Saturday, February 27, 2010

NY Tree Branch Death: Act Of Mother Nature Or Act Of Terror?

by Benjo

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Elmaz Qyra, the Brooklyn resident who was tragically killed in Central Park on Wednesday by a tree branch that collapsed under the weight of several inches of snow.

But while we mourn Qyra's death, we must not ignore a question that media reports of the incident have to this point ignored: was it really the snow that was to blame--or was it the tree?

Since this blog reported last fall on a suicide attack perpetrated by a Massachusetts oak, the punditry class has been atwitter with the many thorny issues surrounding arboreal terrorism: whether the judicial system should handle terrorist trees or whether they should be tried in military court; whether species profiling at airports and on streets is appropriate, or whether trees should be assumed to be as peaceful as any other organism, and so on.

Nonetheless, a branch from what the Parks Commissioner called "a healthy tree" kills an innocent civilian, and no one questions the tree's innocence? All this points to the insidious genius of the tree's ploy: by waiting for the biggest snowstorm of the year to kill someone, the tree ensured that people's attention would be diverted toward the weather, and away from its pernicious self.

Let's look at the facts. A recent study by the US Department of Agriculture indicated that 94 percent of tree-related deaths in the last two decades have occurred within two days of extreme natural events--lightning storms, snowstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and so on. In the face of these data, the evidence could not be clearer that trees have systematically timed their attacks to shift the blame to the weather, leaving their own innocence uncontested so that they can continue perpetrating these attacks without arousing suspicion.

It is imperative that we bring this era of blind trust to an end. Whether the trees' campaign is labeled terrorism or species warfare, one simple point cannot be denied: the risk of an arboreal 9/11 is greater than ever. While hundreds of thousands of troops are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, we must not neglect the threat that we face at home.