Friday, January 19, 2007

A Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor:

I’m writing in reference to your story “Mayor Pushes for Cleaner Park,” from the March 23rd issue of your publication, which highlights the mayor’s recent speech regarding the need to control the squirrel population in Van Binten Park. I take issue with a number of the points in the mayor’s speech, as well as your newspaper’s obvious bias in favor of his plan.

ISSUE 1: The mayor claims that the growing number of squirrels has led to an increase in trash in Van Binten Park, as the squirrel population gets out of control and more of these rodents compete for a limited food supply by rooting through garbage cans and the pockets of tired, old men. But it’s clear from his statement that the mayor has a limited understanding of squirrel foraging patterns. The sup-species of the Eastern Gray Squirrel (sciurus carolinensis) that inhabits Van Binten Park is known as sciurus carolinensis canis, or more commonly: The Wolf Squirrel. Wolf squirrels are not foragers, as everyone well knows, as they seek only live prey for their sustenance. Therefore, they cannot possibly be the cause of the trash problem. However, I do believe they may have something to do with the recent increase in half-eaten human and dog carcasses turning up in the park, so if the Mayor is interested in getting to the bottom of this other municipal matter that has caused public outcry, then he might look to the squirrels for possible answers.

ISSUE 2: The Mayor’s solution to the supposed squirrel/trash problem is to introduce a race of super-squirrels into the park that will decimate the current squirrel population. Foreseeing the possibility that these new super-squirrels might inhabit the treetop homes of the old squirrel population, the Mayor says that he has “found scientists who will implant exploding pellets into the hearts of the super-squirrels prior to them being released into the park, and which are set to go off exactly seventy-two hours after their release, thus avoiding any future population problems.”

Again, the Mayor’s solution is short-sighted. If he’d done even the simplest research he’d know that this exact same strategy was used in Ann Arbor, Michigan last year and with disastrous results. First, there is the flawed assumption that the much-larger super-squirrels can easily dominate and kill off the wolf squirrel population, which we now know is not the case. Second, the Ann Arbor Incident also tells us that super-squirrels, while not particularly violent, are extremely amorous creatures, and that they share common mating patterns with wolf squirrels. The likely result would be a large, ultra-violent and indestructible new race of Super-Wolf Squirrels similar to the ones in Ann Arbor—with opposable thumbs and the ability to communicate using E.S.P. For those too busy to pick up a newspaper, researchers believe super-wolf squirrels were behind the disappearance of the entire human population of Rockport, Maine last April (The missing residents were later replaced by period actors), as well as the nefarious Guns-for-Nuts program that ran on the streets of Detroit (only weeks after the Ann Arbor Incident...coincidence?) by the until-then-unheard-of gang, The Tree Top Killahs. This was a criminal program that authorities at first believed to be a push by gang members to get guns into the hands of crazy people, but upon further examination realized that the word “nuts” was being used literally. The evidence is ominous. As in Ann Arbor, the solution to the trash problem would be replaced by an epic-battle-between-human-and-squirrel problem.

ISSUE 3: The Mayor discounted any suggestions that a monkey with lasers for eyes might be a better option. Your newspaper ran an editorial the following day defending his position on laser-eyed monkeys. I simply ask: Why would the Mayor reject out-of-hand a possible solution to trash in the park without giving it serious consideration? When asked why a monkey with lasers for eyes was not a possibility, the mayor would only say that he feared the monkey would throw feces at picnicing park-goers and that he especially feared for the children. If this were the case, wouldn’t he rather endure the possible throwing of feces instead of the continued reduction in the town population at the claws of super-wolf squirrels?

Yes, we all know that a monkey with lasers for eyes has its risks, including the possible destruction of the grandstand near the picnic area and the potential for National Guard intervention if the monkey runs astray. But a well-trained monkey—such as a capuchin or even a macaque—would exact a swift and efficient destruction of the squirrels, as well as add a bit of whimsy to the park atmosphere.

ISSUE 4: No effort has been made to discover the true cause of the trash in the park. While I strongly agree that the wolf squirrel population must be controlled, I do differ with the Mayor on both the means and the reasoning behind the elimination of their population in our town. I feel strongly that a monkey with lasers for eyes is the best solution. But I also believe the wolf squirrels are not the cause of the trash problem, but may be the cause of the dead-bodies-in-the-park problem. So this leaves one question: what is the cause of the trash in the park?

I believe the main cause may be the Mayor’s insistence back in 2004 that the new transfer station be located within the grounds of Van Binten Park. While the Mayor may be able to easily place the blame on the squirrels for the increase in used paper products, bottles, cans, and rotting food strewn about, he has said little of the obvious presence of discarded appliances and car tires, as well as the frequency of burn piles throughout park grounds. But to admit that a policy he enacted three years ago might have caused the downfall in the community’s green space seems to be just too politically risky for the mayor. Instead, he blames the flesh-eating wolf squirrels, and then refuses the use of a genetically-altered monkey weapon as a solution.

It is clear to me, and to many others in the community, that the Mayor doesn’t want to solve the trash problem in the park, but is actually encouraging inter-species warfare to cover up his own flawed greenspace policy. And once the Great War between squirrels and humans has begun, it is only then that he’ll bring in the laser-eyed capuchin to save the day (and his political career)—but by then it may be too late.

1 comment:

ticia said...

that is a great photo of the wolf squirrel. look how dangerous his eyes are. you were very brave to get that close to it.