A 72-year-old woman has been released from the hospital after getting gored by a buffalo at Yellowstone National Park. She had been camping, saw the buffalo grazing nearby and decided to take a picture, a few pictures. She managed to get within 10 feet of the wild animal before its patience expired and it charged. She’s lucky to be alive.
She was obviously courting danger. Who knows why? Even camera phones have zoom capabilities.
On one of my trips up Elk Mountain at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, I emerged from the narrowed trail through the trees leading to the bare top. Hitting the open air, I noticed an old loner buffalo grazing beside the rocky outcrop to my left. I eased on past. Howsoever, when I started my descent, he had managed to plop down right smack at the entrance to the trail. No way around him; certainly not going through him.
So, I headed down through the briers and the brambles and the places where a rabbit couldn’t go. Scratched, sweaty and frustrated, I finally intersected the trail and got on down the mountain.
See danger. Avoid danger. Makes sense to most people.
Maybe the problem with the coronavirus is that it’s too small to see with the naked eye. That, and the inability of some people to process facts.
The weekend before this past holiday weekend, Duncan held four large outdoor gatherings. A Love Wins barbecue brought citizens and elected officials out in force. Any mask wearers failed to make the photos and video. Those getting the air time were shoulder-to-shoulder and having a great time.
Two other gatherings honored the tragic loss of young lives.
At one, according to Andy Morphew of The Duncan Banner, “a host of Duncan Demons and members of the community packed one side of the stands” at Halliburton Stadium.
The other was a car show at a local park. Again, those pictured were unmasked.
And for good measure, Morphew reported “Even with COVID-19 present, the 6th annual Stampede the Trail hosted its biggest event to date with 171 participants through the half marathon, 5K and Kids run.” Those gathered at the starting line were as unmasked and bunched together as you would expect competitive runners to be.
This event was under the aegis of the Duncan Regional Health Foundation, whose executive director praised “our best turnout,” citing participants from Texas Arkansas, Michigan and Missouri.
All four of those states – and Oklahoma! – have been experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases for the past weeks. Texas, as lax as Oklahoma at the outset of the outbreak, has become a raging wildfire of infection.
Duncan turned out in force for worthy causes. Two raised money to help others, two honored young lives and the other sought to unite the community.
And many people at each event ignored a pandemic that has killed more than 131,000 people and is setting new records for exposure in more than half the states on a daily basis.
Unlike some of us, the coronavirus is non-judgmental. It doesn’t care if you’re supporting the president [right, Herman Cain?] or supporting Black Lives Matter [Birmingham] or just hanging out in a bar with friends [Michigan]. Its mission is to spread itself as widely as possible.
And the consequences are deadly.
I’ve often said that, while I’ve never seen a rattlesnake in the wild, I don’t know how many have seen me.
Just because we can’t see the coronavirus doesn’t mean that we are safe.