Snake cover not up to mark

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012 06:00 am

First, I want to compliment the editorial staff and management of the Gazette publication. Through many difficult political debates, there has been a sincere and successful attempt to balance the reporting on issues and keep the important things before county residents and taxpayers. I’m sure many late night debates arise as to the focus, tone and importance to give to the articles in the paper each week. As a result it is the favourite newsheet to arrive at our door each week and generally gets read from cover to cover within the first day. Thanks for the effort.

With this as a sincere pat on the back, I must take issue with the March 6 issue. What agenda could be served by prominently placing a picture on the front cover in colour and two other shots with a major story of Mr. Harper’s boa constrictor. I’m not generally anti any creature of nature – they all have their place and rank in the animal pecking order. But, this type of depiction is clearly intended to shock and gain attention for some purpose. I do not understand the snake world and really don’t have any interest in studying it as one would study companion animals like dogs, cats and horses. Or, what about the lonely mouse or white rats – the burros of our medical research efforts, or the lonely crow and magpie that “beautify” our local “natural” domains. No, not even a lonely turtle or salamander in the pictures to give a bit of reptilian balance to the story. What Mr. Harper (and the willing teachers) have to say is probably a useful message – like don’t mess with snakes, keep up your end of the care and keep bargain, don’t buy, tire of and release these creatures into environments they don’t belong in like so many snake owners in Florida are doing with pythons. But, hyping the story and making it cover news gets me to thinking the Gazette is hard up for readers – or stories. I was once a young boy fascinated by garter snakes, rattlers, etc., in their natural habitats and understand some of the daring that goes along with it. But, when confronted with one of these creatures – in a classroom, in the back of Mr. Harper’s SUV or in their natural environment – I LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE. If this sounds narrow and cruel, you should wait for my wife’s comments!!

Lloyd Quantz

Bergen


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