Crazy week here in town while we were gone. Two incidents, combined with the Michael Vick case, has me thinking. The first was the unfortunate story about a white woman who forgot her child in a car last week while her mother was at work; the little girl died from extreme heat left. There's a heightened interest in the case because the woman was affluent, driving a luxury car. It's a horrible accident, one from which the family will never recover, and many are chiming out about. While it's obvious it wasn't intentional, many people are demanding justice. The prosecutor is deciding whether or not to press charges and I would suspect none will be filed.
The second case is that of a black woman who was convicted of animal cruelty. A stray pit bull was roaming around her home in a lower class Cincinnati neighborhood. The woman's nephew, recognizing that the dog wouldn't leave, tied up the animal. In the course of a few days the animal, while trying to escape, strangled itself. The woman who owned the home [and had nothing to do with the dog] was charged with felony animal cruelty, convicted, and not allowed any bail. So she's sitting in prison, facing 180 days in jail in addition to the time she's already serving.
Now ignoring issues of race and economic status here, what does this say about how we are beginning to view life in our society? It would seem that the outrage over the deaths of animals far outweigh that of human beings. Would Michael Vick had been better off if he had killed a person instead of dogs? Why can you hunt deer or rabbits or birds legally, but being involved in the death of a dog is criminal?
I'm not saying that the mother of the little girl needs jail time; she's scarred for life. But where is the ethical center of this argument? How do we value the life of an animal?