OFF THE CUFF

How are these things even possible?

Time and time again nowadays, something circulates in the media that chips away more mental material from the already severely damaged viewpoint of humanity inside my brain. This time, it has to do with a group of people getting too close to a full-grown buffalo at Yellowstone National Park, and a 9-year-old girl coming away from a resulting incident as a new member of the lucky-to-be-alive club.

There’s a strong chance you’ve seen video from the debacle, but if not, just do an online search for “buffalo charges girl” (or something similar) and you’ll have no trouble finding it so you can behold yet another episode of “Common Sense is an Oxymoron for Morons.”

To set the stage, there were apparently a sizable number of people (like 50 or so) who spent something like 20 minutes within five to 10 feet of a particular bison that was grazing near a path in the park. Eventually, the huge animal became agitated and charged toward a family of three, finally zeroing in on the girl and tossing her high in the air like a rag doll as her not-heroic parents sprinted as fast as they could in the other direction.

Articles posted online about the incident indicated the family was “petting” the bison shortly before it got angry and reacted as any angry bison would. Once the animal went berserk, it was every man and woman for himself and herself, and the kid was left alone to deal with the furry titan. Not surprisingly, she was accosted by a buffalo’s head and ended up executing a complete midair flip before crashing hard against the surface of Wyoming.

Fortunately (and amazingly), the girl didn’t sustain any major injuries. But that surely wasn’t due to any daring and courageous actions put forth by her parents. Nope, for all I know, they kept running straight ahead until they found a restroom where they could clean their soiled underwear.

You might think such a circumstance was surreal to witness, but I didn’t feel that way. To me, it’s just another example of how incredibly ignorant and misguided so many people are becoming (or already are) as society spirals toward what is likely an undesirable destiny.

But let me stay with the subject.

In the park’s defense, officials point out that “wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild” (now there’s a statement that’s hard to argue with) and visitors are urged to stay at least 25 yards away from all large animals, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep and of course, bison. But wow, a group of 50 humans decided to hang out right next to a bison for quite a while. As I’m sure most people would agree, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea.

And wow, they managed to agitate the big beast? Ya think?

Heck, I’d probably get agitated, too, if there were that many folks smack in my grill for that long. But a bison? In my estimation, it was pretty gracious to wait so long before shooing away the silly bipeds. And I’m guessing these geniuses surrounding the buffalo were acting as if it came from a Build-a-Bison store in their local mall instead of treating like what it was: A massive, one-ton wild (and dangerous) animal living its life in its own territory.

Anyway, I believe we’ve reached a point when signs displaying well-known warnings like, “don’t feed the bears,” “beware of the dog,” and “high voltage” simply aren’t enough.

No, we’re now at a juncture in history when there probably needs to be highly visible warnings at all kinds of locations where humans will try inexplicably stupid stuff and end up in harm’s way, like signs at beaches that say, “don’t pet the sharks,” signs at subway stations that say, “don’t stand on the tracks,” and signs at lookout stations on the edges of deep canyons, tall cliffs and on top of skyscrapers that say, “don’t attempt to fly.”

But alas, I fear that no matter what is done to protect people from themselves, they will more and more frequently find ways to embrace pain and suffering (and even disaster) when other options are readily and easily available.

It doesn’t stand to reason, but that’s the point. Rationality, logic and good old common sense are rapidly falling out of favor in the equation of life, and there appears to be no way to avoid that.

FACT CHECK See inaccurate information in this story? Tell us here.

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