Monday, January 26, 2009

A ridiculous notion by any other name...

I had first seen this story a few days ago, but came across it again this morning:

Goat detained over armed robbery
LAGOS (Reuters) – Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.

Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

"We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat," he said.

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in parts of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. Residents came to the police station to see the goat, photographed in one national newspaper on its knees next to a pile of straw.

I thought this story was both funny and ridiculous, but then I remembered how many people in this country still believe that a supreme being (which I think is just like a regular being, but with all of the toppings) created the universe some 6,000 - 10,000 years ago, and then I realized that this story isn't as funny or ridiculous any more.

Then I also thought about how this goat will probably end up being killed, and I wondered if the people would be surprised or disappointed when the goat didn't turn back into a man after being killed, or while in the process of dying. They'll probably just say "Demons are so unpredictable", and they'll go on their merry way. People are resilient that way. Also, people are dumb.

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