UnNews:Nova Scotia government places bounty on teenagers
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24 April 2010
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Premier Darrell Dexter and the Nova Scotia government has placed a controversial bounty on teenagers after numerous close encounters and a fatal attack on a young female singer last October.
The government at first was reluctant to put a bounty on teenagers because of pressure from children's rights groups but was forced to bow to public pressure. Most of the public supports the measure but some parents are outraged by the new plan
Premier Dexter assured parents that the cull only applies to feral teens. Teenagers kept indoors or leashed and muzzeled outdoors will not be affected by the cull. Dexter also told reporters that he understands the anger and sadness the cull has caused various human and children's rights groups. "I really wish it didn't have to come to this but I have been backed into a corner. I had to make a decision. Teenagers are becoming more and more aggressive and it is only a matter of time before someone else is hurt or killed. We have to do something. We do value the lives of teens but we can't place that value on the same level as that of an adult".
Despite fierce and vocal criticism by some far-left fringe groups, the majority of the province's population supports this new measure. Those with hunting or trapping licenses will be able to participate in the cull which can net them 50 dollars for each teenager bagged. Licensed exterminators will also be able to participate in the cull. The bounty will not be available to the general public. This upset some business owners such as Tim Horton who runs a chain of coffee shops across Nova Scotia and Canada. Horton was hoping the bounty would allow him to remove teenagers who loiter around his stores (as well as supplement his income), particularly in downtown urban areas. Horton says it is ludicrous that he has to call in a licensed exterminator at his own expense. Horton says he is considering going rogue and shooting any problem teenagers on sight. "It will probably cheaper for me to pay the fine of hunting without a license than having to hire an exterminator to come into the store and get rid of the problem for me". Horton did mention that he will not indiscriminately slaughter all teenagers who come near his stores. Those who buy coffee and donuts and who do not cause problems will be exempt from his own cull.
Teenagers and adults have always had a strained relationship and this is not the first time a cull has been introduced. Back in the early 1980s, a cull was introduced hoping to eliminate teenagers from the province completely. This was done as a result of teenagers robbing and killing people in order to buy money for crack. By 1986, most of the province's teenagers were killed or fled the province but by the early 2000s, teenagers had returned in higher numbers that existed before the cull.
Mike O'Brien, a senior wildlife biologist with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources says. "while culls may temporarily reduce or eliminate the population of teenagers, eventually the population replaces itself and you only have the same problem again in another 13 years or so. People respond to the killing of their teens by having larger litters, so the problem is never really solved". O'Brien believes that education is the key to a peaceful relationship between teenagers and humans. O'Brien says if people had even a basic understanding of adolescent psychology, they would be less likely to vilify teens and call for their removal from the province.
Teenagers are generally intelligent and timid creatures but can be aggressive if provoked and do sometimes become more bold when they are in groups. Teenagers are often solitary or travel in small packs, but the mild winter has allowed their prey, generally old people, to be able to make a quicker getaway in their cars (because the roads are much clearer). As a result teens travel in larger groups and are more likely to indiscriminately rob or attack anyone. Biologists believe this is the reason for the attack on young singer Taylor Swift, herself a teen, although a domesticated one, on the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands. Swift, who was walking alone, was mauled to death by two teenagers, her boyfriend Jacob Black was in Forks, Washington filming one of the Twilight movies. As a result of no strong male there to protect her, Swift was at the mercy of the teenage couple who left her with severe and ultimately fatal injuries. Swift was airlifted to a Halifax hospital and died the next day. This attack plus some other close encounters is what sparked the call to place a bounty on the teenagers' heads.
Although some in the government, particularly those with backgrounds in biology, are critical of the bounty, saying it will likely be ineffective, Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell is a strong supporter of the new plan. He stated to reporters that he doesn't care if half of the province's 80,000 teenagers is eliminated by next spring. "I don't care what the population is reduced by" the former teacher and farmer told a news conference.
Dexter says the cull is set to begin this fall and that Nova Scotians can apply now for a license to hunt and trap teenagers. Tim Horton says he will apply for a license but if his application is denied, he will still be shooting any teenagers who trespass on his property or show aggression towards his patrons. Protests against the cull are expected to take place over the summer as the cull date nears. As a result, Premier Dexter is considering putting a bounty on protesters as well.
- Michael MacDonald "N.S. government brings in $20 per pelt bounty on coyotes; open to trappers only". Canadian Press, April 22,2010