I am not an adept diarist. Often I am awestruck by the sheer level of hyper-competence exhibited by those who diary here regularly. My own few diaries tend to the lighter side – mere fluff, rather than the hard-hitting, well-researched, insightful contributions I see here on a daily, indeed, hourly basis. You might say I’m a dwarf asteroid in the glittering constellation that is the dKos.
So I don’t diary often. I prefer to follow the adage, "It’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you’re stupid rather than open your mouth and prove it." However, in recent weeks a topic has arisen that touches me to my core and I simply cannot bear to remain silent. If you have a moment, follow me over the fold. Won’t take long, I promise. And even though I searched, if I missed this specific topic, I’ll delete this entry.
Much has been made of the surprising choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate. Her life has pretty much been dissected and, for the most part, she has been found wanting in any number of areas. Of particular concern, as my user name may suggest, is her interest in, and encouragement of, the aerial hunting of animals, specifically wolves.
Many, many diaries have already been written on this subject, and I have commented on many of them. In several of the comments, I have made the point that, as you treat animals, so you tend to treat humans. At first glance, that is a rather self-evident point. I have also made the point that, in a number of states someone convicted of animal neglect, abuse or torture is given a mandatory psychological examination. But why?
Because there has been a consistently noted relationship between animal abuse and person on person violence:
A decade ago, stories of animal cruelty and human violence attracted little media attention and were not a significant part of American popular culture. There was comparatively little professional interest in the topic outside of the animal care and control community and only limited discussion of the issue within the professions most directly affected by the abuse of animals and its links to other forms of violence, namely mental health, criminal justice, and veterinary medicine.
The article continues with this:
The situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Serious animal cruelty cases receive national attention in the U.S. and Canada. A recent incident of road rage in California involving a Bichon Frise thrown into traffic by an irate motorist launched a national manhunt and rewards in excess of $120,000.
Obviously, this has significance beyond the occasional incident reported in the mainstream media or written up in professional journals.
Gov. Palin is cruel to animals. Aerial wolf hunting is not a sport, it is not predator control, it is torture for the sake of torture. A thrill kill. This from Defenders of Wildlife:
Sarah Palin not only condones the aerial hunting of wolves and bears, she actively promotes it," continued Schlickeisen. "She has even gone so far as to propose a bounty of $150 for every severed left foreleg of a wolf the hunters can produce. Her promotion of this ghastly and unscientific program - which she pursues while simultaneously suing the federal government to eliminate protections for the imperiled polar bear - offers voters a glimpse of her values and character that is quite different from the picture carefully crafted by the McCain-Palin campaign's professional speechwriters
Full text available at: http://us.mg2.mail.yahoo.com/...
What does this say about Palin? First let’s define "cruelty":
"...socially unacceptable behavior that intentionally causes unnecessary pain, suffering, or distress to and/or death of an animal"
The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence:
A National Survey of Shelters for Women Who Are Battered
By Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D, Claudia V. Weber, M.S., and David S. Wood,
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Originally published in Society and Animals, 1997, 5(3)
What is the wider implication here?
A study by the Massachusetts SPCA, for example, examined records of individuals who had committed acts of animal cruelty, and found 70 percent had committed at least one criminal offense and 38 percent had committed violent acts against people. In addition, abusers were four times as likely as non-abusers to commit property crimes, and three times as likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses or disorderly conduct.
And this from the Chicago Police Department:
Of all the people arrested for animal crimes between 2000 and 2004, almost 60 percent admitted being gang members, and 70 percent had previous drug-related arrests, said Sgt. Brian Degenhardt, whose research on the nexus in 2006 led to the department's creation of an Animal Crime Unit.
(Chicago Tribune, August 28, 2008)
Simply put, someone who abuses an animal has a demonstrated propensity towards violent crime.
But there’s more.
Serial animal abuse can be a sign of conduct disorder
The fourth edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines conduct disorder as a "repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or other age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated . . . among the symptoms are aggression to people and animals."
Source: U. S. Department of Justice, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, September 2001, available at:
This informative bulletin, which is geared more towards examining the issues of animal abuse by adolescents, nevertheless indicates that the motivations that characterize juvenile animal abuse and abuse perpetrated by adults are the same:
• To control an animal (i.e., animal abuse as discipline or "training")
• To retaliate against an animal
• To satisfy a prejudice against a species or breed (e.g. hatred of cats)
• To express aggression through an animal (i.e., training an animal to attack using inflicted pain to create a "mean dog"
• To enhance one’s own aggressiveness (e.g., using an animal victim for target practice
• To shock people for amusement
• To retaliate against other people (by hurting their pets or abusing animals in their presence
• To displace hostility from a person to an animal (i.e., attack a vulnerable animal when assaulting the real human target is judged too risky)
• To experience nonspecific sadism (i.e., enjoying the suffering experienced by the animal victim in and of itself)
Does any of the above sound like someone we know?
Of all of the objections to Gov. Palin’s sudden elevation to the rarified air of national office – her inexperience, her blending of the line between church and state, her antediluvian stance on reproductive rights, her demonstrated capacity for abuse of power – all of that pales before this one thought:
Should the unthinkable happen. Should the Palin-McCain express win in November, it will be the first time the American electorate has knowingly put a sociopath within reach of the Oval Office.
I know all of us here are working our rear ends off to ensure an Obama/Biden victory. But, if you can . . . and I know it’s a stretch, please give a few bucks to Defenders of Wildlife so they can keep this issue in front of the American people. They deserve to know what they’re getting in Sarah Palin.
And if you can’t donate, please, just share the video with as many people as you can.
Thanks for listening.