I have to ask myself what I would do if a mountain lion (or any wild animal) suddenly charged at me. I would, I presume, either run, (which would be stupid) or freeze, fall to the ground and play dead. In any case, I know I would probably panic. Last summer when I was attacked by bees, I ran screaming down the street. I really didn't know what to do except run. I guess I ran far enough because the bees retreated, but not until one of them stung me on the ear lobe. And this was the third time I was stung this summer harvesting honey from their hive. I survived. And I now have a healthy respect...bordering on fear...of bees. Bees, it seems, are wild animals too.
Somehow this story of the mountain lion struck me as unfortunate and sad. The mountain lion somehow found itself in a Fontana neighborhood doing what mountain lions do. Foraging and preying on lesser creatures. I did so not for sport, but to survive. Just as the bees attacked me to protect the the product of their labors so they could survive the winter (even in California, there is a time when things are not in bloom for bees to reap pollen from!), the mountain lion was just trying to survive...as only mountain lions by their nature are wont to do.
So the shooting of the lion was tragic. No, it did not belong in the suburban neighborhood eating cats and dogs, terrorizing children and adults alike. But it was simply in the wrong place. It was not even the wrong time because there obviously is no right time for a mountain lion to come down off the mountain as it were. I guess if it threatened the lives of the officers, it had to be shot. After all, it was just an animal and being humans, we do tend to value human life over those lesser creatures. And what else could have been done? No, charge at the police, risk getting shot. I'm sure the lion knew this...didn't he or she?
I've been saying this a lot lately and this just makes it feel more real: these are scary times we live in. And nothing seems safe or sacred any more. Sure, it was just a mountain lion. And yes, it truly posed a threat to the officers and everyone in that particular neighborhood. But even so, it is still unfortunate and sad. And like so many things these days, it seems there is little we can to prevent or change it. Sigh.
(Below is a link to a PDF copy of the article in today's Press Enterprise).