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Some of the major problems underlying the decisions we need to make are well illustrated by a recent story about the hiker in California who ate a condor, a protected species of bird.

It seems that the hiker was apprehended and taken before a judge who sentenced him to life at hard labor. Before leaving the courtroom, however, the defendant asked the judge to listen to his side of the story because he felt there were exonerating circumstances. The hiker explained that he had been lost in the wilderness and had been hiking for three days and three nights without food or water, and just by chance had spotted this bird sitting on a rock, had thrown a rock at it, killed it and ate it, then walked for three more days and three more nights before getting to civilization.

The hiker told the judge, "If I hadn't eaten the bird, I wouldn't be alive to be here today."

The judge responded by saying that those certainly were unusual circumstances in view of the fact that the hiker's life had been in danger, he, the judge, would suspend the sentence. The defendant thanked him and began to leave the courtroom, but as she did the judge asked, "Oh, by the way, what did the condor taste like?"

The hiker paused for a moment and then responded, "Well, it was kind of between a bald eagle and a spotted owl."


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