About . . . . Classes . . . . Books . . . . Vita . . . . Blog. . . . Podcast

by Peter Moskos

February 6, 2011

Animal cruelty and crocodile tears

Jean Marbella has a good column in the Sun regarding trial of two brothers accused of torching a pit bull in West Baltimore in 2009:
Somehow, I feel It's come to this: The rest of us turn our backs on these neighborhoods, and the blue-light camera is the only one still looking.
No similar urgency for justice swells up around most crimes in Baltimore, the largely anonymous shootings and other mayhem that afflict some neighborhoods on a near-daily basis. The reason, some will say, is because Phoenix was totally innocent and so often the human victims aren't.
I have no problem with innocent victims (people who don't know the criminal and weren't doing something criminal at the time) getting more sympathy than non-so-innocent victims. But I do find something slightly disturbing when people care more about animal suffering than human suffering. It's all just a bit too precious for me.

Of course there are animals being hurt in this world right now. (It reminds me of some friends in Bali last year telling me, "Of course we kill and eat dogs--but only the bad ones.") But to cry over animal suffering while ignoring human suffering? I don't get it. Only one-in-twenty felony prosecutions ends up in trial. I mean, of all the crimes in Baltimore, is this really a good use of limited resources? Right now this same courtroom would better be used to prosecute someone who has inflicted human cruelty.


suz said...

"Right now this same courtroom would better be used to prosecute someone who has inflicted human cruelty."

- which these two have done or will do, without a doubt. Get them for anything, just get them off the street. Al Capone went down for tax evasion. Do what works, especially in a broken system. It's all we have.

PCM said...

Without a doubt.

But call me old-fashioned, I'd prefer to convict people for what they've done.

Or even convict them in lieu of something you know they've done.

But this isn't an open-and-shut case for what they're accused of.

suz said...

Hmmm. Shall we dance? I agree, so I guess I misunderstood the original premise. Is your concern that it's a crime against an animal instead of a human, and therefore a waste of resources, or that the case was legally too weak to justify a trial? If they ARE guilty of this crime, they should be punished. If that punishment prevents them from committing more crimes (or at least delays them) it's a bonus for society. It's hardly punishment for a crime not committed.

PCM said...

I'm saying a bit of both. But there rarely is a open-and-shut case that goes to trial. Those get plead out.

I'm also saying that there are better uses of Baltimore City's judicial resources than an animal-cruelty trial.

canoehead said...

Frankly I've given up on humans, but I'll kick ass if an animal is hurt by people (who should know better, but don't bother to think).

Maybe it's not the golden rule, but that's where I've landed.

PCM said...

You're certainly not alone, but that doesn't make it right.

Don't give up on humans... despite all the evidence to the contrary!