Squirrelgate; a Parable

County: You must kill the vermin, so sayeth the Law.

City: I do not want to kill them, they do no harm.

County: Do as I say, it is the Law. The law is backed by the words of the state and the memory of the state which goes back 1,000 years to the time of the great plague.

City Council: But they do no harm now. The plague is long past, a simple drop of serum cures the plague. It is no worse than an infection. These squirrels do not carry the plague. We can test for that. Now Serin gas, Anthrax and Dirty Bombs are our bane.

County: Do as I say or evil will befall you. This is our way; this is the Law. If you do not do as I say, you will be punished as per 116125. You need not kill all; save two or three so that they propagate and again bring joy to the people.

City: That makes no sense, for we will have to kill again and my people will not tolerate that. Besides 116125 carries no penalty for not obeying. The idea of killing sickens us.

County: Then you must harden you hearts and kill them in secret. One must be discriminative when obeying the Law. The people’s ire must not be raised lest they rise up and destroy you. Even if we cannot punish you for violation of 116125, we will come in and with swift sword kill them all ourselves.

City Council: But the Law is no good; our knowledge transcends the Law. Science says they can do no harm, and leaving only two or three is too harsh for it causes unnecessary suffering and robs the people of their joy.

County: The Law is good; the Law is just; the Law protects you from pestilence.

City Manager: Then we must kill the vermin no matter how much pain it causes for the Law says so. Let us think how to destroy them and assuage the anger of the people.

Staff: I know, let us invoke the Law and tell the people that if we do not kill, we will all be punished. The County will comes in and with swift poison kill all but three. But their sword is mighty and they do not discriminate, and others may be killed, Ney, even our children and pets. We will call it a Public Health Emergency.

Advisor: They cannot do this; there is a greater Law, the Federal Rodenticide Act which protects us from their will and their sword. And, Public Health Emergency is a phrase, a term, it is not real.

City Attorney: This may be true, but if we do not kill the vermin we are open to Liability.

City: What Liability?

City Attorney: Foolish ones, you do not understand the Law. Some day one of the vermin may have plague, or rabies, or crotch rot and give it to the people and they will lay us low for we have not protected them. We, the legal eagles, call this Liability. Liability protects enforcement of the Law.

City: Is that not far fetched?

City Attorney: Yes, but the threat is real, albeit very small.

City: Then we will kill no matter how much pain it inflicts on our hearts. The Law is clear. We cannot be punished for violation of 116125. The County cannot come in with swift sword. But still, there is Liability.

Mayor: Besides there are our precious cliffs. We must protect them by turning Swiss Cheese into Muenster.

City Attorney: Wink, wink.

City: You are our Counsel, we will not question your judgment, for you protect us from the folly of following the love for all creatures we have in our hearts.

City Attorney: Yes, it is good.

County: Yes it is good.

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