes.

But I'm thinking that there are four cops in San Francisco right now who can get most other guys to fold when they mention their Zoo shooting.

Amur, or "Siberian" Tigers are the biggest tigers in the world, of the 5 remaining species of tiger. They are exceedingly rare in the wild in their native Siberia, mostly due to idjits in Asia who believe that tiger bones/blood/hair is good for "medicines," (picture near the bottom of the page-- I refuse to link to the pic directly) and by a bunch of even bigger idjits there and elswhere, who believe that extracto de la tigre is the best thing to put lead in a man's pencil if-you-know-what-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do. (Note: I have long said that the best way that the World Wildlife Fund could get results in saving rhinos and tigers would be to spend a goodly portion of its money on buying large quantities of Viagra, which it could then airdrop to different parts of China with local writing on it saying: "Check out what Western medicine can bring you!") They pay dearly for a bit of ground tiger bone, and motivated poachers, mostly Chinese and Mongolian, head into Siberia to dig huge tiger pits lined with sharp sticks, which they camouflage, bait, and check maybe monthly. It's a hassle for the two (2) game wardens assigned to an area about the size of Texas to patrol. Ten years ago it was estimated that there were maybe 200 of these Amur tigers running wild.

Damn shame, that. The world is a finer place with wild tigers running about in their own habitat.
But when they get imported into the San Franciscan Zoo, which is most certainly a gun-unfriendly place within a city renown for being gun-prohibitive, in a state that is renown for being gun-prohibitive, and then someone fails to secure them properly, you end up with people leaking on sidewalks.

In this case, the first guy the 300 lb tiger came across perished on the spot. The next two aren't doing just real well. Frankly, being upgraded to "stable" isn't my idea of a good way to spend Christmas. But look on the bright side-- they'll have some fascinating conversation pieces in the way of scars.

So there's four responding SFPD officers who now get to tell the tale of how they came across the attacking tiger, and put it down with pistol fire. Don't you imagine the other tale-tellers in their group just have to fold, from here on out, whenever one of those guys starts a war story with, "There I was, stuck working evening shift on Christmas, 2007..."?

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At Wednesday, December 26, 2007 6:23:00 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

...all thanks, apparently, to an idiot who just couldn't leave well enough alone. Sounds to me like Darwin won out this time.

At Wednesday, December 26, 2007 6:28:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I wonder. The attacks took place over 300 yards of the zoo. Surely they weren't all three involved in whatever activity allowed the tiger out? (You have new news? So far all I've read is speculation.)

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 1:47:00 AM, Blogger Christina RN LMT said...

Good thing there weren't more people at the zoo.

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 2:55:00 AM, Blogger Fenris said...

I feel sorry for the tiger. Once it was out of the enclosure and took a swipe at a visitor (with or without terminal results) it wasn't going to make it out alive regardless of why it acted. I can't fault the officers for doing what they had to, but I can still mourn the outcome.

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 7:37:00 AM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

Damn shame, that.

I always root for the tiger.

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 8:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sailors the world over have a similar tradition. They are called "sea stories" and they generally begin with "this is no sh1t."

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 1:30:00 PM, Blogger Assrot said...

I don't fault the officers for what they had to do. They were given no other choice.

I fault the zoo and any place that has dangerous animals like this in captivity for allowing people to get that close and for not having any means of controlling an animal like that on the rare occasion something like this happens.

But then I think anyone that cages animals in a zoo is an asshat and I think people that support these zoos are asshats as well.

Another rare, almost extinct, beautiful animal gone because of man's stupidity and greed.

It truly is like Samuel Clemens said. "Man is the lowest animal."

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 1:48:00 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

Unpossible. I thought that SFPD officers were armed with Wiffle bats and Orgone boxes.

I, too, root for the tiger. This reeks of "hey, let's throw rocks at Ol' Stripes and have some fun!"

I speculate they never saw "Cat People".


At Thursday, December 27, 2007 3:35:00 PM, Blogger Not Afraid to Use It said...

I second and third what geoff and cranky prof said. It's a damn shame.

At Sunday, December 30, 2007 1:52:00 AM, Blogger Jarl Von Hoother said...

AHEM, Rabbit -- I live in Berkeley, just across the bay from San Francisco, and I can tell you that SF cops are as well-armed and ready to use their guns as the cops in any US city. Don't believe everything you read in the MSM -- there are plenty of guns and people who love them, for good or bad reasons, in that town.

Matt G, from what the two survivors are saying (and they're not saying much -- hmmm ...) all three casualties were at the tiger exhibit when the attack started. The survivors ran to the zoo cafe in hope of getting help and protection.

The frosting on the cake is that the zoo's security people wouldn't let the cops in at first.

At Sunday, December 30, 2007 2:15:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

"The frosting on the cake is that the zoo's security people wouldn't let the cops in at first."

Really?!? I hadn't heard that, yet.

Oh. My. That will cause a stink and a half. (Considering their crisis response team apparently did bupkis.)

At Sunday, December 30, 2007 2:28:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Jarl? Are you sure about that? I've found nothing about it, and indeed found this story praising the cooperation between zoo staff and police.

I did find a story saying that the guards at the zoo are denying access to flower deliveries in the closed zoo.

Do you have a link to the claim that the cops were initially turned away?

At Monday, December 31, 2007 2:38:00 AM, Blogger Jarl Von Hoother said...

"[W]hen fire crews and police arrived at the zoo, they were forced to wait outside for precious minutes by zoo security guards enforcing an emergency lockdown, emergency dispatch logs indicate."

-- from

To be fair -- I guess -- farther along in the story it appears that the zoo's security people kept the cops waiting only a few minutes before they wised up.

It's a shame that the cops got called in at all. SF cops have plenty of criminals to chase; the zoo's animals are the zoo's responsibility.

At Monday, December 31, 2007 2:46:00 AM, Blogger Jarl Von Hoother said...

" . . . when fire crews and police arrived at the zoo, they were forced to wait outside for precious minutes by zoo security guards enforcing an emergency lockdown, emergency dispatch logs indicate."

--from the San Francisco Chronicle, 12/29/2007,

To be fair, it appears that the zoo's security people kept the cops waiting only a few minutes. Still, it puts me in mind of a Monty Python skit. That place really is a zoo.

I have to hand it to those cops. Going in to deal with at least one tiger (no one knew how many tigers were out), with nothing but a handgun, in the dark -- that took guts.

At Wednesday, January 02, 2008 4:00:00 AM, Blogger Fenris said...

I've often heard Assrot's arguments against zoos leveled. It's rather a stale and idealistic one at that in reality.

Zoos are in a constant battle for balance. The animals need to be safe. The public needs to be safe. Both need to be comfortable. And at the same time, people want to see the animals not the enclosure. Thus there are compromises, generally weighted toward the animals since it's their health at stake. In any case, there is no such thing as an enclosure that keeps the public and the animals completely safe because the critters have to be able to be seen.
As for control, that can be a very tricky thing. They happen fast. The animal is stressed and pumping adrenaline. Patrons are in a panic and like-wise in full flight-or-flight. It's almost impossible to end that without casualties and usually that means the animal is stopped as decisively as possible because human life is the priority. The bigger the animal, the less leeway you have.
So why do zoos exist? Because first of all, it's the closest most people are ever going to get to such creatures. Most folks, if they can't see it for themselves, it lacks reality. It's not important to know about or care about unless they can experience it on a first-hand level. The second is preservation and research. Yeah, it's an endangered tiger, and it's health and genetics are brooded over jealously in case they ever show up extinct in the wild.
Zoos play a major role in conservation.


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