Letter From America

Marion McKeone: Black bear Henrietta’s extraordinary life on the lam has a much-needed happy ending

The story of the enormous bear’s phenomenal crime spree, capture, escape, recapture and death row reprieve gave the US some good, old-fashioned bipartisan news

Don’t call me Hank, it’s Henrietta: The local legend is larger than usual male, weighing at least 500lb

Once upon a time, August was peak silly season in the US – from a news perspective at least. With the president on holiday, Congress shuttered until September and the Supreme Court justices decamped to their holiday homes (or someone else’s, if you’re Clarence Thomas or Samuel Alito), Washington DC turns into a literal swamp. It’s a fetid, sticky, mosquito-infested hellhole where temperatures soar above 100°F with 90 per cent humidity levels.

With ‘the swamp’ temporarily drained of biting, snarling critters from K Street to Capitol Hill, the media turns its attention to sensationalising shark attacks, treating every sighting or biting as though it were the advent of Jaws V.