Check out this douche. Oh wait, that's me 5 years ago before I grew a soul. My wife says that I killed that 4' Eastern Diamondback rattler out of mercy, since it had been run over repeatedly on our dirt road by some hostile Homo sapiens passing by. But I think I was still just retarded enough at that point to think that this was OK. These guys are beautiful. And rare. And they indicate a healthy ecosystem, one they play a starring role in.
I ate that snake out of pure guilt. Floured it, fried it, and ate it, one 4" chunk at a time. That smarmy look on my face was all show. I was really reeling inside for not trying harder to save that magnificent creature. A little bloody patch on its side, and OFF WITH ITS HEAD! Why not, I have kittens to protect! Of all the absurdities, killing an old diamondback to protect a couple of resource-guzzling kittens. I should've fed them to this lord of the sandhills just as tribute. What a beautiful snake! Or was.
Well, joy of joys, this particular usurpation visited me again this weekend. We were up north looking at some family mountain property, and on our way out the neighbor we had just met decided he needed to pop a couple of 9mm rounds into a "copperhead" laying on the wooden bridge that is the only way out by car. He managed to wound the poor thing, knocking a little bit of its face off, but couldn't quite manage to put it out of its misery in a timely manner.
Here I intervened. I parked the car and walked up to our champion copperhead to see what condition his condition was in. A robust 24" inch snake writhed in pain before me - not a copperhead, not even a cottonmouth - down there by the creek; water moccasins don't live that far north. What we had here was cutural breakdown. This great big, smart, hairy fella had blown a couple of splinters out of the bridge, but despite his far superior technology, was coming up short against this mighty Northern water snake. Non-poisonous of course, just catching some morning sun in a bright spot of the forest's gloom before slithering off to catch a crawdad for lunch.
You'd think that every snake out there can fly, and has jaws big enough to swallow a linebacker. Which couldn't be farther from the truth. I don't want to over-emphasize how important snakes are to their ecosystems, but killing them willy-nilly is both ignorant AND stupid, and eventually leads to local food web collapses. Just what we need at this junction in history is for Nature to further withdraw her support for our cause. Imagine if we didn't have black kingsnakes out there, munching on their usual diet of rattlers, copperheads, and water moccasins!
Blam! rings the artillery fired around the world at our own rear ends.
I put that poor water snake out of its misery with my soil probe. One swift shot to separate its head from its body. It felt even more disgusting this time than the last, but this guy left me no choice. Some way to begin a friendship.
We have to stop killing everything we meet. Intentionally, collaterally, ignorantly, it won't matter why when our life support system collapses around us. Educate yourselves in the direction of cooperating with nature, as fast as you can. Plant food, make your garden comfortable for wild animals, but mostly just take some heat off of the industrial food chain so farmland can be left fallow, and wild food webs have a chance to recover. Energy descent will guarantee this result in the long run, but will it be fast enough to help us through the mess we've made?
I don't really want to say which way I think it will go. But I very much understand why people believe in god.