I do not want to die. I am stating this right now for the record. I can pretty much make an assumption that the vast majority of you don't want to die either. It's an instinct that we're all born with. Animals too. We all struggle to live. In the case of Bernie Cohen, my friend's father who we buried last week, an interesting observation of a very Zen nature can be made as people discussed Bernie at his graveside. Several people, his daughter at whose home her lived and her husband both commenting on his commitment to live until his pain from cancer became so bad that he decided to give up. And then he died. It was Bernie's choice, and we could focus on how much we would miss Bernie in the future until our turn to be buried came.
In contrast is the following story from Forbes. Two 15 year old girls in Cotati, California came upon an eight (8) week old ferrel (wild) kitten that was in a holding cage outside an apartment in Santa Rosa, California when the two girls decided to pour a flammable liquid on the kitten and set it on fire. An 11 year old boy heard the cat shrieking while the girls were laughing. The cat, who is now three (3) months old, will need several more operations, requires round the clock observation, and is susceptible to infection because he has no skin on its back right now. The bill to keep the kitten alive could run between $20,000 and $30,000. The story gets worse as the other kittens in the other cages have disappeared.
The girls are being charged with cruelty to animals in Juvenile Court. Meanwhile, some Sonoma County residents are upset because this case is getting more publicity than the death of an 18 year old boy in the same neighborhood.
Personally, I hope they are sentenced to work in a Veteran's Hospital Burn Unit every evening and every weekend and weekend evening and holiday changing dressings under the supervision of a person named Bubba, not that I have an opinion, naturally.
In an unrelated story, Michael Vick, quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons football team of the National Football League, was indicted on July 17th of competitive dog fighting, of procuring, training, and fighting pit bulls. I Googled "Michael Vick indictment" and got 1700 stories. If you go to the U.S. Humane Society site you can find a fact sheet on dog fighting and how utter loathsome it actually is, which is worse than you thought if you didn't know, there is a copy of the actual Federal indictment (dogs were moved back and forth across state lines to fight and die), and a plea to send e mails to the NFL asking for Vick's suspension. I can't agree with the last issue, asking for his suspension.
Please, please, please remember what happened in the Duke Lacrosse case. Let Justice take its course. The Feds have a ton of evidence, let them present it before a Judge, and let a jury do its work. Please read the indictment. It is horrifying, particularly the last two pages. Dogs fought to the death, or near death. If they didn't die, they were killed in horrible ways. The dogs were starved to ensure they would bite into each other. Micheal Vick has never made it to the Super bowl, but he doesn't look like her has ever missed a meal.
Ultimately, I feel like the Society is losing its respect for each other. Corporations follow policies that aren't always fair or honest, the concept of value is not current, the political process teaches us to not merely beat an opponent, but to slaughter the opponent. A plumber recently came out to change the internals in a toilet. I can buy them for about $5 at Home Depot. He charged me $160 which I ended up having to pay for 15 minutes work. He charged for each piece separately, and his minimum charge was $120 which was never mentioned. So, for a 15 minute job that I can no longer do while my hand is being injected for arthritis, I was charged $160. I paid when I asked the owner if he felt it was fair to charge $160 to change the internal on a toilet and she said, "I have to pay my people somehow." I'll never use her firm again, ever. I get the same crap from the health insurance company, and the pharmacy, which found a way to charge me $40 for a prescription that used to cost me $4. Everything is win no matter what the cost. Lying is expected (the pharmacist, which is how the prescription jumped so much in price, in theory the generic was never made in my dosage even though I had a bottle of it with 4 pills left. She implied I had counterfeited the label because Walmart didn't carry the dosage, even though it's in their on-line catalog, she just kept going that I was making these things up. And she's the Pharmacy Manager.)
I have presented two extreme examples of people acting so outrageously as to have corrupted values that are pretty seriously deranged. Setting a living thing on fire is so reprehensible to me that I can't conceive of what made them think that they had a right to do it. And if that's the case, how can I explain a role model like Michael Vick at all. He is supposedly the second highest paid player in the NFL. It can't have been the money. One of the articles I read said that when Katrina hit, the Humane society servers held. That when the Chinese (it was really in the article) were found to be using the fur of murdered cats and dogs for collars, the Humane Society servers stayed up. But when the story of Michael Vick and his indictment broke and the details of the gristly nature of the cruelty became known, their servers were brought down for a while in the Donations and the Take Action sections.
My Reflecting Pool posed a question about whether or not Society was changing as usual, and that she didn't understand her children's generation like her mother didn't understand her generation, etc. Glamourpuss replied that in her generation, a 14 year old wouldn't have passed out in a room after drinking an entire bottle of vodka, then had to answer if she had consented to the two different sets of semen found inside her, while none of her friends had done anything except leave her in there. Remarkably, I see the same degradation of personal values. Anyone have any thoughts?