Monday, 30 May 2005 - 21:10 BSTName: doubledog
Statistics about children who make a practice of cruelty to small animals shows that later in life they have a strong tendency to want to murder their fellow man. Even a parent not interested in animal welfare should take Junior's cruelty to the cat very seriously as a harbinger of horrible things to come. The other night I watched a documentary about an apparently model young man who at age 19 went on a killing spree. He carefully planned killing after killing. Searching for indicators to this tendency in his childhood, researchers found that he enjoyed killing squirrels, cats, birds, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and dogs in extra painful, slow ways. Asked why he did the awful things that eventually won him life in prison, he replied, "Because it's fun. I like to. And I'm good at it. And I got away with it for a long time. It wasn't anything personal, you know, all in good fun like when I was a little kid and killed cats and dogs."
In contrast, my father was extremely soft hearted toward animals. Once, coming home late down a country lane in a driving rain, he accidentally ran over a ground hog, got out to look, saw that he'd killed the thing and that it was a nursing mother. He came home and got a flashlight and shovel, went back, scoured the road margins until he found the hole, dug up the one live baby. He brought it home and my mother raised it using a doll baby bottle. It was a house pet for a while until it got too big. Then it became a terrible pest in the garden, eating beans and lettuces. My grandmother got into a war with my father about the wretched little animal and called my dad a fool for being so soft hearted. He said something I've never forgotten, "Very likely you're right. However, from time to time everyone does foolish things. I prefer to err on the side of being too kind a fool rather than too practical a fool."