by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
The story about that poor woman who was foolish enough to screw with that cat reminded me of one of my biggest "Everyboy Else is Crazy" things: The way that most people are far more concerned about the welfare of animals than the welfare of children. On the same day this woman shut a cat in a garbage can, how many children were abused in Britain? Why haven't any of those become international news stories? It's not just the presence of video. Here's another example that illustrates the point: My father is a juvenile criminal attorney, and about five years ago, he had a doozy of a case. A 13-year-old from the local Russian immigrant community soaked a cat in gasoline and lit it on fire. Tragic. A horrible thing to do. The result was that someone found the poor animal still alive and took it to a vet. The vet named the cat "Purr-Purr" and kept it alive for THREE WEEKS, performing a series of skin grafts, before the cat finally died. There was local and then national news coverage. My father defended the kid in court. He got literally hundreds of letters from all over the country, many suggesting that the kid be killed – burned to death just as he had done to the cat – or at the very least be locked up in solitary confinement for the rest of his natural life. This Russian kid? He was 13. He'd been horrifically abused at the hands of a series of relatives. His IQ was in the low eighties. He was scared shitless, pissed off at the world, and he made a terrible mistake. But did he deserve to be killed? Was what he did so much more horrible than what was done to him?
By the way, that same week, my Dad had a case where he represented two children who had been removed from their parents' home. The parents were meth addicts, and had been making money by charging people to shoot paintballs and pellet guns at their children while the kids were forced to run back and forth across the living room. The kids were 5 and 3. No news coverage. No angry letters. But if that 5 year old boy grows up to make a horrible mistake and hurt an animal, you can bet their will be.
Animals are just animals. Their suffering is not desirable, but it's also common. And not just at the hands of people, either. Cats play with mice before they kill them. Anything that's alive in the world today is capable of cruelty. It seems to me that some people really, really are invested in believing that animals are not. To me, that's crazy.