Friday, May 31, 2013
Not exactly the most effective method of using a firearm for self protection, but it worked.
Here's what happened — the couple and their dog were enjoying a vacation in their Wisconsin cabin when a year-old black bear started chasing the dog. Gerre Ninnemann said, "I came running out into the yard, shouting, waving my arms at the bear, thinking that would scare him away. But it didn't. All it did was leave the dog and come right for me."
Ninnemann ran for the corner of the cabin, but the bear caught up with him and started mauling him. His wife, Marie, found the shotgun but didn't know how to load it. So she took the gun outside and beat the bear on the head, which gave her husband a chance to escape into the cabin. But the bear wasn't done with them. He charged right up to the door, then started circling the cabin and looking in the windows. Ninnemann called the sheriff, who sent a deputy to dispatch the bear.
Ninnemann ended up in the hospital with bites and claw marks from his waist to the top of his head. His wife's quick thinking probably saved his life.
After Ninnemann recovers, I believe a session at the shooting range is in order. If you're going to have guns of any type, it's critical to be well trained in their use. That goes for everyone in the family, because you never know when the defensive use of a firearm will be needed by someone other than the primary gun owner.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Sounds completely bogus, and some folks in the "nature is warm and fuzzy" crowd will rise up and claim that beavers don't kill people. These are the same folks who staunchly proclaim that wolves don't kill people. Unfortunately, they grew up watching too many Disney movies and reading books by Farley Mowat.
Well, let's see what this story is all about. It turns out that a 60-year-old man wanted to have his photo taken with a beaver he spotted alongside the road. He stopped the car and approached the beaver. As he tried to grab the animal, it defended its position by biting the man several times, slicing an artery in his leg, causing him to bleed to death.
According to the report, this isn't the first time a beaver vs. human encounter turned out badly for the human. Although this is the first report of a person being killed by a beaver attack, there has been a string of attacks reported, as the beavers have become increasingly aggressive when confronted by humans.
And who can blame them? I wouldn't want some guy stopping his car and grabbing me just because he wanted a photo either. I'm not sure if I would bite him, but I would certainly do everything I could to discourage the fellow. So I'm not blaming the beaver.
I'm also not blaming the wild goat that killed a man a couple years ago on the Klahhane Ridge trail in the Olympic National Park. Nor do I blame the bears, cougars, wolves, deer, elk, moose, or any other wild animal who dispatches a human who is misbehaving in the animal's territory.
What I blame is the stupidity of humans who put themselves in a position to be confronted by wildlife. Sometimes it makes me wonder how we (humans) ever ended up at the top of the food chain. And it only reconfirms my rejection of the Theory of Evolution that has a foundation based on Survival of the Fittest. Humans are NOT the fittest — we are among the most frail, least naturally prepared to survive in a harsh environment. And sometimes we prove to be too stupid to save ourselves, or prevent our own death.
Okay, rant over.
So, here is the #1 rule about human survival when confronted with wildlife. LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE!
Don't try to pick them up. Don't try to hug them. They don't want their picture taken with you. They consider you a menace, an intruder, a threat. It's like you've invaded their home, and they have every right to defend it. LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE!
Alright, second rant finished.
Seriously, if you want photos of wild animals, use a long telephoto lens. The best wildlife photographers are so adept at capturing their subjects in their natural environment that the animals never even knew the photographer was there. It takes skill and finesse to locate the animal and then sneak into position to take the shot without disturbing the animal. That is so totally different than finding an animal along the road, stopping the car, scaring the crap out of the little beast, then trying to grab it so your buddy can take a photo.
You see the same kind of behavior in places like Yellowstone Park, where a traffic jam clogs the road because tourists screech to a halt and jump out of their cars to approach and photograph some poor animal that just wants everybody to go away and leave it alone.
Humans should follow a certain wildlife etiquette, a code of behavior, when in the back country.
- Unless you're hunting game, don't pursue animals you encounter. Enjoy the fact that they're sharing their backyard with you, and respect that.
- If you're on the same trail as the animal, divert your path rather than forcing the animal off the trail.
- Back off and keep your distance.
- Don't make any threatening moves, such as trying to approach the animal.
- Don't inadvertently attract animals into your camp by leaving bits of food or garbage around. Secure all food and trash in animal-proof canisters.
- Leave your pets at home. A dog might go nuts when it spots a wild animal, giving chase, or perhaps attracting the wild animal toward you (think hungry bear or cougar wanting a bite of Fido).
Monday, May 13, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Disaster struck when a fire broke out somewhere on the lower floors of an 11-story garment factory. Smoldering acrylic material created a lot of smoke that rose through the upper floors of the building, setting off a panic among workers. They rushed for the front stairwell, but the toxic fumes overwhelmed them, and the victims suffocated.
Mamun Mahmud, deputy director of the fire service, reported that the building had two stairwells at the front and an emergency exit in the back. "Had they used the emergency stairwell, they would have survived," he said.
"They also would have likely survived the slow-spreading fire had they stayed on the upper floors. We found the roof open, but we did not find there anybody after the fire broke out. We recovered all of them on the stairwell on the ninth floor."
This tragic incident points out the importance of always knowing where the exits are, and having a plan to use them in an emergency. It doesn't matter whether you're in a garment factory in Bangladesh or a nightclub in Rhode Island (the 2003 Station nightclub fire comes to mind), or your own home — your ability to find a way out is a primary survival strategy.
Whenever you enter a building, make yourself aware of every possible way to get out of that building. Be especially cognizant of the "secondary" escape routes, because human nature will cause most of the people in the building to attempt an escape through the front door. In the case of the garment factory fire, all of the victims were found piled up on the primary stairwell, and according to the authorities, if the workers has used the secondary (rear) exit, they would have lived.
Realizing that most people trapped in a room will rush for the main exit, plan your survival strategy to use a secondary exit — be it a door, a window, or another room (or a different floor, such as the basement or roof) that gets you out of the way of the immediate danger.
In the Station nightclub fire, the crush of people trying to flee out the front door became an immediate gridlock that trapped 100 victims inside. Others were injured by being trampled in the stampede.
Switch on your situational awareness whenever you enter a room, and have an escape plan in mind so you can get out alive.