I'm not terribly afraid of these cats for myself, we've had them in the neighborhood before, but I do worry about my little dogs. Though Tess is a lot bigger now, these photos are a week old.
Lions will stalk you even if you have several big dogs. These guys are nice bite size snacks. My yard is not conducive to a lion attack for many reasons (very small, lots of fences within fences) but still, a lion could absolutely snatch them up if it wanted to. So they're not allowed in the yard without a human chaperone and I have some long handled garden tools handy. As well as my own walking stick, a nice lightweight pole with a pointy end that I got for snowshoeing. Jonny thinks I'm overreacting and I think he's got that thing of underestimating risk, perhaps called 'optimism bias'? I forget the technical term and where specifically I've read about it, maybe Daniel Kahneman or Nassim Taleb or both of them. Or neither of them. I blame my inability to remember this sort of thing on the vastness of the internets and Too Much Information All The Time. Anyway, it's a thing, that in general we overestimate how safe we are. My simple risk analysis says the cost of carrying a lightweight hiking pole is very small vs the benefit of having it if I run into a Big Kitty, especially since there have been numerous sightings on all the routes I walk with the dogs. Plus the peace of mind of having it, I feel a lot less vulnerable, especially knowing that the cat was scared of my neighbor's stick. It's also handy to keep Tess safe from loose dogs though thankfully that's not been a problem this week.
We're still playing in the yard and going on walks and I'm not scared but I am vigilant, walking softly, carrying my big stick.
Which could also come in handy against predator #2, an SVP or 'Sexually Violent Predator' who has taken up residence at the Boulder Homeless Shelter, a mile away from me. Sexually Violent Predators are different from regular garden variety Sex Offenders. 'Sexually Violent Predator' is a designation given by judges or the parole board to certain sex offenders who exhibit personality traits authorities contend make them likely to commit further offenses, according to the Daily Camera, our local newspaper. A local cop referred to him as, 'a really bad dude'. His crimes? Also according to the Camera:
In 2000, Lawyer kidnapped a Boulder woman who was delivering newspapers at the Gold Run apartments, forced her into her vehicle and taped her eyes and mouth shut. Lawyer drove the woman to another location, raped her for more than an hour at gunpoint and attempted to make casual conversation afterward.
The day before the rape, Lawyer forced his way into a University Hill home and attempted to rape another woman, police said. That woman was injured, but managed to escape.
Frankly, he should be spending the rest of his days in prison if we took violence against women seriously in this country. But his mommy is rich and well connected with ties to the parole board so, yeah, he's out on parole with nowhere to go. Because mommy's equally rich neighbors would not stand for a psychopath in their tony neighborhood and threatened to get the HOA to vote in a rule that says no psychopaths allowed, thank you very much. Mommy's house is up for sale. And she lost her position that gave her access to the parole board.
Mr. Psycho then tried to move to a small, isolated mountain town above Boulder and the parole board said Nay Nay to that because no cell service and 40 minute police response time and lots of hiking trails for him to hunt on didn't sound like a good plan. Not sure why releasing him at all sounded like a good plan but here we are with a Psycho and nowhere for him to go.
Except the Boulder Homeless Shelter which apparently has some 'parole beds' and takes in these SVP's. My wealthy neighbors are not happy about this and frankly neither am I. This isn't good for the surrounding neighborhoods or the other non-violent folks in the Homeless Shelter, especially women. Plus the Homeless Shelter is right next to a strip club. Genius.
Personally I'm less worried about Mr. Psycho than I am about Ms. Mountain Lion. Because for once Too Many People works in my favor. It seems unlikely that he would stroll into a neighborhood or onto a trail (violations of his parole) with so many people around and so many aware of him. He is allowed at the grocery store but it's so crowded and everybody with their cell phones. Problem is I've already spotted 2 people that looked like him but weren't. Gotta feel sorry for all the 40 something bald guys with stubbly beards out there. Lots of very very upset Boulderites, not sure how long he'll stay here and it sounds like the community is putting pressure on the homeless shelter to stop accepting SVP's. I think it's the only one in the state that takes them in.
Now on the other hand, the histrionics of some people in this debate . . . I joined the Nextdoor site a few months ago to get info. about a wildfire and wow, it is both disturbing and entertaining. My next door neighbor is not particularly bright, very wealthy, self-centered, arrogant and anti-government tea party type wingnut. He was on there raving about how we need to 'blow up the homeless shelter and move it far far away'. And no I'm not taking this out of context. He was also ranting about outlawing panhandling because like many Libertarians he's all for his own personal rights but not for those of others. The homeless shelter was established in 1987 and my not so much a candidate for Mensa neighbor moved in in 2007. Now you would think that if you have a problem with homeless shelters that maybe you should pick a different neighborhood. He doesn't have a job here, 'works' from home, or whatever he does. Because however wealthy and overbuilt the area around the shelter becomes, it's not going anywhere, and this town does need a place for the truly needy to go. The shelter was established because a homeless veteran froze to death on the streets of Boulder. Back then the shelter was established on the outskirts of town but now with the onslaught Too Many People and Too Much Development the shelter is surrounded by shiny new homes and wealthy transplants and friction is inevitable. Boulder has a big and complex homeless problem, not sure how to solve that but blowing up the homeless shelter is not the solution.
But the SVPs, they have to go. Maybe if the parole board runs out of places to send them they'll either stop releasing them so easily and/or give them harsher sentences. In the meantime I have my pointy stick and two guard dogs.
Phew, I need more pictures of puppies after all that.
Ruby can finally fit underneath
Though Tess is certain she can still fit under Ruby
Phew, next time updates on Tess' progress. And Ruby started agility class!