There's a story this week out of the Kansas City area about a group of young thugs who burned a kitten in a barbecue grill. The story makes me sick. But it's not the kitten aspect of the story that bothers me - it's the reactions of people around the country to this pathetic saga.
First the story itself. Last Friday in a Kansas City area apartment complex, a group for 10 or 12 people apparently decided it would be fun to "grill" a kitten. So they took a 7-week-old tabby and threw it on the hot coals. A neighbor heard the commotion and removed the kitten from the fire. Other neighbors nursed the feline through the night but the following morning the kitten had to be euthanized because of the massive injuries.
Well police have now arrested a 24 year-old thug and charged him with the crime. As would be expected, the stupid thug has a fairly lengthy history with police for stealing, disorderly conduct and interfering with police. This upstanding citizen is now being held under a $25,000 cash bond. His day in court will come soon.
But here's the disturbing part. Police report that they have been overwhelmed with offers of money. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of calls, letters and emails have poured into police headquarters urging harsh punishment for the perpetrator or other forms of assistance. Police say the response has been much greater than had the victim been another human!
Let me restate that should you have missed it. Sympathy for the kitten far outdistanced any such sympathy for a human victim of a similar horrific crime.
How can that be? How has humanity reached such a point that a cat would generate more response than another human? And what does that say about our society.
Here's my take on the topic. I think we've become immune to tragedies involving children or our fellow man. When we hear of massive and tragic child abuse that results in death, we shake our heads and wonder about man's inhumanity to man but we've come to expect such insanity. A kitten, on the other hand, generates some weird and, to me, misplaced sympathy that says something ugly about us all. Granted, it's not everyday that you hear a story similar to this. But how can we as a society respond in greater numbers to an animal than to a fellow human? It's obviously a question without an answer.
We've reached a dismal point in history when we place our priorities as we do.