I’m not sharing this Huffington Post article so much for the headlined story, but the slideshow that follows the main article. It lists 48 cases of teachers committing sex crimes against their underage students. What threw me is only 3 of the offenders are men.

I did not expect that.

Last week my fiancee and I looked at schools for our daughter to start in January. I remember thinking about one particular school, “I feel more comfortable all the teachers here are women.” I think I thought that because there’s a deep-seeded paranoia all fathers exhibit against all men regarding their little girls. We just assume the worst to better defend against it. That slideshow really caught me off-guard. Despite our most certain convictions, you just never know. People are fucked up.

This got me thinking — why do we as a society assume in most cases sex offenders are men? I suppose random or public offenses would point mostly to men since they have the physical strength or prowess to pull something off. Same with controlled environments mainly populated by adults, such as the workforce — men can manipulate and force other adults into situations easier than women, and the offenders are often in positions with resources to cover up misdeeds.

Why is the ratio so diverse when the main environment is schools? 48-3 tells a disparate story.

My main hypothesis is men go through a more scrutinizing hiring process, be it by design or otherwise. Upon entering the education system, a man’s background check is likely more rigorously examined than a woman’s and the screening process is more intense. If true, this is only part of the answer why there are drastically fewer male offenders than female in schools — they’ve been weeded out through the system. Beyond that I don’t really have any answers. Unfortunately, all parents deserve them.


It’s difficult to blame the school for letting Cook go, but either she and her fiancee should have been fired or neither.

In the February 2013 “Previews” catalogue, which solicits new comic book releases for April, DC Comics revealed their “WTF Certified” marketing ploy, expected to traverse the entire New 52 line-up. The initiative boasts a WTF (“What the F**k!”) moment in every issue published that month, stating each one is “going to leave readers in a state of shock.”

While flipping through the catalogue, I’ve taken my best guesses as to what these “WTF Certified” revelations may be for a bunch of titles (as initially tweeted on my little blue bird feed), listing the first thing that came to mind upon seeing the cover or reading the solicit text. Some are good, most are bad, but they’ll all leave you saying “What the f**k!?” So grab your copy of today’s newly pressed “Previews” catalogue and follow along on pages 81-129 or by clicking here!

WARNING: Swearing ahead!


“Justice League” #19

-The “WTF Certified” thing DC is touting for April sounds pretty lame. Each issue they put out that month contains a #WTF moment? OoOok…

Green Arrow #19 #WTFCertified moment: it’s not cancelled by #20 and Jeff Lemire is staying on at least through to #21. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!

Justice League of America’s Vibe #3 #WTFCertified moment: it’s announced at the end his series won’t be cancelled at #8, but #10. WHAT THE FUCK!?!???!?

Justice League #19 #WTFCertified moment: Superman beats Aquaman at the backstroke. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!? Who saw that one coming!

"Aquaman" #19

“Aquaman” #19

Aquaman #19 #WTFCertified moment: The Ice King’s responsible for blue flavored freezie pops tasting so delicious. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Savage Hawkman #19 #WTFCertified moment: The announcement Rob Liefeld’s back on writing AND art duties with #20. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?

DC Universe Presents #19 #WTFCertified moment: With a giant fucking sword run straight through Flash on the cover, this series actually sells a copy off the shelf. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?

"DC Universe Presents" #19

“DC Universe Presents” #19

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #19 #WTFCertifiedmoment: THIS SERIES IS STILL BEING PUBLISHED!? WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!

Worlds’ Finest #11 #WTFCertified moment: Power Girl goes black and doesn’t go back. WHAT THE F — wait, that makes sense.

Action Comics #19 #WTFCertified moment: The guy who wrote Marvel’s “Shadowland” is now writing a flagship DC title? WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?

Superman #19 #WTFCertified moment: Superman goes an entire issue WITHOUT WEARING A CAPE. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?


“Worlds’ Finest” #11

Talon #7 #WTFCertified moment: Calvin Rose gets the shit kicked out of him on the cover of his own book yet again. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?

Batman the Dark Knight #19 #WTFCertified moment: People still buy this book despite clearly being the worst of the Bat lot. WHAT THE FUCK!?

Detective Comics #19 #WTFCertified moment: John Layman quits Image comics and “Chew” to write this series forever. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!!

Catwoman #19 #WTFCertified moment: Nope, with a cover like that, this one’s too damn easy.


“Superman” #19

Birds of Prey #19 #WTFCertified moment: Batgirl and company present an all mime issue! WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?

Batwing #19 #WTFCertified moment: Batwing dies at the end. WHAT THE F — oh, wait. He’s not caucasian. We all saw that one coming.

Nightwing #19 #WTFCertified moment: It’s revealed the blue costume never existed. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!!????!!!? MY CHILDHOOD IS RUINED!

Red Hood and the Outlaws 19 #WTFCertified moment: Starfire’s new costume, a full-body jumpsuit, fuses to her body — PERMANENTLY. WHAT THE FUCK!?!

"Talon" #7

“Talon” #7

Green Lantern #19 #WTFCertified moment: Introducing the Poop Brown Lantern Corps! WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?

Green Lantern Corps #19 #WTFCertified moment: Somebody actually cares about Guy Gardner for 5 seconds. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?

Green Lantern New Guardians #19 #WTFCertified moment: With that ridiculous faceplate, it’s revealed Kyle is truly RoboCop. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!

Red Lanterns #19 #WTFCertified moment: That stupid cat kills every Lantern that isn’t Green, Red or Blue. WHAT THE F — I mean, THANK YOU!!!

"Catwoman" #19

“Catwoman” #19

Phantom Stranger #7 #WTFCertified moment: The title character finally speaks a sentence that isn’t cryptic bullshit. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!

Sword of Sorcery #7 #WTFCertified moment: Nobody’s reading this, are they? WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!???

Animal Man #19 #WTFCertified moment: The Rot does not appear, nor is mentioned in any way, shape or form during this issue. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?

Swamp Thing #19 #WTFCertified moment: “Charles Soule” is revealed to be a nom de plume of Scott Snyder. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!!?!?

"Birds of Prey" #19

“Birds of Prey” #19

Dial H #11 #WTFCertified moment: People who have read all 11 issues still have no idea what’s going on. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Demon Knights #19 #WTFCertified moment: X-O Manowar shows up, blasting the shit out of everyone. WHAT THE F — no. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Vampire #19 #WTFCertified moment: This is the final issue while “Firestorm” & “Suicide Squad” continue publication. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!

"Batman" #19

“Batman” #19

Threshold #4: This issue actually doesn’t get a #WTFCertified moment considering nobody read #1-3.

Suicide Squad #19 #WTFCertified moment: Everyone finally commits suicide, ending the series. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Legion of Super-Heroes #19 #WTFCertified moment: Legion goes back to the 80s to prevent the creation of any more crappy “Legion” comics after that time. WHAT THE FUCK!

Teen Titans #19 #WTFCertified moment: In a single “Flashpoint-esque” stroke, it’s as if this series never existed. THANK FUCKING GOD!!!!!!!!

The Ravagers #11 #WTFCertified moment: See the WTF Certified moment for “Teen Titans” #19.

-And that’s that. Is your mind blown by all these insane #WTFCertifiedmoments? MINE SURE IS! I need a mint.

-Truth be told though, #WTFCertified can be cool. The “Batman” #19 cover makes you guess and the belief in Lemire’s “Green Arrow” feels legit.

-Juan Jose Ryp is an artist who slips under the radar — I’ll buy “Katana” #3 for the cover alone. The blade… #WTFCertified?

-I want “Katana” to be successful. She’s an exciting, energetic character who’s unpredictably precise — Ann Nocenti has a great opportunity to succeed where the latest “Huntress” miniseries failed.

Which #WTFCertified issues will  you be reading?

Every month when new solicits are announced for comics, something always makes me go, “Woah! I WANT THAT!” Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection” is one of those items. A killer line up of writers and artists on 35 of the most memorable Wolverine issues of all-time makes for a desirable oversized slipcase HC.

But holy fucking shit, Marvel Disney — TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!? Seriously! Has the cover price of a graphic novel ever been that high in the history of mankind? Not even sexy IDW Artist’s Editions are that suggested retail price. What the hell.


This is not the actual cover of the “Adamantium Collection.” It hasn’t been revealed yet, although this issue is in it. It should also be in your collection.


  • Cover by BILLY TAN
  • Slipcase by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO

It’s the best and brightest moments from Wolverine’s long and storied history — presented together in a gorgeous, oversized slipcased hardcover and packed with dozens of extras, just in time for Logan’s triumphant return to the big screen! Witness the transformation of sickly James Howlett into the battle-hardened Logan, and then into the metal-clawed super hero called Wolverine! Experience Logan’s struggles to learn the ways of honor, control his bestial nature, and deal with a litany of friends and foes from his checkered past! Thrill to his near-fatal encounter with Magneto! And be there as Wolverine takes on the responsibility of mentoring the next generation — and opens a school! Collecting ORIGIN #1-6; material from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #72-84; UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #162, #205 and #268; WOLVERINE (1982) #1-4; WOLVERINE (1988) #75 and #119-122; WOLVERINE (2003) #32; and WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1-3.

  • 720 PGS./Parental Advisory …$200
  • ISBN: 978-0-7851-6789-1
  • Trim size: Oversized slipcase edition (11-1/2 x 15-1/2)

And the real kick in the pants is not the price, but it should be 36 issues — “Incredible Hulk” #181 isn’t included. In the “Adamantium Collection.”

Godamnit. I’m still going to buy it at some point.

At the conclusion of tonight’s Monday Night Football game featuring the Green Bay Packers vs. the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle head coach Peter Carroll referenced a similar situation happening back when he coached the New England Patriots. He was in a prime time game (I think) against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots WR caught a pass clearly out of bounds — both of his feet came down inside the white line, yet it was ruled a catch. This predates instant replay and became a talking point in defense of it since the Patriots won on a last second TD as a result. The Bills didn’t line up for the PAT they were so disgusted and Carroll, smirking on the sideline, went for two.

I wish more details can be recalled but the most vidid memory I have of the loss besides the catch is the image on my fuzzy TV of Carroll on the sideline. Man, he burned me up that night. Remembering it now, it still tugs at my insides. Him laughing with that cocky grin, putting his two fingers up. The Pats lining up opposite nobody and jogging the ball in for two. I want to punch him.

OK, not really — hitting people over sports is silly but the poor sportsmanship gets to me.

He didn’t act that way tonight, defeating the Packers. He didn’t go for two here, either, as Green Bay came back onto the field and lined up for the PAT. They all had to be pissed. The refs blew a major simultaneous possession call on a hail mary pass which cost Green Bay the game. Not as blunderful as the Bills/Pats no-call, but worse since the play tonight ended the game.

Why the hell is this allowed in the NFL? If the call is blatantly off and another play hasn’t been run it should be reversed. The only danger is making sure this isn’t abused by every play getting reviewed. It’s felt like that these last few weeks, killing the pace of the game for the players on the field, but worse, the calls are bad. Really bad.

Anyway, go Bills! Go Falcons!

Bills Minicamp Football

… oh wait, that’s no zombie- it’s team owner Ralph Wilson Jr!

The word is out; the Buffalo Bills will meet the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium to signal the start of Monday Night Football on September 14, 2009. Bills fans knew that the addition of Terrell Owens would bring the team more attention in the national spotlight, but who would have thought the season premiere of Monday Night Football was in the cards!?

As expected, Buffalo fans have mixed emotions about the announcement. Here are some immediate reactions on the pros and cons of the situation:


-The game is in New England.

-While Owens and Brady will be the talk of the game, inevitably the broadcast is going to turn into a Tom Brady love fest. With this being his first game back from suffering a knee injury in week 1 of the 2008 season, and Brady’s return taking place in New England the stage has been set. Also, it’s almost a given that somehow Teddy Bruschi will be highlighted as well. (I hate those guys.)

-Owens would probably very vocal after a blow out…

-The major con really boils down to this; the New England Patriots have totally dominated the Buffalo Bills over the last decade. From the Bills defeating the Pats only once in the new millennium (September 7, 2003/31-0), to the disaster that was Drew Bledsoe, to embarrassing prime time losses, the Patriots have slapped an “owned” label on Buffalo. Check out these depressing facts:

  • The Bills are 1-17 against the Patriots in the new millennium.
  • Buffalo has played New England 4 other times on prime time TV over the last 14 years. Here are the results:
  1. Monday Night, October 23, 1995 @ New England: 14-27 loss
  2. Sunday Night, October 27, 1996 @ New England: 25-28 loss
  3. Sunday Night, November 14, 2004 @ New England: 6-29 loss
  4. Sunday Night, Nov. 18, 2007 @ Buffalo: 10-56 loss (the worst defeat in franchise history)

-To continue with the history lesson, the previous two Monday Night Football appearances by Buffalo were some of the worst moments in recent Bills history. The 25-24 loss to the Dallass Cowboys on Nick Folk’s last second field goal in 2007, and Rian Lindell’s wide right kick in last season’s despicable 27-29 loss to the Cleveland Browns(tains), have become this generation of Bills fans’ Forward Lateral and Wide Right. (This humbled writer was present at the Cleveland game and, wow. What a bummer.)  The Patriots now have the opportunity to send Buffalo packing for the third straight year on Monday Night Football.


-Well, the reverse angle of this is that, hey, the Bills will be on Monday Night Football three years in a row! What fan doesn’t want to see their team get a prime time slot? Given how the Bills closed out last season, this is a boon for the team and it’s fans (especially since before T.O. appeared, the prospect of a Buffalo prime time game was all too laughable).

-More media attention for Buffalo and it’s Bills is always a good thing.

-If somehow the Bills can get over the hump and actually defeat New England, talk about a way to start off the season! What a momentum surge: poo-pooing on Brady’s return to the Pats, at home, and on national TV. Kick. Ass.

-If the Bills were to win, one can only imagine that Terrell Owens would play a major role in the victory. That would be a great way for T.O. to make his Buffalo debut by burning New England at home and helping to erase Buffalo’s 11 game, 5 and a half year losing streak to the Pats.

-The Pats and Bills will be donning their throwback AFL jerseys for the game. This should mentally return Bills fans to a time when Buffalo dominated New England. Happy days.

For the Bills, the 2008 season ended with a gutless 13-0 home loss to the Patriots. They have now been given the opportunity to make a statement to themselves, their fans, and the rest of the NFL that the Buffalo Bills are back and ready to compete. Brady, Welker, Moss, and Maroney had better watch out, because here comes Edwards, Evans, Owens, and Lynch!

Oh, and to the T.O. haters who are speculating why he has missed the first few days of a voluntary training session set to last 12 weeks with the Bills, chill out. Owens has been preparing for his appearance as an honored guest at the Alzheimer’s Association 6th Annual Gala in Washington, D.C. this evening. So chew on that.

Go Bills!

dr-manhattan-3Last night I witnessed the 12:01 am showing of Warner Brothers’ Watchmen; arguably the most over-hyped movie of the decade. That’s not to say it was bad, but the movie has received so much press attention over the last three years, it didn’t have much room for error. Overall the film delivers to comic fans and un-fans alike as the acting was solid, the fight scenes were bad ass and non-repetitive, and the cinematography was beautifully complete with unique shots and angles. Most importantly, the characters were true to their print influences. Jackie Earle Haley nearly steals the show as Rorschach (“I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me!”), but like an ensemble member who steals the scene away from the leading actor, Dr. Manhattan’s giant blue meat stick shockingly stole the spotlight of this movie.

We all knew we were in for some penis shots of the blue character, but not a whole freakin’ film reel of penis shots! Seriously, how many times did we see Dr. Manhattan’s rubbery arrowhead ebb and flow in 2 hours and 45 minutes? I’m not sure as I lost count around 13 when my eyes were ambushed by a group of naked Dr. Manhattan’s ready to usurp the Silk Spectre with their flowing blue dingle-dangles. I’ll admit, when Manhattan’s wiener was first revealed I thought, “Ok, I knew it was coming and there it is. But hey, it’s an R rated movie and he was naked in david1the comic, so whatever.” Then after the second dork shot I thought, “Well, that’s two penis shots in under ten minutes… but hey, he’s an ethereal being and it’s done tastefully, so whatever.” Then the third wonder rod shot happened and I thought, “Wow. Ok. Three penis viewings in 15 minutes… yikes. But it’s all good. Things will even out when the Silk Spectre gets some screen time… right?”


It would feel like an eternity before a single boob was shown, as no female anatomy was revealed until more than halfway through the movie. Now, I’m not trying to sound like a horn ball, but the boob to penis ratio in Watchmen is seriously off. Given the number of giggle stick shots, there needed to be more of a booby balance going on. After all, this film is geared toward male comic fan-boys and to berate our eyes with a dangling belly buster for what seemed like hours before revealing a single nipple is unjust, cruel, and inhumane. I’ll admit, the borderline soft core porno scene between Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre balanced things out, bringing me back to my days of puberty. You know, the days of sneaking into the living room at 1 am to watch some static ridden soft core porn on TV? Uh, anyway, while this scene evened the playing field for the heterosexual men in the audience, it didn’t last long. Images of the Silk Spectres perfection were quickly usurped by an eternally long shot of Nite Owl’s bare buns and more screen time from the blue-veined meat roll. It leads me to speculate if Dr. Manhattan actor, Billy Crudup’s penis is collecting royalties for this movie.

The shots were so frequent that whenever Crudup’s character appeared, I couldn’t help but wonder when the camera was going to pan down or out to show more of his blue bayonet. The scene where a giant sized dr20manhattan2024Manhattan takes on the Viet-Cong army during the Vietnam War had me worried… Thankfully, we didn’t see Manhattan’s gigantic warrior weasel in the scene, which made me internally shout a la C-3PO, “Thank the Maker!” Can you imagine the terror those Viet-Cong soldiers experienced upon their first look at the enormous Manhattan? They probably thought they were being attacked by a large floating penis until they craned their necks to see it was a huge naked radioactive man laying waste to their ranks.

Talk about blue balls.

While the movie was fantastic, I obviously question director Zack Snyder’s choice of inserting so many gratuitous banana shots. Couldn’t Dr. Manhattan have worn a cod piece, or at least ken-dolled himself for a few scenes? Would it have killed Snyder to direct that? Guh. My only other beef with the movie is how villainous Ozymandias came off from the get go. I thought it was too apparent that he was a potential bad guy. The catch 22 ending was awesome, and at the end of the day I guess a little ding dong never hurt anyone. Still, the Warner Bros. top brass should consider renaming this film, Watchmen: Watching Dr. Manhattan’s Blue Penis Ponder Existence.

Let the e-mails begin!


buffalo_city_hall_-_001Some articles from today’s ‘Police Blotter’, found in The Buffalo News:

Man stabbed in face during attack by five

Swordsman gets arrested, victim gets 50 stitches

Repeat offenders both flee after drunk-driving crashes, one into a police car

Woman says ex-boyfriend fired shotgun at her van

Knife plunged into eye in dispute over beer money

Police discover rifle in pants leg of boy, 14

Unwelcome guest at home hurt in attack with car

Discovery of man\’s body probed in N. Tonawanda 

Ex-girlfriend suspected in credit card theftsmt_bank_center__liberity_building_-_buffalo_ny

Police seek public help to locate missing man, 51

Oakfield man accused of raping teenage girl

Death of male probed as homicidal in Westfield

Women robbed, ordered out of vehicle by three men

News sportswriter hurt in fall at All High Stadium

Gunman robs gas station, flees with can of beer

Man in hockey attire sought in Chippewa attack

Student hit by truck still in guarded condition

Driver on cell phone talks his way into DWI arrest

This is the world we live in. Could it be worse? Absolutely. But the fact remains; this is the world we live in.

We can do something about it.

Smile. Breathe. Go with the flow.

I am sickened.

Alone in my motel room in Ortonville, MN, I was flipping between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche playoff game and The Karate Kid Part II, when I came across a disturbing program:

PSE Adventure Bow Hunting.

This program is aired on the “Outdoor Channel” and the fact that it exists is unsettling. PSE Adventure Bow Hunting features hunters killing big game animals; In this episode the game is African Elephants. The infamous cast includes bow hunter Pete Shepley, and his notorious crew of trackers, guides, and camera men. The location is Wankie National Park, in the South African Republic of Zimbabwe.

I caught this episode towards the end as Shepley stalked a herd of African Elephants accompanied by the aforementioned crew. The group was hunting the bull elephant of the herd, and armed with a high powered bow, Shepley desires to kill the animal with the weapon. The setting of the scene, in any other situation, could only be described as serene, peaceful. The crew sits outside the herd, a mere 35 feet from the creatures. It’s a majestic sight as you watch the elephants feeding on the nearby grass.

It’s beautiful.

I felt as though I could be watching a nature program on the elephants, but then the camera pans to Shepley readying his weapon. He pulls back on the bow and pierces the bull above the right leg. The elephant writhes in pain and then limps off through the foliage, and the herd follows.

The sight rips at your heart.

The crew follows the tracks of the victimized elephant for nearly five days, and with no sign of a carcass, they begin to get frustrated. Pete Shepley does not want to be denied his ‘prize’. On the fifth day of searching, the infamous crew is informed that a local search team found a dead bull elephant outside of a small village. Shepley concludes that the corpse had to be that of his victim. He is also told that the carcass was eaten by hyenas.

Even without a bloody ‘trophy’ to take home, Shepley said of the kill, “I couldn’t be more pleased.” The program then cuts to the transient looking host (sporting what can only be described as a porn star mustache) who triumphantly states “Well, Pete got it done!”

This episode of PSE Adventure Bow Hunting truly disturbed me. The fact that a recently endangered animal, one that in the 80’s and 90’s was savagely hunted for their ivory, can be hunted for sport, let alone be propagated into a T.V. program, is disgusting. These animals are not being hunted for food. They are not being hunted as a resource. Hell, they aren’t even being hunted for the twisted purposes of culling (the killing of surplus animals from an animal population). Rather, these serene elephants are being hunted for sport and fame.

That is sick.

It is a known fact that elephants are a species who have a sense of self-awareness similar to that of humans, great apes, and dolphins. They are documented to grieve and show severe signs of depression when a family member or other elephant who is close to the herd dies. This fact has actually resulted in the culling of entire elephant families (as opposed to random solo selection) in order to prevent the depression of entire elephant herds. How thoughtful of the cullers. Elephants are also known to cry, play, have superb memories, and even laugh!

As I stated in a previous blog, come May 1, 2008 the culling of elephants in South Africa will be legalized. That date is tomorrow. I feel very strongly about this subject; The mistreatment of animals for the sake of sport and game. Please help spread the word of this story in order to raise awareness of the elephant culling in South Africa and the uncivilized ‘sport’ of big game hunting. As a civilized society we should not relish in the unwarranted murder of life. I must emphasize the point that these elephants are not being hunted for food or resource, but to be displayed as a trophy. The bull Pete Shepley murdered ended up being a meal for a pack of hyenas.

This is unjust.

If you feel the same way, please write Greenpeace about the issue; They have the power to help in this situation. I have written them numerous times on this subject, but to no avail. I haven’t even received a reply from them. If you don’t have the time to write your own thoughts on the issue, please feel free to cut and paste this article, and/or my previous article, in order to raise awareness of this terrible crime. Greenpeace’s e-mail is: info@wdc.greenpeace.org.

I was all set to write about this past weekends NFL Draft, but this issue moves me and I needed to bring it to light once again.

Thank you for your help and concern.

Culling is described as the killing of surplus animals from an animal population. Officials announced that come May 1, 2008 professional hunters will be allowed to kill, or cull, elephants in South Africa in order to reduce the animals growing population there.

Due to big game hunting in the early 1900’s elephants, like the buffalo in the Mid-West of the United States at the same time, were very close to becoming extinct. As a result, methods were taken to preserve the species and today an estimation of around 270,000 elephants now live in the continent of Africa! It took nearly one hundred years of care to get the elephant population back to a cushioned, yet still endangered, number. Regardless, preservation methods have been working and the species is in the process of being taken off of the endangered species list. Culling, however, does not help to expedite this process. When South African officials first allowed culling in 1967, sharpshooters in helicopters would kill hundreds of elephants in order to control the size of the herds. When culling was finally banned in 1995, more than 14,000 elephants were killed over the 28 year time span. Often, entire families were culled together because wildlife officials knew that survivors would suffer terribly from grief over lost loved ones. Only some of those killed were used for human consumption. Since the culling ban in 1995, the number of elephants in South Africa has grown from 9,000 to over 20,000, but the problem has refocused from too few of the animal to too many.

Many locals are in favor of culling due to how elephants sometimes have an aggressive nature, and the increased numbers have affected their crop growth due to trampling. Also, irrigation routes have been interfered with because the elephants drink the water. A number of the local population would be forced to move if the elephants keep reproducing at their current rate. Most families in Africa do not have the adequate funds to pack up and migrate solely due to a herd of elephants in their area. A region that is largely affected by the increased population of the animal is Kruger National Park. Kruger is located along South Africa’s Eastern Border and currently has an elephant population of 12,500. If left unculled that number is predicted to reach around 34,000 by 2020. Since a single elephant can eat over 300 pounds of vegetation daily, many woodland areas are turned into grasslands. The problem this presents to the locals is obvious.

Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk stated that culling would only be used as a last resort with strict restrictions attached. These restrictions were not mentioned in any media that I could find, and that leads me to question what these said restrictions are. Are they written down as law? Will there be people to enforce them upon the professional hunters who take part in the culling? Are there any repercussions for ignoring the restrictions? These are questions that I would like to see answers to. Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that culling “will be used as a last resort”. Yet, this ‘last resort’ will take effect on May 1 due to o
ther measures such as better management of elephant enclosures, relocation of the animals, and elephant contraception not producing the desired results.

Many animal rights groups, such as Animal Rights Africa, are quick to point out that elephants are one of the few animals (along with humans, great apes, and dolphins) who have a sense of self-awareness. For instance it is a fact that elephants, cry, play, have excellent memories, and even laugh! Elephants are also documented as grievers when a family member or other elephant close to the herd is killed. The fact that elephants emote such human characteristics probably won’t do much in terms of persuading the culling law to be retracted, but it does raises awareness of the elephant consciousness to the public. Animal rights groups are also threatening tourist boycotts to South Africa, and if this threat actually turns into action it could affect the economy there; Elephants are one of the main tourist attractions of the region.

The elephants of South Africa are not being culled due to rampages and high death tolls on the human population, but because their presence is disruptive to the people they co-exist with. It is saddening to think that civilized humans have resorted to killing off entire (endangered) elephant families because they pose as an inconvenience to the local people. Being from Buffalo, NY, I can somewhat relate to a need in controlling a disruptive and harmful animal population. In Western New York, deer are a serious problem to motorists and have resulted in far too many fatal crashes. Because of this, bucks (not does or fawns) are allowed to be hunted at specific times throughout the year in order to keep the population under control. High fines are enforced upon those who shoot a doe or fawn during the specified culling periods. But the elephant situation in South Africa is very different from the deer situation in Western New York; The deer are killing people, the elephants are not. If the balance hangs between an animal life and a human life, the human life is the life to save without a doubt. I can understand the problem in South Africa; The local people need food and water to survive, and cannot afford to move solely for the reason of saving the lives of a few thousand elephants. But there must be a better way than culling. There must be. Perhaps civilizations should begin expanding upward as opposed to outward in order to save space and preserve the environment as much as possible. The deer population in WNY results in the deaths of people. The elephant surplus is not resulting in human lives, but in human inconvenience.

Killing cannot become a means to solve an inconvenience. People must begin to to live with the creatures and environment around them. If man keeps playing ‘God’ with nature, things are only going to get worse.

Please help spread the word of this story and raise awareness to the elephant culling in South Africa.

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