My insomnia-fueled late night net surfing sessions seldom fail to yield an interesting item or two which provoke additional investigation and thought,
if only to gain further insight upon and better my understanding of some fuzzy concept, social or political issue, or the motive force underlying the
inexplicable irrationalities which pepper the behavior of the human species.
Having been entertained and frequently educated, most of those inspirational nuggets are allowed to return to the well of anonymity from whence they
were dredged, yet occasionally, one stands out, deserving of recognition and comment, not so much for its appealing surface glitter, but rather for
what lies at its toxic core.
Herein is one such item, bizarre, laughable, and easily dismissable at first glance, yet if given further study and reflection, illustrates in
microcosm the social and civil fetters enacted upon the individual under the erosive guise of that progressively guiding precept, conformity.
Police in Idaho Falls said on Tuesday they have told a 34-year-old man to stop wearing a bunny suit in public after residents complained that he
has been frightening children. Police warned Idaho Falls resident William Falkingham after a woman said she saw him dressed in the costume, peeking at
her young son from behind a tree and pointing his finger like a gun, according to a police report.
An investigation of the sighting led officers to question other neighbors, "who expressed that they were greatly disturbed by Falkingham and his
bunny suit," the report said.
Neighbors also reported that Falkingham occasionally wears a tutu with the bunny
As promised, bizarre indeed, and of course, begs the question, why? Is the fellow in question a legitimate threat to children or his neighbors? But
before succumbing to the inevitable knee-jerk reaction and categorizing him as a crazy, weirdo pervert, further reading reveals...
Neighbor Deborah Colson defended Falkingham....saying he has an eccentric but otherwise harmless habit of dressing up in costume and making
appearances on his own property. "He's got the bunny outfit, a cowboy suit and a ballerina dress but you don't see him except where he's tripping
through his backyard."..."He's never done anything wrong but wear his little suits in the background," she said. "He's got a strange lifestyle
at home but we all do weird things at home, It makes me so sad: people don't even do anything and they get laughed at."
Falkingham told police that while he "enjoys wearing the suit," he understood the concerns, and that he could be cited as a public nuisance for
that type of behavior...
I feel that some details pertinent to aiding a clearer understanding of this particular instance have been either overlooked, omitted or ignored, such
as the number and ages of the children affected; whether the child(ren) were affected while they were in their own yards, a public area, or if they
were encroaching onto private property; whether the tree was upon public or private property; whether the mother placing the call has issues with the
man, bunnies, guns, pointing, eyesight, etc. Beyond the mother and one child specifically mentioned, it only relates that other neighbors were
"greatly disturbed" which sounds more like adults speaking than traumatized youngsters.
Now, it appears that since the gent is capable of grasping the concerns of his neighbors, he is not mentally deficient, nor as he was not placed into
any type of custody, either civil or institutional, it would seem that he is neither a threat to himself or others, yet still he was advised of
possible civil penalties for engaging in "that type of behavior." And therein lies the rub.
I cannot help but think of two great literary characters defined by their eccentricities. Had Dickens' Miss Haversham and Harper Lee's "Boo"
Radley been real persons and not fictional, then they would no longer represent figures instrumental to a youngster's coming-of-age, but rather
should be demoted to pathetic human caricatures deserving of fear, ridicule, ostracism and possible civil punishment for engaging in perceived
In the name of humanity's progress we are encouraged to embrace, to appreciate, to celebrate individualism, and the individual's worth, yet from
cradle to grave, we are immersed in a systematic repudiation of that very ideal. Hatreds, prejudices, and fears abound; a different religion, a
different race, a different sexual orientation, a different mode of dress or hair color, a different style of music, a different opinion is sufficient
to be labeled a threat.
In the past 48 years, since the "loss of innocence" post-JFK's Camelot, idealism has been supplanted by a fatalistic hyper-realism that demands
everything and everyone must be feared; the burka-wearing Muslim co-worker, the Hispanic-speaking neighbor, the African-American executive, the gay
teacher, the widowed recluse with 22 cats, the man who wears the bunny suit and tutu.
Who determines the boundaries of "normal" behavior? The self-same societies so intolerant of some of its own members that they cannot even
acknowledge a fellow human's right to enjoy the same exercise of freedoms and liberties they so ardently cherish.
Until an individual gives true cause or willfully performs a threatening act, there should be no reason to fear that person. In actuality normal
society fears a stereotype, a potential, not the individual, and through the infliction of bogus civil and societal penalties, seeks to stamp out
individuality, enforce a conformity which adheres to a comfortable precept held by the majority, then, blind to the fact that those very actions have
now cast it into the role of the threatener, blissfully return to self-involved numbness until the next fearsome threat to cookie cutter sameness
raises its defiant head.
I submit the following scenario in an effort to underscore the inability to arrive at the full truth of the matter, yet as written and presented, the
story reflects the deeper and more pervasive issues of (1) the intrusive eradication in the individual right to engage in non-illegal, non-harmful
activities in both private and public environments, and (2) the insidious indoctrination and acceptance of a host of societal fears which approaches a
Kids are notorious disrespecters of boundaries, ergo, it is entirely plausible that the "scared" party(ies) snuck over to see the bunny man in a
tutu doing his thing in his yard, was subsequently noticed and whose presence was acknowledged with an innocuous pointing of the finger in their
direction...a "You see me, I see you," exchange if you will, at which point Mom either showed up and took it out of context, or they having being
discovered, skittered away and confessed their trangressions under questioning by Mom as to their whereabouts, who then adopted a "We'll just see
about THAT" attitude directed not at a wayward child, but at a non-conformist neighbor.
I am not advocating the setting aside of parental precaution. Good common sense dictates that reasonable rules and measures should be in place. Don't
go off with strangers. Keep Mom informed who you're with and where you're at; an age appropriate curfew. Stay away from the neighborhood kook...,
yet if said kook is engaging in whatever form of non-harmful, non-invasive entertainment he so chooses while upon the sanctity of his private
property, then rather than escalating the bizarre to a level of civil harrassment and infringement of constitutional liberty by dialing 9-1-1, and
re-inforcing a perceived fear of "that type of behavior", perhaps Mom should instead ring up her therapist and make an appointment so she can get to
the root of her intolerance issues.
Children are reflections of those mentors who nurture them, and absorb attitudes, both positive and negetive. The multi-media saturated world of today
certainly provides exposure to innumerable sources of legitimate fear inducing events, situations, and persons, so is it truly necessary to elevate a
harmless weirdo to dreadful monster status? The airwaves are crammed with shows that capitalize on crackpots and freaks, but in the real world, who is
accountable if a child is scratched by a cat and develops a phobia about felines? Is creeped out by a clown at a friend's birthday party and has
nightmares? Is traumatized by the loss of a parent by an auto accident or cancer, then refuses to ride in a car or enter a hospital?
Life does not offer the luxury of freedom from pain nor fear. Concerted efforts to avoid that fact result in the same recluses, oddballs, and neurotic
deviants who exhibit the aberrant behaviors frowned upon by normal society. As I see it, to achieve any quality of meaningful existance, a modicum of
tolerance and a liberal policy of "No harm, no foul...Live and let live," is a requisite, otherwise, under the broad idealist banner of "Protecting
the Children", society is guilty of perpetrating a terrible disservice to both those meant to be sheilded and all those non-conformist individuals
who by their uniqueness season the human melting pot with an infinite variety of interesting flavors.
You may or may not agree. Either way I celebrate your viewpoint, as it is yours, but if you disagree, you may want to prepare to call the "public
nuisance" hotline as I think I shall invite my gay black Jewish rapper friend and her tattoed Hispanic green-haired punk lover over where we will
likely dress up in Santa suits and miner's headlamps before we race ostriches and elephants back and forth on my sixty acres of NRA protected
Stand back, kiddies !!