When Animals Attack

Overcovered in a shameless play to the cheap seats for at least the past three days has been the fatal attack Christmas Day on 17-year-old Carlos Susa and two others who were injured by Tatiana, a Siberian tiger at the San Francisco zoo.

Not to discount Carlos’ family’s tragedy, just pointing out how this has gotten to be a real media circus with media whores coming out of the woodwork to use it as a way to get their Warholian 15 minutes of fame.

But here’s one thing that’s sad: NBC Nightly News (anchored by Lester Holt this week–Brian Williams is off) has three nights in a row aired full coverage of this tiger attack. While it has overlooked another California family tragedy involving the loss of a 17-year-old–namely Nataline Sarkysian–to the murderous greed of her deep-pockets insurance company, CIGNA. I guess being denied a transplant until it’s too late isn’t the ratings grabber that it is when animals attack….

And more about this case–under a Daily Kos post on this topic, which said Nataline’s family’s attorney Mark Geragos will be going after criminal charges in the case, I remarked that whoever was convicted in the case should get the death penalty–and not be given the free, taxpayer-sponsored (that means you and me, folks!) medical care that prisoners on death row get.

Someone misunderstood this and thought I was referring to everyone on death row–but that’s not what I’d meant–only whoever was convicted in Nataline’s death. And by the way, I’m going to add that even if this person does not get the death penalty, which he/she most probably won’t, he/she should not receive medical care at taxpayer expense.

Because wouldn’t this be the ultimate injustice: If the individual who’d denied Nataline a new liver until it was too late were to get a free liver transplant at taxpayer expense?

Back to the mainstream media: Here’s something even sadder–how the loss of a lovely, historic American city is still going for the most part unreported in the national media.

Instead, as noted, NBC has been overhyping the tiger attack. But the latest report last night really bugged me because it went into the fact that the walls of the tiger’s enclosure were only 12 ft. high, which was four feet lower than the height recommended by the Association For Zoos And Aquariums.

This made me think of New Orleans’ levees, which still aren’t up to the task of protecting her and her people from a storm the size of Katrina, and aren’t expected to be done until 2011 or so–and as for a Category 5 storm, forget it.

In fact, earlier this year it was reported by the Associated Press that

The government’s repairs to New Orleans’ hurricane-damaged levees may put the French Quarter in greater danger than it was before Hurricane Katrina, a weakness planners said couldn’t be helped, at least for now.

Experts say the stronger levees and flood walls could funnel storm water into the cul-de-sac of the Industrial Canal, only 2 miles from Bourbon Street, and overwhelm the waterway’s 12-foot-high concrete flood walls that shield some of the city’s most cherished neighborhoods.

The only things separating Creole bungalows and St. Louis Cathedral from a hurricane’s storm surge are those barriers, similar in design to the walls that broke during Katrina.

Only the fortunate fact that 2006’s and this year’s hurricane seasons didn’t send any storms New Orleans’ way protected her from certain disaster.

But I guess levees aren’t sexy when animals attack…..



  1. I have Zero confidence that our fucked up justice system.  If we could ensure that Only the ones who truly deserve the death penalty are executed, and No One else, then the death penalty would be justified (look at Texas’ record of abuse).  As things are now I have to say no death penalty is justified.

  2. San Franciscans seems to be mostly angry the tiger was killed according to word from the home front.

    My secret informant, who happens to be my sister, seems mostly concerned that the zoo is blamed by the angry folk.

    Al Gore doesn’t care about wonderful animals like Siberian tigers dying but maybe those who give a damn about the planet should.

    The horrendous losses suffered by people in New Orleans through malfeasance followed by even more malevolent nonfeasance and individual tragedies that are as great to the people involved as any mega disaster does not mitigate the loss of disappearing species in my view even if it is one single Siberian tiger.

    Best,  Terry

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