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Monday, April 28, 2008

re: The Day in WTF

posted by on April 28 at 14:44 PM

Look, PETA. It’s fine if you want to post a $2,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person who has been shooting blow darts at pigeons downtown.

I’m not sure hunting pigeons with blow darts is illegal, but if you want to burn a couple grand to find out, that’s your business.

But don’t let your spokespeople (like Tori Perry, quoted in today’s Times) say dumb, dumb things like:

“This is just a horrifying case… Someone who would do this to an animal is a short step away from doing this to a human being.”

You don’t know that, Tori. Maybe, maybe—if we find out the blowgunner is just being cruel.

But maybe he or she is just after dinner. Maybe he or she is like my great-uncle Angelo who, when he arrived in Massachusetts from Italy, used to hunt pigeons in the park to make sopa coada. (Which mortally embarrassed his nephew/my uncle John, who was afraid his friends would see fresh-off-the-boat Angelo creeping around the park with a big net while they played football. Ain’t that America, etc.)

So, Tori, are you accusing my uncle Angelo of being a psychopath? Are you suggesting that immigrants whose culinary tastes differ from yours are psychopaths?

Are you, Ms. PETA, perhaps guilty of a little xenophobia? Maybe even a little racism?

Hm? Are you?

RSS icon Comments


Don't you generally have to have a permit to hunt, pigeons or otherwise?

Posted by Jerod | April 28, 2008 2:48 PM

She's 100% right. Somebody who hurts animals like this is a sick fuck and is totally capable of hurting people the same way, if he hasn't already. And then when that happens, all the hunting apologists will disown the guy and say he's just a bad apple and don't judge us by what this one deviant weirdo does.

No way would I leave my kid in the hands of some hunting kook who can't even kill an animal in a halfway humane way.

Hey... Aren't you the guy who wrote all about all your half assed ways of trying to kill animals for the Stranger?

Posted by elenchos | April 28, 2008 2:54 PM

I think we can all agree you are both guilty of hyperbole.

Posted by kid icarus | April 28, 2008 2:55 PM

Did you mean American football or soccer?

Posted by el Rutherford | April 28, 2008 2:58 PM

You are seriously slandering people who ethically hunt for food. Using a means that does not usually assure a fast, humane death is not consistent with humane hunting.

Torturing animals is pretty well established as a early indicator of anti-social, and potentially violent and cruel actions against people.

Not in every last case. However, there are enough people around who would not care about torturing animals on the basis of the suffering of the animals that the link to the debasement of the human offender was established as a rationale for the revulsion people feel even during the darkness of the Cartesian worldview.

People who abuse animals (as opposed to humanely killing for food), suck. If they also start fires and wet the bed then they hit the trifecta of early indicators for homicidal sociopaths.

Posted by Rain Monkey | April 28, 2008 2:58 PM

Wow, I think you took it way too far. Also, I have to believe there's a saner and less cruel way to kill dinner than with blow darts...

Posted by Cook | April 28, 2008 3:03 PM

p.s. I'll bet you $5.00 that if you find the guy with the blow gun you'll find out he has the cross-bow that shot the dog. It is just too much of a coincidence of timing and m.o.

And if so, he is ramping up already.

Posted by Rain Monkey | April 28, 2008 3:04 PM

Hunters generally like to, you know, KILL their prey. Anything less is animal abuse.

Posted by cmaceachen | April 28, 2008 3:11 PM

Yes, hunting pigeons is creepy and weird. But saying he's a sociopath is ... just too much.

Posted by OR Matt | April 28, 2008 3:11 PM

I hate to see cruelty to any animal, but some people get fanatical. In this country it seems everything gets taken to extremes.
There are animals that need homes or they will be killed. I would think that's a more effective use of the money and effort, but if they could catch who's doing this and stop it, more power to them.

Posted by Vince | April 28, 2008 3:13 PM

See also the Macdonald Triad

Posted by Rain Monkey | April 28, 2008 3:20 PM

This is possibly the single dumbest post I've read in the year or so that I've been reading this blog.

Posted by Ed | April 28, 2008 3:20 PM

I've heard rumors that certain individuals in town have been known to place traps intended to capture rats in out-of-the-way corners of their own homes, in spite of the possibility that sometimes the rats won't die immediately upon becoming ensnared. Maybe PETA can offer up a bounty on those sick people too.

Elementary pseudo-psychology informs us that it's surely only a matter of time before such people progress to setting human-sized spring-coiled traps baited with delicious vegan sandwiches. Clearly these people must be stopped and incarcerated before that happens.

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 28, 2008 3:21 PM

Gee Brendan, have you ever bothered to read your own paper? Hysteric hyperbole is what you people at The Stranger are all about. You need look no further than Dan's claim that the liver cancer victim was "sentenced to death" by being denied a spot on the waiting list. Unless you're down with being seen as an asshole hypocrite, you might want to think twice before blathering your bullshit criticism.

Posted by Did Tori intern at The Stranger | April 28, 2008 3:24 PM

Pigeon Pie - British recipe

4-5 pigeons, drawn
salt and pepper
250g/8oz stewing beef
250g/8oz shortcrust pastry
beaten egg to glaze
2 tsp cornflour
300ml/10fl oz stock

1. preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Joint the birds into two breast joints and two leg joints each and stew the rest of the carcass in a little water to make stock for the gravy.
3. Cut the beef into small pieces and line a deep 20cm/8in pie dish with these.
4. Lay the pigeon joints on top, cover with water, add salt and pepper, then cover the pie dish with greased paper or aluminium foil. Place in the oven and simmer for 1˝ hours.
5. Remove from the oven and raise oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
6. Cover the pie with the shortcrust pastry, brush the top with beaten egg, put back into the oven and bake until the pastry is golden brown.
7. Make a gravy by mixing 10g/2tsp cornflour with a little cold water and add to 300ml/10fl oz of the warmed stock. Allow to thicken while stirring, season and serve with the pie.

Posted by snarky | April 28, 2008 3:31 PM

I am the pigeon darter - who wants to turn me in and split the dough?

Posted by Abe | April 28, 2008 4:00 PM

Vivo Angelo, il tuo zio

Posted by frostillicus | April 28, 2008 4:04 PM

Okay, maybe pulling the wings off of flies is an indicator for possible psychosis. But I'm not at all horrified by our pigeon blow-darter. The claim that the pigeon hunter is a "short step away from doing this to a human" is utter nonsense.

Pigeons are not exactly an endangered species. They're not native. Less pigeons around isn't causing any environmental detriment. A blow dart is probably no more or less cruel than a BB or pellet gun, which probably maim rather than kill just as often as a blow dart.

And frankly, I'd rather the pigeon hunter use a blow dart than a rifle. At least in a city with a half million people or so.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | April 28, 2008 4:04 PM

Personally, I blame Disney. Rats can't cook and pigeons don't have personalities, people.

Blowdarting pigeons is in fact weird and inefficient but it doesn't necessarily make somebody a serial killer. What is this guys supposed to do, fire a 12 gauge in the middle of downtown Seattle?

Posted by Clint | April 28, 2008 4:09 PM

I know nobody wants to listen to PETA, but the Humane Society says the same thing. Look at the list of citations. You guys defending torturing pigeons have no data; you're talking out your ass.

Posted by elenchos | April 28, 2008 4:20 PM

Jesus, calm the fuck down, dude. You seriously think this is being done by someone trying to catch their nightly meal? Performing needlessly cruel acts on animals is a definite sign of future sociopathic and possible psychopathic tendencies. I can think of the kind of grownup who would blowdart pigeons for fun, and I sure as hell wouldn't want anything to do with him.

PETA's done some nutty things in the past, but this seems like a genuinely good-faith effort on their part to find the culprit.

Posted by laterite | April 28, 2008 4:20 PM

Good riddance IMHO
And how fred thompsonian is it to compare pigeon hunting to people hunting? Like killing innocent peds in a video game means I'm going to be killing peds in real life in t-minus 7 1/2 hours... p-lease!!

Posted by jake | April 28, 2008 4:23 PM

High though food prices may be, I seriously doubt the person shooting these pigeons is motivated by the practical concern of finding a cheap dinner. Come on now.

Posted by tsm | April 28, 2008 4:33 PM

Maybe it's an artist.

They used to get by hunting pigeons in Paris ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 28, 2008 4:46 PM
For forensic psychiatrists, such a fascination with death and cruelty to animals is an almost predictable sign in the lives of people accused of being serial killers. [...] "Murderers like this very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids," said Robert K. Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers while an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's behavioral sciences unit.
NYT, August 7, 1991. There is a ton of data to support this. If you're going to disagree, at least try to refute the data.
Posted by elenchos | April 28, 2008 5:00 PM

Of course it is unlikely that the pigeon hunter is doing it for food. Possible, but I agree it isn't very likely.

But we have no idea why he (or she) is darting pigeons. Maybe he just doesn't like the flying rats shitting all over everything. That is not necessarily an indication of psychosis. Maybe he's sociopathic. Maybe he's not. All PETA and the Humane Society are engaging in is pure speculation.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | April 28, 2008 5:02 PM

You're wrong, Brendan. Needless cruelty to animals is a reliable predictor of sociopathic behavior.

Posted by Greg | April 28, 2008 5:36 PM

Elenchos@25: There are several fallacies here. One is the same one we see in the "pot is a gateway drug" argument: Even if all heroin addicts started by smoking pot, it doesn't logically follow that all pot smokers will go on to become heroin addicts.
So even if serial killers usually start out killing small animals, it doesn't follow that everybody who kills small animals for any reason will go on to become a serial killer.

The main problem arises from the mind-reading aspect of the hyperbolic press release issued by PETA. There are many possible reasons that someone might wound a pigeon. Maybe they were trying to secure dinner and failed. Maybe the pigeons were building nests in their gutters and they got tired of clearing the debris out twice a year. Maybe the pigeons were shitting all over their favorite statue. And maybe blow-darts were chosen as the method because firing guns in the city is illegal.

The point is without knowing who did it is impossible to know why they did it. It seems that PETA is trying to do with this sort of press release is imply that everybody who hurts an animal for any reason is somebody who would do the same to people, and that is frankly an outrageous and unsupportable assertion.

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 28, 2008 5:36 PM

Hunting pigeons for food is one thing, but no semi-competent hunter is going to hunt pigeon with blow darts, and only a naive city dweller who's never hunted a day of their life would postulate such a retarded motive. It probably is borderline sociopathic and at the very least antisocial. If someone was hunting dogs, cats or some other charismatic mega fauna, you Stranger cunts would thow a fit- "but they're our pets! It's different!" But actually there is no difference; I don't necessarily value a dog's life anymore than I do a pigeon's, and some breeds make for great eating. Would you be ok with it if you started seeing cats with blow darts through their necks? Not all cats have collars and can be shown to have owners. If there was a rampant cat colony epidemic, I'd be all for culling them. But injuring them with blow darts is crossing the line.

If this idiot is hunting for food, someone needs to teach them how to actually hunt, so you know, they can actually kill the game next time. I'm starting to think you "Stranger" writers never actually think anything through before spewing your stupid observations.

Posted by Jay | April 28, 2008 5:55 PM

A few examples to make my case even more brazenly clear.

When I was a kid my father and I would lay poison for pigeons in his attic because their cooing drove him nuts. The poison was fast acting, but neither of us felt too hot about it, so we ended up just trapping and releasing, and you know what, we solved the problem without blow darts. Maybe because my dad was a hunter raised on a farm and knew what he was doing.

Another example to make things crystal clear: Not too long ago in a small rural town in Wisconsin, a bunch of retarded teens got drunk and went out and shot several deer at random. They didn't kill the deer, just shot them and left them to bleed to death. This was a big hunter community; everyone there hunts deer. And you know what? There was outrage and anger over it because it was cruel, wanton and without purpose, in a nutshell: dirthead nihilism. And let it be known that many of these kids were also cat killers ala Gummo, minus the financial incentive. You know, bored small town kids who would trap cats in bags and shoot them. Leaving deer to die was just the next step.

So calling some guy blow darting pigeons a cruel idiot isn't that far off the mark. If you're going to hunt, do it right.

Posted by Jay | April 28, 2008 6:15 PM


So you find a fallacy in the reasoning of PETA, HSUS, the FBI, and peer reviewed psychology journals in general? Yet I don't get the sense that you've reviewed any of this literature with the exception of the PETA press release. But maybe you're so right all the time you have no need to read any of it.

It's obvious there are a lot of people with a visceral hatred of this one animal rights group, and you have to wonder why they react so strongly to them. But who else but PETA is doing anything about these pigeons being tortured? Nobody.

Posted by elenchos | April 28, 2008 6:31 PM

@31: Yup. I've read fair amount about sociopathy, oddly enough. I'm aware that torturing small animals is one predictor of sociopathic behavior.

But I can spot this logical fallacy without reading anything. The key assumption being made here is "torture." You don't know that the intention here was to cause pain. You, PETA and everybody else are just speculating.

I think tormenting animals should be a crime, but in this and in many other PETA press releases I see their signature combination of hysterical hyperbole (remember their "holocaust on a plate" ad campaign? Google it if you don't) and complete lack of perspective.

Pigeons are considered vermin by most people in an urban setting. People kill them for the same reasons they kill rats. If you can show me the FBI report that says that everybody who has ever set a rat trap goes on to become a serial killer, I'd be fascinated to read it.

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 28, 2008 6:47 PM

32: Yeah, PETA gets irrationally demonized a lot. I eat meat, think hunting's OK and sometimes get annoyed at preachy vegans, but PETA actually has done some solid work over the years. The visceral disgust the organization inspires is largely a result of lifestyle insecurity on the part of unapologetic meat eaters and PETA's own preachiness. But being preachy doesn't automatically make everything you say wrong. The libertarian impulse of our society disdains anything that in any way interferes with our comfort levels- in a way, we're a weak and fat culture that avoids strenuous self-observation. Some preachy self-righteous assholes reminding us about that fact gets the blood boiling.

I guess you could say I'm on the fence about PETA, even though they do some good work. Sorry for the meandering and inconsistent quality of this post. I kinda got stuck in an internal debate.

Posted by Jay | April 28, 2008 6:51 PM

32: To me it's not a question of the blow dart guy's motive. To me, the culprit is obviously one of three things: an idiot who doesn't know how to rid him or herself of vermin, a lousy hunter who has picked one of the worst weapons they could use, or a lazy sadistic asshole. So even though I can't guess motive, I can say the person needs to learn how to do what they're doing or stop. You don't half ass it when you're killing animals.

Posted by Jay | April 28, 2008 6:55 PM

@33 - The point where PETA totally lost me was when they took out those ads after that kid got bit by a shark, intimating that it was fair play for all the fish we eat. A little too close to the gays-caused-Katrina attitude for me.

Posted by wench | April 28, 2008 7:47 PM

I'm not picking a side, but last week in MN a guy took his (8 y.o.!!!) son turkey hunting and killed the kid instead.

If I was cruel & heartless, I'd say at least those genes ain't going further.

Oh wait, maybe I am.

Posted by drewl | April 28, 2008 9:19 PM

Damn, forgot to add the punchline....

He didn't have a license for either.

Posted by drewl | April 28, 2008 11:37 PM

Damn, punchline #2

The kid's name was Hunter.

Posted by drewl | April 28, 2008 11:53 PM

Does shooting pigeons with blowdarts kill or just injure? Are the pigeons left alive with darts sticking in them? Is there poison in the darts? I need answers.

Sorry about Hunter@38.

Posted by wait a minute...hunh? | April 29, 2008 4:08 AM

flamingbanjo, the theories about serial killers starting with small animals and working their way up is taught in the FBI and other law enforcement training departments. It is also taught in colleges and universities that have criminal justice programs.

Posted by G in INdiana | April 29, 2008 5:03 AM

I agree, it's probably a perv, but we really don't know, because we haven't seen them do it.

Maybe there are bush pygmies roaming our streets, keeping up their mad blow dart skills with constant practice, and using the pigeons that they get for ritual shared meals?

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 29, 2008 9:58 AM

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