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October 3, 2008 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Boy goes on "rampage" at Aussie zoo, killing rare reptiles and feeding them to a crocodile.

From the article: A turtle, four Western blue-tongued lizards, two bearded dragons, two thorny devil lizards and the zoo's 20-year-old goanna were among those killed.

Gallery here.
posted by educatedslacker (306 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I first read this headline on the BBC news site, I thought it said "boy goes on rampage at Aussie zoo, fed to crocodile".

After reading the story, I find myself kind of wishing that were true.
posted by scrump at 10:34 AM on October 3, 2008 [25 favorites]


Did a zookeeper nick the boy's laptop? This is a pretty thin post without motive.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on October 3, 2008


So he bludgeoned some lizards and then he fed the croc. "Excitable boy," they all said.
posted by adipocere at 10:36 AM on October 3, 2008 [33 favorites]


Christ. Poor animals. He bludgeoned them...
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:37 AM on October 3, 2008


+1 adipocere : )
posted by stifford at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2008


Thorny devil lizard was defeated.

You have gained 3 experience points and 2 gold.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: did a zookeeper nick the boy's laptop?
posted by Dumsnill at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2008


At one point, he tried scaling the outer enclosure himself to get to "Terry", the 11ft (3.3m) saltwater crocodile.

Kinda wish he'd made it.
posted by piedmont at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2008 [24 favorites]


The death of these animals is sad.

But.

That little boy is hilariously awesome.

A seven year old shouldn't be able to break in to a zoo and feed the animals to each other. If the kid had been hurt, would the zoo claim any responsibility? Should the parents really be liable for what would seem to be negligence on the part of the zoo? I don't think so.
posted by polyhedron at 10:38 AM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


SYDNEY: A man faced an Australian court yesterday charged with having sexual relations with a rabbit and the sadistic killing of 17 other rabbits whose carcasses were found dumped in a lane.

Crikey!
posted by stavrogin at 10:39 AM on October 3, 2008


Were there any adults around? You know, a zookeeper, a random parent, anyone?

One wonders what he'll do when he's 18.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 10:39 AM on October 3, 2008


wtf? Were his parents sitting on a bench laughing for the 30 minutes that this was happening? Forget motive, how does a 7 year old get the opportunity to do something like this?
posted by almostmanda at 10:40 AM on October 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


Pray that he changes his ways before puberty.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:40 AM on October 3, 2008


The attack happened on Wednesday morning after the boy entered the zoo by jumping over the security fence and evading sensor alarms.

So this is some kind of psychopathic seven year old ninja we're dealing with? This kid needs serious help or he's going to be a combination hitman/diamond thief in a few years.
posted by jedicus at 10:41 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That little boy is hilariously awesome.

Is there such thing as a negative favorite on metafilter?
posted by mannequito at 10:43 AM on October 3, 2008 [78 favorites]


The crocodile certainly had [more inside].
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 10:43 AM on October 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


Should the parents really be liable for what would seem to be negligence on the part of the zoo?

The animals weren't bludgeoned to death with negligence. Maybe the child should be.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:45 AM on October 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yeah, you kind of have to wonder how it would have ended if he could have gotten to the croc. It would have seemed rather sad and the zoo would have gotten in big shit unless there was some way to send this story across the quantum barrier between worlds to show that yeah, the kid was actually asking for it.
posted by GuyZero at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


That little boy is hilariously awesome.

Nothing more hilariously awesome than a 7 year old who smiles while killing 13 innocent, largely helpless animals in 30 minutes.
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2008 [19 favorites]


It took half an hour before this kid was stopped. That's half an hour where this seven-year-old evaded his parents, and in the meantime he was scaling fences, evading alarm systems and bringing wave after wave of silent death.

I'm sure that I'll be outraged eventually, but at the moment my emotional abilities are being completely dominated by the fear that Australia is raising an army of tiny ninjas.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


...or better yet. Hey Kid! There's an empty slot for you on my milk carton.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


That little boy is hilariously awesome.

Yeah, really.

Now, I want to track him down. Then I will slowly, painfully bludgeon him to death, and feed his corpse to a crocodile.

Which will make me super incredible mega-awesome, obviously. Needless violence and death are so cool!
posted by splice at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2008


Forget motive, how does a 7 year old get the opportunity to do something like this?

And honestly, most 7-year-old boys would do the same given the same opportunity. Lizards aren't real animals.
posted by smackfu at 10:47 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


SYDNEY: A man faced an Australian court yesterday charged with having sexual relations with a rabbit and the sadistic killing of 17 other rabbits whose carcasses were found dumped in a lane.

I thought they rewarded cruelty ot rabbits in Australia?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:47 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love this zookeeper, he's so passionate.

Blimey, wheres the littlebugger?

Good lord yeh ate him! Yeh poor bastahd, its not yeh fault.

Sorry mate, the croc ate yeh brutheh. Twas that bloddy sprog!

You outta be ashamed mate.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:48 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


"We'll be looking at suing the parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Icke, who were supposedly in control of him at the time," he said.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:48 AM on October 3, 2008 [24 favorites]


If they were cane toads he'd be a national hero.
posted by smackwich at 10:49 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was about to say: a carnivore ate some animals. Film at...

But they were rare animals. So, no.
posted by Dumsnill at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2008


Yeah, you kind of have to wonder how it would have ended if he could have gotten to the croc.

Based on everything else in the article, I'd wager that it would have ended with the kid snapping the crocodile's spine and calmly moving to his next target, his hands silent engines of death.

Later, he and Devin Funck could team up and use their collective reptile-slaughtering skills to rid us of the menace of Godzilla once and for all.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


At least Devin Funck fed himself to an alligator.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:51 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That is a cold-blooded killer.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:52 AM on October 3, 2008 [34 favorites]


Congratulations! You've just written the single most obnoxious thing in MetaFilter history!
posted by jbickers at 10:52 AM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


That little boy is hilariously awesome.

Well, at least now we have a foster parent volunteer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:53 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also this:

Mr Neindorf was meeting this afternoon with representatives of the Northern Territory government to discuss his call for improvements to security at the reptile centre, which backs onto Crown land known as Billygoat Hill.

The area is a common meeting place for drunks and youths, he said.


I love Australia.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:54 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


And honestly, most 7-year-old boys would do the same given the same opportunity.

None of the 7-year old boys I know.

You're not helping.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:54 AM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


That boy ain't right.

/Hank Hill
posted by Mister_A at 10:55 AM on October 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


You know who else like to bludgeon reptiles and feed them to crocodiles? Oh wait, that doesn't really work unless I bludgeon you with metaphor.
posted by ob at 10:55 AM on October 3, 2008


Clearly he’ll do well in the post-apocalyptic ozzie future.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


C'mon, you're a seven year old boy and you successfully break into the reptile area of the zoo. What would you do? Have fun! See what happens when you feed them to each other. Who knows? Who cares! You're SEVEN.

That kid was having a blast, and I don't hold it against him.

Yes, it sucks that he killed the animals. They were in a zoo, and the people responsible for protecting the animals didn't do a good job of it. Killing/aggression/domination are natural urges. Expecting the kid to know better in this context is projecting isn't it? The ADULTS should accept responsibility particularly those who work for the zoo. I would support partial financial liability on the part of the parents but the reality is that it's the zoo's responsibility to protect the animals, and the parents should be able to assume that their kid can't gain access to a wild, dangerous animals.
posted by polyhedron at 10:56 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Should the parents really be liable for what would seem to be negligence on the part of the zoo? I don't think so.

The zoo? How is it their fault in any way? The parents are meant to be in control of the stupid kid. Where were they? The zoo was closed, you can't get in without breaking and entering. If the kid stole a car would you blame the owner of the car?
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:56 AM on October 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


liked, obviously...
posted by ob at 10:57 AM on October 3, 2008


Ok, I see the Zoo wasn't closed it was open, but he jumped a fence into a restricted area. Still Not the zoo's fault . He trespassed.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:59 AM on October 3, 2008


Congratulations! You've just written the single most obnoxious thing in MetaFilter history!

Congratulations! You've just written the single most hyperbolic thing in MetaFilter history!
posted by philip-random at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't leap to blame the parents ... but then, the first thing I thought of was The Fifth Child.

Could just be a 'sign of the times?'
posted by Surfurrus at 11:03 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nothing more hilariously awesome than a 7 year old who smiles while killing 13 innocent, largely helpless animals in 30 minutes.

What do you suppose they feed to the animals in the zoo every day? Innocent, largely helpless animals. In fact I even had some for lunch today. It is a shame that some rare animals died but it is not a tragedy and people who advocate killing the kid have lost all sense of perspective.

Not that I come to metafilter for a sense of perspective these days.
posted by srboisvert at 11:03 AM on October 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


Liquidwolf,

Aren't you forgetting that this is a seven year old child we're talking about? It's not like the animals just appeared in front of this kid and he decided to go Carrot Top on them. The zoo brought the animals there and took the obligation of caring for their health and protecting them.

That a seven year old could gain access to the animals at all is shocking to me. That he did so does not strike me as his fault. Yes, the parents were negligent, but so was the zoo. The kid shouldn't have been able to do what he did. The parents should have a reasonable expectation of security at the zoo, shouldn't they?
posted by polyhedron at 11:05 AM on October 3, 2008


None of the 7-year old boys I know.

Aww, they're little saints.
posted by smackfu at 11:05 AM on October 3, 2008


So the child is engaging in animal cruelty and arguably torture, which are well accepted as a early signifier of sociopathic tendencies, and we need to point the blame at the zoo?

I'm sorry but if a 7 year old child was killing cats and feeding them to a neighborhood dog we'd label that scary behavior I fail to see how similar acts taking place in a controlled setting like a zoo should be considered cool or exciting.
posted by vuron at 11:06 AM on October 3, 2008 [40 favorites]


Pee Wee Herman he aint!
posted by captainsohler at 11:07 AM on October 3, 2008


No, I don't think this kid is "hilariously awesome". I think he's got issues and needs help.

I do hold it against him. 7 is old enough to have empathy, to know that something is alive. Even if you don't, you're old enough to know that other people's property is not yours to destroy. You learn that before kindergarten, generally.

I'm troubled that others see no problem with this, but it does help me to understand some things about our current societal situation better.

Wantonly killing animals with no regard has been associated with continued violent pathologies. I hope this kid gets the attention he needs (and clearly desires).
posted by batmonkey at 11:08 AM on October 3, 2008 [33 favorites]


Do y'all come from some weird universe where seven year old kids don't know about animal death, empathy, responsibility for their actions and how to break and enter by climbing stuff?
posted by dabitch at 11:08 AM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


That kid was having a blast, and I don't hold it against him.
I'm kind of worried about the kids you hang out with, then. My 3-year-old already knows the difference between right and wrong behavior, and I'm pretty sure he and all his classmates would say that killing animals and feeding them to each other is the wrong thing to do. I know people who have been taking their kids hunting since they were about 7 years old, and those kids uniformly have more respect for nature, life, and the taking thereof than some adults I know.

I killed a fish one year when I was ten or so. Caught it, couldn't get the hook out, and finally in desperation tore it out of the fish, which slowly killed it. That still bothers me, 20 years later. In my practical experience, most kids, when they first see death up close and personal, learn something from it. And that's that it's not nearly as cool as it looks on the teevee.

Kids that don't react that way, in my experience, tend to have Issues with a capital I, either in their background, their family environment, or their brain's wiring.
posted by scrump at 11:08 AM on October 3, 2008 [21 favorites]


Kids are allowed to kill bugs, no matter how big they get, but not lizards, no matter how small they get. And they can kill fish. Gotta be pretty confusing when you're 7.
posted by smackfu at 11:09 AM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm with polyhedron. Yes he should be punished, but c'mon. If these animals were that rare, then perhaps they should be kept in a way that a seven-year-old can't get to them. Even if it is when the zoo is closed, the fact that he was able to get close enough to live animals to take them out of their cages meant these creatures weren't exactly under lock and key.

I've never been to a zoo where any small animals are so easy to get to that someone could steal them. If a 7yo could pull this off, it probably wouldn't have been too hard for adults to sneak into the place in the middle of the night, steal all the rare lizards, and sell them on ebay or wherever.

Nonetheless, the kid should be punished. Frankly, the fact that a 7yo was out of his parents sight in public for 30 minutes is a little crazy. If people are nervous that the kid will grow up to be a psycho, perhaps they should put him under the direction of parents who give a shit.
posted by nushustu at 11:09 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty much sorry before I do this, but not sorry enough not to.
posted by mandal at 11:10 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I'm pretty much sorry before I do this, but not sorry enough not to.
posted by tristeza at 11:11 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Should the parents really be liable for what would seem to be negligence on the part of the zoo?

According to Blackstone, your post is a fail susceptible to actions at both law and equity.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:12 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


That kid was having a blast, and I don't hold it against him.

I remember being a 7 year old boy. I have a 7 year old boy, as well as a 9 year old boy who used to be 7. None of the 3 of us have ever, will ever or would ever do anything like this.

I think it's pretty disturbing that he not only killed so many animals, he did it happily and without remorse. Insects, maybe. But actual animals? That you can tell are in pain and/or release a lot of blood and gore when bludgeoned.

This kid needs psychiatric help.
posted by DU at 11:12 AM on October 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


Like I suggested earlier, you guys are all projecting yourself onto this little boy.

The act of killing something doesn't make you an irredeemable sociopath. It makes you an animal. Someone has already pointed out that these animals would have been fed other animals. Death is not the tragedy here. Seven is certainly old enough to have some perspective on the issue of death, but expecting every little kid to emotionally identify with a lizard is downright asinine.

If the kid had been eaten by the crocodile, whose fault would it have been? The parents, the zoo, or the kid's?
posted by polyhedron at 11:14 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Having a blast"?

Well, he's on a path of heaps of fun...sociopathy & a promising career as a serial killer.

"analyses revealed that abusing an animal out of fun in their youth was the most statistically salient motive for predicting later interpersonal violence as adults."

"Results indicated that a statistically significant relationship existed between childhood cruelty to animals and later violence against humans."

This is far from healthy behavior for a seven year old. And, I do believe a healthy child this age knows better...but I doubt this boy is healthy.
posted by hazel at 11:15 AM on October 3, 2008 [20 favorites]


I'm sure the crocodile appreciated it, though I imagine he would have preferred to do the killing himself.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 11:16 AM on October 3, 2008


but expecting every little kid to emotionally identify with a lizard is downright asinine.
I'm not expecting kids to emotionally identify with a lizard. I'm expecting kids to emotionally identify with the idea that killing something solely because you can is not an acceptable way to behave in civilized society.
posted by scrump at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


I'm sorry but you are infantilizing this kid. At seven years of age I should certainly hope that a child would've learned a degree of empathy and even if there might be some grey areas (bugs bad, lizards okay) I would hope that he should understand that the zoo's property isn't his and you don't take (and kill) what you don't own.
posted by vuron at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


If the kid had been eaten by the crocodile, whose fault would it have been? The parents, the zoo, or the kid's?

Natural selection.
posted by The Gooch at 11:18 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's a shame the zoo security is so crap -- they need to buy that hill and enclose it, for starters -- but that doesn't excuse that kid. He's a rotten fuck from a family of rotten fucks. Times:
Police were called and questioned the boy, who comes from a family well known in the local area, but because of his age they are unable to do anything. [...] According to Mr Neindorf, the “nasty” boy’s brother was part of a group who attacked Terry the crocodile about five years ago.
posted by pracowity at 11:18 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


What would you do?
I'm pretty damn sure I wouldn't have started killing things.
Look around, try to feed or pet things, nose around, climb some stuff, write my name on a rock, but that wouldn't have occurred to me to kill zoo animals.
posted by pointystick at 11:18 AM on October 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


The parents are meant to be in control of the stupid kid.

Oh, stupid parents. I fondly remember how my parents used to chain me to the wall before they went to their respective offices. Good times.

I had to eat some bugs for protein, but the weren't rare.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:19 AM on October 3, 2008


When I first read this, I imagined the boy would be about 16 or so. To see he was only 7...damn. Frankly I'm amazed that was even possible.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:20 AM on October 3, 2008


Killing/aggression/domination are natural urges.

So then why do we put people in jail for these things?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:20 AM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


The only way that kid could act more like a serial killer in training is if he had a secret burial ground for tortured kittens behind his house.
posted by Justinian at 11:21 AM on October 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure we can blame the zoo here. I've been to plenty of zoos were the only thing separating me from the animals was a cast iron fence. And when I was seven, I could climb over any fence not equipped with barb-wire (7 year-olds have a pretty good weight to strength ratio).

The zoos use fences to protect us from the animals and to keep the animals from wandering off, not protect the animals from people.

At least in my eyes, the blame falls entirely on the parents. First, for not teaching him killing animals is wrong, and secondly, from not watching him closely enough to make sure he doesn't climb over fences at the zoo (seriously, the kids lucky to be alive).

Finally, 13 animals in 30 minutes is nothing. I bet I could take out twice as many, easy.
posted by ShadowCrash at 11:21 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


the crocodile's of course
posted by infini at 11:22 AM on October 3, 2008


Those parents should never have bought him that stick with the 'orses 'ead 'andle.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:22 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man what's with the high dudgeon, it's not like he orally-pleasured the lizards on camera or anything...

Sorry, that was uncalled for. (™)

The underlying story I'd say is that a kid who is allowed to wander around the poorest most dangerous neighborhood in town wherein his parents are probably wasted is going to get into some messed-up stuff with whatever's handy, in this case, a zoo. less messed up than say, bashing your sister in the skull with a hammer just to watch the tendrils of red blood crawl through her web of yellow hair and when mommy comes back from her fancy shoe parties saying that daddy did it before he passed out under the Xmas tree.

Oh that reminds me I have to get the stocking-stuffers this year!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:23 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


This report at The Times goes on to mention that his elder brother was one of a group of kids who attacked the crocodile a while back. I think "family is well known in the area" is a press euphemism that's probably familiar to most.
posted by mandal at 11:23 AM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there's blame to go around, for sure. The parents may be plumb wore to a frazzle looking after little Tommy Troublemaker, and the zoo probably never anticipated a deliberate assault on the animals.

But there is definitely something seriously wrong with a seven year old that does something like that. The kid needs to see a psychiatrist.
posted by Xoebe at 11:24 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


How many of you had the opportunity to feed horny lizards to a god damned crocodile when you were kids? Does that not sound exhilarating?

It's the zoo's responsibility to protect the animals. This kid will have plenty of time to think about his actions. Deciding that at age 7 this child is destined for a life of sociopathic behavior is wrong (seriously some of you intimated you would hurt or kill this little kid, but I'm the wacko....) and avoids assigning responsibility to the zookeepers who undertook the responsibility of caring for and protecting these animals.
posted by polyhedron at 11:24 AM on October 3, 2008


Killing/aggression/domination are natural urges.

So then why do we put people in jail for these things?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:20 AM on October 3 [+] [!]
They ARE natural urges. As a society we expect adults to control these urges in a civilized manner. The kid is seven and should be held to a lower standard. Like I said, expecting him to control them in this context is putting the onus of adulthood on a seven year old.
posted by polyhedron at 11:28 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


How many of you had the opportunity to feed horny lizards to a god damned crocodile when you were kids? Does that not sound exhilarating?

Keep diggin', Blanco Niño!!!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:29 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


How many of you had the opportunity to feed horny lizards to a god damned crocodile when you were kids? Does that not sound exhilarating?
It does not. It sounds cruel, and kind of horrible. If I broke into a zoo, I would have used the time to get as close to the animals as I could and maybe touch some of them.

Killing them and feeding them to each other would never have occurred to me.
posted by scrump at 11:30 AM on October 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


even Calvin
posted by infini at 11:32 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


No the idea of feeding living creatures to other creatures does not exhilarate me. I didn't like seeing a snake eat a mouse when I was a kid and I don't particularly like seeing it now (although I understand it's a necessary byproduct of keeping carnivorous animals like snakes as pets or in the zoo). At a certain point in time we should be taught that you don't get to kill stuff for the fun of it and to be honest with you by 7 years of age I would certainly hope that a child will have learned that lesson.

Yes it's unrealistic to expect that a parent will know what their child is doing 24 hours a day for all of their childhood but that's why we imprint social norms on children so they don't act in a way contrary to the accepted norms of our society. At this point in time our society has chosen to include don't kill animals for personal shits and giggles and don't fuck with other people's stuff as default norms.
posted by vuron at 11:32 AM on October 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


Also: those who are saying the zoo should have been more secure to prevent a 7yr old from doing this...

I'm pretty sure nearly all zoos, when making the argument for how to spend their tiny sums of money, would rather spend that money on providing superlative care for their animals and wouldn't even begin to imagine a member of their target demographic doing something like this. How could they possibly have foreseen something so unwell?

It makes me wonder what they'd feel if someone broke into their house and stole belongings or even killed pets - would they blow it off by saying they just didn't spend enough on security? That intrigues me.
posted by batmonkey at 11:33 AM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


piedmont: Wishing death on the boy
Verdict: A-Okay!

Polyhedron: Finding it amusing that the boy fed lizards other lizards.
Verdict: Worst comment in Metafilter history!

While I find it troublesome that a seven year old would beat a couple of lizards to death for amusement, feeding them eachother does strike me as a bit of poetic justice. Chickens, rats, and all sorts of other animals die to keeps a large portion of these creatures fed, so where are the tears for them? (I don't know how many of them were herbavores, but in my experience it seems that lizards tend to be carniverous)

Yes, the zoo should recoop damages from the parents, and the parents might want to keep an eye on their little assasin and see if he might need help. But it doesn't make this any less funny to me.
posted by The Power Nap at 11:34 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


The kid is probably a sociopath. You can talk at seven years old, and the idea of a random killing spree (even on animals) should seem rather revolting.
posted by Edgewise at 11:35 AM on October 3, 2008


The parents are meant to be in control of the stupid kid.

Oh, stupid parents. I fondly remember how my parents used to chain me to the wall before they went to their respective offices. Good times.

I had to eat some bugs for protein, but the weren't rare.


Huh?
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:36 AM on October 3, 2008


C'mon, you're a seven year old boy and you successfully break into the reptile area of the zoo. What would you do? Have fun! See what happens when you feed them to each other. Who knows? Who cares! You're SEVEN.

At six I had a compound microscope, complete with a 450x oil lens, and the ability to make my own (crude) wet-mount slide preperations. I spent a lot of time looking at plants and gutter water. I also had a healthy respect and empathy for life, and I'd cry if so much as a pet fig-beetle died - and in no way would I ever start smashing up lizards at a zoo at any age.


I knew a kid when I was around 10 who liked to hurt animals. He thought it was hilarious to build horrific booby traps in his back yard out of nail-studded boards and heavy springs. He had a small collection of possum skulls behind the bushes in his back yard, but he said that what he really wanted to kill and torture were cats. Particularly the pet cats of neighbors. This same kid also made extremely aggressive and inappropriate sexual advances towards my brother and I. Not like "hey, you want to play doctor?" but "hey, I'm going to wrestle you and suddely pull out my dick and try to shove it in your face and try to force in your mouth!"

I think I only hung out with that kid one day because something was totally fucking wrong with him. Yeah, he was probably abused at some point, but regardless, he was a sadistic, broken little human being. If I recall correctly, he ended.

Polyhedron, if you want to blame the parents - blame them for raising a feral animal. Blame them for raising a sociopath. Blame whoever it was that abused him or taught him that violence is ok.

But this isn't merely an issue of supervision, and it certainly isn't the behavior of a normal 7 year old boy - and frankly, you're a mouthbreathing idiot if you think this is true.
posted by loquacious at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2008 [42 favorites]


We bail out billionaires and put 12 year olds on death row -- what is wrong with society? Give the kid a break. He's seven, locking him up would guarantee that he'd never learn from this experience.

What would you guys do to the kid? Making his life miserable is not the appropriate solution, sorry. It's not likely that I would have killed 13 animals in his situation, but I at least am capable of understanding that everyone isn't the same. Just because you're a vegetarian doesn't mean feeding a crocodile is the worst thing in the world, jeez.
posted by polyhedron at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also also: I don't think anyone finds the comments stating the kid should die or be harmed for this to be appropriate, other than those making them. Just because others are ignoring those comments doesn't mean they're meeting with approval.
posted by batmonkey at 11:41 AM on October 3, 2008


That little boy is hilariously awesome.

Please tell me that you were the only one to escape your hell-planet before it blew up?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:42 AM on October 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


>>Does that not sound exhilarating?

No, but that statement is creepy as hell.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:43 AM on October 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


Comments supporting a degree of vengeance against the kid are probably not useful even if they represent a frustration that this kid will probably get a slap on the wrist and some much needed counseling. Yes fantasies of a just comeuppance at the jaws of the crocodile are misanthropic but ultimately they are idle fantasies. I venture that just about all of us have engaged in a wishing a bad fate on serial killers, rapists, etc. That some people express those ideas on a public forum should not be particularly shocking to us.

However the fact of the matter is that the kid did not die or even get injured but several animal were brutally killed. Most of the comments beyond the visceral response of anger and dislike are motivated by a conviction that this sort of behavior is a) not acceptable and b) indicative of a deeply troubled child.
posted by vuron at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2008


I suspect if you polled all the boys in your local second grade classes, a majority would rate "feeding horny lizards to a crocodile" above "being a fireman" or "going to the petting zoo."

You guys are out of touch with humanity, not me.
posted by polyhedron at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel bad for the kid. Both this kid and his brother are into cruelty to animals and the parent's don't seem to be candidates for mom & dad of the year. If I had to guess, I'd say there's some abuse going on in that household. The parent's are at fault, they should be held accountable for the zoo's costs. Court appointed social services wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
posted by ShadowCrash at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


If I broke into a zoo, I would have used the time to get as close to the animals as I could and maybe touch some of them.

Ah, but be sure not to taunt the tiger on Christmas Eve.
posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on October 3, 2008


What would you guys do to the kid?

Get him professional counseling pronto.
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on October 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


The mistake the parents made was: raising their child into a violent little shithead.

The mistake the zoo made was: not securing their exhibits sufficiently to prevent incidents like this.

The mistake the kid made was: breaking into a zoo, killing several animals and feeding them to a crocodile

The mistake most of you are making is: feeding the troll.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:52 AM on October 3, 2008 [18 favorites]


I'd probably have done the same thing as the kid, I guess. But then, if I'd been given access to a maternity ward I might have done something similar- I was a pretty psychologically disturbed child.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2008


At six I had a compound microscope, complete with a 450x oil lens, and the ability to make my own (crude) wet-mount slide preperations.

At six I melted GI Joe figures on the lightbulb in my room.
posted by smackfu at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


What's your name, kid?

Johnny.

Alright, Johnny. This is to be an empathy test. Tell me the first thing that comes to mind, about... your mother.

My mother? I'll tell you about my mother -

*pulls out bludgeoning rock*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ah, but be sure not to taunt the tiger on Christmas Eve.
That happened at the zoo to which we used to belong, and that incident led directly to us not renewing our membership. We haven't been back there since. When the incident happened, both my wife and I instantly suspected that there was a hell of a lot more to it than the tiger just attacking the kids, and, sure enough, after a lot of smokescreen and handwaving, it turned out that the kids were taunting the tiger.

I don't know whether I'm some sort of psycho for feeling this way, but I've tried to put myself in the shoes of the families of the kid who got killed by the tiger again and again, and all I can come up with is that I'd be incensed that my kid did something so utterly stupid and paid for it with his life. I've tried to have empathy, but I just don't: the kids did something completely idiotic, and it had enormous consequences. Sometimes that happens, and I don't feel any particular remorse for a kid who got high, thought it would be a great idea to tease a tiger, and wound up getting killed.

Maybe it's because I don't fundamentally believe that it's incumbent upon the zoo to protect people so much that they can engage in stupid behavior without consequences: to me, it comes down to the fact that teasing a tiger is dangerous, and potentially lifethreatening, and if you choose to do it anyway, well, goddamnit, you got what you deserved.
posted by scrump at 11:55 AM on October 3, 2008 [9 favorites]


How many of you had the opportunity to feed horny lizards to a god damned crocodile when you were kids? Does that not sound exhilarating?

You don't kill the stuff before you give it to the crocodile. That takes all the fun out of it. Pigs, man, pigs. I'd want to hear the squealing.

Seriously, not normal and kid needs help. Basically he wanted to kill things and see them die. The zoo happened to be close. It could have been a lot of things, including neighbourhood pets.

Two words: therapy.

/circa 70's pimp.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:57 AM on October 3, 2008


At this point in time polyhedron I am forced to assume that either you genuinely don't understand why people would be making a fuss over this kids behavior, which indicates a certain lack of empathy on your part, or that you are taking an extreme position for the purposes of trolling the thread.

My personal opinion and indeed hope is that the latter is true because I can at least deal with a troll, I'm not sure I can accept someone that seems to think such behavior is "awesomely cool".
posted by vuron at 11:57 AM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


This kid will have plenty of time to think about his actions.

In prison just a few years from now? Probably.
posted by pracowity at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect if you polled all the boys in your local second grade classes, a majority would rate "feeding horny lizards to a crocodile" above "being a fireman" or "going to the petting zoo."

There is a world of difference between the idea and the action.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect if you polled all the boys in your local second grade classes, a majority would rate "feeding horny lizards to a crocodile" above "being a fireman" or "going to the petting zoo."

Can you please stop polling boys?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


I grew up on a farm, and as a small child one of my jobs was to get the eggs in the morning. Each morning I woke up, went out to the barn and fought evil, vicious chickens for their unborn children. I was pecked bloody on my hands, and once, a very agressive hen chased me into the pigpen. I still have scars on my adult hands from those chickens. I *hate* chickens and firmly believe that they are among the most evil of animals.

That said, when the time came to kill the chickens for dinner, I was not happy about it. Despite my grandmother's encouragement, at 6 or 7, I could not work up the anger to want to kill one. I've hunted, fished, and yes, killed a chicken or two. But all have been done with the minimal amount of suffering to the animal where I could control it.

This boy was not killing these animals for any reason other than to see them suffer and die. There is no way that is acceptable or okay. Killing something or hurting something to see what happens is classically sociopathic behavior and is in no way funny, or cool. This poor kid needs to recieve a large dose of mental help and if that fails, he needs to be locked in a room and looked at through safety glass. Because if nothing is done to help this kid, it won't be lizards next time.
posted by teleri025 at 12:00 PM on October 3, 2008 [25 favorites]


Oh, this is why there are so many comments in this thread.
posted by lunit at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2008


The Card Cheat

To be fair, I'm 100% sincere and not trolling. I largely agree with your assessment, though I think it's unfair to assume the parents had any idea they were raising a "violent little shithead" and it's definitely hyperbolic to assume this kid's actions means he a sociopath.

Therapy MIGHT be helpful but no one I've met who grew up with social services in their lives has been well adjusted. The kid is more likely to reject and resent the forced trips to talk to some weird old guy about stupid stuff he doesn't think matters. If he is really emotionally disturbed it will take his realization and his desire to change before any improvement can be seen.

vito
You're ridiculous. Locking him up for the next 11 years is the best way to ensure he becomes a homicidal sociopath.

vuron
I suppose the problem I have is the assumption that this means the kid is deeply disturbed. Everyone just wants to quarantine him from the rest of society instead of confronting the simple fact that humans (particularly males) as competitive animals have an inborn destructive instinct. Evaluate him, sure. But treat the kid with some respect -- it's his only chance -- particularly if he comes from an abusive home (which no one knows and seems to be an assumption based on innuendo).
posted by polyhedron at 12:03 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


You spelled "poling all the boys in your local second grade classes" wrong. Also "feeding horny bastards to a pedophile," "boning a fireman," and- Wait. No. You spelled "going to the petting zoo" right.

/pedant
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:04 PM on October 3, 2008


What would you guys do to the kid?

Lock him up in a juvenile psychiatric facility, far away from the pets or toddlers or kindergarteners who will be his next targets, since he obviously has a facility for targeting and acting violently toward smaller, weaker beings.

This kid is not normal. This kid did not behave in a predictable way. This kid did not do something "age appropriate." He behaved in a fashion that is in every way pathological and sadly, given his brother's exploits, his behavior is probably, in some substantive ways, learned. Regardless of learned vs. faulty wiring, this kid has some severe deficits in his ability to process and judge what is and is not acceptable and society has a duty to protect him from himself, but more importantly, protect other innocents from him, as well.

If the kid can be fixed, fantastic. If not, there are secure facilities that can handle him for the rest of his life, and that's where he should stay.
posted by Dreama at 12:04 PM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm on polyhedron's side, since there seem to be sides. This kid is hilariously awesome in the same way that made Oingo Boingo's "Only a Lad" song funny- because it's so fucked up.

And how is feeding lizards to a crocodile any more gruesome than rabbits or chickens? I'd say it's less, plus it's harder to identify with non-mammals who don't even make noise when they're hurt, even for adults, let alone 7 year olds. I know a lot of grown ups who kill any snake they run across and feel virtuous for doing so.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:04 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno how to feel about this. This seems like malicious, wanton destruction of wildlife but I think a lot more of us were capable of something of this sort (or to a lesser extent) than we'd care to admit.

One analogy that is popular is that you can boil a frog to death because they are cold blooded and can't detect the change in heat. What type of person made this discovery? Who gets it in their head to just plop a frog in a vat of boiling water to see what happens?

Similarly, plenty of us have fried ants with a magnifying glass on a hot summer day. Plenty of us have shot squirrels with a BB gun just for the heck of it.

And yet those of us who have partaken in such activities don't all necessarily grow up to be serial killers. Some kids are just maladjusted and it takes a bit longer for them to realize what is and what is not acceptable.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 12:04 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The act of killing something doesn't make you an irredeemable sociopath. It makes you an animal.

If wolves were men, they would be in a madhouse.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:06 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suppose the problem I have is the assumption that this means the kid is deeply disturbed.
It's not an assumption: it's an inference drawn from actual research that hazel linked to.

There is abundant empirical evidence that this kind of behavior in the young predicts further sociopathic behavior as an adolescent or adult. Your argument against this premise seems to be that you don't believe in it, therefore it's not true.
posted by scrump at 12:06 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


TheCardCheat FTW.

And batmonkey, I think you CAN put some blame on the security system of the zoo. Imagine you had some rare thing in your house. Now imagine you let people know you had this rare thing in your house and in fact let people into your house to let them see this rare thing regularly. Now imagine you never locked your doors or windows, or kept the rare thing in a safe or hidden away for the night. No, the only security you keep for your house is a fence. That a seven-year-old can climb.

If someone steals or damages your rare thing, while the person responsible deserves punishment, you're a little bit of an idiot for not locking your doors.
posted by nushustu at 12:06 PM on October 3, 2008


They ARE natural urges. As a society we expect adults to control these urges in a civilized manner. The kid is seven and should be held to a lower standard. Like I said, expecting him to control them in this context is putting the onus of adulthood on a seven year old.

Yeah dude, we're primates. We kill. Kids can be horrible little shits not because of some stupid principle like original sin, or a bizarre force of fate pushing him into a life of sociopathy, but because humans have an innate tendency towards violence and cruelty that, contrary to Rousseauist bullshit, is hammered out of us by the socialization process in civil societies, not put there by it.

When violence erupts, we blink in surprise, asking "where did that come from?" Us. It came from us.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


scrump: if you blame the kid, why did you punish the zoo by not renewing your membership?
posted by yhbc at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2008


When I was eight years old, one of my mother's friends brought me a garter snake in a shoebox. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I absolutely loved that snake. I resolved to learn everything I could about snakes and other reptiles, and eventually gained a reputation in the town I grew up in as "the snake expert." On many occasions, people would come to our house with the corpses of snakes and asked me to identify the body (I recall once explaining to the more than one adult that no, a hognose snake is not a cobra.) I was appalled by the needlessness of killing animals that were harmless out of fear or for shits and giggles.

So, no, it doesn't sound even remotely normal or right to me. Bludgeoning any sort of animal is a very deliberate and cruel way of killing them. And a seven year old would certainly be aware of the difference between animals that are meant to be fed to the crocodile and animals that are meant to be protected. I don;t think this sounds fun or funny at all, and the fact that animal cruelty is a problem in this boy's family is incredibly disturbing to me. There is nothing fun or funny about it at all.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:08 PM on October 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


Anyone think polyhedron is this kid all grown-up? That he himself was cruel to animals, and now is trying to sublimate his feelings of guilt by defending the actions of the kid?

'Cuz I sure do.
posted by splice at 12:09 PM on October 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


>>plenty of us have fried ants with a magnifying glass on a hot summer day. Plenty of us have shot squirrels with a BB gun just for the heck of it.

And plenty of us have realized how screwed up that is before we turned, say, 12, and don't think of it as "awesome" when we're older.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:10 PM on October 3, 2008


polyhedron:

The kid *is* deeply disturbed. Breaking into someone else's property, violating habitat space for living creatures, and killing living creatures in a barbaric manner (bludgeoning isn't a fast death) are all the actions of a disturbed person. These are the actions of someone who feels powerless suddenly releasing a LOT of anger. That's a pretty clear cut case of disturbed behaviour.

You over-generalise to the degree that I wonder whether or not you're the one who is projecting here. "Everyone" does not want to quarantine him from society. The majority of comments are advising just what you said they should - evaluate and treat the child so that he doesn't go the rest of his life building on the brokenness causing this behaviour.

I've got several people in my life who had social services in their lives and they became better people for it, even with the horrors of the TX CPS system being what they are, so your sample size is not fully representative. I feel for those who weren't helped (I'm one of them), but they would still get flak for destruction of valuable life and property if they did something like this.
posted by batmonkey at 12:11 PM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


scrump: if you blame the kid, why did you punish the zoo by not renewing your membership?
Because the zoo tried incredibly hard to cover their asses in regards to their role in the incident. It made us wonder what other lapses they were hiding.

I don't solely blame the kid: the tiger should never have been able to get out of the exhibit in the first place. It was a perfect storm of stupid behavior and negligence on the zoo's part, but the simple fact is that the tiger broke loose only after it was taunted, even though there was evidence that the deficiencies in security had been present for year. It wasn't some random occurrence.
posted by scrump at 12:12 PM on October 3, 2008


Could a sociopathic young boy, armed only with rocks, (say, six or eight pounds in weight) be trained to consistently "win" fights with lizards? Assume no element of surprise.
posted by kcds at 12:13 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah dude, we're primates. We kill. Kids can be horrible little shits not because of some stupid principle like original sin, or a bizarre force of fate pushing him into a life of sociopathy, but because humans have an innate tendency towards violence and cruelty that, contrary to Rousseauist bullshit, is hammered out of us by the socialization process in civil societies, not put there by it.

When violence erupts, we blink in surprise, asking "where did that come from?" Us. It came from us.


Related: the Seville Statement on Violence.
posted by voltairemodern at 12:15 PM on October 3, 2008


If I had to guess, I'd say there's some abuse going on in that household.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don't think that there are many kids who would initiate violent acts like this, but I think we might be surprised at the number of kids who'll go along with it when another kid initiates it.

Basically he wanted to kill things and see them die.

I'm not sure that this is quite as arcane an impulse as y'all seem to think. If the kid channeled his impulse for destructive mayhem and the taking of life into a more socially acceptable form like hunting, soldiering or simply keeping pet hawks, people wouldn't have such a problem with his blood lust. He just hasn't figured out how to conceal his sociopathic tendencies behind a socially acceptable mask yet.

Little assholes become big assholes, some time in juvie won't make him any worse.

Oh, I suspect it may very well do just that.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno how to feel about this. This seems like malicious, wanton destruction of wildlife

Wildlife lives in the wild. This is more like someone breaking into a prison and killing all the inmates.
posted by any major dude at 12:18 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


nushustu:
"And batmonkey, I think you CAN put some blame on the security system of the zoo. "

Only if you completely ignore the importance of culpability for one's own actions and see some sort of relief in shifting blame to an entity other than those who had responsibility for what was done. The zoo does not deserve blame for this kid's actions.

We shouldn't need to overlock everything. That we do is sad enough. Having people make excuses for those who refuse to heed the concept of "that's not yours, leave it alone" boggles the mind.

In fact, I can testify to a completely different viewpoint: I didn't always have correct boundaries regarding these things, much to my shame and embarrassment. Regardless, I never (ever x infinity) blamed those who suffered while I learned for my mistake.
posted by batmonkey at 12:18 PM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


splice

I owned two prehensile tailed skinks, three ball pythons, raised baby macaws and parrots, bred hedgehogs, and otherwise lived in and participated in the maintenance of a menagerie when I was growing up. I wrote star wars fanfic when I was 10 that involved my Jedi persona caring for animals on a giant spaceship/Jedi training center.

For years I was mocked for lamenting "aww, a dead cow" upon observing a dilapidated sofa on the side of our road at 5 years old.

Basically, your assessment couldn't be more wrong.
posted by polyhedron at 12:19 PM on October 3, 2008


Not everyone wants to conform to social norms. Like was said earlier, the only reason for taboos existing is that consensus makes them so- there's no natural law that deals with this sort of thing. Frankly, if I'd known I couldn't be prosecuted I might have done a lot of similar stuff.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:20 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Basically, your assessment couldn't be more wrong.

Sure it could. I, for example, mistook you for a self-loathing reptile.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Obvious there is not a hard rule that says everyone who engages in animal cruelty is going to be a serial killer when they grow up. Further chances are likely that nobody in this thread is a qualified psychiatrist who has actually formally evaluated this kid. We are all engaging in speculation based on the demonstrated connection between animal cruelty and sociopathic tendencies.

Further we are commenting that despite the possibility that such behavior is just an extreme example of some "natural" tendencies that such behavior should be curtailed through some sort of parental or social control. That prevailing social norms are typically reinforced through informal or in this case possible formal sanctions should not be seen as out of the ordinary. Such behavior is criminal and should be sanctioned through some application of the juvenile justice system.

That being said I do think this kid would benefit more from intensive counseling and removal from his home environment (which seems to be a contributing factor) than through incarceration.
posted by vuron at 12:22 PM on October 3, 2008


Does something being "criminal" make it out of the ordinary? Certainly not.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:24 PM on October 3, 2008


You guys are out of touch with humanity, not me. - polyhedron

Your version of 'humanity' has been described in literature.
Her fifth pregnancy is not only unplanned, but also unusually painful and disruptive. ... When Ben is born, Harriet jokes that he is like "a troll or a goblin," ... [the child] does not respond to anything but his own desires and fears.

As he grows older, family pets and other children seem to be in physical danger.

[The Child] resembles ... Stevenson's (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), a figure of "nameless deformity" and physical vigor who distresses people for reasons they find hard to articulate. ...
http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Annotation?action=view&annid=11949

The 'child' ends up finding more "of his own kind" ... Lessing wrote several novels on the breakdown of society and dehumanization of humankind.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Beyond the fact that he killed animals, he also took stuff that didn't belong to him and destroyed it.

That was pretty well socialized out of me by the age three.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


vuron

At least you're starting to sound reasonable. I don't agree that his behavior should be considered criminal. It's a good opportunity to take a look at the family, that's all I'll grant.

Obvious there is not a hard rule that says everyone who engages in animal cruelty is going to be a serial killer when they grow up. Further chances are likely that nobody in this thread is a qualified psychiatrist who has actually formally evaluated this kid. We are all engaging in speculation based on the demonstrated connection between animal cruelty and sociopathic tendencies.

This needs to be repeated.
posted by polyhedron at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2008


Killing 13 reptiles isn't what I find disturbing. Here's what I find disturbing:
1. His brother has shown similar tendencies in the past.
2. He acted alone and his actions can't be explained by peer-pressure escalating the act.
3. He's 7, yet there's no mention of his parent's freaking out when he disappeared for 30+ minutes.

Have a psychiatrist talk to the kid. If they think this was just a random act, fine. But I think this kid was using this as a call for help.
posted by ShadowCrash at 12:29 PM on October 3, 2008 [9 favorites]


It's the zoo's fault.

If you make your rare animals easily accessible to a seven-year-old, you're not doing it right.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2008


Correction from my comment above: If I recall correctly, he ended up in jail.
posted by loquacious at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2008


Even if you choose to ignore the moral element that has made animal cruelty a crime in many cultures almost all cultures seem to acknowledge a degree of property rights and attach a criminal penalty to wanton destruction of private property. Even if you can't accept that these animals had some right not to be bludgeoned to death you should feel comfortable in noting that these animals had some sort of monetary value associated with them.

If people can be punished for shoplifting or vandalism I fail to see why they shouldn't be punished for the willful and malicious destruction of property. Whether or not there should be criminal or civil penalties for destruction of private property is a a broader discussion than many people are looking for in this thread.
posted by vuron at 12:36 PM on October 3, 2008


Nope, not a normal kid, not normal primate behavior - chimps don't go out on their own and bludgeon things to death to my knowledge - and nothing awesome about the whole sorry incident, unless it leads to this kid getting the kind of extremely intensive help he very obviously needs. I have a teenage son who is often regarded by right thinking citizens such as some of my neighbors as a menace to society since he's fond of explosions and rides a souped up very noisy goped and trolls MySpace and wanders around late at night and gets hauled in by the police and so on and so on: he is the light of my life and despair of my soul. At age seven my bad son wouldn't even watch a movie that showed an animal being hurt, let alone going out and bludgeoning a lizard to death. And neither would any of his friends, so, sorry, polyhedron, no, this is not normal behavior. Kids who don't go out and beat things to death are not weird little saints; they're just thinking, feeling humans with a human capacity for empathy who fall within the bell curve of normality, not way the hell off it, which is where the reptile bludgeoning kid lies.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:36 PM on October 3, 2008 [12 favorites]


Nothing is ever anyone's fault.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:38 PM on October 3, 2008


I owned two prehensile tailed skinks, three ball pythons, raised baby macaws and parrots, bred hedgehogs, and otherwise lived in and participated in the maintenance of a menagerie when I was growing up.

Man, it would have been so hilariously awesome if some weirdo 7-year-old had broken into your house and beat those animals silly. Hilariously awesome!
posted by mudpuppie at 12:38 PM on October 3, 2008 [18 favorites]


... Here's what I find disturbing:

I don't find the child's action as disturbing as the 'defense' of his actions here. Some of these posts reek of approval - even admiration. Others simply don't believe that a child can have any personal responsibility -- let alone conscience (only a punishing 'law' or 'authority' could prevent such actions). THAT is disturbing.

I also suspect that the worst 'defenders' (trolls?) would not react with such "dismissal" of the concerns posted here if the child had committed his murderous act on their pets.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:39 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


vuron
I have said I'd support limited financial liability on the part of the parents.
posted by polyhedron at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2008


lol, what mudpuppie said
posted by Surfurrus at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2008


I have said I'd support limited financial liability on the part of the parents.

Well, that's a relief.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:45 PM on October 3, 2008


Since revealing that I in face owned pets it seems to be in vogue to suggest I wouldn't have thought it was as funny if it had happened to me.

My original post started with the sentence "The death of these animals is sad." It would have been tragic and upsetting. I don't think the death of these animals is funny.

But the idea of a kid feeding the crocodile in a 30 minute free for all, it kind of makes me smile. Does this mean I'm a sociopath? It's the zoological equivalent of the Toys R Us shopping spree, isn't it? Honestly that's the image that came to me first -- running down the aisles, wanton excess and childhood joy.
posted by polyhedron at 12:46 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


running down the aisles, wanton excess and childhood joy
You and I have very different definitions of "joy".
posted by scrump at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


The zoo doesn't need to prevent people from getting into their exihbits, they just need to prevent the animals from getting loose. The expectation is that the visitors know how to behave themselves and that parents/guardians will exert control on their kids. They may be wise to protect their animals from little shits but they are not required to. If your kid cannot behave himself, don't bring him to a zoo.

This kid may or may not have severe mental problems but it is the parents' duty to teach and help this kid understand what is right and wrong behavior. Some people are born with less empathy and are curious about killing things and sometimes there's not much you can do about that but teach them that it is wrong and teach them to behave despite their darker tendencies.
posted by captaincrouton at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. It's the Daily Mail in here! We need emergancy IMG tags to show pictyures of kittens in here before everyone storms of to stone the 7 year old.
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2008


A couple things come to mind after reading this:

a) How lame is the security there? Seriously a 7 year old future rapist, wild bill style sicko can jump a fence and boom is off killing animals.

b) Where were his parents? With little Jeffrey Dommer you think they would have a leash and a muzzle on the kid.

and this is an important one.....

c) What kind of psycho fuck kid breaks into a zoo and instead of running around looking at lions and tigers and goofing off feeding the bears..... (wait for it)..... He kills things?!?!?!?!?! And what does he have against lizards? Wish this kid would have jumped into the lions den and been eaten. God I hope the courts are smart enough to see the writing is on the wall and do something... anything for this kid NOW before anything else is harmed. Where does a 7 year old learn that killing random things is normal behavior? At that age they do not really have a grasp on right and wrong yet they just know what makes them feel good. I doubt this is a cry for help but the very beginning of something much worse.

I also read that he has an older brother that has done similar things in the past.... the parents should be forced to give up their kids and branded as unfit to breed!

d) Some posters here are saying boys will be boys and that he is only 7? Hinting that breaking into a zoo when you are 7 and killing living things is somewhat normal behavior? Wow....... The world just got a whole lot scarier.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 12:50 PM on October 3, 2008


polyhedron - Have you actually killed an animal? Insects don't count, you can't see the pain and fear in their eyes. I've hunted for years, and to this day taking an animal's life is a profound act for me every single time. The Native Americans had great respect for the animals they killed for a reason, the vast majority of humans will feel empathy for the animals. Even little kids.

I agree with you that if you 'polled all the boys in your local second grade classes, a majority would rate "feeding horny lizards to a crocodile" above "being a fireman" or "going to the petting zoo."' That's because they're removed from the violence, they'd think of it as if it were a cool show on TV. But real violence isn't what it's like on TV, animals scream and bleed and fight for their lives. Set those same second graders down in front of a crocodile and start throwing live animals into it and I'll bet most of those little boys would get very uncomfortable. Watching an animal get killed messily, seeing it look at its own dismembered limbs and entrails would turn the stomach of nearly all people.

This kid wasn't just a spectator though, he methodically killed 13 animals very up close and personal. If there are any kids in our imaginary 2nd grade class who can gleefully do this brutal thing 13 times in a row, they need help very, very badly.
posted by TungstenChef at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2008 [16 favorites]


Yeah, it's sad that it happened, yeah, the kid is probably not totally hooked up right, yeah, his parents are probably boneheads, yeah, people are responsible for their own actions, blah, blah, blah.

But this could have been prevented if the zoo actually attempted to give a shit about the security of its animals.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:51 PM on October 3, 2008


I suppose the problem I have is the assumption that this means the kid is deeply disturbed.

[sarcasm]Yeah, I think each of us should be allowed one consequence-free act of extreme cruelty to get it out of our systems. A squirrel, a cat, an annoying little sister.[/sarcasm] But 14 lizards in 30 minutes falls more along the line of rampage.

And polyhedron and his ilk's enjoyment of the "awesomeness" of the acts suggest emotional problems of their own. Fortunately for you, emotional stability is not a requirement for commenting at MetaFilter, but if the consequence of getting verbally smacked down by a few dozen commenters just emboldens you further, may I suggest handcuffing yourself to your bed and throwing away the key?

But then, look at all the current Role Models for Awesomeness... Pirates, Ninjas, Vampires, Zombies... Maybe "Awesome" is becoming more of a synonym for "Awful".
posted by wendell at 12:52 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Related: the Seville Statement on Violence.

1. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors."
2. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behaviour is genetically programmed into our human nature."
3. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behaviour more than for other kinds of behaviour."
4. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that humans have a 'violent brain'."
5. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war is caused by 'instinct' or any single motivation."

I think this is misleading, lawyerly language - certainly, humans display almost infinite behavioural plasticity compared to other animal species, but it is self-deceptive and foolish to imagine that we don't have a massive capacity for violence, and that people don't fall into a spectrum from saintly empathy to monstrously cruel. A person can cross a wide swath of that spectrum as they grow and change.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:53 PM on October 3, 2008


Polyhedron, if you'd merely made an evenhanded statement in support of the kid, it probably wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. But you said, in various statements, "That little boy is hilariously awesome", "That kid was having a blast, and I don't hold it against him", and "Does that not sound exhilarating?" That you kept trying to justify it and only added more fuel to the fire didn't help, either.

What in the hell do you expect people to think? Since you seem to support the idea of the zoo's "negligence" as having contributed to this horrifying event, I'll just say this: It was negligent of you to think that you could make those statements and no one would find them creepy, disturbing, or a guilt cover for some childhood malfeasance of your own.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:54 PM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


That was pretty well socialized out of me by the age three.

:: slow deliberate clapping ::
posted by fleetmouse at 12:56 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


But you miss the point which is BURN THE PSYCHO KID! BURN HIM! HE’S CLEARLY AN INHUMAN MONSTER! AND BURN ANYONE WHO DEFENDS HIM! RAAAARGH!
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


chimps don't go out on their own and bludgeon things to death to my knowledge

All you are proving here is that you know nothing at all about chimps, who routinely beat things to death. Particularly monkeys and sometimes they don't even eat them.

As for the animal cruelty --> psychopath observations that is not the direction the observations are made in. It is the other direction that is noticed psychopaths --> animal cruelty. Which is to say the correlation probably doesn't even exist in the general population. Much like most bedwetters do not grow up to be arsonists but often times arsonists were bedwetters (not that is a particularly good example since it is likely the result other factors in the relationship).

The kid doesn't need help or psychiatric counseling because of this - though maybe he might once he is old enough to read the rants of all the piously righteous on message boards. He did something stupid and should be punished. That is all.

For the record as well, in my neighbourhood it was routine for kids to use magnifying glasses on insects and firecrackers on small amphibians and fish. I used to hunt for mice in the fields with darts (Never hit a mouse but I did get my own foot a few times). Now kids are not as free (feral) these days but I am sure there is still more of this going on than any of parents in this thread with the perfect children will ever know. It is called being young and with being young you get being stupid and unwise. Then you grow up and smarten up.
posted by srboisvert at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


But this could have been prevented if the zoo actually attempted to give a shit about the security of its animals.
Seriously? If you go to a zoo and they have a tortoise grazing on some grass, you expect the tortoise to be enclosed in an impenetrable fortress? Because I expect the tortoise to be behind a small fence to stop it from wandering off.

I'll agree that a security guard or someone probably should have noticed the kid on the camera a little sooner (maybe they were out on patrol in another part of the zoo), but that would just have meant he would have killed 8 animals instead of 13.
posted by ShadowCrash at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks that Zoo security not preventing 7 year olds unmonitored access to animals isn’t going to result in *something* random and undesirable happening knows nothing about kids, IMHO.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2008


> It is called being young and with being young you get being stupid and unwise. Then you grow up and smarten up.

Most of us do.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


But this could have been prevented if the zoo actually attempted to give a shit about the security of its animals.

I'd guess that like a lot of small towns in the middle of nowhere, security probably isn't a big deal.
posted by mandal at 1:02 PM on October 3, 2008


I wonder how much the archetype of reptiles as "evil" has to do with this. I'm not evil!! *flick scamper flick flick*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2008


To lighten things up, I've long been intrigued by the semantic non-symmetry of "Horror/Horrific" and "Terror/Terrific". I guess "Awful/Awesome" falls in there somewhere.

And may I commend the membership here for over 160 comments about an incident involving a crocodile at a zoo in Australia without mentioning Steve Irwin, let alone a bad-taste joke? (Yeah, I ended the streak)

Although the possibility that he did it all in a Hickley-esque attempt to impress Irwin's daughter Bindi does seem as good an explanation as any long-distance psychoanalysis.
posted by wendell at 1:06 PM on October 3, 2008


Hinckley-esque, not Hickley-esque... as in John Hinckley Jr.. My apologies to anyone named Hickley ... or Hinckley for that matter.
posted by wendell at 1:08 PM on October 3, 2008


He did something stupid and should be punished. That is all.

Anyone who thinks that Zoo security not preventing 7 year olds unmonitored access to animals isn’t going to result in *something* random and undesirable happening knows nothing about kids, IMHO.



At least you are humble.

Having worked intensively with children over the years, I have met parents/adults who accepted violent behavior as 'normal' in children. Some would simply pass on any 'guilt' to others. And others simply assumed that violent responses from parents/authorities were necessary to 'cure' (punish) the child into (the appearance of) 'normality'. That was their world view - and their created world. It is frightening and challenging to work with such families.

I suspect very few of the 'defenders' of this child's actions have had any real involvement with children. They certainly have no understanding of early childhood development.

[small] At least I hope they have no involvement with children [/small]
posted by Surfurrus at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I pretty sure that everyone in this thread that is really superoutraged at the idea of a kid being amused by the death of an animal is actually a secret pedophile. Or a lizard-person. To prove otherwise please send me naked pictures of your (human!) (adult!) spouses if they are an attractive woman.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:11 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


batmonkey:

sigh. Listen. First and foremost, that kid is at fault. For a child that age, I would put a lot of blame on him, and much blame on the parents as well. But to say that the zoo doesn't bear responsibility for keeping its own animals secure from danger is just not realistic. There are bad people in the world. It is in the best interests of people to try to secure their lives and property so that they don't become victims.

This isn't about blaming the victim, it's about using common sense and being realistic about the world. If the manager of a bank decided to leave the bank's money laying around where anyone could get to it any time of the day, people would rightly consider the bank manager stupid. If it got robbed, obviously, it would be the robbers who should be punished, but don't tell me for a minute that the manager wouldn't get fired. And rightfully so. Because the purpose of a bank manager is to manage a bank. And part of that job entails keeping the money secure.

Same thing goes for zoos. If you as zoo director can't provide enough security to keep a seven year old boy from killing the animals, you're probably not doing your job very well. Again, we're not having an argument about some team of professional rare-lizard-stealing ninja assassins. This was a 2nd grader.

If you have an interest in the safety of animals, and a zoo doesn't take the precautions to keep animals safe, you very much can blame the zoo when a child kills the animals. That's not shifting blame. It's making sure that everybody is responsible for their actions, including the ones who make errors of omission.
posted by nushustu at 1:11 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Feeding animals to other animals is not torture. It is the resumption of the natural order. The zoo is torture. Oh, but it's so civilized!
posted by mek at 1:13 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


c) What kind of psycho fuck kid breaks into a zoo and instead of running around looking at lions and tigers and goofing off feeding the bears..... (wait for it)..... He kills things?!?!?!?!?! And what does he have against lizards?

It wasn't just a zoo. It was the Alice Springs Reptile Centre.
posted by smackfu at 1:14 PM on October 3, 2008


It's the zoo's fault. If you make your rare animals easily accessible to a seven-year-old, you're not doing it right.

So if you leave your door unlocked and I come in and steal your stuff I'm completely in the clear since it's clearly your fault for not locking your door. Similarly when a person's car is robbed it's their fault for having such easily-broken glass for a window.

Do you begin to see how unbelievably ludicrous it is to blame the zoo for this?

Not everyone wants to conform to social norms. Like was said earlier, the only reason for taboos existing is that consensus makes them so- there's no natural law that deals with this sort of thing. Frankly, if I'd known I couldn't be prosecuted I might have done a lot of similar stuff.

Rape and murder, HURRAH! Let's get to it boys!

It's worth pointing out that THINKING and ACTING UPON those thoughts are two very different things.
posted by ruthsarian at 1:19 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, if you read this story, it looks like the zoo wants to upgrade its security, but is having trouble getting assistance because the part that isn't secure is owned by the Lands Department and not them. Sounds like the boy jumped the back fence, which is not something you worry about from regular zoo goers. They also had a security system in place, it just turns out the boy was too small to trigger it, or that it failed for some other reason. Yes, they could have done more to protect themselves, but this kid clearly went way out of his way to be malicious.

I also want to point out that "bludgeoned" in the OP's article is actually a euphemism for "bashed them with a large rock," which is what other news articles reveal. That's a pretty bloody way to kill things, and I doubt a normal 7 year old would have the stomach for it.

Here's more:

According to Mr Neindorf, the “nasty” boy’s brother was part of a group who attacked Terry the crocodile about five years ago.

He said they often get kids trying to throw rocks at the animal enclosures from a nearby hill, but this incident is the worst that has happened in the history of the zoo.


That sounds like the hill in the other article, so I imagine this is an ongoing concern for the zoo.
posted by CheshireCat at 1:21 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Quoth polyhedron:

>>Also, fuck ALL you assholes

That makes you look a lot better!

>>Seriously, fuck you

Even better!

>>Your assumptions are more wrong than my unwillingness to conclude this kid is already doomed to a life of rape, murder, and petty theft.


I never said any such thing. Go back and read my statements, k? All I said was, "This is creepy"


>>you don't know this kid

And, wait for it....

I'm pretty sure you don't, either. If I'm wrong on that I'll gladly admit such.
posted by SaintCynr at 1:24 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. You people are terrified. (And thus terrifying)
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:24 PM on October 3, 2008


Feeding animals to other animals is not torture. It is the resumption of the natural order. The zoo is torture. Oh, but it's so civilized!

Animals that seek out other animals to eat for the purpose of sustaining their life is the "natural order".

A kid who throws animals into the croc cage to watch them get killed for the purpose of his own entertainment is not the "natural order".

Intent, here, is the thing to focus on. What was this kid's intent? Did he understand that animals would die for his actions? Did he do this simply for his own entertainment?

We don't complain about cultures that eat dog, but we do complain when a man inflicts pain upon a dog for his own entertainment. Are they the same thing or is there a difference?
posted by ruthsarian at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2008


I'm sorry but if a 7 year old child was killing cats and feeding them to a neighborhood dog we'd label that scary behavior I fail to see how similar acts taking place in a controlled setting like a zoo should be considered cool or exciting.

And if a 7 year old child was killing mice and feeding them to his pet snake we'd label that normal.

And if a zookeeper was bludgeoning rabbits and tossing them to the crocodile, we'd label that responsibly caring for animals.

Obviously, what this kid did is not cool, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's not the most well-adjusted kid on the block. But he's not some kind of Lil' Hitler, for Pete's sake.
posted by designbot at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


And if a 7 year old child was killing mice and feeding them to his pet snake we'd label that normal.

What's the intent there? Is he getting entertainment from watching the mice die or is he trying to keep his snake alive?

Is the kid feeding cats he's killed to dogs doing it for entertainment or because he things the neighborhood dogs are hungry?

Intent is the difference. Unfortunately it's too subtle to easily distinguish at times and hugely important in evaluating the actions of another.
posted by ruthsarian at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


from Cheshire Cats

Earlier this week Scottish-born Vietnam veteran Arthur Booker disappeared while camping in a remote part of north-eastern Queensland. A three-day search uncovered nothing but his sandals and wrist watch. He is thought to have been taken by a salt-water crocodile.

Oh dear god he's feeding PEOPLE to the crocs now too?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2008


The weenie is strong in this thread.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


srboisvert, no, I'm not a primatologist. And I'm well aware that chimps and other monkeys are omnivores and they sometimes kill things just for fun and I've read probably the same National Geographic articles that you have about chimps on killing rampages. I've never, however, heard anything about one solitary, immature ape going on a rampage like this one. One of the things I find most disturbing about this report is that this kid is acting alone. Children are monstrous little beings en masse and all kinds of Lord of the Flies stuff can happen given the right (or wrong) peer group when they're all together. But just one kid? Alone? Keeping right on beating animals to death? Even a turtle, when turtles are widely regarded as cute and also take, I would think, a whole lot of bludgeoning? No, this is well outside the small boy with magnifying glass and ants norm, and even, I believe, the gang of chimps with baby gazelle norm.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


What's the intent there? Is he getting entertainment from watching the mice die or is he trying to keep his snake alive?

Almost certainly both. Feeding snakes is pretty awesome, you know.
posted by mek at 1:32 PM on October 3, 2008


Cold-bloodedly killing reptiles, and thus postponing the deaths of warm blooded guinea pigs and wabbits. see also trollyology.
posted by acro at 1:34 PM on October 3, 2008


I do think perhaps the facility might be better fortified against miscreants (especially if other individuals including this kids older brother have broken in) I do also believe that there is a balancing act between providing security to the animals and the guests and creating an experience in which the public can have some degree of interaction with the animals.

I remember zoos of my youth typically had far more lax safety regimens. The large animals like giraffes, rhinos, elephants might have a series of thick braided cables between them and the public. In theory if one of them was close enough to the edge you could reach out and touch them. I'm not sure I was ever one who did but there was a degree of connection there. For herd animals the division might be a half-height chain link fence (although I somewhat question the sanity of having springboks in such a containment facility). Hell I even remember the herpetarium had several exhibits where the nonpoisonous snakes were behind half height plexiglass.

Yes those types of exhibits would never fly today because a) they aren't that secure and b) they expose animals to humans that might fuck with them and c) that level of contact isn't good for the animal longterm but there was a degree of connection to the animals that many modern exhibits just don't provide with the layers of concrete and plexiglass portals.

As a result many facilities have tried a middle path which seem to want to take people into the environment via the use of overhead walkways and balconies. It appears that this facility was one of those. Thus you can see how the kid is dropping animals into the croc cage.

That being said there seems to be a disconnect, the kid apparently scaled a fence to get into the service areas of the facility and was able to get access to the animals from there. I'm not a zookeeper but I kinda doubt they keep the cages of nonhazardous animals locked from the zookeeper side.
posted by vuron at 1:40 PM on October 3, 2008


Huh?

what
posted by Dumsnill at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2008


7 is old enough to have empathy

Yes. Thank you.

I suspect that anyone who doesn't get this simple fact either doesn't have kids of their own, or is part of the problem.
posted by regicide is good for you at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Lets take the lizards out of this for a second.

If parents bring a kid to a china store in a mall and the kid runs around smashing plates are you going to blame the store for not securing their china from 7 year olds? Who's to blame?
posted by captaincrouton at 1:46 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait wait, punching sharks in the neck is still cool, right?
posted by umrain at 1:46 PM on October 3, 2008


nushustu, I see it more equivalent to smashing someone's patio furniture. If you climb over their fence to damage it, I wouldn't blame the home owners for not protecting their patio better. The animals weren't considered a risk for theft, and I think it's fair to say you don't expect someone to enter the zoo to randomly kill animals either.

Climbing over the outer wall at a zoo isn't difficult (or most public places, really), the only question is how long can you be in the zoo before a security guard or zoo keeper notices.
posted by ShadowCrash at 1:46 PM on October 3, 2008


When I was 7 I had a budgie that died because I didn't take care of it properly. I still feel guilt about that. I wasn't always a good caretaker to my other pets, though none of them died, and I feel some guilt about that, too. I yelled at and smacked them, didn't feed them on time, didn't give them as much attention as I should. But I still could never have beaten and killed them in the way this kid did--not them, not any random animals I met either.

And I cannot, cannot imagine a killing spree like this being something I did for fun...but I can imagine an angry, possibly abused, certainly disturbed child doing this. This kind of destruction speaks of rage or fear, or some other dark emotions--how anyone can see this a "joyous" is just insane. If my son did something like this I would feel like an utter failure as his parent. I would feel afraid for him and for anyone around him.

I don't care about zoo security. This family is "well known", the older brother engaged in similar behavior, clearly there is reason to intervene in these kids' lives. I don't know Australia's laws on this, but I hope they do so.
posted by emjaybee at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sure, this is bizarre and troubling behaviour for a 7 year old kid. But before you start proclaiming him to be alien spawn and suitable for locking away, you might want to consider likely explanations (note: not excuses) for his behaviour. Starting with the family, particularly siblings. Does he have any? Cause a 7 year old with an older brother that likes to do fucked-up things in his presence can send that kid modelling that behaviour without necessarily realizing what he's doing.

No, this wouldn't mean he's a-ok. But we could dispense with the born-to-be-a-psychopath talk and look at him likely a fairly normal if environmentally damaged little boy.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


TungstenChef, of course this kid needs help, but are you are seriously equating hunting with killing lizards? I really like lizards. I even ended up as "that lizard lady" in college, since I helped take care of the college lizards despite being in an completely unrelated department. But the killing of one, accidentally or otherwise, is not a profound event. It's a reptile. It's a lot harder to empathize with a reptile than an anthropomorphic fuzzy bunny or puppy.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:50 PM on October 3, 2008


vuron, I would advise parents/adults/zoos to understand the limits of 'impulse control' in a two year old and to arrange a safe environment (i.e., keep dangerous objects out of reach).

I don't know anyone who would have advised a zoo (reptile exhibit) to prepare their environment for the possibility of a seven year old 'miscreant' who might break-in and systematically bludgeon 13 animals to death in a half-hour rampage.

Maybe we need more advisers who are skilled in imagining bizarre scenarios?
posted by Surfurrus at 1:52 PM on October 3, 2008


But the killing of one, accidentally or otherwise, is not a profound event.
We're not talking about the killing of one iguana or random gecko. We're talking about the killing of thirteen animals, many of which were specifically identified as rare, worthy of note to the point that they were housed in a special facility.
posted by scrump at 1:53 PM on October 3, 2008


But we could dispense with the born-to-be-a-psychopath talk and look at him likely a fairly normal if environmentally damaged little boy.

I just don't see "piano tuner" as a future job description for this fellow.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on October 3, 2008


many of which were specifically identified as rare

THIS part definitely meant nothing to me when I was 7.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2008


Okay, I've had to think long and hard about my response, because I'm likely to be called a racist, and what I'm about to say is based on broad knowledge of the area, and I could be wrong.

Alice Springs has a high population of aboriginal people, many of whom would be considered "homeless" by Western standards. People who have moved in from their traditional communities and say around town in "town camps" - families who sleep in the dry riverbed, or in the scrub around town. What you have in these communities is an extremely high level of substance abuse (mainly alcohol, and petrol sniffing), off-the-chart domestic violence, extremely low or non-existent school attendance. The article describes the zoo as backing onto "Billy Goat Hill" - a hang out for "youths and drunks". You can read between the lines here.

This boy has quite possibly grown up in very, very harsh social environment. Maybe never goes to school, has parents who are abusive, or simply don't give a shit. We're not talking about young Timmy, stealing away from his parents manicured two-story house to go torture animals. We may be talking about someone who's day-to-day live is a choice between sniffing petrol and committing acts of petty crime.

Which is a tragedy. But these facts, if they're true (and as I said, I believe them likely, but it's just inference) should be taken into account in everyone's psychological analysis of the situation.
posted by Jimbob at 1:56 PM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


THIS part definitely meant nothing to me when I was 7.
Having something called out or otherwise marked as "special" meant nothing to you at 7?

My 3-year-old gets excited when the Monterey Bay Aquarium occasionally gets a white shark in, because he knows that they're unusual. But, more to the point, so do his classmates.

I'm not calling you a liar, but I'm unwilling to extrapolate your experience to the kids I know, because what you're saying just isn't the case: these kids, who are completely unremarkable, and are mostly between the ages of 3 and 5, recognize special things and are excited by them being labeled "special".
posted by scrump at 1:58 PM on October 3, 2008


Jimbob, I'm pretty sure that's whats being implied by a lot of the articles (though I think he's a white kid based on the photos).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:02 PM on October 3, 2008


But these facts, if they're true (and as I said, I believe them likely, but it's just inference) should be taken into account in everyone's psychological analysis of the situation. - Jimbob

I would be very interested to see if this incident brings up any Australian media/online conversations related to this larger problem (as stated in your observations). The conditions in Aboriginal communities is a hot topic. If this incident is related, will the arguments about the larger social issues be ignored or inflamed? (new fpp later, Jimbob?)
posted by Surfurrus at 2:03 PM on October 3, 2008


Kids and many adults don't have much appreciation for the distinction of "rare" or endangered animals. Also take into account that the kid is 7 and this is no worse in a general sense than taking your sisters hampster and feeding it to your snake. Well, maybe hurling it against the wall and then feeding it to your snake. Even "well-adjusted" kids do things that seem abhorrent to adults; taking into account Jimbob's tempered speculation and it's easy to look at this in a different light than seemingly many here have.
posted by rob paxon at 2:05 PM on October 3, 2008


Maybe. Maybe I will.
posted by Jimbob at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2008


Having something called out or otherwise marked as "special" meant nothing to you at 7?

I guess it would depend on how it was marked special. Was it on a velvet pedestal, with a diamond framed window? Or was it in a cage, looking largely like every other reptile there, with a small typewritten notice on the side? The things adults thought were great were rarely the things that struck me as special in any way.

If you think this kid did this because these lizards were rare, that's a whole 'nother concept, and would fit even more in with JimBob's guess. As in, "these reptiles are so special they get the velvet pedestal treatment. I'm stuck in a slum with crap parents who are too stoned to care where I am. Guess that tells me what my place!"
posted by small_ruminant at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay.

polyhedron, believe it or not, I understand what you're getting at. Yes, there are kids who get a thrill out of going all Destructor on animals. Yes, there are more of them than we would all like to admit.

But it is a long, LONG jump from that truth to "therefore, this kid's spree was awesome." Yes, the kid probably did think he was being awesome, you're right -- but that does not make this kid's opinion of himself the correct one. In fact, most adults coming upon those kids who do kick the crap out of animals like that generally punish them.

So yeah, okay, you're right, the kid was having a ball doing what he did, but I think what has people up in arms is that you sounded like you were having a ball thinking about it yourself. And, seriously, why? If you agree that what he did was cruel, why is the fact that he enjoyed his own work a mitigating factor of that cruelty for you?

I mean, Ted Bundy probably thought what he did was all kinds of fun, but you don't hear anyone saying, "well, yeah, he killed people, but gosh darn, it must have been a right hoot for him!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


Also to scrump: your specific example could just as well be a case of the shark actually appearing to be "special" on its own merrits. I remember seeing a white tiger at the zoo for the first time and thinking something special of it. I was told they were fairly rare but it was more seeing a white tiger for the first time in my life (I believe not just the first time in person) was what really struck me as special.
posted by rob paxon at 2:08 PM on October 3, 2008


Anyone else remember the Komodo dragon section of Last Chance to See?
posted by dilettante at 2:09 PM on October 3, 2008


Jimbob, do you have any evidence whatsoever that this kid is an aborigine, or grew up in the camps you mention? That he isn't in fact a white kid with a crappy family? I can't tell myself from the original article--the grainy photo doesn't show it either.

I think your broaching of the topic was kind of odd. The point is not his racial heritage, it's his messed up family life. Aboriginal families don't have a monopoly on that...so what really is the point of introducing that topic?
posted by emjaybee at 2:13 PM on October 3, 2008


.
posted by everichon at 2:14 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jimbob:

That kind of thinking must be why several medical professionals have said they were amazed I don't have bodies hidden somewhere and other such silliness.

Even without many strong role models throughout my life - particularly when living in environments like the one you describe - I somehow managed to figure out the rules of society. I'm not special. I'm just a person like millions of others. And I'm not the only one who made it through without resorting to that kind of behaviour.

Sure, I made mistakes, but none involved harming other beings. I also learned from my mistakes because people told me none too gently that they were mistakes and that I needed to quit making them. Also, even when other people regularly harmed me and the animals around me, I knew by my own pain that it was wrong to do that to others.

Allowing abrogation of culpability and the need to learn how to interact in a world that goes well beyond one's own nose is, in my view, more cruel than kind. You aren't doing any favours for those who have grown up hard/damaged by making excuses for them in that way.

Using a bad beginning or even just one horrible circumstance to justify inappropriate behaviour may provide a background reason for why something happened, but it doesn't excuse it. People still need to be responsible for themselves, and, if they don't have the ability to be responsible, then those who are charged with their care need to be held accountable while all parties are helped to understand why the rules apply to them, too, no matter how unfair life has been to them.

If I can learn how to evolve from a feral, unsocialised creature, most others can. Those that can't have other issues that need identification and intervention, not excuses.
posted by batmonkey at 2:18 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Two words: parental responsibility. Looks like there wasn't much here.
posted by zardoz at 2:19 PM on October 3, 2008


"The point is not his racial heritage, it's his messed up family life. Aboriginal families don't have a monopoly on that...so what really is the point of introducing that topic?" - emjaybee

They are bringing it up in one Australian link. And, unfortunately, some of the posts there are blatantly racist.

I think that Jimbob's post was useful in considering a larger social context. Even if the child is not Aboriginal, he is, by Jimbob's account living in a community deeply affected by the social and economic problems of that community.
posted by Surfurrus at 2:22 PM on October 3, 2008


Aboriginal families don't have a monopoly on that...so what really is the point of introducing that topic?

The fact that people were all saying what they were doing at 7 years old; and bringing up as examples things their parents taught them, things they had to play with. Pets they kept. Microscopes. Things they learnt in school. And if this kid came from this kind of environment, those things just aren't relevant.

We don't live in a vacuum. Context is important, isn't it? The experiences of someone growing up, with caring parents, in a wealthy suburb in North America are a long, long way removed from an Alice Springs town camp, except perhaps the cultural influence of the Wu Tang Clan.

But you are correct. Some people are just nutters. Adelaide Zoo, for example, has a history of people breaking in and torturing animals, and race isn't a factor there.

Using a bad beginning or even just one horrible circumstance to justify inappropriate behaviour may provide a background reason for why something happened, but it doesn't excuse it.

I'm sorry if I ever suggested I was excusing the behaviour - as I said, I tried to phrase my post carefully. As you say, I was just hoping to provide a possible background.
posted by Jimbob at 2:25 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Holy cow. Does this kid also wet the bed and start fires?
posted by emd3737 at 2:32 PM on October 3, 2008


I personally think what the kid was terrible, and that his threshold for killing animals is a bit off. I know I squashed grasshoppers and messed with ant mounds in my time. I won't accuse the kid of being a budding sociopath before I know more context. Was he raised to find killing lizards acceptable or even desirable? If kids are known to try to throw rocks at these lizards in the zoo as the Times article suggests, I wonder if there isn't some sort of peer incited element to it. Or perhaps lizards did something bad to him. Or maybe he is just a terrible seven year old with a failing moral compass. But you've got to ask a lot of questions first.

Personally, I think he was working for the crocodile. Sobek must be appeased.
posted by Mister Cheese at 2:33 PM on October 3, 2008


Am I being heartless if I'm more worried about him destroying other people's property than the loss of 13 exotic animals?
posted by doobiedoo at 2:33 PM on October 3, 2008


Forget the kid and the reptiles. I am awed by how universally awesome metafilter parents and their precocious children are.
posted by srboisvert at 2:35 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now we have one Austraian paper calling the child a "ratbag".

And do Australian laws allow the release of a delinquent minors' photograph to the media?!

This story is getting sicker.
posted by Surfurrus at 2:36 PM on October 3, 2008


Anyone who thinks that Zoo security not preventing 7 year olds unmonitored access to animals isn’t going to result in *something* random and undesirable happening knows nothing about kids, IMHO.

This really bothered me. Why should zoo security have to worry about 7 year-olds having unmonitored access? Any rational person would reply to this that it wasn't a worry because his parents should have been monitoring him.
posted by misha at 2:39 PM on October 3, 2008


Ha. That story's in the Northern Territory News, Surfurrus, Australia's most pathetic Murdoch rag. A journalist there once told me they have a rule in regards to front page stories. "Crocs, Cars and Crims". Each week, they try to have one story about dangerous crocodiles, one story about a horrific car crash, and one story about petty crime (usually Aboriginal kids stealing a bike or something). People in the Northern Territory are of the opinion that the main demographic the paper is aimed at are tourists picking up a copy to show the folks at home how batshitinsane Australians are.
posted by Jimbob at 2:40 PM on October 3, 2008


Shadowcrash,

Yeah, I see what you're saying, and for the most part I tend to agree with you. But if these animals were truly rare, then the zoo has a responsibility to keep them secure.

And again, I'm not shifting any blame from the kid.
posted by nushustu at 2:42 PM on October 3, 2008


Living in a society that celebrates, memorializes, and wagers on competition that revolves around combatants beating the shit out of one another, I find these criticisms of the boy a bit on the outrageous side.

A few years ago, my friends and I passed a boring, hot summer college night by catching bugs and setting them off in a tupperware container to have a battle royale. We had a good laugh about it. After reading this thread, I feel like we should all check ourselves into a psychiatric ward to protect society.

Isn't this metafilter blue the same echo chamber that usually looks down upon sensationalism?
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 2:43 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah. A few months ago the front page story on the NT news was about a guy who was arrested masturbating while driving at 150kph down the highway on a drug delivery.
posted by Jimbob at 2:43 PM on October 3, 2008


Jimbob:
"I'm sorry if I ever suggested I was excusing the behaviour - as I said, I tried to phrase my post carefully. As you say, I was just hoping to provide a possible background."

To be clear, especially since I think my attempts at being crisp tend to come off as brusqueness, I don't think you were excusing it and I get why that seemed like a good thing to point out.

I simply feel that background isn't much help in determining why something happens. Rich kids destroy things and do cruel things and all of that, too. Rich kids are abused and neglected, too. (the latter two sentences are words I never thought myself capable of acknowledging without then tacking streams of vitriol to the end, so maybe I really am growing up!) Hopelessness does make a lot of bad decisions seem way less catastrophic or even important, but they're still bad decisions.

The failure is on the parts of those who are responsible for those kids - for not teaching them, for not monitoring them, and for not doing something about the situations that led to their behaviour.

And, perhaps to a degree, society is to blame for not taking these realities into account and mobilising to do something about it.
posted by batmonkey at 2:43 PM on October 3, 2008


Misha, it's the fact that a 7yo can get in that easily. Again, if adults came into the place in the middle of the night and stole 50 small, rare animals, somebody would get fired. And unless the bad guys pulled off such a robbery Oceans 11-style, the firings would probably be deserved.
posted by nushustu at 2:45 PM on October 3, 2008


Ha. That story's in the Northern Territory News, Surfurrus, Australia's most pathetic Murdoch rag.

Mahalo, Jimbob -- no prob, we have Murdoch too, you know (... and - be prepared - we will probably see this version of the story on our televison news!)
posted by Surfurrus at 2:45 PM on October 3, 2008


More about the attack in which the older brother of this child was involved:

It is the second time the reptile centre has had its animal's terrorised by young thugs.

In 2004, six teens broke in to the park and used a long-handled pool scoop and a ladder to stab and hit Terry the croc.

The saltie had two of his teeth knocked out and sustained a deep laceration to his face in the senseless attack.


Two teeth knocked out and a laceration on its (tough, leathery) face? That took some serious force.

Sorry, but this whole family is messed up. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Say the first incident happened and they had no idea their kid could ever do something like that--what's the explanation for this latest rampage?

If I had an older kid that was involved in something like that, I'd make damn sure my younger kid had counseling, I'd go to counseling--whatever it took to keep him off the same path.

That just screams negligence to me.
posted by misha at 2:47 PM on October 3, 2008


What a disheartening thread for those with any love of life.

Break out the Captain Trips already.
posted by maxwelton at 2:48 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


All this moralizing is really silly.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:50 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


After reading this thread, I feel like we should all check ourselves into a psychiatric ward to protect society.</I

Did you mean to post this in the [insert fpp] thread?

posted by Surfurrus at 2:52 PM on October 3, 2008


many of which were specifically identified as rare

THIS part definitely meant nothing to me when I was 7.


Yeah, but you weren't 7 in 2008. Times change. My six year old niece understands perfectly well what "endangered species" means, and even groks one or two of the larger implications. This kid could too, if his parents gave a shit.

Wait wait, punching sharks in the neck is still cool, right?

Well, shit, I hope so. I'm punching one right now.
posted by regicide is good for you at 2:52 PM on October 3, 2008


In 2004, six teens broke in to the park and used a long-handled pool scoop and a ladder to stab and hit Terry the croc.

That one does sound like a bunch of kids doing something because it's cool, not some lone messed-up kid.
posted by smackfu at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2008


Surfurrus, I think maybe you are overestimating the strength of the word "ratbag". My mother used to use it back in the day when she didn't even like to say "fart".
posted by No-sword at 2:59 PM on October 3, 2008


Actually, this AP article says none of them were considered rare, which means they weren't specially marked, probably.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2008


fleetmouse, one thing I like about MetaFilter is the relatively high proportion of weenies here. And the fact that it annoys Mr. President Dr. Sarah Elvis America.
posted by wendell at 3:05 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree with wendell. Let's see more weenies and more annoyance of Mr. Vice President Dr. Ron Paul.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 PM on October 3, 2008


One analogy that is popular is that you can boil a frog to death because they are cold blooded and can't detect the change in heat. What type of person made this discovery? Who gets it in their head to just plop a frog in a vat of boiling water to see what happens?

False -- a myth.
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on October 3, 2008


I've been a vegetarian for almost twenty years now, have never killed an animal myself, etc., etc. but even I can see how the image conjured up by this story might be funny, taken one way.

It is both extremely unusual and extremely violent and these sorts of 'weird' news stories tap into our subconscious. Most of us read these stories even if we avow disgust at the details, like rubberneckers at a bad accident; we're interested in these stories because there is a value in our hearing them - even if it is only a base value such as entertainment, let alone a societal value like propping up social taboos.

A zoo, a child feeding animals to a crocodile. It's horrible yes, but it's also absurd. It's not equivalent to someone kicking their dog or pulling wings off flies; it's like that only x1000. The whole situation is artificial, this would never happen outside of the created man-made world inside the zoo. Zoos are innately strange places. Things eating each other bring another taboo into the picture; this is also both absurd and disturbing.

Humour finds easy pickings in what we deem disturbing or cruel. Would I want my kids playing with this boy? No, of course not. That doesn't mean what he did isn't bizarre and so out there it becomes funny (another example off the top of my head would be that guy who drove the tank around and crushed cop cars and whatnot until he was shot by the authorities).

Is the Killdozer awesome? Yes, completely. Would I feel differently if my loved ones were crushed under its tracks? Undoubtedly.

Anyways, the pile-on in this thread is way OTT.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:12 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


None of you loves me enough to get crushed under the tracks of a tank for my amusement.
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


...the fact that animal cruelty is a problem in this boy's family is incredibly disturbing to me. There is nothing fun or funny about it at all.

Exactly. A slippery slope ...
Man admits to serial killing of cats -- "He faces up to 5 years for torturing, drowning 19 felines he adopted." (September 30, 2008)

East Boston man sentenced to prison for killing cat -- "An east Boston man must serve 2 1/2 years in prison for stomping a cat to death, setting the carcass on fire and tossing it through an apartment window." (September 4, 2008)

Dad gets 18 months for killing family cat -- "Man admits to forcing 7-year-old daughter to stab the pet to death." (August 30, 2008)

Man gets 2 years in prison for killing cat -- "A Los Angeles man who killed his girlfriend's cat, telling her to 'follow the blood trail to find Tweety,' has been sentenced to two years in prison." (August 15, 2008)
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2008


small_ruminant - What I was trying to get at was that I had the sense that polyhedron was cheering for the abstract idea of violence. With modern cities and agriculture, most people are removed from real violence that's found in nature and our food. But violence in real life is very different from abstract, reality is much more visceral and brutal. Just like picking up a package of sausage is more abstract than killing a deer at 50 yards through a scope, which is more abstract than a mercy shot at 5 paces.

You're right that we have some sort of pseudo-evolutionary priority in our heads about killing, bugs disturb us less than reptiles, which disturb us less than mammals. But this kid viciously killed a monitor lizard and a turtle, both of which would take a considerable amount of gruesome effort. A lot of people would feel nauseated seeing someone else do that in person. Most people wouldn't actually commit that level of violence themselves unless they had a reason to (self-defense, survival, even alcohol and peer pressure). Very few would be able to do it 13 times in a row and enjoy it, and it's those few that I really worry about.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:20 PM on October 3, 2008


All this moralizing is really silly.

Forget the moralizing. What about the legal consequences, as per above?
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on October 3, 2008


What stinkycheese said.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:30 PM on October 3, 2008


Thanks to stavrogin's comment about the bunny rapist, I felt a rush of MetaChat outrage. Had to check if it were true. Sure enough, reality is way stranger than any fiction.

Note that the man talking about the Brendan Francis McMahon case is named Doctor Allnutt. All nuts, all the time. And this McMahon guy is good looking. Dang.

Speaking up on behalf of this budding psychopath, he's most likely a product of child abuse and is acting out. "A New Jersey study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes being investigated for physical child abuse. "
posted by nickyskye at 3:36 PM on October 3, 2008


The "zoo" in question. And the town. The Alice is a pretty small place. The zoo is actually pretty small and close to the hospital.

There may be other issues involved here, including but not limited to poverty, discrimination and cultural behaviours. I don't know what race the boy is, but he may associate with traditional tribal groups who hunt and eat reptiles. I don't think we have the full story.
posted by b33j at 3:41 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck I hate humans.
posted by Shutter at 3:41 PM on October 3, 2008


But the idea of a kid feeding the crocodile in a 30 minute free for all, it kind of makes me smile. Does this mean I'm a sociopath? It's the zoological equivalent of the Toys R Us shopping spree, isn't it? Honestly that's the image that came to me first -- running down the aisles, wanton excess and childhood joy.

"In the footage, the boy's face remains largely blank, [Alice Springs Reptile Center Zoo Director Rex] Neindorf said."*

Nothing like a blank face that shouts out "Happy, happy, joy, joy!"
posted by ericb at 3:42 PM on October 3, 2008


Forget the moralizing. What about the legal consequences, as per above?

I don't know. Negligence is complicated. The parents could argue several things. They could claims that they weren't negligent at all. This isn't a ridiculous argument, because reasonable parents aren't expected to confine their children such that they cannot escape (in the manner that reasonable dog owners might be expected to), nor are reasonable parents expected to supervise their children constantly. The mere fact that a child is running free isn't conclusive of parental negligence.

The parents could also argue that even if they were negligent, the actual harm was too remote from their negligence. This isn't ridiculous either, because we don't typically expect parents to control their children because we're worried about the death of endangered species in zoos--I'm not sure the actual harm was foreseeable.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:44 PM on October 3, 2008


The Alice is a pretty small place.

Alice Springs -- the destination in the delightful "road film" The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert [trailer | 02:47].
posted by ericb at 3:45 PM on October 3, 2008


“Pray that he changes his ways before puberty.”

Yet another thing that needs to be said in a James Earl Jones voice.

Actually, I’ve ‘broken’ into Lincoln Park Zoo a number of times (as a kid). Ridiculously easy. I didn’t harm anything or do any damage. Just liked looking at the animals without a crowd. I couldn’t imagine throwing rocks at them. Although I’m aware some kids my age then might have. I’d probably have beaten on them. Ironic really.

“The act of killing something doesn't make you an irredeemable sociopath. It makes you an animal.”

I’d agree. But given the context here (other family members stabbing the croc - et.al) - it’s the act of killing for pleasure. Generally we abhor the behavior and try to eliminate it. Parents should be doing that with this kid. Obviously they haven’t.

Oh, I think some kids get a little rambunctious and can be destructive, but by 7 they should have - if not the set controls - at least some idea that what their doing might be wrong.

I myself have probably delivered more into death’s hands than most of you have had hot breakfasts. But I’ve never killed with wanton glee or enjoyed the suffering of any creature. Quite the contrary (when I hunt if I can’t get a clean shot, I’ll go home empty handed). Pretty much because I was raised to have respect for living creatures.

Kids do fry ants or shoot birds with BB guns, but once they reach a level of sophistication - typically instilled by the parents - they stop.
Even barring that - the animals should have been in the classification of things (in his young mind) that are “not mine.”

It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it is bad enough, and yeah the parents didn’t give him enough guidance here beforehand - I think, precisely because young boys (and children in general) are prone to unthinking cruelty (and boys of the more active sort) and they can be unthinkingly - even innocently - destructive.
(Re: “wanton excess and childhood joy”)

But - they need to learn not to crap their pants. They need to learn to drink out of cups. They have to wear clothes, and in all other ways be socialized and develop the empathy necessary to a primate living in a society as sophisticated and developed as ours in order to function properly. I see how, if they’re poor, rustic, etc. etc. they can fail at that. But that’s an excuse, even if it’s a good one, not a corrective.

That said, and in that light, I find the abuse directed at the boy and at polyhedron fairly ironic.
Such is the fallacy of violence. Even in opposition to it, it’s often recursive.
And at some things we can only laugh. If we did not it wouldn’t be true of us. And we can be cruel. This is true.
(It’s easy to dispair. I choose to go on. Kids like this exist to be taught. If they didn’t exist, we couldn’t practice compassion ourselves.)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:48 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


For those of you who might not have lived in outback Australia, living in a small town as a kid can sometimes mean a lot more freedom. It's assumed that you won't be abducted, and so from dawn to dusk you can go whereever you like, provided you're home by dinner. So, the parents may have been negligent, or they may have been acting like other parents in the district. It's a very different world from urban Australia. Because our news laws forbid the publishing of information that will identify a child, there is no real way to tell about a lot of things that are being speculated about here.
posted by b33j at 3:51 PM on October 3, 2008


re: that McMahon rabbit-raping case ... he worked in 'financial planning and mortgage brokerage'? Sounds subprime to me.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:51 PM on October 3, 2008


I wouldn't have guessed he was doing it for the killing- I'd have guessed he was doing it for the feeding the crocodile. Killing them just made that end goal easier.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:51 PM on October 3, 2008


Although this does totally blow my whole idealized notion of Australia and nature and conservation and stuff from Steve Irwin (oh, I know he had some controversy, but all the second rowers I’ve know have been pretty good sorts).
posted by Smedleyman at 3:52 PM on October 3, 2008


What kind of psycho fuck kid breaks into a zoo and instead of running around looking at lions and tigers and goofing off feeding the bears..... (wait for it)..... He kills things?!?!?!?!?! And what does he have against lizards? Wish this kid would have jumped into the lions den and been eaten.

Ummm, because the Alice Springs Reptile Centre doesn't have lions, tigers and bears. Oh, my!
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on October 3, 2008


I now have yet another reason to dislike children.

All my pets get extra love tonight.
posted by quin at 3:55 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Institutionalize child. Kick parents in reproductive organs until death or sterility. Next case, please.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:56 PM on October 3, 2008


Here's some info about the indigenous people of the area, and here's some stuff about the kinds of food they hunted. This rather boring link talks a little about the need of indigenous people to continue their traditional lifestyles, including hunting.
posted by b33j at 3:59 PM on October 3, 2008


So, I suggest that perhaps the boy, 7, was not being psychopathic in the way an urban youngster might be, in wantonly killing animals, but perhaps he was following family and tribal traditions in killing native animals. Yes, sure, if that was the case, he should surely have eaten them next, but he didn't waste them, he fed them to a crocodile. He might not know how to cook either. My story is as believable as the sociopathic version, but much easier to take.

Other issues that might arise are the traditional aboriginal approach to property. The land owns them, rather than the other way around. If a family or tribe member has good fortune (in the form of cash, or assets) they are expected to share, and usually do so. This idea of socialist living is quite foriegn to the capitalist western approach, and therefore, the crimes that indigenous people commit (entering other people's property) may not be seen in the same way the property owners see it.
posted by b33j at 4:05 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just for the record, upon reading the linked article, the newspaper did not refer to the kid as a "ratbag"; the Reptile Center's director did. I can only imagine the high emotion he was feeling as he contemplated the bludgeoned bodies of the creatures he cares for; I probably would have called the kid something worse.
posted by OolooKitty at 4:07 PM on October 3, 2008


If this child was in a restaurant, grabbed a knife, and slit the throat of someone's guide dog, would we say that the restaurant screwed up? I sure hope not. It's the zoo's responsibility to protect the animals? Really? I mean, there's a modicum of protection afforded by a fence and whatnot, but consider what that would actually entail:

* Your basic TSA airport security search going in for knives, guns, matches, slingshots, airhorns, lighters, whatever
* Plus an additional search for poisons, which, given the range of animals, could be damn near anything
* Removal of all change (remember those "don't feed coins to the seals" signs?)
* Motion-tracking cameras which would recognize human shapes
* Removal of the ability to feed snacks to the animals in the petting zoo
* Stretches of fifteen foot tall bulletproof glass, with no airholes past, say, six feet (remember, seven year old kids are essentially monkeys without tails and not much fur)
* All visitors would have to wear tracking collars while they were in the zoo, so as to set off immediate alerts whenever a non-keeper human entered an animal zone
* Many, many more

Not only would these measures be only partially effective and completely bankrupt the zoo, it would also render the experience utterly joyless.

There's this weird idea that we can somehow render every public area perfectly kid-friendly — the kids cannot hurt themselves or anything else. That's true if and only if you confine drugged children to a ten foot deep concrete pit lined with rubber. Parents are not simply there to pass on family values, religion, etc., to their children; they are also responsible for keeping them out of trouble - not the government nor the management of whatever institution they happen to stagger in. Beyond simple negligence, parents are either to watch their child or are responsible for raising them in such a fashion that they do not do wretched things.

Leaving us with a choice between the death of rare animals at the hands of an uncontrolled child or a zoo trip where we can see the animals from very, very far away, through glass, on our sad little tour bus is the tragedy of the commons(ense).
posted by adipocere at 4:14 PM on October 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Must add that this whole story has brought back memories of the kid down the street throwing my tiny orange kitten into a backyard containing a Doberman. I think I was about seven at the time. The difference there was that the kid's father came to tell us, was horrified by his child's actions, and that the kid was soundly punished. I don't remember anyone justifying it by saying that this is just how boys are, or that at least he was having fun while our kitten was torn apart, or that any kid would have done it given the change. I just remember how upset I was, and how worried I was that my kitten was terrified when it died.

So, yeah, empathy for animals exists in most kids, and in my opinion there's something wrong with this little boy. And I hope it's not too late to help him.
posted by OolooKitty at 4:16 PM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


Err. CHANCE.
posted by OolooKitty at 4:19 PM on October 3, 2008


Actually, this AP article says none of them were considered rare, which means they weren't specially marked, probably.

An Australian here (as most would have been asleep when this was posted).

I have no idea where the rare bit comes from, given the list of reptiles.

Turtle: Possibly rare but species is not mentioned, so there is no way to really tell.

Western Blue-Tongued Lizard: You will find these guys in your backyard, they're anything but rare.

Bearded Dragon: I was once offered an injured one as a pet from a wildlife organisation, so I'm assuming if I can be trusted with one, they're not that rare (I didn't take it in the end).

Thorny Devil: Also not particularly rare, although they live in less hospitable areas. Areas such as, say, Alice Springs.

Goanna: The fact that it was 20 years-old is a bit of a shame (these guys can get impressively large you see) but once again, you don't need too much luck to catch a glimpse of these guys in the wilderness.

So, sure, the boy was psychotic little shit. But this is Australia, land of the psychotic little shits, and any establishment in Alice Springs (well known across Australia as unfortunately being a hub of alcohol abuse and other unpleasantness, such as tourists) should well have the means set in place so that this doesn't happen so easily.

The fitting punishment? Force the boy to do some wildlife conservation. He is seven, he's got plenty of time to change. Don't make him an even more angry individual.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 4:34 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


According to the 2001 census, Australian Aboriginals make up 17% of the population of the Alice and overall, 29% of the population of the Northern Territory, where Alice Springs is located. I doubt that these figures are accurate, because literacy levels for indigenous communities are appallingly low.

Health issues for the Aboriginal community are a major problem. You will note that the article said that the 7 year old child travelled through the national park behind the zoo where drunks and drugged people lay sleeping. My 7 year old, and yours too, probably, would not go there, but it's concievable that the boy felt safe because he knew these people, that they were members of his family. Imagined being raised by people who live with such dispair and addiction that petrol sniffing is a recreational activity.

Here's a quote from wikipedia which might give you a picture of what childhood is like for indigenous children: Australia-wide, Indigenous Australian children are 20-fold overrepresented in the juvenile corrective service and 20-fold more likely to be involved in child abuse and neglect cases.

So, his parents are (in the opinion of the majority here) neglecting him - that may or may not be so. It's possible they are following traditional standards of allowing children freedom and working within the village-raising idea. Or it may be that the circumstances of their lives are such that they are not ideal parents. Why doesn't the government step in and remove children under these circumstances? Well, they used to, and it created a generation of people so cut off from their culture that our latest prime minister used the opening of parliament this year to apologise, as a nation, to the stolen generation.

He's a ratbag, a rascal, a sociopath, a psycopath, emotionally damaged beyond belief, according to metafilter. Or perhaps (a better than 1 in 4 chance), according to me, he's from one of the poorest and most marginalised groups in Australia, and he was behaving in a way that fit with his tribal culture.

Do I think he did the wrong thing? Yes, sure, 100%. I can't kill snails in my garden, I relocate them, but I hope I'm not arrogant enough to assume that my way is the only way. Especially as I eat meat. I also would hope that I wouldn't diagnose a mental illness on someone on the other side of the world who's living experience is incredibly different to mine.
posted by b33j at 4:43 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, I suggest that perhaps the boy, 7, was not being psychopathic in the way an urban youngster might be, in wantonly killing animals, but perhaps he was following family and tribal traditions in killing native animals.

Well, I heard that exact story, from Alice Springs zoo again, from memory. Alice Springs is right in the very middle of the continent, right? Surrounded by nothing but desert, and occasional blackfella settlements.

So, some young aboriginal kids from a settlement were taken to the zoo, which happened to have a big old man goanna who was the zoo's mascot or pet or similar, and they thought "wooohooo! there's a big one!" and promptly killed it. I don't think they fed it to a salty though.

It's been a good week for saltwater crocs, by the way.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:43 PM on October 3, 2008


b33j, where did you read he was aboriginal?
posted by small_ruminant at 4:47 PM on October 3, 2008


Stirring the pot: A recent Alice Springs contest featured wild cat casserole. The meat is said to taste like a cross between rabbit and, perhaps inevitably, chicken.
posted by acro at 4:48 PM on October 3, 2008


Worth mentioning that if the kid is actually aboriginal, the croc might be the totem of his skin. Or better put, he might actually be a crocodile. I'm an emu, for example, and my nephews are sharks. My parents might be crocs, I'm not sure. I'll have to ask them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:52 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


fleetmouse, one thing I like about MetaFilter is the relatively high proportion of weenies here. And the fact that it annoys Mr. President Dr. Sarah Elvis America.

Ooh, I best shut up now. I hear a little electric motor opening a can of I Can't Believe It's Not Orthodoxy!
posted by fleetmouse at 4:56 PM on October 3, 2008


small_ruminant, I did not read it, I'm making an assumption. The biggest clue to me is that the boy felt comfortable, at age 7 walking through that park. I could be wrong, certainly. The media isn't allowed to tell us, and I think that's as well.
posted by b33j at 4:58 PM on October 3, 2008


The answer to that question (indigenous or not) has already been posted elsewhere by someone who spoke to the director of the Zoo, but if it's something that legally shouldn't be revealed (not the identity but the ethnic origin) then I wont link. If I can find it, then I assume others can.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:47 PM on October 3, 2008


It's the zoo's fault. If you make your rare animals easily accessible to a seven-year-old, you're not doing it right.

So if you leave your door unlocked and I come in and steal your stuff I'm completely in the clear since it's clearly your fault for not locking your door. Similarly when a person's car is robbed it's their fault for having such easily-broken glass for a window.


Other good news: Women walking alone late at night? They're doing it wrong! They want to be raped!
posted by rodgerd at 5:57 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


So if you leave your door unlocked and I come in and steal your stuff I'm completely in the clear since it's clearly your fault for not locking your door. Similarly when a person's car is robbed it's their fault for having such easily-broken glass for a window.
Other good news: Women walking alone late at night? They're doing it wrong! They want to be raped!


No, you're thinking about it wrong. The thefts and rape described involve someone intentionally harming someone else.

In this case, though, no one intentionally did anything, in the law's eyes. The kid's intentions don't count, because he's too young. The question is whether the parents were careless in such a way that they should be liable, and it's fair to ask whether the zoo was also careless.

If two people are careless, and one gets hurt, it's not at all clear to me that liability should rest solely with the one who didn't get hurt. Why would it? They were both careless.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:11 PM on October 3, 2008


I hear a little electric motor opening a can of I Can't Believe It's Not Orthodoxy!

Slippery Slope butter-flavored spread tastes better.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:14 PM on October 3, 2008


Easy with the stoning of the child. What's with the calls to lock him up when he needs help?

Perhaps it's easier than focusing on his parents or considering he and his family don't live in a vacuum, but in a society created and occupied by the rest of us. If the tv was on the night before he went on a rampage he could have heard about the newest casualty counts in Iraq. Condemn his behavior, don't treat it as a normal event, but pretending children can't ever be cruel (on both small animals and other children) isn't true.
posted by ersatz at 6:15 PM on October 3, 2008


Flitcraft: you're right; easily findable using the correct string. The members there are...well, let's just say they make the "lock 'im up!" crowd here look like Pollyannas.

For the record, I still don't think the kid should be harmed or locked up. I think he should receive intervention from social services, and I dearly hope they can help.

If there is a culturally-appropriate aspect to his actions - and that would very much surprise me, based on the specifics of what he did - I have little hope that it would lead to improved cultural dialogue. Which is kind of sad, because this sort of thing is prime example of why we need to be more aware of cultural differences that aren't solved by the general community guideline best related by the Golden Rule.
posted by batmonkey at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2008


It would be cooler if the croc had a laserrrr on its head, but otherwise this is just sad.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:52 PM on October 3, 2008


For a chance of winning the large cash cache, please answer correctly the following question...

Who am I?

When I was born I was considered by my wealthy, educated and well rounded parents as being a uniquely gifted child.
I never cried or complained as a baby, and even though each family holiday involved long haul intercontinental flights, I sat reading contentedly in utter silence out of respect for fellow passengers.
During my adolescence I spent most of my time demonstrating bhuddist-like respect to even the lowliest cock-roach that I studied in my eden-like backyard.
I never had a single evil thought due to being endowed with pure ethical impulses, which are innately human (at least in my gene pool).
I know all this to be true, as there is not a single photograph of me crying, screaming, or being remotely destructive in any of my family's photo and video albums.

Am I...
Jesus Christ?
Tenzin Gayatsu?
A member of Metafilter?
posted by strawberryviagra at 6:55 PM on October 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


Easy with the stoning of the child. What's with the calls to lock him up when he needs help?

He obviously shouldn't be around other children. I wouldn't want him around my children. Does he sound like a child you would like to have around your children? Isolate the problem, treat it, release if possible. Sorry, but he feeds little animals to crocodiles. The kid's fucked up. It's not like he did it once and was all like, "Holy shit, what the fuck is my deal?" He did it over and over and over. No. Get that little demon seed off the streets, for Christ's sake.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:55 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but he feeds little animals to crocodiles.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:55 PM on October 3


lol.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:58 PM on October 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh hey,..You guys are still talking about this?
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:30 PM on October 3, 2008


What b33j mentions. img.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:42 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the crocodile eats normally.
posted by Artw at 8:36 PM on October 3, 2008


Cereal.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:56 PM on October 3, 2008


I'm not going to condone what the kid did. It was obviously wrong but I'm not comfortable calling the kid a sociopath. I'm not sure how much empathy comes natural to a human and a lizard. I think empathy for some animals is almost a skill that you need to be taught and I can forgive a child for not having picked it up yet. Kids do sadistic shit like kill bugs with a magnifying glass but their just bugs. They don't set off our compassion radar. I'm not going to call it a big problem that some reptiles didn't set off the kids empathy signals.

He should have been properly supervised and it wouldn't have happened but wishing that a human child got eaten by a crocodile for behaving with the savage curiosity of an under socialized child is probably just as bad. Most people move through the world eating meat from animals with more sophisticated neurosystems than the reptiles the child killed (myself included) because that's what those animals are for and animals in the zoos aren't for killing. But if your seven that sort of distinction isn't necessarily going to occur to you on your own. Maybe there is something wrong with the kid but I'm not convinced that it is so rare a thing as people seem to think.
posted by I Foody at 9:00 PM on October 3, 2008


I have it on good authority that crocodiles eat silken tofu.
posted by Jimbob at 9:06 PM on October 3, 2008


Cereal PREPARED BY MURDERERS!

Oh, wait, f you say cereal it completely fucks up my rhetorical point.
posted by Artw at 9:07 PM on October 3, 2008


When I was a kid, I was curious about suffering. Not because I was sociopathic, but because there were rules, and I didn't understand why. Okay, pain and suffering and death are bad, and I understood that I myself didn't like them, but I had no idea how others went through it, animal or human alike. And I sought out information about it. I didn't torture anything, but mostly because I was scared shitless of being branded the psycho kid, and I'd known a few who were really fucked up and did torture cats and stuff. I saw how abusive their families were and I didn't have much respect or admiration for them. Even then, I saw those kids and knew I didn't want to become that. But I watched the discovery channel constantly, and I have particularly vivid memories of reading about the persecution of witches during the Inquisition, and of using a pair of pliers on my own thumb just to try and get an idea of exactly how much the thumbscrew hurt (I didn't do any permanent damage to myself, just pushed enough that it hurt). That, I think, was the moment I realized how dangerous pain and violence as instruments of power are. And I watched horror movies, I begged my relatives to let me experiment with guns, and I read The Inferno when I was 9.

I empathize with this kid. I understand childish curiousity, wanting to do forbidden things, and the kind of silent, helpless rage against sociological circumstances that you can't possibly understand at that age and the ways it can come out. In particular, I understand the addictive pleasure of getting away with something once and wanting to do it again and again as a child (I would go through 3 bags of microwave popcorn in an afternoon). I don't approve of what he did and I think it's pretty abhorrent, but I don't believe for an instant that he's inherently sociopathic or screwed in the head. When I was 7 I didn't fully understand the dynamics of society, poverty, power, pain, fear, and nature, and I doubt he does either.

I hope someone can give this child the perspective and knowledge he needs to understand the scope of what he's done.
posted by saysthis at 9:30 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hope someone can give this child the perspective and knowledge he needs to understand the scope of what he's done.

Not bloody likely, given that the zoo has to drag the parents into court to sue for damages. It'll be interesting to see follow-up articles on this story.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:55 PM on October 3, 2008


Now, I want to track him down. Then I will slowly, painfully bludgeon him to death, and feed his corpse to a crocodile.

Which will make me super incredible mega-awesome


Awesomeness does not get transferred. You're thinking of conkers.
posted by tellurian at 11:20 PM on October 3, 2008


The same day I read this story, I also read that one. Not a good day for reptile news.

(The kid was seven. Yes, it was sad, and yes, the authorities are going to want to make sure this is not indicative of something more serious, but when I was a kid feeding time at the zoo was always the best. Heck, I remember going to a crocodile farm just to watch them eat things. So I can see how a kid let loose in a zoo would want to feed the croc, too. He's probably not evil. He's probably just a boy.)
posted by robcorr at 11:31 PM on October 3, 2008


Am I...
Jesus Christ?
Tenzin Gayatsu?
A member of Metafilter?


adolf hitler!!!!

come on, you knew someone had to say it
posted by pyramid termite at 12:54 AM on October 4, 2008


God wins!
posted by strawberryviagra at 1:00 AM on October 4, 2008


From a comment on one of those Australian newspaper sites:

The parents & the kid need a big boot up the backside, but the 'snivel libertarians' will not allow it!


Somebody needs to tell those 'snivel libertarians' that disparaging the boot is a bootable offence.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:23 AM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm totally with polyhedron here. (Now diving back to read all the other comments...)
posted by progosk at 4:23 AM on October 4, 2008


On review: what Durn Bronzefist said.
posted by progosk at 5:34 AM on October 4, 2008


I blame Spore.
posted by phoque at 6:41 AM on October 4, 2008


I do believe that the kid is damaged.

That doesn't change the fact that mistreatment of animals just for fun seems to be a bit of a tradition in western culture.
posted by Kiwi at 7:06 AM on October 4, 2008


Was the creature in question an interior crocodile alligator?
posted by Ljubljana at 7:22 AM on October 4, 2008


You know what the zoo keepers do to keep the crocodile fed? It's brutal and horrible--what kind of monsters could do that to those adorable little fuzzy lambs with the big sad eyes? Someone should lock those sociopaths up.
posted by cytherea at 11:10 AM on October 4, 2008


You know what the zoo keepers do to keep the crocodile fed? It's brutal and horrible--what kind of monsters could do that to those adorable little fuzzy lambs with the big sad eyes? Someone should lock those sociopaths up.

We got a real deep thinker here, folks! You've completely opened my eyes! Thank you!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:08 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's true! This place is just crawling with deep thinkers! (If you put on sunglasses, they look like lizards!)
posted by cytherea at 12:23 PM on October 4, 2008


It's true! This place is just crawling with deep thinkers! (If you put on sunglasses, they look like lizards!)

You keep an eye on them...I'll go get a rock.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:36 PM on October 4, 2008


yeah, go get that rock. i'm ready & waiting.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2008


Nah, let's just be friends.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:07 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


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