November 17th, 2014 -- Dear Lindsey
Over the years, I have occasionally taken the time to use this Soapbox space to personally respond to a loyal listener. In almost every case, the maggot being responded to is a vile, putrid human being who needs to be put on public display so that his or her words can be seen by all and people can be made aware of the type of scum we share the planet with. Whether it be someone who demands that only their definition of happiness can be legitimate or someone who says “anyone who disagrees with my opinion is completely wrong and must be destroyed,” there have, sadly, been no shortage of such cretins for me to highlight.
Not this week.
I got an impassioned plea from listener Lindsey last week to read and comment on something she saw and was upset about. Since it’s a topic I’m passionate about, I decided to respond to her personally and publicly. First, her original letter:
I wanted to gather your thoughts on a recent article published by the Editorial Board for the Sacramento Bee. It is a topic near and dear to my heart. I respect your opinions even if your opinion differs from that of mine I know you do your research and your response would be based off facts and evidence… I have to admit that it's hard for me to leave my emotions at the door.
In a nutshell the article is their Editors propagating BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) for Sacramento County. Their personal outcry for BSL is geared towards none other than my personal favorite breed, the Pit Bull. The Editors try to use fear based tactics to perpetuate their own personal agenda to urge the community to push for such laws to
be passed. Laws that could restrict, ban or even condemn a whole population of dogs for the actions of the minority. The article is riddled with citations from a well known bogus Pit Bull hate site, and passed off as "fact,”…My fear is that so many people read articles like that in the Sac Bee and take it for fact-creating an ill-informed fear based hysteria around this breed. Just as we should not generalize populations of human beings based off race, nationality, or creed, we should not generalize breeds of dogs. All dogs should be seen as individuals.
You suffer from a very severe ailment which will not be sympathized with in today’s America; you possess common sense. Regardless of your admitted prevalence towards emotional reactions, you come from a baseline of logic and personal responsibility and none of these qualities that you have are admired, desired, revered or, for the most part, even tolerated in this country any longer.
You are of course correct in that the editorial is truly repulsive and shows the degree to which the folks involved in writing and approving it have sunk into the abyss of something far beyond ignorance and stupidity. More maddening and frightening is that they do, in fact (as you surmised) hold a position of power and influence and they are intentionally using it to play to the fearful, uneducated and easily persuadable amongst us.
Let’s make sure we not make this as simple as bashing the newspaper and its editors, as much as they deserve it. They are evil without question. However, without an ignorant and malleable public, such people would have no authority or ability to alter the course of public policy and basic human decency. We live in a country that became so prosperous that we have now spent the last fifty years systematically destroying ourselves through guilt, phony outrage, and the invention of crises. Look no further than the recent Ebola hysteria than to see how easily millions of Americans can become beyond insane over something that is literally not happening.
In the case of pit bulls, and all dogs, it is far, far easier to twist facts and act upon peoples’ basic cruelty for, in the end, “they’re just animals.”
As I’m sure you know, I own two beautiful German Shepherds who are trained security dogs. By both breed and teaching, they are an “aggressive breed,” and I say to you with 100% assuredness that if either or both of them ever mauled, injured or attacked anyone who did not deserve it or did not provoke them, that would be my fault and my fault alone.
We don’t need Breed Specific Legislation, we need personal responsibility brought back to America. No dog is dangerous by nature, they are taught to become what they must or what they are told to become by their human handlers, their surroundings, and their need to survive. Whether it be a Chihuahua or a Pit Bull, a puppy is a blank slate waiting to be molded by its life events. Sadly, too many dogs in this country are treated with such cruelness by humans that many of the canines become what they must in order to survive; viscous. Such behavior can be trained out of any dog by a qualified human, yet we live in a nation that for decades has destroyed dogs who do nothing more than act as they’ve been taught. And therein lies the dirtiest of these secrets.
We are told constantly that America is a “dog loving nation.” While it is undeniably true that there are millions of us who genuinely love our dogs and treat them with the dignity that they deserve, thus producing only the finest quality companions and protectors, there are far, far too many amongst us who torture our dogs mentally, emotionally and physically almost every day. Whether it be using dogs as bait in illegal fighting clubs or leaving a dog alone in a yard tied to a tree 23 hours a day, you are teaching a dog to hate and distrust and you are creating a monster. You, the human, are the one who should be destroyed for having a basic insensitivity to life in general and such a disturbing lack of compassion and kindness in combination with a maniacal need to control and hurt those who rely on you, need you and trust you that you have no place on this Earth. Gandhi is credited with first saying that a great society should be judged by how they treat their animals. Shame on us.
Those of us who truly know dogs know that they want nothing more than to please us and be with us. Just as when they’re in the wild, all they want is to be amongst their pack, follow a schedule, and a hierarchy, and find food and fun. Documented cases of dog and wolf packs taking in other animals in the wild are endless; they are social creatures desirous of nothing more than what we have a very basic obligation to provide them, yet too many of us fail to do every single day.
If the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board had any morality they would call not for a BSL, but rather for stiffening penalties for all forms of animal cruelty to such levels that the punishments would truly deter all but the most sick amongst us who could then be systematically extinguished when they acted on their disregard for life of any kind. But the Bee Editors won’t do that and too many people won’t demand that they do such because it’s easier to blame the dog. Any dog. Any breed. Any excuse. This is a nation that is building a net around the Golden Gate Bridge actually believing it will prevent suicide. Such thinking demands that simply banning certain breeds of dogs, especially those most likely to be abused by humans, will somehow actually prevent mauling’s and/or injury and death in general.
If there’s a silver lining to all of this, it is a little story that I created in my mind decades ago to help me get through my emotional response to the way we mistreat and malign dogs in our supposed dog-loving-country:
God is actually a dog, and one day, when we each make it to the other side, we will be struck by the ironic cruelty of what we as a species have done all of our existence when faced with the chance to truly show love, compassion and loyalty to a creature that wanted nothing more than the same from us. We will have to, in that moment, face that we, thinking we were the masters, actually mistreated our master. And in that magical moment when we prepare ourselves for the ultimate wrath of our rightfully angry and vengeful God, knowing he is about to condemn us to a life of literal Hell, he will do something we as humans are completely incapable of and that which demonstrates the wonderment of the canine; God will run up to us on all fours and lick our face, for all will be forgiven. He’ll just be happy you’ve come home.