Last Monday, strangers packed into part of a courtroom, up in arms about a man who allegedly killed a dog.
Later that same week, a dozen family and friends showed up in a court hearing involving the death of a woman, allegedly at the hands of a man.
Something seems wrong with our society when we mobilize and get angry over the unnatural death of someone elseís family pet, but we sit idly by when human beings pass when they didnít have to perish.
Have we really become this cold and callous?
Let me start by saying I do love animals. We have two dogs, a tank full of fish and recently added a guinea pig to the family. I love them all, and Iíd feel horrible if anything happened to any of them.
I wouldnít feel nearly as horrible as I would if something happened to the people in my family, though. We have two adults and three children in our family, and my world would be devastated if anything unnatural happened to any of them. If you could measure love, I guarantee I love these people more than I love these animals, though.
Iíd extend that reach to a few dozen people I know well. I couldnít function if their lives ended prematurely, particularly children.
We seem to have lost our way when the death of a pet we donít know generates more outrage than the death of a person we donít know.
I donít begrudge the people in favor of Nitroís Law their right to demonstrate outside the courthouse, or even their right to spill into the courtroom. They brought one of the largest crowds courts reporter Greg Sowinski could remember seeing in a municipal courtroom in his 15-plus years covering crime for The Lima News. They seek to turn animal abuse charges from misdemeanors to felonies.
I do wish many of these people would wait for a judgment in the case before preparing the sentence of the man charged in the case. Our online story comments on LimaOhio.com spiraled out of control, with people calling for the death penalty or cruel punishments to the man charged. He is only charged, by the way, not convicted, and his family members have stepped to his defense online, claiming the dogís severe injuries werenít caused by the man charged but by a vehicle hitting it.
I donít know which version of the story is true; Iíll wait for the court system to evaluate the evidence and share its findings. I urge these folks to do the same. Thereís plenty of time for passion and anger later.
I just beg these same people to feel just as passionate the next time thereís an initial court hearing for a murder suspect. There are plenty of these cases coming before the courts, often leaving the accusedís spouse or child as a victim. Dozens of strangers donít pack into the courtroom for those, to be certain justice is served. Instead, we read the details of the case and move on with our lives.
I hope this moment in time gives us a chance for clarity. All life ó human, canine or feline ó is valuable. All life should be respected, nurtured and protected.
Maybe we should reorder our concerns, though, making sure those atop the food chain also remain atop our priority lists.