I recently began work on a local story about a family that rescued a puppy from a highway median. The little dog was injured, but after surgery is on the way to a full recovery.
I had a discussion with one of the rescuers about how some people can have such a lack of compassion for others. There was this puppy who in all likelihood was tossed out on an Interstate highway. If this was the case (and it does happen of course) then how could someone do something like that? – or worse – like dog fighting or running a puppy mill, etc.
Later in the day, do they think back and feel bad about it? Do puppy mill operators or dog fighters at some point during a day think, ‘I gotta get out of this. This isn’t right.’? Or do these people merely lack a moral compass? Do they not have the capacity for empathy or caring for others?
MORE … We are still at a point where some in the scientific community and certainly in the general public might still question the fact that animals experience emotions. They might question whether or not at least animals of a higher order can experience joy and pleasure or great mental pain and suffering.
For me, there is no longer a doubt about animals and their emotional state. But the far greater mystery is human behavior. And the far greater danger seems to be in ignoring or not understanding that people who possess a complete lack of compassion – on a criminal level – can be a danger to society.
We regularly see new stories about children being abducted and killed by individuals with a violent criminal history. We too regularly see stories about people with a past history of domestic violence who have killed a family pet and then moved on to kill or harm a family member. It is not uncommon at all to read about a person who has been convicted of multiple DWIs who has killed someone while driving drunk – without a license.
Our criminal justice system seems to be clueless about human behavior. Again, I’m far from being an expert on this subject. But the one thing we should all be able to figure out is the fact that some people have clearly shown they are a danger to others. It’s not that hard to figure out. So why do our courts continue to let so many of them back out among innocent people and animals – to inflict more suffering on others?
If a dog bites a person or two, local law enforcement agencies will put it on death row. It happens all over the country. I don’t think we’ll read a story about a stray dog who bit someone, was held for a few days and then released back out on the streets.
Yet, among the criminal population, the term ‘repeat offender’ seems to be the norm. Why? And we’ll hear these people called ‘animals.’ This is an insult to every animal I’ve ever known.