Debra J. Saunders

 Herzog reveals that Treadwell only taped his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, on camera three times, and her face is clearly visible in only one shot. In part, she was invisible because Treadwell wanted to promote a fiction -- that he lived alone in communion with the grizzlies. But it also seems that Treadwell didn't want any other voices competing with his narcissistic monologue.

 Her lack of voice haunts "Grizzly Man." Treadwell talks endlessly about how sensitive he is, yet she remains voiceless, faceless -- and her lack of presence makes you wonder if this self-styled animal lover had an ounce of humanity in him.

 Then there is Treadwell's wrongheaded conceit that he was there to "protect" the grizzlies. They didn't need his protection. It was this delusion that brought death upon the grizzlies. Rangers shot the bear that ate the couple in the first known bear killings of humans at Alaska's Katmai National Park, as well as another bear that seemed to be stalking them.

 How different those real bears were from the Disney version in Treadwell's mind. It's odd. Treadwell did have a visible bond with many of the park's foxes. But the bears he videotaped seemed particularly uninterested in bonding with a blonde. They were interested, however, in meals to fatten up for hibernation.

 I have seen grizzlies from a safe distance. They are beautiful because they are powerful predators. They are only hurt by visitors who do not respect them and keep their distance.

 As Chuck Bartlebaugh, executive director of the Center for Wildlife Information, told National Geographic News, "Two years ago, we counted 200 people standing within five feet of grizzly bears in Yellowstone. Those bears are now dead."

 Stupidity kills. Treadwell was so filled with his own conceit he didn't care who got hurt. He told friends that if he died with the bears, he would have died as he wanted to.

 He'd probably shrug about the two dead bears and say he would not have wanted them to die. To him, only one thing mattered -- the words that belong on the tombstone of every dangerous zealot: He meant well.

Debra J. Saunders

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