Don’t shoot Sasquatch!
The above headline is one of those simple statements the meaning of which can be totally altered by adding a comma. Add one after “don’t” and you are in fact telling the person to whom you are speaking to shoot Bigfoot and not do something else. Add the comma after “shoot” and the implication is that Bigfoot has a gun and is pointing it at you. Sans comma, the directive is straightforward enough that even dumb yokels SHOULD be able to understand it. Police in Greenville, South Carolina are warning citizens not to shoot the shaggy brute should they encounter it. This statement was probably issued tongue in cheek after recent Bigfoot sightings in the area, but perhaps they should take it all a little more seriously.
Two scenarios for you: We start by accepting that Bigfoot exists. That’s our premise. The next logical question is, what is it/he/her/they? In scenario number one, they are another, presumed extinct species of human, like the Neanderthals or the Denisovians. Say you kill one. You might just end up facing a murder charge. In scenario two–and this is the one I believe to be correct–Bigfoot is a supernatural entity. Shooting it/him/her/they probably won’t kill it, in that case. But that might really piss it off. Better to err on the side of caution.