The killer knew and was living in the same home as the victim. The killer squeezed the infant’s neck until he died. The killer was taken into custody as police conducted an investigation into the death. When officials announced the death penalty would be sought for the killer, hundreds protested and held a prayer vigil. Protesters pointed out that the killer was deaf, had come from a broken home, and had no prior record. They demanded that the killer not only escape a death sentence but be released from incarceration. They said the real perpetrators were the parents of the victim who left him alone with the killer.
Oh, and did I forgot to mention that the victim was a six month old human being, the killer was a dog and that those hundreds of protesters are idiots?
The case involves a pit/bulldog (also reported as a being a Dogo) mix named Polar which was adopted out of a foster home. It was deaf and reportedly came from some unspecified prior abusive situation. In its new adoptive home it either picked up by or bit the neck of a six month old baby while his parents where in another room. The dog was turned over to animal control and slated for euthanasia (which has since been carried out).
“Protestors” of the threatened euthanasia feigned sympathy for the parents while laying the blame on them for leaving their child in the wrong place. I’m sure this heartfelt understanding sounds familiar to every rape victim patted on the back and offered the comfort of “you shouldn’t have been walking in that dark alley in the first place”. The supporters of the dog called for its release, claiming no prior bad behavior, a troubled upbringing, a physical disability, and that its owners had put it in the situation through no fault of its own.
This may be the most bizarre and schizophrenic confluence of apologists I’ve ever seen. The classic “blame the deed, not the breed” folks have moved on to a “blame the victim, not the deed or the breed” position that is truly spectacular.
Let us step back for just a moment and look at this case since it is an example of thousands of similar cases involving bites each year and 30 or so involving fatal attacks. First, let’s ask the question that seems to gets different answers depending on the situation: Do we treat Polar like an animal or a person? The answer to this question is important because the protesters seem to want to view Polar, a dog, as if it’s a person, even a child.
I say this because it’s the only possible reason one would bring deafness, an unstable upbringing, or lack of “intent” into the discussion. If it’s merely a dog, the simple fact is that for whatever reason it killed a kid. We don’t know and can’t imply “intent” beyond knowing that it wasn’t protecting itself from an infant (a favorite “blame the victim” excuse). It’s a dog, dogs bite things. Adding other factors means you want the dog to be viewed through a human behavioral lens. And that only makes these protestors look like bigger morons.
Let’s say Polar was a human who killed an infant for an unknown reason. Let’s say Polar was Casey Anthony with a hearing problem and a bad childhood. First, how many of these people are vocally anti-death penalty for humans, I wonder? Second, even if this was the case, how many would advocate for a human murderer’s release? If Polar was a person and was 100% guilty, a life or at least long, long sentence in prison or a mental hospital would be the most likely turn. Even young children who kill children in our nation are often treated like adults in trials and sentencing.
Do they oppose this in humans? Do they want Polar to be incarcerated (what’s 20 years to life in dog years, anyway)? Do they blame the victim when it’s a person killing a child? Of course they don’t. But in their misguided caring for animals they ignore the fact that they are not consistent. What they would never do in a human case they do for a dog. If these people were packing up to go to Texas to protest the capital punishment of the murderer put to death there this week as well, I might at least applaud their universal application of the belief that life is sacred and Polar and the racist murderer should be spared.
But they don’t. They just want to save the dog.
Do they stand outside that animal control facility every day protesting the dogs and cats that are among the millions put to death each year for no other reason than they are homeless? Aren’t those tragedies more protest worthy than an infant killing dog? Not to them. Their calculus is tragically flawed and has more to do with their own egos than any true care about the plight of animals generally, that one animal itself, or even, God forbid, the dead child and safety of those that dog may come into contact with in the future if it was paroled.
In the case of a killer dog, death is hardly an unusual punishment when one considers the millions who face it for a simple lack of a home. And what is the alternative to death, permanent detention? Isn’t that truly the more cruel punishment?
I am not someone who supports breed bans. I know that trying to ban a breed based on data that mayshow greater numbers of bites might as well lead us to declaring young black men a “dangerous breed” because they are disproportionately represented in human crime statistics. Not that it hasn’t been tried. There are deeper causal factors in both cases which are more the cause that the color on one’s skin or the percentage of a dog’s breed.
I also know that we should engage in a careful balancing of the real risk facing us from fatal dog attacks. There are on average between 16 and 30 a year in the United States and a disproportionate number are caused by pit bulls. But there are about 60 lightning fatalities a year in the US and a disproportionate number happen in Florida. We don’t ban going out in the rain or travel to Florida. The reality is dogs have far more to fear from us than we do from them.
But dogs which kill human beings, the up to 30 or so a year, do not deserve this level of faux concern and histrionics when they are balanced against the millions euthanized every year which have killed no one. Or the millions more who are abused. The protesters need to re-evaluate their priorities. Their attraction to this case smells of the men and women who seek out prison marriage with convicted murderers they don’t know. It is unseemly to the point of perverse.
The decision of the government in this case was correct. The protestors should dry their crying eyes and direct their concern at all the animals (gosh, maybe even people) who are suffering and dying daily without the specter of manslaughter hanging over them. Get a grip.
The victim was a six month old human being, the killer was a dog and those hundreds of protesters are idiots.