Human Planet or Animal Planet?

The lioness stalks her prey. Slowly but surely, eyes locked on target until the right moment. Then, she springs into action, muscles pumping as she leaps and takes hold of the flank dragging it down…

The birds lounge casually, leisurely looking for insects and scraps in the sand when suddenly a large eagle swoops down…

The woman walks down the street…

How does that sentence end? It’s so easy to finish all of the other stories. The lion will tear her prey to shreds devouring and sharing the scraps amongst her pack. The birds have lost a chick, but they will lay more eggs and the eagle will thrive and survive on a hearty meal. The predator and the prey is a story long told and unforgotten.

But, the woman…

I would have said she didn’t belong in the same series. That somehow she was different from the others. I mean, humans don’t just get eaten, picked off  one by one, and we certainly don’t hunt others…or do we?

The other day I was watching The Discovery Channel with my fiancé. In a moment of conversation I asked him if he could imagine living like that – having an eagle swoop down, having a lion pounce- always on alert, always waiting to be attacked. What if we always had to worry about being eaten? He simply  laughed and said,  but don’t we.

Because that woman, the more and more I think about it isn’t really safe. There are too many ‘predators’ up and about in her world. Physically she could be kidnapped, trafficked, raped, stalked, assaulted. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Her rights can be stripped away, her reputation defamed, her success belittled, and her trust betrayed. She could be jobless, homeless, penniless, robbed of everything. So, after all of that- how much different are we really?

I don’t worry about being eaten, but there is so much more to worry about from the hands and decisions of other people. The dangerous people. The richer people. The bigger people. The more powerful people. The blissfully ignorant people.

And I can’t help but think that we should be better than that.

I would hope that out of all the things we can do: the talking, standing, improved dexterity, movable thumbs, ability to create tools and use fire, etc. I would hope that we would at least try to treat each other better. Because if we don’t-I mean if we sincerely lack the ability and motivation to treat other people better, then what’s the point of being human?

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