I saw the dverse prompt last night, to write a poem about one of the corvid family. Then this morning, I heard the news of yet another avoidable, senseless massacre in the US and I have no words for the moral bankrupcy of the/a people who call the murder of small children freedom.


Crows jays jackdaws
steal unattended eggs chicks
mob predators
soar glide chatter
protect entertain
plant oak trees
decorate cornfields.

Crows etc do only what needs doing
live their lives peaceably
clean up carrion
spread woodland

yet we call them pests
begrudge them a handful of grain
a few acorns
hate the way they warn others
that hunters are around
and we shoot them.

But then we shoot our own children too.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

45 thoughts on “Behaviours”

  1. I’ve had a woman(!) selling weaponry mainly, persistently following my blog. I took her off umpteen times. My blog shall not be used to advertise such. I emailed her, calling her out not only on spamming, but harassment too. Been a few weeks now that she hasn’t tried re-following me. The aggression of her persistence was disturbing. As is yet another attack on defenceless children.

    1. I despair of humanity. Selling military style guns to adolescents is what you’d expect from commercial interests. Business is business, it has no heart, shareholders demand profits, and they don’t give a flying fuck where they come from. It’s the comments from ordinary people that sicken me.
      That women stoop to the base, unnatural pleasure of killing is even more sickening.

    1. The only country in the world where this happens regularly. They know the solution. Lock up the guns. But they won’t do it, nor will they even get out on the streets and protest about it. Thoughts and prayers. So sad.

      1. Yes, profit is usually behind it, and the more you frighten people with the possibility they might be shot at, the more people will arm themselves, so you end up with everybody accepting that guns are necessary

    1. And so many are, but they ought to be in the streets. The Unions could bring the country to a standstill, the schools could come out, the people could protest, even if those sick gun nuts stay at home. Maybe I’m just being naive, and maybe it’s a question of scale, but the reaction from the people who ought to be really stirring things up seems so flabby.

      1. Many Union members are also gun lovers. And there are few unions left here at all anyway. The amount of gun owners in this country is astounding. We can pass all the laws we want at a state level, but the Republicans in Congress and on the Supreme Court will make them useless. The Supreme Court is about to strike down the law against concealed carry in NY. That will make finding illegal guns and getting them off the street nearly impossible. We are stuck with that Court for the rest of my lifetime anyway. It’s not a pretty picture.

      2. I read that 30% of all Americans own a gun. I suppose that means that 70% don’t, but they might be sympathisers with their ‘right’ to own a gun.
        There doesn’t seem to be a democratic system that doesn’t have its flaws. We have president with too much power, you have a president whose hands are tied by congress, a Supreme Court of arbitrarily ‘elected’ individuals who are accountable to no one, and elected officials everywhere are often a clique of their own.
        It should all come down to what the people want, but does a majority want change and are they prepared to go out and demand it?

      3. Maybe it’s because the social media make is so much easier to spread rubbish and express uninformed opinions, but there seem to be so many ugly people around, everywhere.

    1. There was an editorial on the radio this evening comparing the reactions to the school shooting in the US to the drowning of about 75 Africans in the Mediterranean at almost exactly the same time. While not playing down the tragedy for the parents of those children the journalist did make the valid point that there have been so many similar tragedies in the US and nothing has been done to prevent another one that it has become almost a choice, the right to bear arms over children’s lives. Why should we keep wringing our hands over the tragedies when apparently the US legislators don’t care? Those African men, women and children didn’t have a choice. They were doomed if they stayed at home and risked their lives to try and save them. Somehow, it seems that if you have to choose where your sympathies go…

      1. All the tragedies. . . compassion fatigue. People care here obviously, but I think we don’t know what to do, as the NRA just funnels more money. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I read that the NRA also got money from Russia, and then that money also went to the GOP. . . follow the money, right? It’s sick and sad and horrible.

      2. I think Russia is behind a lot of things that destabilise western economies and societies. They paid for Brexit, they tried to interfere in the French election, they interfered in the American presidential election. They’re stirring up trouble in Hungary and the African countries. The whole world is sick.

    1. It’s a shame that the people with the power to do something do pull all their punches. I read Stacy Abrams tweet of ‘sympathy’ and it made me want to puke.

  2. This is terrible news and I don’t want to say too. It has just been going on and going on as Americans love their guns (and freedom).

  3. It’s sickening. This truth. We also go online and pretend to shoot people for fun and watch violence with a joyful smile. We cling to our freedom to own dangerous weapons and lose sight of what is causing this anger in young males that make them strike out. All of these behaviors need to be talked about and understood. Your piece makes me think of this even more.

    1. It’s the ease of access to military grade weapons that is terrifying, in the name of self defence, though I doubt that whoever wrote the 2nd Amendment was thinking of defence against fellow Americans. People in other countries manage to go about their daily lives without feeling the need to have a gun to hand. What went wrong?

  4. Exactly. “moral bankrupcy”
    I’d like to say I’m at a loss for words after this latest incident, but, brief as it is, my poem says otherwise. Even then, I had to cut myself off. I was ready to fill pages with a list of the violence in this country.

    1. What most people outside the US don’t understand is not so much the gun violence, there are violent criminals everywhere, it’s that absolutely everybody has a gun and believes there are circumstances, pretty flimsy ones, when it’s fine to use it to kill. If it was just criminals shooting up other criminals and the unfortunate collateral damage, it would be understandable. But that kids can buy assault rifles and walk around the streets with them, that mothers pop a gun in the glove compartment of the car when they go to pick the kids up from school, that big fat morons can walk around the grocery shop with them, just beggars belief.

    1. What they mean is ‘my’ freedom to do what ‘I’ want. The fact that it might be the antithesis of freedom for someone else doesn’t matter to them at all.

  5. Why should arms be so easily available is beyond me! What are they arming themselves against? Their paranoia and inability to bring legislative changes baffles me.

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