I hereby declare this crazy lion week. And no, its not

because Barry Sanders went on some deranged pro football unretirement

spree. I’m talking the bizarre and varied behavior of feral super cats.

On Tuesday, we got this story,

about a trio of wild lions in Ethiopia rescuing a kidnapped woman and

then guarding her until police arrived. Apparently, this happened a

while ago, and it took some time for word to reach civilization.

Civilization here meaning somebody with AP presswire credentials,

prepaid phone card, and no real desire to do serious fact-checking.

Today, we get this story,

about a a lion and tiger tag team that escaped from their cage at a

private residence outside Minneapolis and mauled a father and son duo.

The animals were part of a private menagerie of large predatory mammals

owned by a local auto dealer.

Setting aside the wisdom of cultivating a “Noah’s Ark of Death” in the

the American Midwest–especially by so qualified an animal handler as a

car salesman–I am left with this question: What are America’s lions

coming to?

Have they become some disenchanted with ennui of an idle suburban life

of luxury that they have lost touch with their native African

crimefighting roots? Is there no hope that these creatures can regain

the nobility of purpose that guided the crack squad of hostage rescue

felines that yet patrol the uncharted wastes of Ethiopia?

It would be easy to blame the tiger in all this, claiming that the

striped corrupter somehow coaxed the king of the jungle to stray from

his true calling as four-footed knight errant–as depicted so

accurately and impartially in so many Disney films–but somehow I doubt

that even the Tony the Tempter could undermine royal feline blood, had

the lion himself not truly wanted to be swayed.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of America’s domesticated jungle

cats, and I for one cannot help but shed a tear at how far below their

“real” behavior our lions have fallen.