Thanks to Aaron Mesh for this excellent article ["Tusk, but Verify," WW, Dec. 12, 2012]. This is the first time the real plans for the offsite preserve were revealed to the public. And it doesn't look good.
Instead of a haven for the Oregon Zoo's elephants, the zoo plans to create a breeding ground to expand its existing herd. That is, if and when the zoo can ever raise the operating funds to create the preserve. We already have eight elephants on a little more than one acre, and expanding that to six acres will not and cannot meet the needs of the world's largest land mammals, who need miles to roam, not an enlarged yard.
The zoo's "vision" is blurry at best. And it can be boiled down to one word: money.... It is disheartening to read that Metro President Tom Hughes thinks the vision is clear-sighted. It is very sad the zoo's primary concern is increasing ticket sales instead of raising the bar for better treatment of elephants.
Since the zoo's vision does not include a real preserve, I urge the zoo to send the elephants to a sanctuary. And start with the oldest, Packy. After 50 years of entertaining the public, he deserves to spend his remaining years in a place that allows him, for the first time in his life, to live like a real elephant.
Oregon Zoo, are you listening? People don't want the elephants at the zoo anymore. It's too small for them, and their expense is too large for taxpayers.
POLICE AND THE MENTALLY ILL
Our police officers should be required to rise to the challenge and treat mentally ill people as patients first ["The First 30 Seconds," WW, Dec. 12, 2012]. The general population needs to be able to trust the police to protect and serve.
I want all [police officers] to make it home safely at the end of each day, and I want the mentally ill people they come into contact with to also make it home safely at the end of the day. It is our responsibility as a community to support these goals. Thank you, Portland Police Bureau, for your service. Please treat us well and we will treat you well and support you in your work to keep our communities safe.
Words can't express the gratitude and respect I feel for the "men and women in blue." It's a calling. The Department of Justice turns on them, their leaders usually throw them under the bus, and the people they are trying to protect spit on them.
I hope they know they have more supporters than it may seem, but unfortunately it's a silent majority. No one can guess whether or not a threatening person is mentally ill, and even if you could, it doesn't make that person less of a threat. This whole approach is illogical.
Thank you, WW, for a thoughtful piece. I certainly didn't expect it coming from you!
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