Can you murder a penguin? Really? The BBC news team seem to think so.
Penguin Murders Prompt Sniper Aid, proclaims the headline. I don’t generally enjoy falling back on dictionary definitions of things, but as my own understanding of the word murder generally involves human beings, I had to go see what consensus says. Consensus agrees. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.
I dislike anthropomorphism, but I understand why it happens. What really puzzled me about this story, though, was this sentence:
The main suspects are dogs and foxes.
Really? We’re treating penguins as murder victims and dogs and foxes as suspects? The national park has deployed snipers (that’s humans with guns) to shoot on sight any of the serial killers. I can only assume that penguins are cuter than dogs and foxes and not as numerous, and therefore not as disposable. I have no issue with interfering in the ‘natural order’ of things, but I do have an issue with painting dogs and foxes as some sort of evil-doers when they’re just doing what dogs and foxes do. As this is all taking place in Australia, I’m looking forward to the kangaroo court.
UPDATE: BBC NEWS HAS CHANGED THE HEADLINE FROM ‘MURDERS’ TO ‘DEATHS’. Presumably I wasn’t the only one to think their original melodrama was silly.