An update on the Bear Story from a couple of weeks ago, about the Colorado woman and the bear.
Now that Donna, the woman who was feeding them, is dead, sure enough: more bears are now invading town, breaking into houses far more than before to try to find food — Donna isn’t there to feed them, and what they now know is humans = food. Winter is coming, and they need to fatten up for hibernation; they’re ravenous.
Last week another of my friends had her place broken into; she has two teen daughters; one was home at the time, and came face to face with the unafraid bear.
The Family Weighs In
Today, one of Donna’s family members commented on my earlier blog post. She laments that the family has to deal with such a horrible way for her aunt to die, but acknowledges that she essentially agrees with the blog posts she has read. She even admits that last year, she stayed with her aunt for a month, and saw what was going on. Yet she didn’t do anything.
She did nothing even knowing how much danger her aunt was in; that danger became a reality, and her aunt is now dead. She did nothing to reduce the danger to the hundreds — thousands — of people who live in the roaming range of the bears: 35 miles for females, even wider for males.
Yeah, I feel sorry for the family, but they were part of the problem: they knew this was going on, and they chose to do nothing.
Yet I still understand it: who should have taken action? A niece? A daughter? A brother? It’s a big step to have a family member declared incompetent and forced to move out of their home and into (very expensive!) care. I can understand wanting someone else to take the lead — while this continued on for a decade….
(Update: After this was posted, Munson’s daughter also posted a comment.)
Enough Blame to Go Around
Some of the locals blame the state Department of Wildlife, who also knew for certain this was going on, but couldn’t get the proof needed for filing charges: Donna’s house was deep enough in wooded acreage that in order to see what was going on required them to be on her property, and she would not give them permission to be there, as the original story notes.
Perhaps they could have gotten a search warrant and raided the place, but really: what judge would grant such a warrant, knowing that the maximum fine for a first offense is (hold on to your hat!) $100? Sure, maybe DOW let us down, but even more so our state legislature, which isn’t being serious about penalties for the crime that will, in this extreme case, result in the destruction of three generations of bears.
Oh, It’ll Be OK
The bottom line, though, is everyone who knew Donna knew she was doing this. I know they didn’t want to “cause trouble” for her; they didn’t want to have to be “the” witness for the prosecution, getting on the stand to say “Yes: this is what she was doing.”
So everyone — wildlife officials, family, friends, neighbors — ended up looking the other way, so now Donna is dead, several bears are dead, other bears will be killed, a lot of damage is being done to people’s houses and property, and hundreds of people, adult and child, are at a much greater risk of being mauled or killed.
Everyone who had firsthand knowledge of what Donna was doing, but said nothing, must share her guilt. I live here, and now know about it; I’m not going to join that silence and be guilty too, even if that means I have to be one of the few to say it directly to Donna’s family members.
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