RE: Algonquin bears

Ron Resnick (
Fri, 18 Jul 1997 09:31:57 +0300

At 09:46 PM 7/17/97 -0700, Joe Barrera wrote:
Duck wrote:
>> This guy's idiocy is just a symptom of a disease that will eventually
>> all of us out -- lack of respect for nature. It takes deaths to
>> massacres.

Woah, woah guys. This was meant to be a "safe for sheep" piece - a bit
of light recreational Forksense/nonsense, not something to take that
seriously. In fact, it started as just a note to my Dad, to which I cc'd
FoRk at the last moment. My Dad, btw, is still planning to go camping
in Algonquin this summer, as he does most summers. Algonquin is
a great place. A huge park, probably about the size of NY state or so,
wedged into eastern Ontario. Lakes, fishing, canoeing, - and tons
of skeeters :-). They're worse than the bears!

1. The 'idiots' that I was referring to weren't the campers or their parents -
it was the newspaper reporter who talked about 'only two humans
previously attacked' and then in the same sentence goes on to describe
5 killed previously in 2 separate incidents. I think that terrible numeracy
and reporting skills are a sign of idiocy, not 11 year olds in the woods.
As we like to note on FoRK, there's too many crappy bits already.
If I'm going to take the 60 seconds to read an article like this, for heaven's
sake show me that you've (reporter) invested the time to think
about what you write!

2. As far as the article notes, the parents of this child were not directly
involved in the camping trip - the kid was at a summer camp which
organized the trip. The adults involved were camp counsellors. Since
I only snipped part of the article, so this wasn't clear in my post. It is if
you follow the URL I included though.

3. The story is tragic. Of course - I never did mean to imply that this
child deserved death or any such thing. There was a winking-smiley
on the end of that phrase. What I was referring to is that there is a tension
between humans & their environment. We continually encroach on more
and more of the livable, usable, fun parts of our planet. You don't have
to be a Greenpeace type to note that humans are a form of parasite
from the perspective of the rest of Earth's inhabitants - a particularly
virulent parasite at that. From the perspective of the bears, I'm sure they'd
just as soon have all the 11 year olds from Montreal *stay* in Montreal.
That's what I meant by 'I stick up for the bears'.

>But by this standard, *all* of nature shows "lack of respect for
>nature". Animals carry on with their lives despite the danger posed by
>their predators.

Sure. That's life. You know as soon as you're born, or more accurately,
your parents know as soon as they conceive a child, that it's inevitable
that the new creation will ultimately succumb with 7 or 8 decades, tops.
But we do it anyway. Biological imperative, or some such.

>It's not possible for us to live perfectly safe lives. Even if you could
>eliminate all possibly dangerous elements from your life (which you
>cannot), you still face the certainty of death.
>Note that I wasn't saying that the universe is unfair because the kid
>got attacked. Bad things happen. I *was* saying that it was harsh to say
>that the kid deserved *worse*. It's just all too easy to say that
>someone deserved their fate (or worse) because the way they live their
>life, ignoring the way that one lives one's own life. I think this point
>really got driven into me when the impact of AIDS started becoming clear
>and people made judgements about who deserved what (arbitrarily bad)

Ok, Joe. You're right - this particular kid was certainly not to blame for
the attack. He was harmlessly sleeping in his tent - wasn't out looking
for bears or provoking them. He certainly didn't 'deserve' (whatever that
means) any messy interactions with adventurous big furry beasts. None
of us do. But taken collectively, if the humans as a mass keep bugging
the bears (or the mountain lions, or arable forests, or whatever), we as
a whole do deserve in some justice-in-the-sky sense to get our

>How safe, in quantitative terms, must one live one's life to not be
>considered an "idiot"? How many of us meet that standard?
>I'm sorry to be so humorless and heavy about all this. I just really
>have a strong sense of empathy that's hard to turn off.

Tell us all a joke now to reassure us you're ok, and over it :-). Still got
those sinus troubles, is that it?

>- Joe
>Joseph S. Barrera III (
>Phone, Office: (415) 778-8227; Cellular: (415) 601-3719; Home: (415)
>The opinions expressed in this message are my own personal views and do
>not reflect the official views of Microsoft Corporation.