Scoot: Judging all squirrels by the behavior of a few

September 13, 2017 - 11:14 am

Lake Vista is a historic and beautiful community in New Orleans, but recent events have residents on edge.  Authorities are looking for 2 squirrels of interest following reports of unsolicited attacks on citizens. 


The news story reported by Paul Murphy from Channel 4 Eyewitness News sent a chilling reminder through the community of Lake Vista that innocent citizens are now at risk for random squirrel attacks.


So brazen are these squirrels that two women report being attacked Sunday leaving Mass at St. Pius church.  A relative of one of the victims said, “Our family is in shock and we always felt like we lived in a peaceful community. But not anymore.”  The two victims were not physically harmed, but both appear to have been traumatized by the attacks.


Another resident of the community reports he was physically attacked and actually bitten by one of the squirrels, and he is currently undergoing the painful shots for rabies.  Authorities are hopeful the bite marks on the man’s leg can be used to identify the squirrel responsible for the unprovoked attack.


When innocent victims are randomly attacked by squirrels questions are raised about the squirrels.  Humans and squirrels have shared the same communities for ages; but when innocent people are suddenly attacked, the sense of freedom to walk through one’s own neighborhood is lost.


Why did these squirrels attack?  Obviously, these squirrels have no respect for humans and feel no remorse for their violent actions. Were they born this way or were they simply not raised properly?  That’s a question that may not be answered until authorities catch the squirrels.


The idea that squirrels are hiding in trees and bushes and watching us all the time is unsettling to those who live in squirrel prone areas of New Orleans.  One resident who is now afraid to walk outside reflected the feelings of many when he said, “I know they are out there and they can see me, but I can’t see them.  It just makes me feel like I could become a victim at any time.” 


Authorities are warning citizens not to engage the squirrels because they are considered dangerous. 


It is sad to think that there are adorable squirrels with furry tails living among us that have violent tendencies.  The plan to shoot all squirrels would mean that many innocent squirrels would be judged and killed by the behavior of a few and that goes against everything this country stands for.


The negative news coverage of 2 squirrels is causing squirrels, in general, to be stereotyped.  Even though the random attacks are the work of 2 - maybe 3 squirrels – Americans have a tendency to judge the entire group and the concern is that will lead to a new hatred directed at the squirrel population.


Animal lovers are warning against judging all squirrels based on the behavior of a few.  There are plans by one squirrel hate group to call on Mayor Landrieu to remove any public replicas of squirrels.  Also, the group is demanding that the use of any words referencing squirrels be banned.  For example, the group is asking that citizens no longer use the S-word or even related uses, like “the man was acting ‘squirrely’.”


Attempts to ban all books about squirrels from preschools is gaining momentum and even some of the classics are being considered, like, “Tickles the Pet Squirrel,” “The Secret Life of Squirrels” and the best-selling book, “The Tale of the Squirrel Nutkin.”  There has even been a campaign to ban all the reruns of “Rocky & Bullwinkle.”


I will remain consistent with my belief that banning books and cartoons is wrong.  The First Amendment protects even positive messages about squirrels.  And history has taught us that stereotyping a species defies the diverse foundation upon which America was built.


One expert says that the squirrels that attack innocent bystanders may have been influenced by their main source of food.  He said, “They are nuts!”

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