You’ve probably heard, that, on Staten Island yesterday, a groundhog named Chuck, subjected to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s provocations, fought back! The footage is a bit painful to watch – not because Mayor Bloomberg gets bitten… – but because of the way he taunts the groundhog. Clearly, the Mayor handled this in the worst possible way – this poor animal ultimately decides to attempt an escape (who can blame him? don’t we all want to escape CEO Mayor Mike’s arrogance?) – and that’s when Mike grabs him! But not before getting bitten! (Personally, I think this “tradition” should be discontinued or mounted in an entirely different way that is not animal cruelty.)
As today’s New York Times reports:
One can argue that Mr. Bloomberg sort of asked for it. As cameras rolled and the crowd took in the event — a local imitation of the Punxsutawney Phil tradition — Chuck at first refused to come out. Children chanted his name to no avail. Mr. Bloomberg seemed to realize that the reclusive rodent was spoiling the show.
He tried to lure Chuck out of his cottage with an ear of corn, but Chuck shrewdly grabbed the corn and dragged it inside to enjoy. The mayor tried again, twice, but then, seemingly out of patience, he grabbed Chuck by the belly with both hands before he could hide again and held him up in the air for everyone to see.
But the most illuminating part came from the reader comments.
Here’s a sampling:
* As the City provides certain funding for the SI Zoo – you might say that Chuck was biting the hand that feeds him. Then again, perhaps Chuck was simply expressing his opinion regarding a third mayoral term for Mike?
* Is the poor little groundhog going to be alright?
I hope I’m on the jury when he pleads self defense!
— Perley J. Thibodeau
* Hopefully the groundhog didn’t get rabies from the Mayor.
— Angry Teacher
* Clearly, Staten Island Chuck is in favor of term limits, and the lawful execution of the electorate’s wishes. I salute him! That is one patriotic rodent.
* I believe Chuck acted for all of us.
* Did Chuck predict 6 more weeks of winter, or 4 more years of Bloomberg?
* Poor scared groundhog. A little training and TLC and we wouldn’t have to grab the little wild animal, he’d walk out on his own. this is a lack of husbandry/forethought.
* Boy, I hope Chuck is ok after biting His Majesty!
— Alice L.
* Did Bloomberg say ‘attacks’ or ‘a tax’? Are those plastic bags I see sticking out of the den? –Steve G.
* So, does this mean four more years of Bloomberg? Or not? — Pete
* OMG, so much written about a provoked wild animal biting the person that provoked him! I do wonder, however, if the mayor was able to see the long, dark shadow HE has been casting recently?? — Alan
* NPR reported that the Mayor actually picked Chuck up (by the scruff of his neck?)…. No wonder his honor got chomped. Who is the terrorist in this story? –Betty
* Boy, if I were Chuck I would have done a lot more than take a “nibble.” The poor creature was obviously alarmed by all those people (which to a groundhog are the size of elephants), noise, cameras, etc., and then being offering food which he could only eat while being stared at – and then teasing him by taking it back. … the SI Zoo should rethink its handling of Groundhog Day. Maybe a more private viewing with only the Mayor and cameras – no shouting children or blaring trumpets. –Karen R.
This is just a sampling of comments from yesterday’s Times’ story, “Why Chuck the Groundhog Bit the Mayor,” here.