The Gift of Mercy

    While having on my morning coffee I came across an article in the Star Tribune (A Twin Cities newspaper) that gave me pause. It concerned wildlife and vehicles; specifically a mama duck trying to get her brood across Interstate 35W near the Twin Cities, MN while some heavy traffic was doing their best to avoid her. (Click on the link below to see the footage…with a happy ending.)

    Most of us do try and spare the innocent lives of wildlife that have wandered onto our roadways but the interesting part to me is there is a price to be paid for that mercy. ‘A driver who stopped for ducks potentially could face criminal charges’ was the word from Minnesota State Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Tiffani Nielson. I would imagine it would be based on the what transpired from the driver’s decision during the event such as damage to vehicles, injuries or death…that sort of thing, none of which should be taken lightly, except the vehicle damage. That is not on the table as far as I’m concerned since it doesn’t belong in the category of ‘life’. But criminal charges seems a bit….misplaced. What is our concept of a criminal? Drug dealers? Yes. Robbers and thieves? Sure. Murders and rapists? Definitely. Duck dodgers? I don’t think so.

    I plucked at my blueberry muffin and continued reading the article while in the back of my mind I am agreeing that one cannot always avoid striking a living creature when one is careening down the highway at seventy miles an hour, be that creature human or otherwise. The article goes on to explain that the State Troopers, while realizing the position is not kind nor popular, would like drivers to hit the ducks because, ‘A person getting injured outweighs the value of the ducks.’ It becomes ‘the value of a person versus the value of an animal or wildlife.’

Now, I’m not a fanatic. Really I’m not. Yet this statement did put a twist in my knickers, but not for the reason most would think.  We all understand self preservation, that inbred tool we use to keep ourselves, above all others, safe. It is not a noble one, but that is why we honor ‘heroes’, people who have made a decision that someone else was more important. But the statement does leave a door open and when it swings wide, where is the line drawn?

    Today Mama duck and her babies are expendable. (I personally find that unacceptable, to me no life is expendable.)  But as we disregard one life it becomes much easier to disregard another because we have made a determination that some lives are worth more than others. This is such a bad precedence to set on so many levels I’m not sure where I would start. It seems like it would be a far cry to go from hitting ducks to hitting an elderly person on the street but there are just a few steps to make. That is how the Holocaust came to fruition. It is how we turn a blind eye to the homeless. It is the beginning of how we teach ourselves we cannot be bothered with empathy for another because we are the one who matters. I find it a dangerous seed to plant.

    And again, I understand we cannot avoid hitting an innocent victim sometimes, but to say it’s alright, to encourage it (‘hit the ducks’) and to place a stiff payment on someone who chooses mercy is a bit unsettling to me. What is wrong with trying to ‘do no harm’? Why don’t we have  public awareness on that statement?

     Why don’t we simply try to teach that all life is precious?

I watched the video below and smiled at true Human behavior at work under the most difficult of circumstances. It renews my faith in Humanity.

    Take a moment to view the video and it becomes apparent people know what the right thing is to do. We do not need someone else to tell us what to choose. And once chosen, we certainly do not need to be punished for making a merciful decision.



You can view the video by going online to 

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