Why, do you ask?
I don't know, really. The person who suggested she commit suicide has never met Shannon. The only thing he knows about her is that she wrote a comment on some biased Buzzfeed article, and from that he gleaned that it would just be better if she offed herself.
And this is the problem with the world today.
First of all, Shannon is okay with this whole thing. She has thick skin and doesn't let these kinds of comments get to her.
|Wow, presumptuous much?|
Second, she is one of the sweetest, funniest, wittiest people I've ever known. She has dedicated her life to a dog she adopted from a kill-shelter. She is one of the people I rely on as a supervisor to usher one of our gentle, but very nervous sea lions through any changes. She has an unending passion for the well-being of animals. This girl never settles for status quo, either. Not for the animals she cares for at home, nor the ones at our job. And this generosity and love extends to humans, too. When I was going through a particularly rough time, she sneakily left me this insanely awesome care package (it involved the It Follows DVD and a lot of Reese's Pieces) and she can make anybody laugh. Shannon is a genuinely good person.
|Her amazing dog she rescued from the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)|
Third, the person I've just described is among a lot of people I have known and worked with who have gigantic hearts and put their money where their mouth is when it comes to caring for others, human or non-human. And the person I've just described is not the only person to be the victim of callous, even evil cyber-harassment. Not by a long shot.
So what did Shannon do to solicit someone to say such a heinous thing?
Because she wrote a factual reply to a Buzzfeed article discussing the California Coastal Commission decision to allow Sea World San Diego to expand its orca habitat (like, state-of-the-art exhibit) but under the stipulations that they are not allowed to breed or transport any of the orcas. Here's what she wrote:
|Everything she wrote here is factually correct. That doesn't mean you have to agree with her; you can still have your own opinions about this topic. Rejecting facts is not an actual method of supporting your own contentions on a topic.|
Of course, comments abounded with the typical misinformed and emotionally-feuled internet warriors who heralded this decision as the beginning of the end of SeaWorld. So while they expressed their opinion via the medium of Internet, Shannon chose to do the same and share her many years of knowledge of actually like, being IN the industry they're criticizing. And for that, she received this:
|I especially like the philosopher's comment on the top left.|
Normally, I try to take an understanding viewpoint, especially on this topic. So let me first say that those of you who read this blog who do not agree with cetaceans in human care but who are rational, educated, and emotionally intelligent human beings who get out in the world and do good work for animals in need, this blog is not addressed to you. We may have fundamentally different opinions, but none of you would ever say or do anything I'm discussing in this blog. And I would say the same thing to anyone on "my side" who did this to "your side".
But for the rest of you who get your information from Buzzfeed and Netflix, here are some real-world truths you should accept.
You're Embarrassingly Unoriginal
|I mean, aliens are coming to Earth. Did you SEE Close Encounters of the Third Kind?|
Congratulations. You're like every other immature fool who believes everything they see on a 90 minute documentary. No intelligent person, regardless of their opinion on any topic, would be caught dead admitting that their information came from a f***ing documentary. No educated person develops an opinion on a topic based on biased information (including their own bias).
Also, your weird attraction to a good conspiracy theory is annoying. Just because someone supports a view opposing yours (especially if that person happens to be an expert in the topic about which you are discussing) doesn't automatically make them liars, or recipients of sums of money for their support, or brain-washed. Seriously, the rest of us smart people all outgrew that world view when we were 16.
Also, for God's sake please stop responding to every counter-argument with "have you seen Blackfish/The Cove?". Unless of course, you are in the habit of telling every expert in all fields they should watch a movie about their profession, then I guess you get points for being consistent (but -72987598235 points for not actually using your brain).
You're Hurting Your Own Cause
|Try being a nice person. It's fun.|
Do you even know what your cause is? At present, it appears as though it involves a lot of trolling (an action that requires approximately zero skills) and coming up with the most heinous insults to hurl at other human beings. If your cause involves changing people's minds about your opinion, here's a fact that's important for you to accept: no one likes mean people. Like no one. And armchair activists who make 7 million comments on an entertainment site are not really making the rest of their "cause" look very intelligent. Of the friends of mine who are animal right's activists, they are completely mortified by your behavior.
You Have Made No Impact Where It Matters
|Your ridiculously ignorant commentary saved not a single pilot whale in Denmark.|
Because the people who share your general view point about cetaceans in zoos and aquariums who are actually out doing beach clean ups, or volunteering to care for UME pups, or trying to stop the drive slaughters in Japan, they don't have time to surf the internet and tell people to kill themselves, or that they're part of some massive secret marine mammal trainer club that abuses orcas and lies to the general public about everything.
Not a single comment you post on the internet has saved a single animal. Not one. Tell yourself that the next time you look in the mirror. Don't you have a dog or a cat or someone who could benefit from the time you're spending being heartless to complete strangers, some of whom actually know what they're talking about?
I Would Never Let You Near An Animal If You Are Really As Mean IRL As You Are On Facebook
Seriously? Are we, the marine mammal care industry supposed to hand over our facilities and the animals we care for to you, the people who are telling us to kill ourselves? Uh, what. I don't think so. If I ever considered having you people build a so-called sanctuary for the animals you know absolutely NOTHING about, then I'd deserve to be charged with felony animal cruelty.
What do you guys do after you post this ridiculous crap? Do you feel really good about yourselves, because you just love to punish a total stranger? Do you actually think that you, with 90 minutes of a documentary under your belt, are an expert in this topic? Seriously?? Are you like that person who tells doctors that their diagnosis is wrong because, unlike their years and years of medical school and real-world experience, you spent 20 minutes reading bullet points on WebMD?
|Or watched a documentary (or TWO, even)|
Personally, I have nothing to hide after 10 years of being in this field. I have never lied to a person who's asked me about the marine mammal training field in the United States. I don't believe in that. I take my job very seriously, not just for the animals I'm privileged to care for and know, but for the bigger picture impact it has on animals in the wild.
I'd like to invite all the unoriginal, obnoxious, socially unintelligent human beings of the internet realm to go to a marine mammal stranding event, when they have to look into the eyes of a perfectly healthy baby dolphin who is being euthanized because some feel it's better they're dead than in a zoo. Yeah, that happens.
Or spend a month working alongside marine mammal trainers to see what the job is actually like, including what horrific things guests tend to say to us (so you realize that most people don't care one bit about animals or the environment). I'd also like it if you'd come say to our faces all the stupid stuff you slather all over the internet. Are you really that brave?
I can't imagine a single scenario where I'd say, even jokingly, to someone "go kill yourself". The good news is, you're just a bunch of cowards who give the impression of having no heart. So let's look at the final numbers here:
Number of Orcas You've Helped: 0
Wow, looks like all that time on the interwebz really paid off. I bet all animals everywhere are so grateful you're out there, being jerks.
Do some research, and not just the ones that support your opinion. Maybe start with learning how to form a good argument. Vet your sources, and if you aren't sure that what you're reading or hearing is unbiased, then canvas both sides of the topic. For example, you guys have a lot of information saying how awful cetaceans lives are in captivity. I'm telling you, from the bottom of my heart, that most of that information is factually incorrect. It's not a conspiracy, I get paid nothing for my views or this blog, and I actually work with these animals year-round. I have no reason to lie to you, because lying is WRONG and eventually the truth comes out...so how does that help animals if I distract from something that could help them?
Or, if you think I'm full of crap, that's okay, too. But lay off the holier-than-thou, awful commentary that does nothing but stroke your ego for ten seconds while you house an entire bag of Doritos and binge watch Whine About It Wednesdays*. Go live your life and do something nice for someone.
* Stick with that kind of content instead of commenting on issues you know nothing about, Buzzfeed. Seriously.