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Interview of the Year: This Masshole Who Broke Into the Zoo to Stare Into the Eye of the Tiger and See Its Soul

WCVB - Massachusetts State Police said a man was arrested on Monday morning after attempting to access the tiger enclosure at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.

Zoo officials said the man was spotted by staff at approximately 8:45 a.m. in a non-public area behind the Tiger Tales exhibit, which houses Anala, a Bengal mix. ...

Matthew Abraham, 24, of Worcester, was detained by the zoo's security [and] was evaluated by Boston Emergency Medical Services, who determined he was mentally competent. ...

NewsCenter 5's Todd Kazakiewich spoke with Abraham, a Worcester State University student majoring in biology, after he was released from custody.

“I was there as a spectator of the zoo. I didn’t mean to harm anybody. I wasn’t looking to harm the tiger. I wasn’t looking to harm myself neither,” Abraham said. “My plan was just to go see what is a tiger. How would a tiger react to a human being? ...


"They say it's something called the eye of the tiger. They say the eye of the tiger is the most dangerous thing you'll ever see in your whole life," Abraham said.

"You talked about this 'eye of the tiger' thing. Was your intention to get close enough so that you could look directly into the tiger's eye?" Kazakiewich asked.

"Yes. They say that the soul is visible through the eye," Abraham answered.

Abraham said he thought the zoo was open at the time, although he admitted he did not pay admission.

I'll admit I criticize the city of my birth as much as anyone. For a town that considers itself a world class city, Boston is capable of some of the most backwards policies and the sort of pointless, narrowmindedness you'd expect to find in some podunk cow town in the middle of flyover country. But not in this case. Here, justice seems to be prevailing. 

Good for the people in charge of such things that Matthew Abraham isn't getting the book thrown at him. Zoo officials. Law enforcement. the mental health professionals who evaluated him and determined he's as sane as you or me. Saner, if you want my amateur assessment. 

Abraham is an aspiring biologist at Worcester State, one of the most prestigious institutes for scientific study in the world. Moreover, he's obviously a man of many other interests. A polymath, if you will. A violinist. A philosopher. A person interested in the metaphysical and the spiritual. His visit to Anala's enclosure was pure research. The kind of study you can't get from a book or a nature film. To truly see into a tiger's soul, you have to be willing to get out into the field. To get dirty. To go face to face with the magnificent beast, have a staring contest and see who blinks first. Only then will you be able to comprehend the true essence of its nature.

Sure, you can argue that a zoo's admissions policies and its hours of operation is the kind of information that a 5-year-old could find in about 10 seconds. But scientific research won't wait for that. Advancing our knowledge of tiger souls is something that needs to get done when it needs to get done, public park security procedures be damned. 

So by all means, please keep conducting your studies, Matthew Abraham. And by all means, publish your conclusions. Because we still don't know what you found inside Anala's eyes. Or what she found in yours, if anything. The science of tiger soul research is still in its infancy, and I'm confident you can be to it what Newton was to calculus and gravity. 

As William Blake put it: 

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

Keep seizing the fire of thine tiger eyes, future Dr. Abraham.