Saturday, July 3 2004

It’s just so… French

This story leaves me gasping for breath:

Norwegian authorities have fined a French tour guide nearly $1,500 for shooting a curious polar bear in the foot.

Officials later had to kill the animal, part of a protected species, the newspaper Aftenposten said.

The drama took place last month when the tour guide and her group of six tourists were waiting for a boat to pick them up at Van Mijenfjord after a land excursion.

A male polar bear suddenly appeared and started roaming toward them. The guide urged her group to run toward a nearby wooden structure but the bear followed.

The guide feared she would not have time to reload after a warning shot, so she wounded the bear in the foot. He hobbled away. Officials said she should have used emergency flares or other devices available to her to scare off the bear.

She was fined $1,436.

I’m surprised she didn’t surrender. Okay, cheap shot. What I’m really surprised about is that the moron survived. Let’s have a pop quiz. You’ve just been confronted by a giant carnivore that does not appear actively hostile. Do you: A) kill the bear, B) back away slowly and calmly while preparing to kill the bear if it charges, C) fire a warning shot to scare the bear away, D) panic and run, E) shoot the bear in the foot, or F) both D and E.

Perhaps the most curious line from the story is this one: The guide feared she would not have time to reload after a warning shot. So, she either had the wrong weapon for bear country or simply wasn’t competent with the right one, and because of this, she chose to wound a goddamn polar bear. Forget fining the nitwit, just ship her to grizzly country and let Ma Nature finish her off.