You evil bastards!

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Fri Mar 15 19:21:13 EST 2002

b swallocks wrote:

> You people are really evil. You take poor sweet innocent butterflies and 
> kill them by sticking pins in them.
> You evil cruel bastards!
> Betty Swallocks

Well, Betty, perhaps you can teach us through your example, to find a 
better way.
I am sure you don't use pesticides or herbicides on your garden. You 
wouldn't use a bug zapper, of course.
You probably plant suitable host plants for the caterpillars to eat, 
especially the rare butterflies which usually use obnoxious weeds.
Perhaps you even volunteer at your local school, or botanical garden, or 
are helping to plant butterfly gardens at hospitals and nursing homes, 
and in general help other people learn how to take care of butterflies 
and other wildlife, now that the planet is so small that we are all 
Others have pointed out that they don't stick pins in living insects. It 
spoils the specimen, as well as making us sad. It does not, as far as 
anyone can tell, hurt the insects, but there are more efficient ways to 
kill them when that is necessary. Scientists need to preserve and keep 
dead insects, in order to learn more about them.
Children also need to learn to do this, in order to produce more 
It would be cruel, if the point were to enjoy a fellow creature's pain. 
But collectors and scientists are careful to kill their insects quickly, 
for a number of good reasons.

Your notion that butterflies are sweet and innocent is based on absolute 
ignorance and ludicrous sentimentality, as is your notion that all of us 
participate in this improbable pastime.
Many of us subscribed to this list are butterfly breeders, butterfly 
watchers, and similarly harmless bystanders. But all of us are highly 
entertained by your sweeping generalizations, as well as by your use of 
the worst word you know, to characterize us all.
I know some worse ones. Bigot, ignoramus, hypocrite ... oh, the list is 
The bastards I know, and there are several, have done no harm to anyone, 
but were simply so unfortunate as to spring from an informal liaison 
rather than a formal one. None of them stick pins in butterflies, either 
live or dead, as far as I know, nor are they in any other way evil or cruel.
You are sadly confused, and the angels weep for you, Betty.
Anne Kilmer
Butterfly Coalition


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