More Sympathy for Predators

By | February 10, 2014 | 0 Comments


Two-year-old girl bitten on leg by coyote in Cypress, California. The animal tried to drag the child into the bushes, but her mother won the tug-of-war.

Three-year-old girl carried off from her Glendale, California home and killed by coyotes. When the city began trapping coyotes, animal activists accused her parents of killing her. This is called “respect for all life.”

Washington state man given 26 rabies shots after three coyotes attack him in his back yard. Newspaper report is titled, “How to live with coyotes.” The man might prefer to read a story titled, “How not to live with coyotes.”

California researchers confirm 35 instances in which a child was saved from serious or fatal injury from coyote attack by timely intervention of adults or older children.

The coyote has increased its range since the arrival of humans. Coyotes roam schoolyards and residential streets from Los Angeles to New York City. In many places, they were not “here first” – we were.

In Whittier, California, coyotes carry off a pet dog from back yard, leaving only the collar and one front leg. A neighbor reported finding a cat head in his front yard, and another saw coyotes outside a restaurant. He added, “They have no fear.”

Late one night, my wife and I returned home and saw two coyotes tearing apart a cat in the middle of our Los Angeles street. Every year coyotes kill dogs and cats and sometimes attack children. Yet it is illegal to hunt or trap coyotes, though they are over-abundant, not endangered. Of course, if I shot a coyote, I would be arrested.
TV reports often show coyotes trotting along peacefully, but dead cats and dogs are never shown. So-called animal lovers declare, “All life is precious.” But in practice, they mean that the life of a coyote is more precious than that of a cat or dog. Their sympathy is used up on coyotes – none is left for pets, or even children.
Hunting mountain lions has been illegal for years in California, though they are no longer endangered. Some time ago, one killed a bicyclist and nearly killed another. TV reports often show them curled up, swishing their tails like house cats. Mauled hikers or dead calves and lambs are never shown. As with coyotes, activists declare that we are to blame for entering their territory. Again, sympathy is lavished on the predator, leaving none for the prey.
We have a shameful tendency to sympathize with predators – both animal and human. Perhaps it reflects our subconscious admiration for the predator’s strength and ruthlessness, and our fear of being like the victim.
A proverb states that if you are kind to the cruel, you will be cruel to the kind. If you use up your sympathy on those who don’t deserve it, you will have none left for those who do. There is a finite supply of sympathy.
Mother Teresa had more sympathy than I do, I’m sure. But even hers was not unlimited. She used it for the poor in the slums of India. The middle class and rich need sympathy, too, but she wisely used hers for those who need it most. She budgeted her sympathy, just as we budget money. We would do well to follow her example. Otherwise, we may find that we have run out just when we really need it.
But if we are reluctant to protect children from four-legged predators, what is the likelihood that we will protect them from the two-legged variety, who are both smarter and more vicious? If we squander our sympathy on those who don’t deserve it, we won’t have enough for those who do. And then heaps of flowers and hundreds of candles won’t suffice to relieve our guilt.
Speaking of guilt, consider the judges who insist that aborting late-term, viable fetuses is a woman’s right. Consider the schools that teach kids that an unborn child is like a pimple – removable at our convenience. Consider the professor of “bioethics” who teaches that parents have a right to murder defective or unwanted babies up to a month old, later increased to three years old.
Dare we delude ourselves that these actions don’t diminish people’s respect for young life? Dare we pretend that, despite creating such an anti-child climate, we have nothing to do with babies dumped into trash bins? Dare we claim that we have no responsibility when small children are left in cars in severe heat or cold, while a parent goes to the mall?
Yes, there is plenty of guilt to go around. But sad experience has taught us lessons, if we have the sense to learn them:
● Someone must live in fear, either predators or children. When we teach kids “stranger danger,” it is a sign that we have shown too much concern for the rights of predators, and not enough for the rights of children.
Someone must live behind bars, either criminals or law-abiding people. When window bars appear on many homes, it is a sign that we have shown too much sympathy for criminals, and not enough for victims.
● Sympathy is finite. No one, not even a saint, has enough for all the 7.1 billion people on earth, as well as uncounted animals. We must spend it wisely.
● If we use up our sympathy on coyotes and mountain lions, we will have none left for cats, dogs, and bicyclists.
● If we squander our sympathy on terrorists who explode bombs in crowded markets and pizzerias, we will have none left for those who fight terrorists.
● If we throw away our sympathy on Al Qaeda detainees in Guantanamo, we won’t have any left for our own troops, who often live under worse conditions.
● If we lavish our sympathy on victims of police brutality (real or imagined), we will have none left for the officers who are punched, kicked, spat on, cut, and shot, while they patrol so we can sleep safely in our beds.
● If we spend our sympathy on serial offenders and don’t enforce three-strikes laws, we won’t have enough left for their new victims.
● If we misuse our sympathy on convicted murderers and prevent them from being executed, we will have none left for the guards and inmates they will murder in prison, or for the citizens and police officers they will murder if they are paroled or escape.
● If we waste our sympathy on predators, we will have none left for the children they will inevitably injure or kill. And those who have no sympathy for children are heartless indeed, and undeserving of sympathy themselves.
We owe a profound apology to the many children who were murdered by repeat offenders. But they’re not here anymore. All we can do now is make as certain as possible that they are not joined by other innocent victims.
When Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever,” he was referring to slavery. We abolished slavery in 1865. But we have found other ways to dehumanize, devalue, oppress, and abuse the weak and vulnerable among us. If we hope to avoid the ultimate judgment that Jefferson feared, it’s time we stopped squandering our sympathy on predators.
How long will we allow our dogs and cats, and even our children, to be attacked by predators, while we sit idly? The thought of picking up a gun and taking action ourselves does not even occur to us. We depend on Big Government to protect us. But what if it doesn’t – and who will protect us from it? How long will we continue to confuse being apathetic and dependent with being civilized? How long can people who are apathetic and dependent remain free?
If we tolerate wild animals roaming our streets and schoolyards, what will we tolerate our government doing? If the answer is, “Almost anything,” then Jefferson’s fear will be justified, and America will exist in name only. Like the dog in Whittier, California, only a few pitiful remnants will be left to remind us of what we lost through carelessness.


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