In my column last week, I cited the recent fatal tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo as an example of blame shifting, because it seemed likely that one or more of the men who were mauled did something to provoke the tiger. Since then new details have reinforced that impression:
1) A witness told the San Francisco Chronicle she saw the two men who survived, Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal, taunting the lions at the big-cat house where the tiger escaped. Notably, she said Carlos Sousa Jr., the 17-year-old who reportedly died after distracting the tiger from the Dhaliwal brothers, thereby saving their lives, did not participate in the taunting and seemed embarrassed by his friends' behavior.
2) The police saw an empty vodka bottle in the front seat of the car the Dhaliwals took to the zoo.
3) Paramedics told the Chronicle they overheard Sources told the Chronicle that paramedics overheard Kulbir Dhaliwal instruct his younger brother, "Don't tell them what we did."
The Dhaliwal brothers, who have retained a lawyer and almost certainly plan to sue the zoo, still have not given a complete account of the attack, even to police. Since it failed to build a wall high enough to keep an agitated tiger from escaping, the zoo is not blameless. But whoever agitated the tiger enough to provoke such an unprecedented attack should not receive a windfall as a result.