Friday, August 17, 2012

White Trash: Habituated Stupidity

Inspired by this report of craven idiocy:
"An Eagle River man who lives adjacent to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has been charged with illegally killing a brown bear cub that dragged his garbage to the military base July 31." - ADN
Followed by this scene in Healy:

“A sow grizzly bear that rampaged through Healy this week continued to elude biologists the past two days, but all three of the sow’s yearling cubs have been shot and killed near Lignite Road.” - Daily News-Miner
Compounded by yet another impending dead bear story:
“In the past month, two errant grizzly bears have been terrorizing hikers on the Granite Tors trail in the Chena River State Recreation area east of Fairbanks, including one incident where a woman used her bug spray to fend off the growling creature that was so close she could have “kissed it.” Now rangers have been given the go-ahead to kill the bears if rangers come across them”Alaska Dispatch
Omitted from that article is any mention of the original instigator, who back in July threw food at the bear before abandoning her backpack. This habituation (see related posts here and here) spells certain death for these animals, whom we are supposed to be smarter than.

None of which matters when it comes to the coming zombie invasion:
"After they were killed, the sow and third cub continued to approach three separate houses" - DNM
On a related side-note: in case anyone wonders why, like artistic indigestion, the latent misanthropy rises to the surface with these occasional in-theme editorials, well here's the most enraging and sorrowful article of the year:
"The quilly creature was cowering in a corner, apparently bleeding, and surrounded by about five bricks." - Anchorage Press


  1. As I see it, the problem is not solely the habituation of bears to humans, but rather the de-habituation of humans to bears. In this country, we, as humans, have become accustomed to the safety of our everyday lives. Get in an air conditioned, heated, power-steering equipped car that your mechanic services for you because you couldn't be bothered with maintaining it, go to a relatively safe job (assuming you don't work in a movie theater), go back to a safe home with magical light and heat that comes on with the flick of a switch, enjoy a prepackaged, sanitized meal, and go to sleep in a blanket of self security, assuming that you'll wake up. This same (false) sense of self security tends to follow said humans into the woods... We now EXPECT to be able to come out of those woods in the same condition we entered. How daft!

  2. Excellent observation.
    After spending so much time by myself out in the woods, it’s always been no small amounts of wonder to me how people are disproportionately paranoid about encounters with bears and wolves (oh my). Probably no doubt tapping into some base psychological fear of getting eaten. Fact is, one should by all right be far more terrified of normal, everyday activities that we’ve become collectively anesthetized to. Something like driving a car at fifty-miles per hour separated by a few feet away from an oncoming vehicle gives us no pause at all, and yet viewed from another perspective is actually a terrifying experience that only an insane species would undertake.
    No wonder I stayed in the cabin so much.

  3. Hiker aiming gun backing away from bear steps on skunk. Next panel, skunk and bear exchange high fives.

    Excellent observation about our safetified lives and the expectation that "someone" will make sure that what used to be self-sufficient forays into natural areas will be just as idiot-enabling as the rest of our lives. Equally excellent observation about the danger and attendant carnage we accept sharing highways that evolved from travel ways used for much slower forms of transportation. Sure, things have been "upgraded" but only to the extent that the budget and available space allow.

  4. I've often mulled over how the mode reinforces the disconnect, especially when after adding power. As in, motorboat vs canoe, car vs bicycle - you go OVER as opposed to moving THROUGH. Then you can no longer be conscious of the little things, or know what effect or impact you are having. Case in point being during one commute on bike I noticed the incredible number of dragonfly bodies littering the side of the streets. Never forget that for some odd reason (maybe because I champion anything that eats mosquitoes).
    Add to this the element of speed, like the herds of trail runners I keep encountering here in this urbanized setting. Again, there's no connection.

    I recall a conversation with someone who lived in the Brooks Range in a remote cabin where I would get picked up by float plane after several years of two-week solo outings into Gates of the Arctic. He maintained that you could just feel when a grizzly would enter into the valley, after having one's senses become so attuned to the where you are. As compared to my having to ask other hikers to please turn off their goddamned iPhone playing loud shitty music while out on the trail. Most folks nowadays tend to try and bring as much of where they're coming from, all the gizmos and gear and accumulated baggage so as to effectively insulate themselves from where they are. They erect a wall of constant noise by bantering back and forth with each other as the silence starts to creep in on one's awareness and the reality of the surroundings settles over. Some people hike to get away from all that noise and junk, and increasingly more and more people can't separate themselves from it, feel uncomfortable without it, and psychologically project this unease onto nature and always attempt to overcome it, master it, by overpowering it with power, noise, weapons and destruction.