Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jan 8, 2013

Dear Sis~

Another new year is upon us, but how much has really changed?  I just read a disturbing article, including graphic photos, about the seemingly inevitable extinction of the African rhinoceros due to the relentless poaching pandemic engulfing Africa today.  These magnificent creatures, like the equally majestic elephants, have survived millions of years, shrugging off the worst the natural world could throw at them, yet they are no match for the ignorance and greed of modern man.  The slaughter of the rhinos is particularly senseless in that the desired product - their horns - are nothing more than compressed hair, a substance similar to fingernails, yet the wealthy buyers in the Asian markets, primarily China, ignorantly believe the ground up horns are aphrodisiacs.  The level of stupidity is astounding and heartbreaking.  The plains of Africa, including its best-known nature reserves, are littered with the butchered carcasses of these rhinos, shot dead, their horns brutally hacked off (sometimes while the rhino is still alive).  This is not a new phenomenon; the battle has been going on for many years, but the poachers, heavily armed and driven by an economic model that values horns and ivory higher than gold, have inexorably gained the upper hand, and there now remain just a few thousand rhinos in the wild, a mere pittance of their former numbers.  Courageous people are battling mightily to protect these beasts, but their future looks bleak.  These grand animals, like their brethren the elephants, stand as a bitter rebuke to all of mankind, which has no right to extinct an entire species, to declare that such an animal will cease to exist forever more.  This is a revealing statement on the nature of man, a commentary on what we value and what we, as a species, are willing to do to protect our own brethren here on Schoolhouse Earth.  If we, collectively, cannot save the rhinos, elephants, polar bears and lions (yes, the African lion is now on the path to extinction in the wild), who are being consigned to history's ash heap solely by our actions, then we have abrogated any claim to stewardship over this planet and our own future here can rightfully be called into doubt.  I say a pox on all of us if this is the way the future lays...

Well, so far, the governor has not signed any new death warrants (last year he signed his first death warrant of the year on January 2, 2012, wasting no time) but then it's only the eighth day of the new year.  The urge to kill is strong in our blood, often more so in those who purport to be our leaders...

Enough editorializing for now, Sis.  I'm gonna lay back and relax, take the afternoon off, chill, and listen to my little MP3 player (Ray Charles and the Count Basie Orchestra are on deck).


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