The San Francisco Chronicle reported on March 29 that a man who murdered an ostrich late last year had been released from jail after serving only a five-month sentence for animal abuse.
This despite the fact that it was a cold-blooded, premeditated murder carried out for revenge.
According to the report, Jonathon Porter and a friend, Timothy McKevitt, "got in trouble after they took some women to an ostrich ranch after a party last Halloween." As any drunken armed male ostrich farmer could tell you, women, ostriches, liquor and firearms just do not mix.
Porter's attorney described what happened. "Apparently the young ladies expressed an interest in seeing the ostriches," he said. Apparently there were no air quotes around "seeing the ostriches," and so they actually went to an ostrich farm and began to bother an ostrich. "That all sounded like a good idea," the attorney continued, "until the ostrich physically attacked [the two men], and apparently he got the better of them." According to the police report, both men were brutally kicked into submission by the ostrich, McKevitt actually being knocked to the ground by the savage bird, who, to make matters worse, is flightless, and who, to make matters even worse, is named "Gaylord." A district attorney took up the story, saying that "at that point, the crucial thing happened. Apparently the girls started laughing."
For Gaylord, the female laughter was a death sentence. "We knew what had to be done," Porter told police afterward. Yes, after being humiliated by an ostrich, there is only one thing a man can do. Porter and McKevitt took the women out of harm's way, and out of laughing distance, armed themselves with a rifle and shotgun, and returned to the farm. Gaylord then paid the price for his arrogance, dying in a hail of bullets.
Porter, who was already on probation, was taken into custody and effectively served five months in jail for the killing. McKevitt has pleaded not guilty to felony animal abuse and is scheduled for trial in July.
Predictably, the two attorneys each had a different take on the matter. Porter's attorney conceded that he would "hesitate to ascribe any sort of rational motive" to the ostrich revenge killing, which sort of sounds like there might possibly be a rational motive for an ostrich revenge killing, if only we looked into the matter more closely. "It was a cross between being really startled by the ostrich and the alcohol," he continued (which is the first time I've heard of someone being startled by alcohol), which "led to a really bad decision." But the district attorney had a different view. "This whole thing is about male pride," he said. "The ostrich knocked them both on their butts."