Help

BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

America not yet ready for running of the bulls

Reprints

Seven people were gored and several more were trampled during the annual running of the bulls earlier this month in Pamplona, Spain. According to news reports, at least 13 people have been killed during the festival since 1924, with hundreds more injured over the years.

Pictures from this year's event showed a man being tossed in the air by a stampeding bull. A closer look revealed that his lower leg was almost fully impaled on the bull's horn. These horrific images, which quickly made the rounds on the Internet, were later followed by shots of the man giving a gleeful thumb's up from his hospital bed, as if he had just won the lottery.

Also of note at this year's event, a Spanish man lost visitation rights with his son after he brought the 10-year-old boy with him to run with the bulls and was caught on camera. Apparently, the town fathers of Pamplona, not to mention his ex-wife, were quite chagrined that he had put the boy in such an unsafe situation.

I have no desire to run in front of sharp-horned animals, or even dull-horned ones. Even so, this inherently dangerous tradition fascinates me. How is it that this anachronism has not gone the way of bear baiting, chariot racing and knife throwing?

Can you imagine if it were held in America, instead of Spain?

I can picture a few uniquely American touches that such an event would bring on our shores:

  • Pundits and social scientists would debate the significance of the running of the bulls on prime time cable TV, questioning whether it is evidence of a yearning to return to our frontier heritage, or that Americans have developed a fatalistic attitude in the wake of 9/11 or that the Chinese are putting something in our toothpaste that is turning us into reckless morons.

  • The running of the bulls would be followed by the running of the plaintiffs lawyers, as they clamor to represent injured parties who, honest your honor, had no idea that such an event could be hazardous to their health. Surely those hold harmless agreements signed by the participants do not absolve public officials of their responsibility to protect people from putting themselves in harm's way, the class action lawsuit would allege.

  • Johnny Knoxville would create a new reality series on MTV, "Running of the Jackasses," about efforts by him and his friends to be gored by raging bulls, rather than avoiding them, during the U.S. event. Ratings among 18-24 year olds would break new records.

  • After a few years, the Running of the Bulls would be canceled after a stampede of litigation makes towns shy away from the spectacle. In subsequent years, in an effort to recapture some of the spirit of the original event in a safe and nonthreatening environment, alternative runnings would be organized. These would include the running of the newborn chicks, the running of the baby bunnies and, for the thrill seeker in all of us, the running of the snapping turtles.

  • GEICO would sponsor the running of the geckos.

  • After a few years of such alternative runnings, animal rights activists would stage a daring rescue of the alternative stampeding creatures, drawing attention to the abusive spectacle and shutting them down for good. Debate would continue for weeks afterward about which creatures were more deserving of our sympathy: the animals or the people running before them.

No, I think Pamplona, Spain, has nothing to fear from Americans when it comes to the running of the bulls. At least until the lawyers arrive.