There is an aching sickness in my soul no earthly medicine can cure. I want to vomit, and I cannot sleep. I lie awake at night, staring into the darkness, and the scenes of horror flash through my mind. I can imagine I hear their voices, their screams, underwater… water turning crimson with their blood. Above the water, I hear the callous laughter of the heartless murderers who call themselves fishermen. They fished out the waters, and then when their catch dried up they chose to blame the dolphins, so they killed them, and then they found the dolphins were worth more than the fish themselves, so they stopped catching fish and started catching the dolphins instead. And the ones they could not sell to the hundreds of dolphinariums springing up across Asia, they butchered and fed to the children of Japan as lunch meat, even though their flesh was poisoned with mercury and a toxic brew of chemicals dumped into the dolphins’ home by unregulated industries that didn’t give a damn.
They swim in the ocean, so they’re just fish, right? And what do the murderers call this abomination? “Tradition.”
These were the kind of thoughts that fueled what I now recognize was a nervous breakdown over the weekend. When I saw that little albino dolphin the Taiji fishermen caught, the one Paul Watson has dubbed “Shuojo” (“Bambi” in Japanese) and everybody else is calling “Angel,” something inside me changed. It didn’t feel like I “snapped,” but more like I had irretrievably bent under the influence of a thousand tiny blows. My intense grief and sadness turned into a cold, murderous rage, and I began plotting serious violence at the Japanese Consulate in Miami. Please understand that although I have the emotional stability of nitroglycerine, I do not consider myself a violent or dangerous man. I do not own any firearms, but if I did – and I was planning to acquire them – I would have been headed for Miami.
In my mind, I became the hero of my own action movie. I justified my blood-lust by telling myself I was single-handedly and unilaterally declaring war on the government of Japan, which issues the permits for the dolphin hunts. I was figuring out how to overcome the security at the consulate, and I was ready to injure or kill anybody I had to to achieve my goal, which was killing Shinji Nagashima, the consul. My reasoning for this was purely economic: I believed the Japanese would quit hunting dolphins only if the cost became too high. Literally, I was planning to raise the cost of a dead dolphin to an unacceptable level on a pile of human bodies.
If I say that Japan is a racist and xenophobic culture, does that make me a racist, or am I just stating plain facts? The Taiji fishermen, who play the “poor me” card, drive sports cars and luxury SUV’s on the money they’ve made ripping baby dolphins from their mothers and selling them around the world. As Ric O’Barry found out when he investigated a history of Taiji at the local library, there were NO DOLPHIN DRIVE HUNTS BEFORE 1933, and they weren’t conducted on a regular basis until the 1970′s, when the growing demand for captive dolphins spurred the captures. The captured dolphins weren’t being killed for meat until the 1980′s.
But fortunately, on Tuesday morning, something somebody said to me on FaceBook shocked me out of my rage, and I collapsed in tears. Good thing I have a compassionate dolphin-loving friend nearby, Cay, who listened to my story and gave me some counseling. Here’s why: Japan is in the grips of an ultra-right-wing government, the Nationalists, who have allied themselves with the whale hunters and dolphin-killers. The Nationalists claim this is all “traditional” brutality and besides, they say it’s no worse than what happens in a slaughterhouse. As anybody who has seen the videos live streamed from the cove by Sea Shepherd, it is not only worse, it is much worse.
But even if it was done “humanely,” the killing of dolphins is unacceptable because they are self-aware beings, able to recognize themselves in a mirror. Basically, to me, dolphins are people, capturing them is slavery and killing them is murder. Next week, I am going to talk to a professional counselor about this mood disorder and what might be done about it. Frankly, I frightened myself, and I don’t want a repeat of this to happen no matter what the provocation. If you find you’re having similar thoughts to mine, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will try to talk you out of it.