Now as is usually the case with Susan Harriett Poole Henderson Carter (etc.), there are some rather yawning gaps in the logic flow. Like how exactly can it be said that the 4th of July Parade Committee saved this city from the danger associated with an elephant it had spent $5,000 in somebody's money to bring here? How could Susan claim that they rescued us from something that they were responsible for making happen in the first place?
But you see? There I go again. My hang ups with rationality and reason are once again getting in the way of a perfectly good attempt to spin responsibility away from her friends, and then upon what she feels are the real culprits in this case: hippy protesters.
It has been a long time since hippies were the all purpose scapegoat for things gone wrong in Sierra Madre. But Susan, a child of the Age of Aquarius herself, has gone and brought back something that only those long enough in the tooth can properly remember. The hirsute scourge of free loving, pot smoking, rioting, elephant scaring hippies.
Here is how Susan Harriet (etc.) broke the news to a horrified Sierra Madre:
Despite what appeared outwardly to be a perfectly orchestrated event, the committee had to react quickly the day before the parade in order to protect the best interests of the public. Originally, plans were made to have a trained elephant participate in the parade for the children. However, at the ninth hour (as opposed to the eleventh hour, I suppose - ed.), when it was learned that animal rights protestors might disrupt the parade, the live elephant was substituted with a giant inflatable dinosaur. The decision was made out of concern for public safety, as an elephant might react to the kind of activity that protests sometimes bring.
I guess there are worse things for her to blame these things on. Susan could have gone the Terry Miller route and blamed it all on a race track.
Susan's portrayal of the 4th of July Parade Committee as last minute heroes kind of reminds me of the story about an arsonist who, after lighting a movie theatre on fire, then claims to have saved the lives of all the patrons because it was he who called the fire department. Or the guy who states that he has taken a principled stand against wife beating because he has stopped beating his wife.
Merely ending irresponsible behavior doesn't actually make you a hero, does it? Could you be hailed as a hero of law and order just because you've ended your, say, shoplifting habit?
But again, there we go with that logic thing. At a time in human history when putting elephants into parades (particularly an elephant belonging to an operation widely condemned for its use of beatings and electric power cables to control these immense beasts) has become the cause of strong concern throughout the civilized world, doesn't the 4th of July Committee have at least some moral responsibility here? Can it really be that they were completely ignorant about the can of worms they were opening here? And even so, is that really an excuse?
And are we, as residents, no longer permitted to note that the concern many expressed last week was due to the cruel treatment these beasts often receive, in this case at the hands of the exact same people the 4JPC gave their $5,000? That along with the horrifying fact that this 9,000 pound elephant was to be placed right next in line to parading nursery school children?
No wonder Susan Henderson is dragging out her absurd hippy scenario. It must seem a lot better to her than having to write about how her Mayberry socialite friends are grossly irresponsible and unsophisticated rubes.