This came across the news wire a couple days ago, and it has been the most disturbing story I’ve seen in some time. The headline says it all: Someone or someones stole $50,000 worth of bull semen from a truck in California.
Except that headline doesn’t say nearly enough, which is what makes it such a troubling story.
I know, I know. There are stories of murders and rapes and the Flint water crisis and the refugee crisis. Those all seem like they’d be more troubling. But they’re not.You see, none of those stories winds up with me having a Google search history on my work computer of “I have $50,000. How much bull semen can I buy?”
Because how much was taken? The articles I’ve seen all report 3,500 units of semen taken. Is that a lot? My unsettling high amount of searches couldn’t provide me any definitive information. Is that gallons of semen? Tons? Just a little bit?
And why would you steal it? The dominant theory seems to be that the thief/thieves didn’t know what was being stolen. They are thought to be unsophisticated, mostly because they also stole gas from the truck. The owner of the semen took pictures of the tanks that contained the semen to recycling centers, figuring they might just be trying to get money for the metal.
But these tanks are also cooled by liquid nitrogen and would have all kinds of warning signs on them, presumably. Liquid nitrogen is dangerous–and one thing every story mentions, for some reason, is how injured someone could be if they mishandled the tank and got liquid nitrogen on themselves–and would hint that there’s more to these tanks than a few bucks for scrap metal.
So did the thief take it because it looked valuable? How would you plan to fence something if you don’t know what it is? I admittedly don’t know much about the black market. But I feel like you have to have someone in line to sell your stolen goods to. You don’t just take unusual items and decide to figure it out later.
Then did the thief know exactly what he was taking? The only way that makes sense is if he’s a rancher himself and wanted some of this top-quality bull semen for his own purposes. I can’t imagine there’s really a market for someone wanting to sell it. Is there an underground for cattle insemination?
And speaking of the top-quality aspect of this bull semen, the stories all also mention how these bulls are in the top 1% of bulls worldwide, and one of them is the fifth-best bull in the world. But, I mean, what? Who’s rating the bulls? Is there some sort of contest?
This story has opened up the world of artificial bovine insemination, and my world will never be the same. Particularly if my IT department checks in on my internet usage. That’s why this disturbs me so.
Well, it’s one reason. The other reason is what could happen as a result of this heist. Let’s do the math here.
A potentially unsophisticated man who has already decided to work outside the law commits a crime of convenience, not knowing what he’s gotten himself into. He doesn’t realize he has a liquid-nitrogen-cooled container full of semen from the most potent and virile bulls in the world. Some kind of accident happens, and a terrifying new supervillain is born, vowing to get revenge on the world that caused his awful transformation.
Hopefully, we will have a hero who can rise to this occasion.
1. I refuse to think of what purposes he could have for it if not to use to inseminate cows. There are limits to what my brain is willing to consider. ↩
2. Hopefully not hosted by Steve Harvey, am I right? ↩
3. And clear my search history so well that it can’t be recreated by IT. ↩