It’s quite comical when a person writes an opinion piece, or any piece for that matter, based on anecdotal evidence and hearsay, that accuses people of using anecdotal evidence and hearsay to wrongly instill fear in people about the dangers of wolves. This particular postulation appeared in the Juneau Empire and was written by Alex Simon, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alaska Southeast. He calls those who would concern themselves with the dangers of wildlife, and in this case wolves, knaves; a knave being a dishonest person, unprincipled and untrustworthy (Dictionary.com).

Certainly it is one thing to have an opinion, we all do, but when that opinion begins calling those with opposing thoughts dishonest people, well, that’s just plain…….dishonest. But this even goes beyond demonizing someone with an opinion. This author is calling all the scientists whose studies and research have educated those interested in learning about wolves and the dangers, both overt and hidden, knaves.

This writer subscribes to the theory that wolves dumped into “degraded eco-systems” is like Geritol for tired blood and invokes the works of “respected bear and wolf biologist, Paul Paquet”. This is convenient and fits nicely into the narrative of the wolf lover because Paquet was about the only human being alive on planet earth who disputed that Kenton Carnegie was killed by wolves in Saskatchewan a few years ago.

The author also gives himself away by suggesting that the mauling death by wolves of Candice Berner is only guessed at because there were no witnesses, what happened to Berner “may never be known”. So much for forensic science.

And an opinion piece attempting to downplay any credible danger to humans by wolves wouldn’t be complete without the application of the tired old standby of how your chances of being struck by lightning, blah, blah, blah. The author complains that his “knaves” are fearful of their pet dogs being attacked and/or killed by wolves and exemplifies his brilliant research data to prove them wrong.

Of course, the number of dogs that are killed by wolves is statistically insignificant. Automobile accidents, trapping accidents, and abuse and neglect by humans, are the major threats to the well-being of dogs.

That’s a great comparison being that I think there are a few more automobiles around than wolves, etc. etc. and please don’t leave out the cruelty of humans. After all, to the environmentalist the human is the cause of all things that disrupts their fantasy world. I was however, disappointed that we didn’t get to read how the chances are so much greater to be attacked and bitten by a domestic dog than a wolf – for those who can’t make the leap here, there are like 200,000,000 domestic dogs in America and 300,000,000 documented humans. Yup, that certainly increases one’s odds, especially when you consider that the majority of these dogs live in houses and sleep in better beds than humans do. They certainly eat better.

The author further incorrectly informs that, even though reports show that within the last handful of years, two people have died from wolf attacks, both accounts he disputes.

Alaska and Canada have both dealt with wolves for a long time. Where wolves live in these regions very, very few people do. Needless to say, it is a rare occurrence when we hear that wolves have attacked or killed a human. However, as wolf populations grow in Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 states and in the areas where there is a far greater concentration of human beings than in the remote areas to the North, we will hear more and more about wolf attacks.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Simon couldn’t do some research and discover such “knaves” as Will Graves, who spent several years in Russia researching years and years of documents to discover the deaths of thousand of people over the years from wolves. Or maybe if Mr. Simon talked with the “knave” Dr. Valerius Geist, one who shot down Paul Paquet’s notions about what happened to Kenton Carnegie, he could learn about the seven steps wolves go through before attacking a human. Or, he would learn from other “knave” scientists who have studied and taught us about echinococcus granulosus.

We are each entitled to our own opinions but to call people with opposing views and differing facts, a knave is elitist as well as ignorant. It’s a shame that an educated professor of sociology would be so biased and close-minded so as not to be interested in learning facts that run opposed to his personal narrative.

Tom Remington

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