Raising hell for a good cause, we love that sort of thing. That's why we were happy to join a thousand boisterous people last Saturday morning. We were marching in the "Free Lolita" rally in front of Miami's Seaquarium. We were protesting the continued captivity of their killer whale, Lolita.
The Seaquarium's 7000-pound star attraction has had to jump, splash the audience,
and let people stand on her nose since Nixon was president. If she doesn't perform, she doesn't eat.
Lolita was taken from her Puget Sound pod forty-four years ago. She's been swimming circles in a concrete tank ever since.
Doesn't this highly-intelligent creature deserve a break? Shouldn't she be allowed to retire to her home in Puget Sound? It might happen this year.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering adding her to the endangered whales list. If this happens, she could be reunited with her orca family in the Pacific northwest.
Momentum for this grows. More people are refusing to visit places like Sea World and the Seaquarium. Films like "The Cove" and "Blackfish" continue to educate the public. They're learning that more orcas are turning on their trainers -injuring or killing them- to take out their captive frustrations.
Last Saturday Francesca and I had expected the usual fifty Miamians, who care enough about issues to go public, to show up. But when we rounded the bend on Virginia Key and saw a thousand excited hell-raisers, we were ecstatic!
"I Came From ______ to Retire Lolita" signs.
We had our own signs, a red hat, and an orange mask.
As the two-mile march ended, some of us lingered by the tourist attraction's entrance gate. We waved our hand-lettered protests and yelled, "Help free Lolita, don't go in!" at arriving tourists.
I thought of her swimming in circles just 120 yards away. I think she might have heard us.