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Police geese: Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

July 22, 2013|By TIM ROWLAND

Will Rogers famously said: “I just learned that Rome had senators; now I know why it declined.” I just learned that China has geese; so I am no longer concerned that it will surpass the United States as the world’s leading superpower.

I suppose I should have suspected that if Peking has ducks, it probably has geese, too. But it was honestly something I just hadn’t stopped to think about.

It wasn’t until I saw an article by Tom Phillips in The Telegraph that the matter was brought to my attention. It seems the Chinese are using geese in lieu of police officers in rural areas because they are “sharp, keen and brave.”

Some commentary: Geese might indeed be sharp, keen and brave, but so was Ted Bundy. And along with being keen, sharp and brave, geese are loud, obnoxious, anti-social, mean, despicable, and if you would like some other adjectives, I would be happy to post them to my Facebook page.

If you detect a chip on my shoulder the size of Colorado, you would be correct. We are the owners of a horrid goose by the name of Ralphie, who is only around because he had curried favor with certain elements of the management. You might know someone like that where you work.

Now I grant you, I can see how geese might make good cops. Good bad cops, I should say.

According to The Telegraph, geese have been “an invaluable tool in Xinjiang’s war on crime.” As I am sure you are aware, Xinjiang has found itself in the midst of chaos thanks to inter-ethnic gang wars between the Han and Ulghurs.

So to combat these “religious extremists and terrorists,” police have unleashed geese, the only creature on earth whose blackness of soul matches and exceeds that of a terrorist.

Flocks of police geese have been turned out to patrol neighborhoods and raise a ruckus when they detect something amiss. I’m a little foggy on how this works, since geese are always dissatisfied about something and let you know about it at the top of their raspy lungs.

A breaking and entering or a tot riding a tricycle — it is all the same to them, and they Do Not Like It.

And apparently Chinese geese are no better than their American counterparts.

In the lawless province of Xinjiang, where even police stations are fair game for break-ins, dogs have proved ineffectual, because criminals simply toss them a poisoned bun before commencing with their marauding. Geese, however, do not see well in the dark, so they are less likely to take the bait, so to speak.

Further, they will spread their wings, lower their necks and attack any intruder unfortunate enough to cross their path. Trust me, this is bad enough when confronting one goose. Ralphie always comes after me with malice in his heart (if any), and you can be sure that if there were any sort of Stand Your Ground law that applied to water fowl, Beth would immediately find herself with one feed tub too many.

In China, however, they dispatch geese at 20 per patrol, and the criminals simply stand no chance. According to a Chinese newspaper, The People’s Daily, geese recently foiled an attempt to steal a motor scooter from a police station: “The geese fanned their wings and began shrieking when they saw the stranger. The duty officer woke up, and the thief was caught red-handed.”

To me, the key phrase here is “the duty officer woke up,” but apparently Chinese papers don’t do irony, for the circumstance passed unremarked upon.

But if the department needs a more vigilant duty officer, I have a goose that I would be happy to supply with a one-way ticket to China.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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