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Tale of udder destruction is very moooving

March 05, 1998

Tim RowlandTale of udder destruction is very moooving

All we can hope for is that the Fox Network had its cameras rolling and Hagerstown will be the featured attraction in the upcoming show "When Cows Attack."

My first day back into town and everyone comes up to me and says - not "how are you, how was your trip?" No, they all said "have you heard about the cow yet?" Then they'd giggle and scurry off.

Then, thumbing through back issues, I saw the photo in Thursday's Morning Herald: One order of creamed chipped beef, spread out, hoofs-up, beside a chain link fence with Hagerstown police sniper Mike King stalking in from the side.

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This was the result of the endgame between cops and cow, after the critter escaped from a local livestock auction.

This story touched a lot of nerves. Some objected to the wonderful headline: "Mad cow deceased," saying it implied the animal actually suffered from the dreaded malady. (For the record, I still eat hamburgers, lots of them. Rare. But I guess I'm just more of a man than Oprah).

But these people should be glad we don't live in New York, where the New York Post probably would have written something like "Pigs Shoot Cow on Lam!"

From some of the other comments we got, I guess a lot of people felt sorry for the cow. But my first instinct was to feel bad for the police, particularly Officer King. Somehow, I don't think this is the kind of thing you dream about when you're going through the Academy.

"One Adam twelve, respond code 3 to the South End. Subject is horned and dangerous." What do they call that, a Signal Grade A?

I wish I could have seen it. I have this vision of the SWAT team surrounding the cow, with their dark sunglasses and black jackets with the yellow letters ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Farm Animals) on the back.

But that's another issue. Don't they have to blast the cow with rock 'n' roll music and turn off her electricity for a couple of months before they shoot?

Had this been a Waco cow she'd still be walled up behind the fence yelling "Come and get me, Copper!"

I mean, didn't anyone try to negotiate with her? Get a list of demands?

1. Double rations.

2. No work on cow-recognized holidays like Moother's Day and Halloweaned.

3. Release of four leading Army of God cows suspected of terrorism and FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE WARM UP THAT MILKING MACHINE.

But no, there were no negotiators, no one with a bullhorn, so to speak, no cow psychiatrists, no one to reach out to her.

No, she was shot down in cold milk, whereas, had she lived she could have gone on to be - well, slaughtered, but that's beside the point.

I have to say, I rather admire this animal. I think she understood where she was headed and wanted no part of the docile, cud-chewing stereotype as she was led up the ramp for a rendezvous with the abattoir's knife.

She was not going to go quietly into the rump-roast-$3.99-a-pound-Wednesday-special-at-Foody-Woodly night. If she was going down, she was going to take others with her.

Yes, this was a cow on a mission. She dreamed of fame, of headlines, of front-page newspaper stories - of a Bessie and Clyde ending to a short and troubled life.

Either that or she got into some bad corn.

But I prefer the more romantic notion. No one was going to whip this cream without a fight.

And fight she did. She kept police at bay for a full hour, which is about 40 minutes longer than the average Hagerstown bank robber can manage.

Of course, bank robbers don't hang out in Lutheran Village as a general thing. From there the cow hoofed it across Kenly Avenue and Frederick Street. She'd probably be running yet if she hadn't stopped at the shopping center for a little Chinese.

If here you are already envisioning a joke about Moo Goo Gai Pan, give yourself 10 points.

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