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O, Give me a home, where the Buffalo roam

…and I’ll show you a house that’s not clean
But let’s skip to the main issue… Non-pet animals being used as mascots. Now, I had seen on the commercials last year that the CSU football team uses a live Bison as a mascot. Admittedly it’s a younger calf, and held by two sturdy ropes attached to two sturdy cowboy-looking types. But seriously, have any thoughts been given to what kind of liability would be incurred if that small(er) TeTonka were to bust loose and, as wild beasts typically do when faced with huge numbers of screaming humans, panic? Jump into the stands maybe. Maybe turn on her suddenly Former handlers or the football team that’s chasing behind her onto the field…
I don’t spend a great deal of time studying buffalo, just that their real name is bison or in Lakota “Tonka” and maybe one of our Sioux friends can correct me and I’ll cheerfully accept, I think the “te” part refers to the male. I did learn from observing them day after endlessly BORING day that they on most occasions don’t do a damn thing but eat, shit and move on, repeat as necessary. They’re even worse than watching cattle. Watching Grass Grow. I went to Job Corps way back in the 70s. Was at a J.C. Civilian Conservation Center called Treasure Lake. The center wasn’t within a day’s walking distance of the lake. I was there 6 months and never saw the lake.

Somewhere in between Lawton, Ft Sill, Altus, Altus AFB and Indiahoma, OK.on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. I chose to go to that center over three others, because of the Bison. The brochure said “The Worlds Largest Surviving Herd of American Bison!” and I, being just turned 16, wanted to see the buffalo. First month I was there they didn’t show up. Then I saw them. Lots of them. About 10 or 15 thousand of them. The herd is larger now, I’m sure.

In the olden days there were millions of them. Then, somebody found out their weakness. Probably “Buffalo” Bill Cody. An extermination campaign was launched, kill off the food supply and starve the Plains Indians into surrender. They have this bad habit, you might ask “How bad was it?” and I might just answer “incredibly stupid”. It worked when the only hunters were the wolves, humans armed with spears instead of repeating rifles and grizzly bears (more on grizzlies later)

The herd would be divided into smaller and smaller herds and the leader of each was not a Bull, but a cow. If any threat appears, the hunter usually would go after one of the smaller and dumber animals. When we’re talking Buffalo, though, “dumber” is a relative term.

The lead cow would notice that one or more of the others was being attacked and take measures to correct it. Run or run somebody through with her horns, either one. The other cows would take their cue from the Leader. If the LEADER was the first one killed, then the next one in line would take over. But without the Leader, the new leader wouldn’t notice. “Oh, my, Bessie just got her head shot off… oh well, didn’t happen to me”. and go back to eating. This drove their population to a couple hundred by the end of the 19th century.

The herd at Wichita Mountains is called the “republican” herd. No lie. Plenty of bullshit but no lying about that. I use that to explain the RepubliKlan attitude that if the bad times don’t happen to them personally, then they just don’t exist in their Idyllic personal Fantasia.

Before that experience with the Big Shaggies, I was in El Paso, and the sick joke they call a “zoo” at Washington Park had just purchased a young calf, it was 1976 so they named him “Bison Tennial”. Yes, they are that clever. So I’m not exactly a connoisseur of Buffalo. Eating or even preparing a bison to be eaten is a team sport. So I never got into that aspect.

But, I DO know that these suckas ain’t pets. People often mistake them for pets. Give plenty of business to Emergency Rooms and Ambulance teams.

Even some PETS aren’t really good as pets. The first deadliest animal in the world is the common honey bee. Lions and tigers and bears, oh My! and even Crocodiles fall behind the Lovely and often-mistaken-for-cute Hippopotamus. Again, not pets. Domestic Dogs are somewhere between bees and hippos.

Given that even our Pets, when mismanaged or just accidentally crossed up, are potentially deadly, why use WILD animals as mascots?

Any animal much larger than a Bunny Rabbit will roll a couple or more men up into one collective arse and proceed to beat that arse rosy red.

We’re not very strong, pound for pound, compared to other animals.
There is, to my knowledge, no football team called “the Cute Fuzzy Bunny Rabbits”, they choose larger, more ferocious animals for that.
The Air Force uses a peregrine falcon. Why put a bird through that isn’t clear to me. They probably doom it to a very short life with the avian equivalent of PTSD.

I did go to one school in Ft Worth, Polytechnic Heights High School, or “Poly”High.
Poly High had a team called the Parrots. What a large and funny joke that is!
Rather than take a large, intelligent, beautiful, high-strung and above all else Endangered Species bird for a mascot, they instead had a kid with a Foam Rubber parrot costume. It would be a lot easier than having a 300-400 pound scared wild animal with both hooves AND horns to jump into the stands. Like that off-road truck race only the Bison probably wouldn’t roll to a stop nearly as quickly.

Or a Grizzly. Now, I BELIEVE there’s a college team called the Grizzlies and certainly some called Lions, Tigers and Bears (Oh MY!) who don’t actually break out with a live lion, tiger or bear Oh My at their games.

Then there’s Deer. Whitetails, Mule Deer, Elk, Moose… none of them pets. Forget Bambi and Bullwinkle, they’re entertaining cartoons but…

a Mule Deer or Whitetail is about the weight of a grown human and with anywhere between 4 and 16 knives on top of its head, and an instinct for using them that involves ramming them into the belly of the “threat” and just keep pushing.

You see some amazing videos, one is a Grizzly fighting a Mule Deer. The Mule Deer Wins, grizzly dies.

And an Elk in a lady’s backyard on Cell Phone video
“look, there’s an elk in my yard, and he’s bugling! here, I’ll take some pictures of him.” and then you see the bottom of an elk hoof stomping on the cell phone.

I saw by the Sonic Restaurant a couple of weeks ago, a small herd of Mule Deer, mostly yearling males. With the knives on their heads, yeah. They were eating the crab-apples off the trees. People were taking pictures of them. Getting close to them. With their KIDS getting close to them.
Oh, nothing happened THIS TIME but there really aren’t any wild animals which are actually safe to approach, and people shouldn’t teach their kids otherwise. It’s a bad habit that gets people killed or injured. Frequently.

The Park Service in Yellowstone (or was it Yosemite?) killed a momma grizzly which had in her turn killed a human. “Euthanized” for knowing that human=food.
ALL the bears know that. Duh. People still feed them deliberately in spite of the long history of how much FAIL! that idea is.

They get used to it, and they get an attitude. People attitudes are somewhat like “Awww, Teddy Ruxpin and or Winnie the Pooh!” Not so. Bear attitude is like “you feed me one way, or you’ll feed me the other, your choice and choose quickly.”

Definitely not on my list of what to buy at the pet store. There were, when I was a kid, baby Mississippi Mud Slider turtles sold as pets. They’re not good pets. They don’t kill you with their fearsome claws and non-existent fangs. Psittacoccosis on the other hand, a parasitic infection called “Rabbit Fever” or “parrot fever”…

And, at the same time and about 5 times the price (the turtles cost like a buck apiece at Winns Dept Store) you could buy a Cute Little Baby Alligator.

I’ll leave you to guess where that might lead. I’ve got an anecdote about that
OK, alligator story. Rounds out the meme nicely. My wife, when she was a child was left motherless, and was sent to the Buckner Baptist Childrens Home in Dallas. She arranged a slight discount on a baby alligator at a pet store at Big Town Mall, across what’s now a freeway from Buckner. Meaning, she picked it up quick and run home hard. Had it only a few days, it bit the housemother and the staff informed her “Martha, it’s got to go”.

So she liberated it. In White Rock Lake. Near Downtown Dallas. If you fly into or out of Love Field the landing pattern will take you right over White Rock Lake. There are baby alligators found, from time to time, in White Rock Lake. It’s conceivable that the alligator survived. For a while. Alligators grow to be 19 feet long and live for 60 years or more.

That would leave the problem of the Baby Alligators. Martha only let loose ONE. Doubtful that a month-old baby alligator would already be in egg-laying mode. They do sometimes wander up the Trinity River, but by the time they get to the middle of Dallas they’re probably too chemically altered to reproduce.

However, alligators have this problem that people dislike. They get bigger than the Cutesie Puppy-love stage. At which point they get the annoying habit of biting people. Hard. and eating neighborhood pets. So do pythons. There’s urban legends of people having purchased king cobras, and fer-de-lance and other deadly snakes, as pets, display exhibits really, in their own private Fantasy Zoos.

There was a Lion Cub, at a pet store, right down Rosedale Street from Poly High. Lioness, named Sheba. I don’t know to whom they ever sold Sheba. It would be unlawful to own one in Ft Worth. Maybe, and I hope this ain’t the case, (she was a likable little big kitty) to one of those Safari Ranches where you can pay a couple of grand and go on a Real African-like Big Game Hunt.

About as sorry a bunch of sodding gits as ever stole oxygen from the rest of us.

Now how much would you pay? Not blaming the CSU Buffalo for this, it’s just one node on an awfully big social tumor.

I read where the Romans disdained the “barbaric” Celts because the Celts did human sacrifices. Imagine that. The Romans tied people to stakes and crosses in their stadia and lit them on fire. In a civilized manner of course. For the entertainment of their civilized civilization. How far down that road America might go, who knows.

We do have Zoos, Circuses, Rodeos, Safari Ranches, and professional sports that involve a lot of people hitting other people. Hard. Fast. Repeatedly. And for profit wars of conquest, mustn’t forget that part.

We have movies like Jonah Hex. I see the commercials for it, in the 25 second commercial it shows four snuffs, three by my assholish erstwhile namesake and one by his girlfriend. We had one movie that was a satyric take-off of snuff flicks called “Buckets O’ Blood”. One wonders, how close are we to the edge?

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