Editorial by Zuzana Kukol  2/23/2007

The world must be a very safe, sterile and boring place lately, since just getting busted for illegal drugs and possessing child pornography alone will not make headlines anymore.

On February 2nd, while drinking my black coffee, I stumbled upon Ohio news headline: “Alligator Seized During Cleveland Drug Bust”.

When one sees a word ‘bust’, images of some big adrenaline rush event appear.
The short story, later picked up by news nationwide, described this ‘scary’ well taken care of alligator to be a whopping 2 feet, however nothing about the bust itself.

My hopes went up few days later, when on February 9th I woke up to a Washington state headline: “Deputies find alligator during drug bust”
Still having faith in the media, I read the article and I found out this gator was 4 feet. The rest of the article, once again, was devoted to the details about the baby alligator’s mouth and the damage it could (but did not) do and its future whereabouts. As before, the size of the bust itself remained a mystery.

My depression and disappointment in the media worsened two days later on February 11, when Socialist Republic of California news reported, in the order of importance: “Exotic Animal, Child Porn Found During Drug Bust”
As with the alligators, most of the hundreds of news across the country that picked up the article were devoted to arguing about what the exotic sloth-like animal was!

After few days they called a truce and agreed it was a coatimundi.

In sync with the now established pattern, the bust size and child pornography were insignificant news compared to a discovery of an exotic coatimundi, a South American mammal growing to a mighty 9 pounds when full grown.

On February 21, news hysteria was back in Washington state and spreading across the nation like a plague reporting on some guy being evicted for not paying a rent for a year, as if that was not an everyday occurrence in this world. The guy just happened to have exotic animals as well, 4 tigers to be exact.
No matter how much the Lewis County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gene Seiber kept saying (as reported in the news): “This whole issue wasn’t the fact he had tigers, the issue is he didn’t pay his bills”, the media just couldn’t get enough of the big exotic pussycats.

Sheriff’s statement was supported by the property owner and landlord Don Beattie, who was reported saying that he didn’t have a problem with the four adult Siberian tigers living on his 22-acre Napavine rental property; what he objected to was the tigers owner’s refusal to pay rent for a year.

“He couldn’t understand why he was getting thrown outRenting to a tenant with tigers didn’t bother me,” Beattie said.”They’re legal up there.”

So what is next, will newspapers eventually take a hint from the animal rights (AR) activists and stage incidents so they have something interesting to report, since ‘normal’ crimes like illegal drugs and child porn are nowadays not enough to make headlines that sell?

What will near future bring?

One day Buck Gaylord, a reporter for a small San Diego news station will get a call from his boss, editor Richard Small, who will ask him to go to Mexico and get a few pet gerbils which are illegal to own in California but easily smuggled. The  plan will be to supposedly release them later at any scene their news station will cover for extra sensationalism.

Once Gaylord is safely in Mexico collecting gerbils to bring back to California, editor Dick calls California wildlife agents.

The nest day’s headline, picked up by thousand stations worldwide will read:
“Gaylord caught smuggling exotic gerbils into USA”.

[Edited by Simon – Minor format change]

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