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Sukhmandir Khalsa

Serial Killer Whale Taliban Terrorist?

By February 26, 2010

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"Free Willy" is the word around our house, or in this case "Free Tili" the serial killer whale Tilikum, who has racked up a body count of three after the tragic death of his trainer Dawn Brancheau.

The Orca, more commonly called the killer whale, is a kind of giant predator dolphin who has earned the nickname by its ruthless method of hunting sea lions. Tilikum is a captive wild creature whose territory is the vast ocean and who naturally lives in a communal pod with other Orcas.  Like Louie Psihoyos, director of "The Cove," a documentary on captive marine animals, and Tippi Hedren, founder of a wildlife rescue organization in California, my own family member's sentiments seem to be that keeping Tilikum isolated in a hundred foot tank at Sea World is paramount to abuse. One asked me, "What would Guru Har Rai do? He loved animals. Wouldn't he want this whale to be released into its natural environment?"

The issue raises questions. Can a wild creature be held accountable for its actions when it acts on instinct?

Pondering the situation, my personal thoughts have turned the corner to comparing Tilikum with another serial killer, the Taliban.

Tilikum is a mammal who seemingly gets a thrill from killing.

The Taliban are also mammals and ruthless killers who seem to rejoice in their deeds such as the beheading of Jaspal Singh.

Like Tilikum who terminates anyone who ventures within killing range of his tank, the Taliban seem unwilling to share their territory and demand absolute domination over anyone within it.

Tilikum has victimized three unsuspecting people including his trainer.

The Taliban victimizes indiscriminately, murdering not only Sikhs and Christians, but terrorizing their own people. The vast majority of the Taliban's targets are fellow Muslims.

The serial killings of both Tilikum and the Taliban and what to do about them, involves ethics and tough choices. I can't say what Guru Har Rai would do, but I personally believe that releasing him from captivity and returning him to the ocean is the right thing to do for the 'sea-real' killer whale, Tilikum.

The tougher question is what to do about the Taliban? I respect people who live by their principles but intolerance, subjection and murder cross the line.

When he stood up for the rights of Hindus being forcibly converted to Islam, Guru Teg Bahadar was beheaded by the Taliban's predecessors. When peaceable means failed, Guru Teg Bahadar's son, Guru Gobind Singh, took up the sword and created the order of Khalsa, solider saints who stand up for the oppressed against terror and tyrants.

To me the sword represents the cutting away of excessive ego and its manifest monstrosities of evil.

As a religion, Islam has the greatest numbers of people, the vast majority of whom are peace loving and tolerant. Rather than wage further war between religions and its peoples, I'd like to request a peaceful delegation of the world's Muslims to denounce terror and demand Taliban leaders to turn over its thugs or be prepared for the consequences which Islam itself will deliver.

February 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(1) Barb Rolek says:

Very well written and a lot to think about it. I do think whales and such that are kept in captivity are being abused (that’s why it’s difficult for me to visit an aquarium or zoo). And I have no tolerance for killings in the name of religion or any other so-called worthwhile cause.

February 26, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(2) Kallie says:

To be fair, we could release the Taliban members into the sea, too.

February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm
(3) Kevin - C 42 says:

At the same time.

I happen to love aquariums in general, but I don’t think animals as sapient as whales and dolphins (or chimpanzees and orangutans) should be kept captive for our amusement. And I think anything they do in response to such captivity is justified.

I’m even a bit conflicted about my cat (albeit not at this point in her life – her tooth is as long as mine). But cats are still essentially wild animals. They’re just lazy buggers who’d rather be fed and sleep in a warm place as long as there aren’t too many rules.

February 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm
(4) Peaceful Warrior says:

I wonder why these very large mammals were not given the name cuddly whales? Maybe there is something in a name after all! The obvious solution is to capture the Taliban and release the Prisoners into the whale’s tank. Problem solved.

February 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm
(5) Mai Harinder Kaur says:

About the orcas, considering their natural environment and what they have in captivity, I would say that it would be like keeping me alone in a small closet, feeding me at regular intervals without consideration for my individual preferences and expecting me to perform for my captors’ amusement. That is beyond abuse; it is torture. If I were kept in that situation, you bet I’d kill to get out of it, especially if my captivity dragged on for year and year without hope of release. And I don’t think any court would convict me. It is probably even worse for Tilli. A killer whale is never alone from birth to death. The psychological torture of such prolonged solitary confinement for such a creature is unimaginable. Looked at from Tilli’s point of view, no doubt we would be taliban-types, if he were capable of that sort of thought. (And who knows whether he is or not?)

As for the taliban, I have wished for their demise for a long time. I wish we could raise a Khalsa army as in bygone days to handle the situation.

February 26, 2010 at 11:56 pm
(6) Angel says:

I completely agree with what Mai Harinder Kaur has said. Orca whales are such a highly sociable creature it is literally torture to keep them in such a small tank.
What’s even worse is that it’s not to protect or study them, it’s to teach them tricks so Sea World can rake in a few extra bucks.
It’s sick.

February 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm
(7) Jennifer Kennedy says:

Granted, we shouldn’t be keeping wild animals in captivity. But I wouldn’t say Tilikum acted on instinct. In the wild, there has never been a fatal human interaction with an orca. There is potential for human injury when working with just about any whale due to their sheer size and strength. I admire your desire to release Tilikum in the wild, but Tilikum has been in captivity for almost 30 years and likely wouldn’t survive. It’s a tragic situation and there doesn’t seem to be any way to have a happy ending.

March 3, 2010 at 8:44 pm
(8) tanyetta says:

Very Tragic and Sad Story! I think it could have all been avoided. Then again, I am not sure if with all the warnings and knowing that this isn’t the first killing….well, you know the rest.

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