Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Went to Heaven in a Little Rowboat

Have I mentioned in the last five minutes that I tend to be very conflicted about certain things.  Oh, I am sure that I did.

We love monkeys here at TAOBC but we recommend not
getting drunk and getting into a fight with one.
 It's not that I don't have strong opinions on numerous issues but there are so many things these days that have areas of gray.

 Just a few days ago, my alter-ego Crabby Pants reinvented herself for the umpteenth time now taking on the form of a Superhero that intends to find truth in the media, stamp-out overreaction and kick-the-sh** out of rampant rumor mills.  Just in the nick of time it would seem.

So for today..here at TAOBC, I am having my own little version of  Dateline.  The only thing that would make this more realistic if I could have the annoying voice of  Keith Morrison asking you to sign onto Facebook and weigh in if you think the alleged perpetrator did it.  Actually, as you will see...the monkey killer  did it...for sure..no question about it.   That not entirely the point.  The point is I have some questions and concerns. 

There is a criminal case in progress in Boise, Idaho that is gaining national exposure.  On  the outside chance you haven't been following it, it is being referred to by the unfortunate name "The Boise Monkey Killer". I am not making this up. Feel free to Google it. 

To catch you up to speed if you haven't been following this with bated breath.  (yes, I said bated...it is a derivative of the word "abated"...there is no such thing as "baited breath"....unless you are eating worms and going swimming in a fishy lake)

Thought Number One:  The Case of the Boise Monkey Killer

the remaining male Patas
Monkey at the zoo
OK back to the case...On November 17th, there was a break in at the Zoo Boise. The small zoo in Boise didn't have security cameras but a single watchman heard a noise and found an injured Patas monkey laying outside it's enclosure. (at the time of the break in the  zoo was home to two male Patas monkeys)  He saw two men running from the area. The  injured monkey was crated and taken to a vet where it later died.  (I know...very sad!!!)

Two days later, an arrest was made.  Michael Watkins, a 22 year old that had just had a new baby with his girlfriend, was in Boise having a night on the town with a friend. He got drunk....really drunk ...and had the brilliant idea to go see (or something) the monkeys at the zoo.  Here, again, the stories differ.  Some articles say he and his friend  just wanted to pet the monkeys, some versions say they were wanting to free the monkeys, still another version says they wanted pictures taken with the monkeys.   No matter what the intent was, when Watkins got into the monkey enclosure, the monkey started attacking him, biting into his arm and torso.  (Watkins did go to the emergency room with injuries)  According to Watkins, he picked up a branch and whacked the very angry, biting monkey in an effort to get it off of him. 

Initially Watkins was charged with grand theft and burglary. He was taken to jail and held.   On January 17th, during his first arraignment a third charge was added  of falsifying information to the police.  He is being held on $150,000 bond.  (Note: Watkins has had at least two previous misdemeanor charges dealing with a DUI and a drug possession....which has no bearing on this case but does probably weighs in on the public opinion)

His friend that had been with him has made statements to the police and  is not being charged.

If found guilty on the existing charges he is facing 25 years in jail and $56,000.00 in fines.

Thanks to the outpouring concern and the heightened outrage the community has donated $119,000 to build a new primate enclosure.  Another $100,000 is being given  from the city.  A zoo, Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York has donated two female Patas monkeys to keep the remaining male monkey company. (I could be wrong but I would think that the male monkey isn't as angry about how things have played out as others may be.)

Again, this doesn't change anything dealing with the crime but does compensate the zoo for the loss of one Patas monkey.

There are a lot...a whole lot of versions on how this crime happened but here are a few articles dealing with the crime.

The Fox News

U.S. News
The Idaho Statesman  (Jerry Watkins talks about his son)

Thought Number Two:  The Community's Outrage

This is where "the conflicted" part of today's post comes in.  Upon initially reading the stories and talking to people, including Kiddo #2 who lives in Boise, I am shocked to hear about the level of outrage resulting from this event. The comments that appear on social media and on online forums are such that most of them I wouldn't be able to put onto my PG 13 rated blog.  The nice ones are asking for Watkins to be crucified...yes on at least two of the comments I read, the word crucified was used.  Conversely, I looked up some of the actual human murder cases that have happened in Boise (there aren't all that many as it's a pretty safe place) and there doesn't seem to be the visceral reactions.    

 Don't get me wrong.  I am very much against the action of these men.  I am saddened  at the needless loss of the monkey. It is an equally sad situation for a young man's future. I believe there has been a crime and there needs to be consequences.....  This is where things tend to get a bit murky.  What are the appropriate consequences for a drunken prank that winds up with a  monkey dying???  Does 25 years seem logical?

 Here is a quote from the Associated Press that I think kind of sums up my point.

Julia Stroebel, who said she went to high school with Watkins in Fruitland, told The Associated Press that she is aware people who know the suspect are upset about the attack. However, she believes others also agree with her that level of outrage over the monkey's death is unfounded.
"We've had a couple murders happen in the area, brutal murders, in fact," Stroebel said. "They didn't get as much attention as a monkey dying. It seems sort of ridiculous."

In her efforts to cheer up Balls, Supercrabby is singing a little song.

Balls, this is a happy song. The monkey is going to heaven with his friends.

If you want to sing along but don't know the tune to this child's song

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Chubby Chatterbox said...

Can you imagine the outcry if this had been one of those extremely rare OZ flying monkeys that had been killed. I think those are on the endangered species list.

Cheryl P. said...

Holy Hell!!! if that was a flying OZ monkey there would be buses leaving for Idaho with a lot of Kansans ready to kick some butt. Can we say "tourism"??? I suspect flying Oz monkeys are considered endangered where Patas monkeys are not. Patas monkeys are the fastest monkeys on earth though. The little guy should of run...run like wind. The drunk kid would of never caught him.

All kidding aside...I have to feel sorry for the 22 year old's life to be defined by a drunk act of REALLY stupid behavior.

L.C. Griffith said...

People have lost their sense of perspective. Crucify him? Really? Jeesh! In my life I have bumped into more than a few monsters dressed as good solid citizens who should have been imprisoned for life for the hanky-panky they were up to but instead continue to live and thrive within the community, probably leading the villagers with torches lit and voices raised against the monkey killer and others like him. Such BS. Really!!!

Cheryl P. said...

I totally agree, There are so many examples of people that have done outrageous things and hardly got a slap on the wrist. Additionally when something does happen...and if the public responds to it in a negative way for whatever reason... it is fueled by social media. These combustive comments stir the pot and act as an accelerate to prompt people to lose all perspective.

iluvbeingagrandpa said...

His father said...."He graduated from Fruitland High School in 2008, where he was a championship wrestler." Well dammit, why didn't they just wrestle? What a tragic story on sooooo many levels....then again, I think some in Boise have their priorities out of wack...

Cheryl P. said...

There was definitely some wrestling going on and the monkey lost the match. I think people assume that monkeys are sweet little animals that wouldn't put up much of a fight but they are strong and mean when they are mad.

Really unfortunate mess. Boise, like all other cities have a massive public opinion polarizing their city on this one. From a PR point of view, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't...in terms of handling this.

Riot Kitty said...

I hate reading stuff like this. Anyone who hurts children or animals - they are reprehensible, as far as I'm concerned, because how are they to fight off attackers? And zoo animals are probably more trusting because of their frequent interactions with people. Yuck.

Cheryl P. said...

While a agree this guy absolutely needs to be charged and brought to justice but the idea that this man would spend 25 years in prison over a drunken act at 22 doesn't seem right either. I tend to nearly always side with the victim or the weaker but this one just seems out of whack. I think I would feel somewhat differently if he ever had the intent of hurting the monkey. Even the judicial system there is saying he didn't intend to do harm until the monkey starting biting him and he couldn't free himself. That's why this is a theft charge not a animal cruelty charge.

lisleman said...

"baited breath" - do gummy worms count?

A title of "The Clapping Song" sounds much better than "The Clap Song". I missed that song in my childhood but when I became a teenager my older brother did warn me about the clap.

I bet the reaction would be different if the animal killed was an alligator or snake. I think we relate better to monkeys. Cruelty to an animal should be punished but I agree that compared to harming a human it is different.

Cheryl P. said...

Baited with gummy worms does count.
Yes, whoever made that video should of titled it appropriately. It is the Clapping song due to the refrain of clapping and patting motions that the kids do along with the song.
I, also agree, if the animal that was killed was a python, I doubt that there would be quite the stack of charges and fines. I could be wrong. Horrible mess really. There are a lot of crimes that are horrible that don't come with the possibility of 25 years.

Jo-Anne said...

What happened to the monkey is sad and wrong but sometimes it amazes me how people react to such things, they even go over board or under react...........25yrs seems a bit overboard to me crucifing the guy is way over board.........but it happens all the time all over the world when a animal is harmed we get all worked up

Liggybee said...

I dunno...that is just SOOOO crazy! I don't agree with what the guy did either but I don't think that the punishment should be as severe as 25 years in prison. Definitely, he should be punished for breaking into the place and getting into the situation he got into in the first place, but I also feel that his punishment should include some form of compensation back to society so stunts like that are never repeated. I'd also have to know more details and hear more evidence though before I could say more...

Anyway, have a great week ahead, Cheryl...I didn't join this week's meme but maybe I'll be back next week! :)


Cheryl P. said...

You and I are very much on the same page. I am also concerned as to what else is going on here. I followed the motions that his court appointed attorney introduced at the arraignment and am shocked to see that no one is introducing that fact there was diminished capacity. No excuse for the crime but still it could be said he wasn't thinking clearly when the monkey started biting.

Because I know people in the area that can attend the trial, I will be curious what facts haven't been released. The charges don't seem to fit the crime exactly and the fines and possible jail time seems excessive.

I will catch up with you next week! Have a great week.

Cheryl P. said...

It is sad and I struggled with whether to even post about this but the legal issues of it are interesting. I truly find the whole thing sad. Sad for the needless death of an animal and sad that a 22 year old has screwed up his young life so badly.

And is it just me??? I always feel bad for the family of the person in trouble.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think people feel so much more strongly about violence against animals because animals (especially those in our care) are vulnerable, blameless and cannot speak for themselves.

Cheryl P. said...

That is a very insightful comment. I was shocked at the comments associated with some of the articles about this but you make a great point. People are reacting to how vulnerable an animal is against violence. This case is just so tragic for everyone involved. I am hopeful that when it goes to the jury that there is some measure of justice that gives some closure to everyone.

oldereyes said...

This is one of my pet peeves. I, too, love animals but animals are animals. We regularly hear of people going to jail for a few years for manslaughter, but this guy's going to get 25 for monkey slaughter. That's just wrong. We've lost our perspective in so many ways.

Lilly said...

Oh goodness, 25 years jail when people get a few years for murdering people? I do not get the legal system at all. sorry there are a lot of vulnerable people that get hurt by drunken idiots and never get justice. He did somethign stupid and I am sure there are ways that he can repay his debt to society without going to jail. That would be ridiculous. Shame I cant meet you for coffee. I have an altar ego called Crabby Pants too. Great post.

Cheryl P. said...

Yeh, I knew when I decided to post about this that I might come across as not being sympathetic to animals but like you, I really like animals and am not quite on board with the possible consequences that are connected to this case. Who knows, maybe cooler heads will prevail within a jury? Time will tell.

The real impetus that swayed me to write the post, was after reading some of the vitriolic comments. Whoah...I can't hardly believe people would put some of those thoughts down on paper...well onto a computer that is.

Cheryl P. said...

I think it would be wonderful to meet over coffee. Too bad we are on opposite sides of the planet. After reading your blog, I think you and I have some things in common, though.

Yes, there is so much disparity in how things are adjudicated. Here in Kansas City we just had a plea deal come through the news for a guy that killed his wife. He is going to serve 15 years. That didn't seem nearly enough. It will be interesting to see how a jury reacts to the crime in Boise.

In this day and age...I would be shocked if most people don't have an alter ego that is at least somewhat crabby.

Trina said...

While I can agree that a little public concern is warranted in this case, crucifying the guy is a bit much. I can see how a poorly though out drunken prank could go horribly wrong when it concerns wild animals with big teeth. We all know that monkeys are insanely strong and add a little panic and confusion on the monkeys part to the picture and I'll bet that poor drunken guy sobered up quick and was traumatized. I'm sure that sound insensitive to the monkeys out there, but crap happens and in this case I kinda blame the zoo for these two drunk guys being able to so easily access the monkeys.
25 year is a bit much, he'll probably get a fine, a reduced sentence or probation, and a lot of community service work. In any case they will do something to the guy to make a point that you are still held accountable for drunken pranks.

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
The fine for his behavior is a good punishment because it'll keep him on his toes because every time he makes that payment he'll remember his stupid actions. But 25 years? They're going to just put another 3 people on public assistance - him, his girl friend and their baby.
And further more, there are people out there convicted of killing people who face less time.
Really wouldn't want to be the judge in this case.

Cheryl P. said...

You always are the voice of reason. You should be a contract worker that is brought in when there are cases in which overreaction is running amuck. Can't you just imagine cops all over the world saying "Call in Trina...we need some common sense on this one!"
I totally agree with everything you said. This was a horrible drunken prank that went horribly wrong. Whatever Watkins intent was going in, it was quickly apparent he got himself into trouble with an angry wild animal.
No information (at least that I found) says when his trial date is. I think he will be serving time but I suspect much less than the charges currently state.

Cheryl P. said...

The public reaction on this one makes it a touchy case for all the legal eagles involved. I hope they get a jury that considers all the facts reasonably and comes up with a just sentence. As we have seen in the past sometimes juries get it wrong as well.

Wendy said...

I come out of my self inflicted naughty corner time, and you post this ! Seriously, the few of these posts I keep thinking Cheryl Cheryl, are you going mad- making these things up? But, sadly, no, I know every single one of these stories is not an urban myth, but true. I don't know where to begin. On the sad state that a monkey seems of more value than a human, otherwise, why is the penalty so high- when people do more horrific things to other humans with far less provocation and get community hours. Or the sadness I feel when young people drink and do terrible silly foolish and life changing events. However, Julia Stroebel certainly offers my thoughts as well, I don't think this particular act ought to be one with such serious ramifications. Hopefully there is a lawyer who will take it on to reaffirm the legal system's more rational perspective on pranks. I am not sure i dare to read this Friday's edition. Instead, I think I will reinstate myself back in my naughty corner for some quiet and common sense reflections on life.

Cheryl P. said...

No more naughty corner for you my friend. As mothers I am sure we innately feel sorry that this young person made a choice that may ultimately define his youth. I count my lucky stars that my children have never stayed very far off the path of right. (this makes a missing curfew or speeding ticket look like child's play)

It makes me so sad that when there are huge disparity in the way our laws are handled. Murderers plea down to very short sentences and other lesser crimes are dealt with over zealously. I remain hopeful that when a jury is paneled on this case that cooler heads will prevail.

As for Friday's column...I will try not to include anything that would make you overly sad. Sometimes people choices that get them in the headlines are just so odd they become funny.

Vapid Vixen said...

Oh man. If I got 25 years every time I managed to do something stupid while drunk...well, I wouldn't have any time left to get drunk.

Cheryl P. said...

First of all...let me say I love your name. Do you have a blog?

Yes, I am sure that a lot of people have said those words. Youth and alcohol doesn't always pair up well. In fact, I was talking to a friend of mine that said she and some others drunkenly decided to put a cow into a rival sorority house when they were in college. While in one of the sorority girl's bedrooms the cow gave birth to a calf. Luckily mama cow and baby survived. Better yet no one went to jail. I don't think they were even charged but did have to clean up the mess. Nothing like wiping up cow poo and other icky stuff to keep a person from repeating that stunt.

BTW...I am glad you aren't serving time for any ill thought out pranks.

Cheryl P. said...

You do have a blog and I just found it! Yay!

Vapid Vixen said...

Oh good night!!!!! Possibly excellent birth control for a few select sorority sisters? GAH!!!! And yes, I do have a blog. vapidvixen.com :)

Vapid Vixen said...

I'm glad you found it since I can't be counted on for help of any sort. I tried to reply. Something about sorority sisters and birth control but apparently I'm too much of a novice with this computer stuff to actually post said comment. *sigh* It's a hard knock life for me.

Cheryl P. said...

You did everything exactly right. The reason your comment didn't show up on my blog is that Disqus thought is was spam, Disqus thinks anything with a link in it is spam. (one of its many problems as of late)
But I saw your comment on my Google dashboard anyway. You are right as well about the cow incident. I am sure that was gross enough that the sorority girls thought twice about having babies anytime soon.

Bodaciousboomer said...

Although I treasure your muse; I'm skipping over today's posting. After the asshat and the toddler, I need a break from those substandard excuses for humanity or I'm gonna go buck wild on someone's ass.

Cheryl P. said...

Totally understand.

meleahrebeccah said...

"The only thing that would make this more realistic if I could have the annoying voice of Keith Morrison asking you to sign onto Facebook and weigh in if you think the alleged perpetrator did it."


And now I totally have HIS voice stuck in my head. Thanks a lot!

Hmmm…. Well I certainly think BOTH parties involved with that monkey ultimately dying should pay the damages and face whatever consequences. Like jail time and fines.

"What are the appropriate consequences for a drunken prank that winds up with a monkey dying??? Does 25 years seem logical?"

No. Actually. Not at all.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree there has to be consequences. Jail time and fines are probably warranted. It will be interesting to see how it plays out but I think there needs to be a little common sense applied as well.

meleahrebeccah said...


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