No justifying abuse

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Putting somebody above the law is contemptible

By John Pawlak

 I recently read an article about a stray dog found at the Berkeley Marina in California that had been shot with a pellet gun 38 times.  
The dog was treated by Berkeley Animal Services and survived.  
Can you imagine what type of lowlife would find it amusing to shoot an animal thirty-eight times?  
In Long Island, a man got into an argument with a woman who was walking her 1-year old Dachshund.  
He grabbed the dog and threw it 10 feet into the street.  (Little Coco was injured but is okay.)  
Again, what type of lowlife defines his manhood by how far he can javelin toss a 12-pound dog?  
Can people be more despicable?
Sadly, they can. For both of these incidents, the real story is told when you peruse the “readers comments” on the news websites.  
An incredible number of readers actually defended the actions of these people.  
“Maybe the dog deserved to be shot 38 times! You weren’t there!” “Poor little Coco? This guy was only defending his lawn.
He should have thrown the woman into the street!”
Are these people really that heartless or are they just stupid? Well, they may in fact be heartless, but I’m pretty sure that they’re stupid also.
My aversion to people who torment animals was tweaked the other day when I read the news reports of the sex abuse at Penn State University.  
Joe Paterno makes more than  $1 million a year (not including endorsements) telling people how to throw and kick a pigskin.  
He discovers that his defensive coordinator is sexually abusing boys as young as eight years old and he doesn’t report it to the police.
The abuser continues to molest young boys over a 15-year period. When this news finally breaks, Paterno is fired.
What do the “educated” students of Penn State do?  They riot in the streets, turn over cars, set fires, break windows, and in general just have a great drunken time.  Yes, higher education at its best.
And just look at how quickly people were ready to defend Paterno. Suppose he were a store clerk who knew about another employee abusing your son, or an elementary school teacher or a building janitor or road crew worker.  
Suppose an “ordinary person” knew about someone abusing your child. Would you be so quick to defend him after finding out that he allowed the abuse to continue?
I doubt it. No rational person would.
But Paterno is a demigod, an icon of worship in the Church of Pigskin where touchdowns count more than the welfare of young children.  
Football has become a national religion and people worship the prophets who kick and throw and catch the footballs and the saints who coach and direct these prophets.  
And what does all of his have to do with torturing dogs?
The common thread is the golden calf of sports casting its shadow on the weak and defenseless.  
Michael Vick tortured and killed dogs for fun and profit.  
He joked and laughed with his buddies as dogs were set upon each other, drinking his beer and laughing as one dog would kill the other, laughing and giving the high five to the bettors who won by predicting which dog would die.  
His punishment?  Less than two years at a halfway house (the last few months spent in house arrest) and now he’s enjoying a $100 million football contract.  He’s still laughing, all the way to the bank.
And yet, people defend Vick and say he’s been punished enough and that we should forgive him.
No one in their right mind would defend a truck driver, or a mailman, or a dentist or a carpenter or a bricklayer or a plumber who tortured and killed dogs for fun.  
No one would defend a bank clerk or police officer or a bus driver who made money by betting on tortured dogs. Or who profited as children were abused.
But football?  Hey, don’t step on my religion! Some eight-year-old boy was molested?
Well, you know, that’s just horrible, but let’s not punish the football coach. In fact, hey, let’s put up a statue to honor the guy!  
College football coaches collectively make over $200 million a year.  
So let’s say a few novenas, make a $10 donation to some Abused Children organization, and then kickoff!  Go Nittany Lions!
Let’s be clear about one thing (just in case I somehow didn’t make myself clear).
Justifying the abuse of defenseless creatures, be they children or dogs or any other innocent creature is vile.  
Putting someone above the law simply because he’s on your favorite team is contemptible.  
Anyone who abuses animals or children nauseates me.
And it’s absolutely revolting that anyone out there is willing to waste oxygen defending these people.
Cave canem, te necet lingendo! (“Beware the dog, he may lick you to death.”)
John Pawlak
Los Alamos columnist