Anthony Marr’s CARE-7 tour blog #26
DC, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts
The 2010 Animal Rights National Conference in DC (AR2010, see http://www.ARConference.org) was without a doubt the high point of the year thus far, for me and for my 40-states-in-7-months Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #7 (CARE-7).
It would certainly be a hard act to follow for the rest of the year, and the rest of the tour. But miracles can happen, and they do, in the world as in life.
The last 10 days of July was a decompression period, from both the high-powered conference as well as the go-go-go schedule of the tour up to this point. The first thing I did after the conference, while I was still in Washington DC, was to visit the Smithsonian Institution with Catherine Garneau, with whom I share a passion in Paleontology and Anthropology.
Since she had only one day left before going to Pittsburgh to spend some time with her mother, we concentrated on the Museum of Natural History. And it met our expectations and more.
Within those walls is over one billion years’ worth of evolution, from unicellular organisms to multicellular lifeforms, via the fishes, which gave rise to the amphibians, which in turn gave rise to the reptiles, which in turn gave rise to the mammals and the dinosaurs, the latter in turn gave rise to the birds before being exterminated by an asteroid 64 million years ago, which allowed the mammals to proliferate, which eventually gave rise to our species Homo Sapiens.
I have always considered understanding our origin a necessary step to understanding our nature and our fate and our destiny.
It was a great pleasure to see Catherine seriously and meticulously taking pictures of whatever captured her fascination, and a great pleasure doing so myself.
On top of the subject matter itself, we were fascinated to see not only the presence but the prevalence of “orbs” in most of the pictures, as we were when we first saw an “orb” in the picture of Catherine in a graveyard near Plainfield, NJ, which I took when, late one evening, we were returning to Steve Ember’s place after a late dinner with Carol Davis and Michael Jessie. There was even one in the picture Showing Alex Hershaft presenting to me the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award at the AR2010 Conference.
To this day, as a lay physicist, I have not determined what an “orb” really is.
In writing about the Smithsonian, my only reservation is the elephant exhibit dominating the rotunda. My research has revealed that he was killed by the Hungarian “big-game” hunter Josef J. Fénykövi in Angola in 1955. I have deliberated on whether to exclude its picture from this blog. I have decided on including it, because even in death this amazing creature at once commands awe with his magnificence, which inspires reverence for those elephants still living in the wild today. I do not want to bury him under the substrate of ideology. I do not want him to die in vain. I have a few words to say to Mr. Fénykövi, if he is still alive, and more than a few words to the serial-killing trophy hunters of today.
The next day, I drove Catherine from DC to Pittsburgh. Somewhere along the way, we caught up with an 18-wheeled animal transporter stuffed full of pigs destined for slaughter. It so happened that the mammoth monster pulled into a rest stop and its driver went into the food court. This gave us the time and opportunity to photograph the vehicle as well as its unfortunate contents. It was a heart-breaking experience, to look into the eyes of these sentient beings, knowing that they would be dead same time the next day, some dunked into boiling water alive. The fact that they are likely unaware of this dreadful fate makes it all the more poignant for us, because it makes this a clear case of the evil taking lethal advantage of the innocent, no better in essence than the Nazis herding children to the gas chamber, telling them that it was a shower house.
I visited with Catherine’s mother Patricia for a couple of hours, and she lovingly gave me a care package comprising four bags of vegan cookies for my drive back to New Jersey and the days ahead. And they came in as a comfort to me when I had my mishap on the highway. While zipping along at 70-mph on I-76, approaching the town of Bedford, my left front tire ran over something sharp on the road surface, which caused it to catastrophically deflate. After I had brought the Green Hornet safely on to the shoulder of the highway, the side walls of the tire had been shredded. Good thing I had my cell phone (donated by Steve Kaufman) and AAA card with me. Two hours, $110 and half a bag of vegan cookies later, I was back on the road again, and finally arrived back at Steve Embers place just before midnight.
On July 30, I moved over to GAHC co-VP Caroline Tirrel’s semi-rural residence in New York, there to enjoy her deer friends who frequent her backyard from dusk till dawn.
She has names for each and every one of the bucks – Prince, White Shadow, Nephesh, among others. White Shadow had gone missing for a couple of weeks, and on the second day of my arrival, much to Caroline’s relief, reappeared, but much to her concern, with one whole branch of his right antler torn off, leaving a black, tarry substance congealed on the right side of his face. But her main concern is for Prince, a majestic male with an 8-point rack of antlers, then still in velvet.
“He won’t last this upcoming hunting season. The hunters will kill him for his beauty,” she said more than once, always on the point of tears. Every year, she has cried her heart out over her dearly beloved deer friends killed by the hunters. Each time, she said that she wanted to move away from this heart-breaking place, but every time, she said that she could not bear to leave her friends. And every time, it fills me to overflow with an impotent rage, which on the other hand always makes more potent my determination to defeat the hunters.
While Catherine, Caroline and I were conferring on our evening skype sessions, I found myself going outside repeatedly to see the deer and photograph them by night flash. Just as amazingly as in the graveyard and the museum, I’ve found many a picture showing “orbs” surrounding these noble creatures. In a pair of pictures focused on Nephesh – the one with the broken leg – taken but 5 seconds apart on a still and windless night, one was full of “orbs” and the other one was totally devoid of them, which settled in my mind that they are not just dust particles reflecting the light from the flash, or condensation on the lens, as some skeptics have contended. Still, I do not know what they are.
Speaking of pictures, Caroline made a video with those Catherine and I took at the rest stop, featuring prominently the one showing the blue-eye of a pig staring uncomprehendingly out a porthole of the slaughter-house-bound transporter. We decided to used The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” as the background audio. The result was a powerful video which by now has been circulated far and wide throughout the AR community, which won Catherine over 500 new friends in Facebook within days.
On August 4, Wednesday, I drove over to my long time friend Natalie J’s home in Greenwich, CT, a small piece of paradise on Earth with it’s own semi-private lake sustaining flocks of Mallard ducks and Canada geese.
As Caroline is haunted by the spirit of the deer, so is Natalie. She has fought City Hall and the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) about urban deer culling and hunting for years. She has spent her own money conducting a professional scientific deer count to refute the overblown numbers by the prohunting government, the results of which being summarily dismissed, although conducted by the DEP itself and by the same wildlife biologist. Once, she had gathered over a thousand signatures on another protest, which were ignored, when the mere 300 counter-signatures by hunters were given priority. Actually, neither was accepted. The DEP stated, when presented with both petitions, that neither was acceptable because “the number of signatures don’t count”, which, in essence, was discounting the 1,300 signatures in Natalie’s petition which represented the vast majority. She said to me, “The other day, I saw a doe with two spotted fawns. Come mid-September, she will likely be killed, and the fawns won’t survive. And the hunters will say, ‘Look how emaciated these young deer are, which proves that they have wiped out the environment.'” She is haunted further by the fate of her beloved Canada geese, some 170,000 of them being slated for slaughter as of some time in September in nearby New York. And her compassion envelopes the cats and dogs. When you walk into Natalie’s house, which would strike you as being well appointed and immaculate, you would not guess that it is a sanctuary and half-way house for some 70 cats, and a dog. She seems busy all day long looking after them, and shelling out $1,000-$2,000 per month in regular maintenance, not counting extraneous vet bills, only part of which beinbg covered by donations. Her friend Lynn G. does about the same.
On August 5, Thursday, Natalie drove me to the Round Hill Community Church for my lecture, and I was given the pulpit itself by the pastor for my “sermon”.
One of those who attended, I was told, was the famous Connecticut anti-hunting activist Greer Ashton. Professional videographer Michael Chait was there, who recorded the entire speech together with the post-speech Q&A. The HD-video is now up in Vimeo, and has also been shared on numerous sites and blogs.
On August 7, Saturday, I drove to New Haven, CT, and gave a talk in the paleontology building at Yale University, hosted by Vicki Yarborough-Fitzgerald, who works in Yale’s famous Peabody Museum, at whose residence I stayed several nights.
Before the talk, she took me and several others, including her husband Matt Fitzgerald, for a tour of her lab. Paleontology is one of the most fascinating fields, but judging by what Vicki has shown us, the work itself is no picnic, in the lab or in the field, and certainly nothing quite as breezy as what is portrayed to the public in Jurassic Park.
On August 8, Sunday, I drove up to Sherborn, Massachusetts, to deliver a lecture hosted by Dot Walsh and Judith Pruett-Prentice at the Peace Abbey, a place for spiritual renewal and non-violent activism, near the gate of which stood an 8′ bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Unfortunately, the talk was somewhat usurped by a natural phenomenon – the Monarch butterfly migration – to which I humbly submit. But Louise Coleman, Director of Greyhound Friends Inc., who was present at the talk, has volunteered to promote my upcoming lecture on August 22, Sunday, at the Maple Farm Sanctuary in Mendon, MA, only a half-hour’s drive from Sherborn.
On the libel and slander front, Catherine had a direct conversation with the director of a group in Cincinnati, Ohio, who is a recipient of one of Anthony Damiano’s defaming mass emails titled “Beware of Anthony Marr”, which painted me as being physically violent, the issuer of death threats and a sexual predator, warning her to not let me near any women, herself included, for their own safety. She was so disturbed that she was going to cancel my speaking engagement scheduled for September. Only Catherine’s sincere and substantial rebuttal saved the day. Meanwhile, just five days ago, Damiano posted in a public site (see http://www.telonu.com/reviews/anthony-damiano?nt=30669&type=Tells) the following message: “Anthony Marr has absolutely no class. He has lied repeatedly about other groups. He is against Paul Watson/Sea Shepherd as well as many other groups. Don’t listen to what he says. He is a fake, a charlatan and a liar. He thinks aliens have chosen him to save the world by driving around the country, burning gasoline and speaking about global warming. He is an idiot. Don’t listen to him.” Most if not all the comments in his support were written by Damiano himself under various aliases. I have also been informed by others that he told them I once said that Marla Stormwolf-Patty was “a prostitute”, and that “she looked familiar” to me – a new fabrication of his, the implication of which being clear, and hideous. He also characterized Catherine as being “dead hearted”, whereas she has one of the most compassionate hearts I’ve felt on the entire planet. All these and more we have been providing to our attorney, who has since accumulated a sizable folder full of libelous, slanderous and defamatory material. This is why we smile at such self-incriminating ammunition provided so recklessly and foolishly to us by this not too intelligent and grossly unworthy adversary.
In the next two months, We have set up speaking engagements and other events in Boston MA, Albany NY, Troy NY, Rochester NY, Cleveland OH (2), Dayton OH, Cincinnati OH, Indianapolis IN, Chicago IL, Madison WI, Milwaukee WI, among others, and more to come in other states as MO, KS, CO, and UT. Please stay tuned.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
http://www.facebook.com (search for “Anthony Marr Heal Our Planet Earth”)