Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Faces: Stamford Chimp Attack Victim

I'm scared to look at her face, I think because it's going to make me feel bad for her. Although, from what she says, she doesn't feel bad for herself, so I'm not sure why I'm being overdramatic about it. I think we've all felt pretty bad about the case from the start. What happened to Charla Nash was, obviously, terrible.

So, I appreciate the Stamford Advocate's headline:
Disturbing video: Stamford woman attacked by chimp reveals face on...

"Disturbing" is a subjective term, but I'm going to take their word for it. From what I can see in the still shot that starts the video, she simply does not have much of a face. And that's all I want to know. I feel guilty for saying that, but I have enough trouble sleeping as it is without having that image to think about as I lie awake trying to get back to sleep after the baby's nighttime wakings.

Pretty amazing recovery she's made, though. I recall they were worried about brain injury, and if Nash can go on Oprah and advocate for tougher exotic animal laws, she must be doing OK. I'm happy for her daughter, that even if her mother is physically disfigured, she can at least have an intact personality. Charla Nash seems like a pretty cool lady from what I've read about her.


Maura said...

Her injuries are horrific, and her recovery has shown tremendous courage.

I have a *really* hard time with her, though, reading that she plans to sue us (CT taxpayers) for her injuries.

She knowingly went to her friend's house to help search for a chimpanzee, which everyone knows is a wild animal. She knowingly took that risk. I can't see how she could possibly blame the state. If you called me up and said, "Hey, Maura, can you come over and help me find my escaped tiger?" I'd be like, "Do I even *know* you?" Chimps are WILD ANIMALS. I can't see how she could possibly claim that she didn't know that.

I'm not saying it's her fault that this happened. It's a terrible thing. But the unfortunate injuries resulting from her choice to spend time with a friend with a wild animal is not the taxpayer's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I see your point, Maura, but I think it's a bit more complicated than that. The violent behavior was completely out of character for this animal, which had been something of a local celebrity in past years, so it's understandable that Charla--not a expert in primate behavior--didn't appreciate the risk. (I think we've all been conditioned to think of chimpanzees more as charming clowns than dangerous beasts.) In addition, the chimp's owner was Charla's employer and friend, so she may have felt obligated to help out when asked. My recollection is that the state basically looked the other way in this case for years instead of enforcing the law. Since the relevant state agency (not sure which one that is) presumably has more expertise than the average person, and the state has an obligation to protect its citizens, I believe Connecticut does have some responsibility for helping set the stage for this tragedy.

Stamford Talk said...

I actually agree with the second commenter... the state should have taken steps to control Travis long before. Just a year before the attack, didn't someone who worked at the state issue a warning about Travis or primates in general? (too busy with baby- now crawling and standing!- to check)

Although it sucks for the state to be sued for $150 million dollars, I'm sure her medical costs are in the tens of millions already. And I do believe the state failed their responsibility. I don't think she needs ALL that money, but a good chunk to me, seems fair.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Charla Nash is nothing less than a nightmare. I do think she's entitled to some recompense from the state, because it doesn't take a big stretch of the imagination to conclude that a chimpanzee in a residential neighborhood is a bad idea, indeed. The state knew he was there and should have removed him long ago.

That said, I'd be more sympathetic to Ms. Nash if I believed that her appearance had nothing to do with her lawsuits.