Woody: Pachyderm picked off with one shot

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Memphis police are investigating what they describe as a drive-by shooting of an elephant.

No need for concern -- the plinked pachyderm is OK. But you ought to see the size of that Band-Aid.

According to the cops, the elephant - gainfully employed by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus which was in town for a performance - was eating hay and minding its own business when the shot was fired.

It was around 2 a.m. when a car drove by the elephant compound, slowed, and a shot rang out.

A single bullet hit the elephant, and the car sped off.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) raced to the scene, where a confrontation occurred between their group and People for the Ethical Treatment of Hay (PETH) which had gathered to protest the elephant's harsh treatment of fodder.

It's a sad state of affairs when an elephant is safer in the jungle than in one of our urban neighborhoods. At least in the jungle the animals don't have to worry about wearing the wrong gang colors.

Mort Clinkernoggin, whose job is to walk behind the elephant during parades with a bucket and shovel, was distraught over the incident.

Mort was so shaken he said he might consider giving up show business.

Let's hope the circus animals don't decide to retaliate; it could get ugly:

A gaudily-painted circus wagon, driven by Clarabelle the Clown, cruises through Coney Island when suddenly the window is rolled down and Hungry Hippo lets loose with a squirt gun. Several innocent citizens are splattered.

In related cross-town incidents, a tiger trashes a trailer park and a monkey mugs a mailman.

A giraffe was asked join the roving jungle gang but refused to stick his neck out.

As I read the story about the elephant sniping, I recalled another story about the big brutes and bullets.

During the Civil War battle of Spotsylvania, Major General John Sedgwick was directing the entrenchment of a Federal position facing Confederate lines as Rebel sharpshooters fired from distances of over 1,000 yards.

Every time Johnny Reb would shoot, Billy Yank would drop his shovel and dive for cover.

Finally General Sedgwick got fed up, stood up on the breastwork, and shouted at his men: "Don't worry, boys, from that distance they couldn't hit an eleph --"

We can only assume the General was going to say "elephant," because he never finished his sentence. A Confederate Minie ball hit him in the head.

Both of these elephant-related shootings were uncalled for.

In the case of Carol (that's the elephant's name that was plinked in Memphis) she had no known enemies, and police are fairly sure she didn't know her assailant(s). Although in these Jerry Springer times I suppose a domestic dispute couldn't be entirely ruled out.

As for General Sedgwick, he should have known better than to underestimate the skill of a Confederate sniper. He should have kept his head down.

As we've learned, elephants aren't that hard to hit.

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Larry Woody
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