Boulder elk killed by cop deserves a memorial and not JonBenet Ramsey? Really?

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According to a press release from the In Defense of Animals organization and a corroborating story in the Boulder Daily Camera, $3,000 has been raised to put toward a memorial for an elk -- known as Big Boy to some Boulder residents -- shot by a Boulder cop on New Year's Day.

Which is a prime example of taking things a bit too far.

In Defense of Animals donated $1,500 for the memorial, and an unnamed local business matched those funds. Rita Anderson, representing the organization, is quoted as saying, "I think it would be a symbol of who we are and what is important to us."

While potentially true, that statement is more damning than uplifting, unfortunately. The furor over this shooting is confusing. As a Westword reader pointed out earlier this month, the elk's death has garnered more attention than the killing of many human beings thanks to public outrage.

No one is denying that police officers Samuel Carter and Brent Curnow operated with a reckless disregard for public safety and their responsibilities as law-enforcement officers. The revelation that the shooting was premeditated makes it all the more infuriating. But taking a moment to step back and consider "who we are and what is important to us" might be the best approach right now.

Rather than constructing a "bronze elk" to memorialize the animal, majestic as it was, why not put that money toward hosting a public forum for citizens and local law enforcement to attempt to get on the same page?

Here's another option. The JonBenet Ramsey case left many jaded and bitter about the media circus and the judicial system's collective inability to reach some sort of a decision. Lost in the fallout, sixteen years later, is the fact that a young girl was murdered. Perhaps a memorial to a defenseless child could come before a memorial to an elk.

Two more suggestions: The $3,000 (and there will surely be more donated) could be put instead toward some of the homeless shelters around Boulder County to help those who are really in need during the winter months. Or it could be given to the Boulder County Animal Control division in order to help relocate animals that definitely do not belong in a city.

The outpouring of support for the elk has run its natural course. Carter and Curnow have been formally charged. And "who we are and what is important to us" goes beyond the elk to the officers' breach of trust, which may be the most unsettling part of this saga.

Let's not confuse an unfortunate incident with a real tragedy.

More from our News archive: "Samuel Carter and Brent Curnow: Boulder cops charged in elk shooting resign."

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