I read this today on my favorite daily newsletter, Levine Breaking News, and wondered: is this as obviously stupid, misguided, blind and ill-advised as I think it is or is it me? Read on:
DEADLY WHALE TO RESUME: Tilikum, the killer whale who killed his trainer at Sea World last year, will resume public performances on Wednesday. Trainers, however, will not work directly in the water with the whale: They will massage him with hoses instead of their hands. Sea World is also installing fast-rising floors on the bottom of its killer-whale tanks, which will be capable of lifting the whales and their trainers to the surface in less than a minute. Tilikum had been involved with two other deaths before last year’s incident.
These are the words and phrases that troubled me just a little bit:
"...killed his trainer at Sea World last year..."
"...resume public performances..."
"...to the surface in less than a minute..."
and this one - my favorite:
"...involved with two other deaths before last year's incident..."
Who decided this was good idea? This is an animal that was "involved" in three deaths, the most recent taking place one year ago.
Sea World is taking the obvious precautions here: trainers no longer actually touching the whale is one of them. The other is installing some kind of hydraulic lift that will bring both trainer and whale to the surface in "less than a minute."
I think that's super. As long as it takes much longer than one minute for a killer whale to kill the human being thrashing alongside him under the surface.
For God's sake. Who is already anticipating this news story:
"Tilikum, the killer whale who killed his trainer at Sea World two years ago before resuming his performances under more stringent training and performance rules has once again been 'retired' for killing his trainer. Tilikum had been involved with two, make that three, other deaths before this latest incident."
Don't you wonder if Tilikum is thinking:
"For the love of Pete, what do I have to do before you numbskulls figure out I hate performing and I'm going to probably kill someone out of frustration from time to time? You're putting me back in that tank? At your peril, I'm warning you."
I have a suggestion: Retire Tilikum. End any human contact and training he now endures, and let him live the rest of his days on his own, without hearing the (muffled underwater) roar of the crowd.
It's either that or get those trainers whale-proof, waterproof chain mail suits that will last through at least one minute of a killer whale gnawing on it as you both race to the surface on a hydraulic lift.
Well, that and possibly some new management at Sea World.