What’s In a Name?

In a story posted online Tuesday evening, the L.A. Times reports that a mountain lion was shot and killed after wandering “into the heart of Santa Monica.”

“With news choppers circling overhead, Santa Monica police managed to corner the 3-year-old lion in the courtyard of the [office] complex. Police said they made several attempts to calm what they described as an aggressive feline using tranquilizing darts, nonlethal bullets and a fire hose. When that failed to stop the lion from trying to escape, a police officer fatally shot it.”

I wasn’t there, and I certainly don’t know the exact circumstances of the shooting. Nor do I claim to know when such situations do, in fact, call for lethal measures. (That said, I agree with commenter Corby Baumgarten: “I can’t imagine why the police thought firing nonlethal bullets and spraying a wild animal with a fire hose would calm it down. Have such tactics ever calmed any situation down?”)

What stopped me in my tracks as I read the story was, however, not the all-too-predictable outcome, but the way Santa Monica Police Lieutenant Robert Almada described it:

“A variety of means were used to try to keep the animal back in the courtyard… The animal continued to charge and attempted to flee. It was euthanized to protect the public safety.”

I’m sorry—euthanized? Read more