Earlier today I read that brave and selfless police officers shot and killed a mountain lion who had the audacity to wander the streets of downtown Berkeley, California.
Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, the Berkeley Police Department’s public information officer, was quoted as saying, “Despite the sensitive nature of this event, we feel confident about the actions taken by the BPD Officers considering the totality of the events, when considering the densely populated area in which the animal was in, the homeless that sleep in the area, the overnight employees who clean businesses and the like, the adjacent schools and the northern Shattuck corridor. BPD believed that this Mountain Lion posed a significant public safety threat. BPD officers who have to dispatch animals find it challenging, but it is part of our duty to protect the community.”
I was so overcome with relief that I collapsed. I came to a few minutes later in a froth of sweat, jumped to my feet, and found comfort in my familiar surroundings — surroundings, though, that seemed no more real than those I’d been transported to in a remarkably vivid dream moments earlier.
In this extraordinary vision, I found myself at Chez Panisse in downtown Berkeley, California. At an adjacent table sat a pride of mountain lions.
They were passing a still-beating human heart, taking turns imbibing its rich, warm yield through a crazy straw. A waiter then delivered their meal. They’d ordered the special: Officer of the Day. One by one, they took turns dipping a claw or two into a steaming human skull and savoring the underdeveloped brain that one of the lions described as “tasting a bit like veal” but having the “texture of Jell-O.”
I now find myself even more appreciative of the services and protection the Berkeley Police Department provides the fine residents of that celebrated locale. It is comforting to know that such macho, trigger-happy cowboys still exist.