Miguel made a couple of posts about the Hugh Glass of Possums. I thought nothing more of it until the Academy Award nomination worthy story of the possum came back to me the long way around through the Book of Face.
As I read the comments posted on Sunshine Haven Animal Rescue & Wildlife Rehabilitation‘s page I realized this episode is a perfect example of the incredibly wide and continuously growing cultural gulf that exists between liberalism and conservatism.
Between the two Facebook posts by Sunshine Haven, the original post and the one about the possum’s recovery, I counted 33 posts referring to the possum as a “baby” (including six calling him a “sweet baby”), six calling him an “angel,” as well as a few calling him “little guy” and “sweetie.” A dozen people offered to adopt the possum. There were demands that the person responsible be punished for animal abuse, and one person felt that the person who did this should be maimed.
The possum went though extensive surgery, and is recovering with a course of antibiotics. I have not seen a cost listed for the surgery on the possum, but I know when my dog was playing with some of my wife’s yarn and then had bloody diarrhea, it cost us $900 to find out that she DID NOT swallow something and need to have surgery. So I can only being to imagine how much saving this possum cost. If there are any readers out there who work in animal or veterinary medicine and want to speculate, please leave your guess in the comments.
Over on the other side of of the known universe…
Here are some things facts about possums. They have one of the smallest and least developed brains for a mammal of their size, and are remarkably stupid creatures. Their lifespan is described as “unusually short” being only 2 to 4 years. Possums rarely carry rabies, and eat ticks which helps prevent the spread of lime disease, but they poo a lot and can spread a number of parasites through feces as well as diseases like salmonella and toxoplasmosis. They can do extensive property damage, a lot of it relating to pooping in insulation (gross pics). There are a number of posts about the problems possums pose to chickens and horses.
While I, and most people, have no problem with possums in the wild, they are disease spreading nuisance creatures when they invade your home and yard. Growing up in South Florida, I can attest to the annoyance they do when they get under your house and die there. There are a number of websites that talk about how to get rid of possums, including how to humanly kill them. They are no where near endangered and relocation can be difficult or illegal, not to mention all you are doing is making the possum someone else’s problem.
Of course there is no excuse for animal cruelty. While I don’t know the motivation for someone putting two crossbow bolts through a possum, my speculation is that it was someone trying to dispatch the critter while it was on his property. Given that there is a $5,000 reward for information on the shooter, made available by through donations by people who presumably have their pitchforks sharpened and torches lit, we may never know the motivation.
Possums are notoriously hard to kill. I showed Miguel’s post to a coworker who is a big time hunter. I mean, has a taxidermy animal at his work station level hunter. He commented that possums are just about bulletproof, recounting that his dad put about a dozen rounds of 22 LR HP into one, and had to finish it off with a splitting maul to the head. The ability to withstand multiple gunshots, both 22’s and 45’s has been confirmed on other message boards. So I can only imagine that the shooter thought that he had made two good, killing, shots on the possum, not realizing just how Wade Wilson these critters are.
So there you have it. One side that thinks of possums as “sweet babies” and “little angels” and just wants to give them hugs and snuggles; and will spend an incalculable sum of money to save one from death for another… 6 months to a year of natural life. The other side who acknowledges that they are wild animals and a nuisance that spread disease and are damaging to property and livestock.
This difference in attitude is how Californians can prioritize the water needs of a bait fish over hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland.
This difference in attitude is why places like California and Colorado can decriminalize marijuana in defiance of federal law while clamping down on gun rights in a continuous attempt to do away with the Second Amendment in their states.
This difference is seen in every response a terrorist attack and mass shooting, whether we should increase the number gun free zones or ease how law abiding citizens obtain concealed carry permits.
This is the difference between believing “hands up don’t shoot” and a non-indictment by a grand jury.
I think Bill Maher put it best when he said “I think liberals have to stop insisting that the world is the way they want to it be instead of the way it is… [Y]ou cannot just insist that the reality that you think about in your head is the reality that exists in the world.” Sure he was talking about ISIS, but he could be talking about just about any issue in America anymore.
How we as a nation address our national problems is a directly related to how we view them. Were the rioters in Ferguson and other cities sweet babies or wild animals? What about the San Bernardino terrorists? Homeless peeing in the streets of NYC?
Like Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” For me, the fact is a possum is a nuisance animal.