Just this morning (Sunday) I booted up the computer to news of a huge car-bombing in Somalia. The number of people killed bounced upwards every time I clicked on a new website. It started at 100 on CNN and was up to “at least” 189 by the time I got to Slate.
It’s like the Somalians heard about the Vegas shooter and said to themselves, “Hey, we got the terrorist know-how to top that,” and fired up their car-bombs.
From large scale military actions to private massacres to basic domestic violence, human blood mists the air all over the world. On this AM of mayhem, however, a ray of hope beams at humanity, like a Bat Signal on the clouds of Gotham, and in the middle of that beacon is Timon, the Disney meerkat.
Because people are better than meerkats.
I refer you to the chart at the bottom of the page, the one in which meerkats lead the league. Of all the meerkats that die in the wild, nearly 20% are killed by other meerkats, making the meerkat murder rate the highest in the mammal kingdom.
Following the meerkats are five kinds of monkeys and lemurs, until the monotony is broken by the New Zealand sea lion, the only marine mammal represented in the top 30. Scientists are unable to determine what makes sea lions in New Zealand so mad for murder, while sea lions in other parts of the world co-exist in relative harmony. Is it the climate? The proximity to the southern pole? Or is it being exposed to Steinlager, the shitty national beer of that country?
Some of the animals on the list are well-known (lions, bears, wolves) while some needed extensive Googling. The caracal is a particularly badass-looking kitty, but the diademed sifaka is just another brand of frigging lemur. Sensing a trend, I didn’t bother researching the chacma baboon or the dama gazelle.
Yeah, gazelles. The African version of Bambi. They made the list.
Around the middle of the rankings is the California ground squirrel. These bloody-minded little fuckers scamper around my neighborhood constantly, but until I viewed the chart I did not realize that they were constantly psyching themselves up for squirrelcide. No wonder my dog hates them.
You’re thinking to yourselves “Humans probably just missed the list. We’re probably number thirty-one.” Think again. The percentage of humans killed by other humans is estimated at a paltry 1.2% of all human deaths. Hundreds of species are probably ahead of us, including every other kind of monkey or lemur or sea lion that exists.
Next comes the excuse-making. “We just don’t have efficient teeth and claws like the other mammals. If we could kill each other with just one bite or one swipe, we’d climb the charts.” I call bullshit. The reason we have small teeth, and claws that are far more suited for salons than for swiping is that we use tools. Many of those tools are easily adapted for murder. The big rock, the first tool, is still used today by some killers, although I don’t know if they realize they are paying homage to the original homicider (Cain, according to unconfirmed reports) when they do so. Later we developed air-to-ground missiles and attack submarines.
So, no waivers there. We just have to face the facts. We’re not as murderous as we fancy ourselves. It would suck for Hollywood if this news seeps out, but for the remainder of us, we can rest easy. Easier than the meerkats, anyway.
Until we realize that, unlike the other mammals, we have the gear and the know-how to bump that rate up to fifty, sixty, maybe close to a hundred-percent if they were ever used. Those other critters are mired at their current spots. Any day, we could leave them in the dust.
Of course, then, there’ll be no one left to make the chart.