Scars & Stripes – a fable about fear

Once upon a time, a man, concerned for the safety of his family, buys a bengal tiger.

A dog would probably do but he figures in the modern age he’d better be ready for the worst. Besides all his neighbours have lions and tigers. And who’s to say that someone breaking into his home won’t be bringing a crocodile or god forbid a hippo. It’s a bloody jungle out there.

Then one day someone, some namby pamby liberal, starts to make noises about taking away all the big cats from domestic environments. They say they are dangerous and should be curbed because many children have been eaten.

The hard working families of the small towns across the land of Merca are up in arms. They say the law states they can own cats, and they will fight for the right to keep them.

The liberals and lawmakers scratched their heads. Cats, yes of course, they say. But huge jungle predators? Surely that flies in the face of logic. They are dangerous and can only be enjoyed in secure environments where they can’t turn on you and eat you.

But the zoo lobby is strong. They plough money into government in the millions. The right to have cool things like bengal tigers is a perfect right, they say. Anyone regardless of their attitudes or mental health has the right to own large predatory mammals. Plus good lord we feel so manly having mastery of such fearsome beasts. Fear not, they say, for they are in our control.

But hang on a sec, say the wishy washy liberals, they are not in your control. They are wild animals. They don’t know what century it is, they don’t know someone owns them. You can’t control nature. But the cries fall on deaf ears. The sounds of growling animals in urban areas reaches a deafening crescendo, and finally it is agreed something must be done.

The emperor, after yet another incident of a bengal tiger eating another group of kids is urged to take action and delivers a speech. Sitting astride his giant elephant, a gift from the zoo lobby and a metaphor for overcompensation if ever those assembled ever saw one, wrapped in animal skins and holding a spear, he speaks words of wisdom.

Everyone has a right to protect their family, he says. It is the right of all citizens to make sure that they have bigger and more fierce animals than their neighbours in order to live in peace and harmony. Yes it’s tragic that every week conscience free stone killers that we invite into our homes decide to eat our sweet young children. Of course our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who suffer these unfortunate accidents. But it’s a small price to pay for security and the protection of our families.

The people are reassured that their democracy is intact. They can sleep easy in their beds knowing that the dangers outside their home and in the world are nothing, literally nothing, compared to the sleek, purring violence that dwells within.