For the Birds

The little one legged pidgin, known by some as the city’s peace dove, was hobbling along coming toward me as I was reaching into the bread sack on my scooter ready to feed her. Out of the blue came this nasty little child running, kicking, screaming toward the dove yelling, “Arggg’ I will get you!” His little gun finger was extended. He has a war-like look of hate on his face. The small bird was able to fly just over the basket of my buggy. I turned to the boy and said in a loud but steady voice, “Don’t chase the birds! Be kind!”

I feed the birds every day. I see these aggressive little people, ages anywhere from 3 to 12 years old, conducting themselves this way every day. As a retired teacher that taught gang kids in juvy, I wonder what are the parents teaching these kids, where are they? When did it got to be OK to kick these peaceful doves? I read the papers, surf the web, and see that the nation has done well to produce dove kickers. I see the connection between the aggression here at the Square and that seen in the battlefield. Far fetched? Maybe. Maybe not.

How does a child 3 years old get so war-like? We humans seem to be hardwired to be warriors and angels all at the same time. Confusing isn’t it? The other day a young woman was walking her dog in the park. The dog was on a leash but while I was feeding the doves, about 15 or so of them, she came running into the middle of the flock with her dog encouraging him to attack. I was so angry. I ask her what was she thinking. She said the dog liked to chase birds. She also pointed out it was fun and after all the dog was on a leash. She walked away on the phone, no other thought about the implications of her actions. She will probably be a mother some day.

Am I making a big deal out of pidgins in the park? Am I just an old lady in a scooter that feeds birds as recreation? Why get all that excited about it? Well, because it happens on a daily basis, the behavior is more and more aggressive, the people that chase, harass, scream at peaceful little birds are screaming a message to the world about a lot more than pidgins. Anger and fear pour out of them as they come running toward me on their way to the birds. I can feel it, I see it, I hear it, and I hate what it represents.

Gangs violence is escalating and the gang members are younger and younger. Could it be I am witnessing the next wave of gang members as I feed my beautiful peace doves in the park? Something to consider don’t you think?