The New York Supreme Court has ruled that Happy, one of two remaining elephants at the Bronx Zoo, has no right to the protection of the writ of habeas corpus, as Happy is not a human.
Maybe she should incorporate.
The lawsuit arguing that Happy should be freed from the Bronx Zoo — pressed by the elephant’s supporters — made a critical error. Rather than insist Happy be released to wander the streets of NYC on her own like any homeless person might, they said they wanted to arrange for her to be transferred to an animal sanctuary. The judges’ decision, in part, was on the order of “Whoa there, Chester, you just admitted you don’t really want to free Happy; you just want to move her from one prison to another. That tells us you don’t think she has the rights of a human.” (They didn’t actually call all the litigants “Chester.”)
The chief judge also said that if they decided for Happy’s release, even to a sanctuary, that “would have an enormous destabilizing impact on modern society.” Really? Like what? Like in that Jurassic Park sequel where the dinosaurs get off the island? “Life finds a way” to do what? Elephants breeding in a sanctuary until they return to the Bronx to get revenge and rampage through the streets?
No, the dire consequences were to pet ownership. What if third parties could sue to take your service animal to farm in the hills? Havoc.
A dissenting judge in the ruling had the opportunity to say, “All can agree that an elephant is not a member of the homo sapiens species. At the same time, an elephant is not a desk chair or an earthworm,” so let’s get her to a better place, but the other judges decided she might as well be a desk chair. It’s better that elephants and service animals be desk chairs than letting just any Chester take them off to who knows where.
In related news, Congress and Biden agree that U.S. Supreme Court judges are sufficiently human to be protected from attacks on their homes. I know it seems unfair, since they’ve never extended that consideration to the rest of us. But hey, it’s the same deal Congress gives itself. More important people get better laws. At least the rest of us aren’t elephants or service animals, so we have that going for us.
Speaking of elephants, the Perseverance Mars rover spotted a shiny thing on the surface of Mars, so it appears humans have littered another planet. First we treat elephants like garbage, then we toss garbage around Mars like elephants.
In local news, Sound Transit wants to build another light rail station near the existing International District Station. They’re considering putting it either east of the current station, by Fifth Avenue South, or west, by Fourth Avenue South. The Fourth Avenue option would supposedly take up to six years and disrupt traffic on Fourth Avenue too much and for too long. The Fifth Avenue option would only take two and a half years, but disrupt the Chinatown / International District neighborhood, probably permanently ending many long-established businesses.
I’m watching all this closely. I live in the area just north of where the tracks would run under Fifth Avenue South, if that option were selected.
There’s a third option: extend the existing station downward and have passengers take elevators when transferring between the current tracks and the new tracks that would be below them. I don’t suppose this option will get considered because Mayor Bruce Harrell doesn’t like it. I personally think it would be way cool to have tracks above and below each other, accessed within one station. Seattle’s light rail would start looking sick, just like the New York City subway system. I could get a recording of the opening music of Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” to play in the depths of the resulting labyrinth. Bruce just wants to harsh my buzz.
The first time I ever saw “A Clockwork Orange” in a theater it was in Manhattan, and when I walked out of the theater I was greeted by such lewd graffiti I felt as if I were still in the world of the movie. What a fantastic memory. Bruce Harrell wants to deprive Seattle of the chance to create that kind of epic vibe.
He probably wouldn’t let elephants loose downtown either.
Read more of the Jun 22-28, 2022 issue.