The Newtown Pentacle

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rhythmical promises

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Thinking it through, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The way that the human infestation hereabouts behaves and operates can be described, and made somewhat predictable, via the usage of branch logic. When presented with a decision, you can choose option A or option B – a binary decision. Both have logical next steps. These steps flow out of the original decision, form a branching tree of binary choices – a logical progression of decisions. “If” and “then” and “next” and so on are encountered.

A random factor – X – begins to creep into this process around five or six branches down from the original decision. As an example – I decide to punch a guy in the nose, or not. If I hit him, does he a) hit me back, or b) runs away. A, or B form logical progressions that branch out from their individual decision points. Let’s say that the guy hits me back, do I a) punch him again or b) run away crying? If I choose “B,” how far do I run and where do I go? What happens next? You can postulate a few likely, or highly probable steps, but “X” always rears its ugly head eventually.

“X” is also known as “unintended consequences,” which is the one predictable constant of every human decision.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m absolutely fascinated by the Carriage Horse story going on here in the City, wherein our current Mayor has vowed to eliminate the industry from area streets. Animal welfare activists have long opposed the continuing presence of horse drawn carriages on New York streets, citing that the animals are found commingling with automotive and truck traffic. Often, I have pointed out that human children mingle with the self same traffic which is meant to pose this existential threat, but no one seems to care about that. The Carriage industry has accused the Mayor of crass politicking on behalf of a campaign donor, and offers that theirs is a generational craft with long traditions and that their animals are in superb condition. Additionally, they attest that their animals are working creatures who essentially provide for their own needs by pulling these carriages. The NY Daily News is all over this story, and I’d suggest swinging over to their site to check their take out. I’ve no skin in this game, but for some reason I remain enthusiastically attentive to it.

Anyway, that’s the decision which faces the Big Little Mayor – eliminate the Carriage Horse industry or keep it around. A binary decision, ultimately, which will become diluted and colored Legislative Gray somewhere down the tree of “If’s” and “And’s.” As always, one such as myself has nothing but free time to worry about things that really don’t concern me, and a certain driving thought manifested while I was working down the logical tree.

It was a simple question that emerged behind my fevered brow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What about the Police Horses?

It occurs that I have never, not once, heard anyone complain or protest about the use of horses on NYC streets by NYPD. These are critically well trained animals, of course, conditioned to be non reactive to everything from parades and protesting crowds to gunfire and active duty situations. Arguably, these animals are subjected to greater stressors than their livery brethren working the relatively quiet streets around Central Park. Additionally, these critters are under the direct supervision of the Police departmental structure and by extension City Hall, which brings us back to the Mayor. The logical extension of banning the carriage horses from NYC streets, on the grounds of animal cruelty, would demand that all horses would need to be spared these conditions, no?

This is where the “X” factor mentioned above comes into play, when you’re thinking through the logic of eliminating an entire industry or just punching a guy in the nose it is wise to think about how your choice might play out.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in animals

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. The arguments ostensibly against a horse-carriage ban are nonsensical. Having lived in Manhattan for 35 years, I don’t recall seeing young children running around midtown, unless they are crossing the street attended by a parent or guardian. And, as far as the police horses are concerned, the care they receive and the life they lead is vastly different from the 24-7 misery of the carriage horses. Put a carriage horse next to a police horse, and the immense difference is readily apparent.

    Christine MacMurray

    January 11, 2015 at 3:24 pm


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