A chance encounter that didn't happen



It is 5:30 AM in Honolulu as I write this, and I've been up since 4.  With the 3 hour time difference between Utah and Hawaii, my brain will take a few days to adjust to the new rhythm of life, as well as the different photoperiod.

Oahu is made up of the remains of 2 massive shield volcanoes, the Waianae and the Koolau volcanoes.  The Koolau emerged from the ocean about 2.9 million years ago.  Later, half of the Koolau volcano collapsed into the ocean, in one of the largest landslides on the planet. When the volcano quit growing 2.1 million years ago, erosion took over as the dominant process shaping the land. 


Volcanoes making up Oahu
Apparently a third, older volcano was part of this formation process for Oahu, but it has submerged entirely.

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It's 70 degrees F this morning, with a bit of a breeze.  I'm wearing shorts, but it's cool enough that I'm wearing a fleece coat as well.  Since it is 19 degrees in Logan this morning, I am not complaining!  The flight yesterday was long and uneventful.  It took an hour to fly from Salt Lake City to Denver, and another 7 to fly to Honolulu.  The one weird event was that the person sitting next to me on the flight from DEN to HNL reminded me of someone.  It's not like I could turn and just stare at him, but over 7 hours I finally assured myself that it wasn't him.  

And the reason that this was weird?  He reminded me of a young man who was convicted in the slaughter of a number of Laysan albatross on the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve (on the maps above, the western most extension of Oahu). The event received national publicity.  There were other people involved in this ecstasy of killing, but this man was the only adult convicted.


Dead albatross with egg. 

There was a huge outcry over this slaughter.  The convicted man said in court that “I am ashamed of myself.” "He wishes he had the courage not to go along and understands why people are angry and disgusted" (Star Advertiser).

If this had been him sitting next to me, I'm not sure I would have tried to engage him in a conversation about it.  It would have been an awkward 7 hours.

Most people don't think about animal suffering as they eat their hamburger, Chick-fil-A sandwich, or beef jerky.  Why should a person care about 15 dead albatrosses at Kaena Point?  After all, the vast majority of people have never seen a Laysan albatross, and will never visit the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve.

Sometimes, there is a fine line between sadistic behavior and human survival, even when it comes to animal abuse.  Consider this "fish porn" case involving sharks compared to this essay on shark finning.  Of course, with the albatrosses, it is sadism all the way.

What do you think?  


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