Threat Perception: What makes you perceive a threat as such? Is your fear, or lack thereof, based on reality, or is it the result of conditioning by others? I got the idea for this article from esteemed peer “Professor Hilder”, author of the “Munchers of Doom” site indicated to the right. The professor’s ideas may seem a bit radical to some, but his sort of forward thinking is crucial to mitigating the Animal Uncontrol problem. He brings a clarity to the issue that is much needed.
In addition to Threat Perception, one of the professor’s concepts is the tie between dog/pet fanatics and the extreme ecological movement. That is not something I had taken note of personally, but is worth considering and I’m going to tie that to the concept of threat perception.
I am an executive and activity leader in my state hiking trail association. This is strictly volunteer work. I lead group hikes, perform trail maintenance, develop new hiking trails, build coalitions and organize events with other groups with similar interests, promote outdoor activities in my state, promote responsible use of outdoor/wilderness areas, work closely with the federal/state government, and represent my organization in county, state and national planning efforts. I am a very experienced hiker, I completed an “outward bound” type course in my teens, and I have hiked and backpacked all over US and in a few places overseas.
The politics of my group are “moderate”. We consist mostly conservative Democrats and liberal-moderate Republicans (Jon Huntsman was my guy… oh, well). While eco-fanatics are not a part of our group, we do work with them at times and they do participate in our activities.
One thing that always strikes me about the eco-fanatics (“Greens”) is that they are terrified of wildlife. They have this terrible fear of being attacked by bears that is absolutely not grounded in reality. You might as well be terrified of Russian space satellites de-orbiting and crashing onto your heads, people. Note that in my state (Florida) NO ONE has been killed by a bear, nor have there been any serious injuries involving bears that I know of. There have been a handful of bear-human “encounters” that have resulted in minor injury to the humans involved. It is noteworthy that in most of these, the human in question was doing something that was expressly prohibited or not recommended, i.e. feeding the bear or purposefully encroaching on its “personal space”. In any case, I have to invest some time in reassuring them that, no, they are not going to be eaten by a bear!
Juxtapose the lack of remarkable injury in bear-human encounters with the fact that pet dogs kill Florida residents yearly. Pet dogs send Florida citizens to emergency rooms on a daily basis with injuries ranging from minor bites to battlefield level injuries!
My observation is that, most of these “Greens” are urban leftist fools that know about as much about the forest (and pets) as I do about brain surgery or the surface of Venus…. in other words, absolutely nothing. Almost everything they know, think and understand is a product of conditioning (brainwashing) by other know-nothing idiots. They spend most of their time hanging out in the city reading communist rags and talking it up with others who have the same foolish attitudes and lack of real knowledge and understanding as them. Look, if you are going to be attacked by something on 4 legs, either in the woods or out of it, that creature is almost certain to be a dog AND that dog is almost certain to be a Pit Bull or some similar fighting dog. When I inform them of this little tidbit, they look at me like I just grew an extra head. Their threat perceptions, and lack thereof, have been fully conditioned and have no basis in reality. I believe this is true, albeit to a lesser extent, in the larger population as well.
Indeed, there are threats in the woods, and most of them are not products of the natural world. For example, in the prior one year period I have noted the following four animal-human encounters that I would consider hazardous:
- While hiking alone, I was “charged” by an at-large juvenile Pit Bull dog. The dog decided to let me live that day: After completing its “charge” it sniffed my foot for a couple of seconds, then took off at full speed… come to think of it I HAD forgotten to change out my “odor eaters” that week, perhaps that is what saved me?
- When leading a large group we encountered 2 hikers coming in the other direction each with an on leash dog that appeared to be pit-boxer mixes. Both dogs wore “prong collars”. One of the dogs lunged and snapped at my face as they passed. Fortunately, the owner had it (barely) under control. The 2 dog owners dragged their dogs off the trail and none of my hikers were further threatened or molested that day. This incident was just prior to noting an unattended dog barking for 2 and ½ hours straight in the campground on the same property.
- At a National Forest campground, an at-large Pit Bull dog chased one of my hikers into her car where it glared at her through the window for several minutes, and the dog eventually ran off. She told me of the incident and I fetched a forest ranger with a sidearm and we attempted to find the dog but were unable to locate it.
- While hiking with a small group 2 hikers travelling in the opposite direction had an on-leash border collie dog that snarled and snapped at my arm as it passed. The owner was able to jerk it back before it was able to bite me.
Does anyone see a pattern, here? Four dangerous animal encounters in the woods. ALL of them pet dogs. MOST of them Pit Bulls or mixes! And, this is only in the past year!
In response to this rather valid threat perception, I now legally carry a 9mm handgun on all of my hikes.
To be fair, I had a fun encounter with a rattlesnake on a group hike about a year ago. However, the snake in question was sunning itself on the trail and did NOT strike or move in our direction. One of my hikers had ventured too close to it (she had gotten way ahead of the group) and it rattled at her. Again, it didn’t lunge or strike. The hiker in question had not been paying attention and had violated the snake’s “space”. We stood around for a few minutes, gave the snake its space, and after a couple of minutes it slowly proceeded off into the woods. We proceeded on our way after that. When encountering wildlife, do NOT approach! Give it a WIDE berth!
My only direct encounter with a bear was in Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the summer of 2006. The second he saw me he ran off at what can only be described as astonishing speed!
As per the Professor, pet dogs are NOT a product of nature. They are products created by people to meet the needs of other people. This is particularly true of the Pit Bull, as Pit Bulls are a product aimed at those who wish to project intimidation upon others and desire a weapon for legalized assault. Therefore, while they are not a product of nature and were brought there by people for people, you WILL encounter them in the woods.
So, what about the “Threat Perception”? Well, many of us have been conditioned via generations of propaganda to contemplate pet dogs as completely harmless. We have also been conditioned, to a lesser extent, to view wildlife as fundamentally dangerous. Consider 75 years of movies, books, and television that portray wildlife as dangerous and pet dogs as purely wonderful. Therefore, many people harbor an irrational fear of wildlife, but an irrational *comfort* (or lack of fear) around pet dogs. We have been told over and over, that all dogs are fundamentally good and that if you are “nice” to a dog it will reciprocate. This assertion is used to bolster the notion that all dog on human attacks are strictly the fault of the victim: Since it’s a given that the dog is fundamentally good, the human victim MUST have done something to deserve it! Likewise, if a dog harasses or attacks wildlife, that act is also purely good and necessary as the dog is the agent of what is Good, and the wild animal the agent of what is Bad.
This lack of threat perception regarding pet dogs has proven to be particularly toxic: It results in injuries, threats to health, damage to property, disruption of wildlife, and DEATH. It is especially toxic when contemplating Pit Bulls and other fighting dogs: I.E. All dogs are good and Pit Bulls are dogs, ergo Pit Bulls are good. Again, these dogs are NOT a product of nature. In fact, NO pet dog is a product of nature! Pits ARE created by human beings, for human beings, to fill the need for a weapon in legalized assault. They are a carefully crafted biological weapon deployed to project intimidation and to injure others. They are an invasive threat that is endangering our cities AND our natural areas! Back in May I wrote about the threat that pet dogs pose to state park visitors, park property and wildlife. To paraphrase “Your Quiet Neighbor” this THREAT needs to be PERCEIVED for what it IS.
BTW if you want the FACTS about bears in FL, consider the State game and wildlife website.