The Declining Value of Human Life: Pets More Important Than Humans To Some

Hip Hop artist and actor, Common opens up the first verse of his hit song, The People with a social commentary about the culture and priorities of this society as determined by class and of course race,

While white folks focus on dogs and yoga
While people on the low end try to ball and get over

I have a lot of white friends that are into their pets but who also acknowledge the pathology existing around whites and animals that is particularly clear when juxtaposed to the apathy displayed by whites toward poor humans, particularly poor humans of color. When the Vick incident went down, the color of the outrage there reminded all who might have forgotten, that white people care more about animals than other humans. For those with extra short memories and for those that didn’t get it the first last round, we have a new and much more clear case of the pathology.

Mr. James M. Stevenson is a bird lover who has been using his rifle with attached scope to take out small cats that might hunt the birds he loves. He is on trial and facing prison time for his cat killings. Neurotic cat lovers have taken to Stevenson as a murderous fascist, thus ranking him much lower than many of them have been inclined to place another man responsible for a few killings himself, their President. But that’s different, right?

Of course it is. In the mind of the animal lover, particularly the white US animal lover, it is always different. And that is really the point. The comfort displayed by these folks regarding the snuffing out of certain human lives chills me to the bone. Forget Crips, Folks and Bloods, these white animal lovers are a horrid bunch.

The article is filled with details about the cat, which the reader learns, goes by the name ‘Mama Cat’. We are also told that she was “a white and gray tabby mix”. We are also told about her blanket, food dish and cat toys. Contrast that with a story about a human, unarmed, shot 20 times by Brooklyn police the day before (and reported on by the same paper). We can read that his name was Khiel Coppin but that’s about it. The paper is short on details that might help the reader identify with this 18 year old whose life was ended by the Brooklyn military police because he was holding a hairbrush. In the case of the cat killed by the bird fanatic we learn about the toll collector that was caring for the murdered cat and learn that the collector will be appearing in court to testify on behalf of the cat. In the case of young Mr. Coppin, gunned down by the police, the only thing we are told by the Times is that his mother had called a psychiatric unit to come and care for Coppin earlier that day. No details. The Times helps us identify with the innocence of the cat, we are left to assume that Coppin, the young man might be crazy and thus deserving of the 20 bullets. The Times would never actually say that or anything like it, of course. I should comment that the page carrying the story of the killing by the military police has been altered from its original run. When the story hit, it led with the cops version of events. That Coppin may have been attempting a ‘suicide-by-cop’. The Times suggests that Coppin was trying to coerce or trick the cops into killing him. The version running now has that suggestive paragraph reduced to a sentence that runs at the tail end of the article instead of the first paragraph. Oh, the games they play.

Anyhow, the irony here is saddening and honestly, a little scary. If you read the article, there is obviously more concern and attention to detail devoted to the killing of a stray cat by a bird fanatic than a teenager in Brooklyn by the military police. Welcome to America.

5 Responses to “The Declining Value of Human Life: Pets More Important Than Humans To Some”

  1. My country tis of thee….sweet land of idiocy…of thee I cringe.

  2. Is there a limit to how much people can care for other beings? Why not try and treat all beings ethically? I think you should try reading some books/articles by the ethicist Peter Singer. There are plenty of people helping people, why begrudge someone who wants to help an animal, especially domesticated animals who have been made slaves to humans and depend on them for their basic survival. Dogs and cats did not ask to be born into the human world. We, as a society have an obligation to care for them. Most people can help themselves, and the those who truly can not deserve assistance.

  3. Maybe I wasn’t clear. The issue is people who seem to not care about humans but exhibit deep empathy for other animals. I see something sociopathic in that. Do you not?

  4. Yes I’m sure some people are sociopathic about various interests/causes. However, I think a lot of animal people favor animal causes because of their inclination towards the “underdog”. There are a lot more women in animal rescue than men and I think woman empathize with an animal’s lack of voice.

  5. You make a good point, Janice but still I think you miss something even more obvious and more important. There are more women in the animal rights movement for sure.

    White women.

    Now if women of color, who obviously lack a voice and are under more real, material as well as psychological pressures than are white women, where are they, women of color, in the animal rights movement?

    You won’t find them because the line in the sand isn’t gender. It’s race. The animal rights movement is a white movement. And its sociopathic exuberant love for animals over people of color who historically have been the underdogs in this country (and if you care to look, all around the Earth) is linked to the evidence heavy reality that white oppression has created the global underclass of Black and brown and red and yellow people.

    So while I do agree with your underdog theory, it is incomplete in a fundamental way. The displaced empathy of white people unto animals is a manifestation of the wages of whiteness, the oppressive force that has caused so much suffering around the world and that has robbed so-called white people of their humanity, of their ability to connect, to empathize and care for other humans.

    Animal love is the replacement.

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