A lot of local people are upset because last night someone used a chain saw to cut down a large white pine would stood on the highway median north of Duluth. Some people knew this as the honking tree because they would honk when they passed it returning to the area. Others knew it as Charlie's tree after a man who used to eat lunch beneath it and may have been responsible for the fact that it wasn't cut down when the highway was built in the 1960s.
There are currently 11 pages of comments on the newspaper's website--almost all sad and/or angry at first, but then as the day wore on many people felt the need to insult the people who cared about a tree, and stand up for private property, Richard Nixon (seriously, even though no one had mentioned him), and the human right to do anything it wants with the world. One suggested in fractured English that tree worshippers should be shot and claimed he was serious. As often happens, the newspaper's website is having problems and I can't get to the comments to give you an exact quote right now. It's always amusing to see what they'll post since being taken over by right-wingers from Fargo.
Nowhere was there a comment about the effects on any wildlife which may have used the tree; I think there may have been a couple about the tree's (non-monetary) value as a tree and part of the world rather than just as a symbol in human ritual or history.
Is the cutting of this tree on public property actually any more heinous than the legal cutting of the trees I've mourned a block away or just across the alleyway? Is the unnecessary killing of this tree worse than the unnecessary killing of deer or cattle because a human feels like eating one? Oh, and the circus is in town this weekend, speaking of unnecessary animal abuse. Ultimately, it's the notion that anyone can own a tree or an animal which causes far more harm to human society and the world than the cutting of this particular tree.
I'm feeling rather swinish; how about you?
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