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Offbeat – 12 July 2013

The road is nice and flat, compared to most pavements. If you chose to walk in the road and got run over, would you demand that the road be dug up?

There’s a bunch of upsetting sites doing the rounds on social media. Animals are being put to death for the act of damaging people. This has been the way of things for a long time, but nowadays, social media brings it to global attention, and gives me the opportunity for some low-level activism. To illustrate the idea, just last week I added a Facebook like in favour of a Labrador that restrained a kid by taking an arm in a mouth. The skin was not broken.
It feels a bit odd to jump to the defense of a single dog, somewhere across the ocean, but that is where I see my duty. It was not as if the dog ripped off the person’s face. It exercised restraint. For that, apparently, it has to die.
My questions are… what can be done about the individual who aggravated the dog, and the person who laid the complaint? In my book, people who aggravate animals deserve what they get, and should be grateful if they don’t end up bleeding.
My instinct is to say that a moron who messes with an animal should have a warning label tattooed on his or her forehead. “I am an idiot. Keep your animals away from me because I am too stupid to look after myself. Do not take me on safari or to zoos, because I think wild animals are cuddly.”
People should have enough sense to know that animals have teeth, claws and horns for a reason, other than providing the opportunity to sue for large amounts of money.
Here’s a comparison. The road is nice and flat, compared to most pavements. If you chose to walk in the road and got run over, would you demand that the road be dug up? How about willfully sticking your finger in a plug to sue the electricity company? But I see plug manufacturers have got that covered now. I can’t even get a screwdriver in anymore now that they have got those protectors over the openings. In fact, those plugs are so safe it’s a bit of a hassle getting the cellphone charger in.
There are times when I am an idiot as well, but at least I’m will do dumb stuff knowing I am making my own stupid mistakes, and I won’t sue or sacrifice a dog to my own sense of curiosity.
Warning labels bug me. When I see a pack of toothpicks with the warning not to shove them in my nose, or ear, or eat them, I get very irritable. I believe that I have enough brains to know not to do damage to myself and that, even if I choose to do something utterly stupid, my choice should not be marred by a killjoy warning label.
There may be a case for warning labels aimed at parents with children, but it boggles the mind to think that any parent would be thick enough to give a plastic bag to an infant, or anything that resembles a choking hazard. Some people should not be allowed to breed, and parents who think that plastic bags are suitable toys fall into that category.
Parents should also know enough to keep children away from cuddly animals with teeth.
Here’s the point of this whole riff. I feel, on a very visceral level, that warning labels are a type of de-evolution.
There has been a lot of talk about the progress that humanity has made since it first came down from the trees. I’m not sure if that progress is worth all that much if we have to be warned about animals and sharp sticks and doing things which will obviously hurt us.
Evolution is supposed to mean something about changing to be better able to survive in an environment. That has a physical component, and there should be a mental component as well. If we need warnings about things that are obviously dangerous, things that we would have avoided when we still resembled chimps, then we must be getting dumber. That has to be de-evolution.
There’s a certain laziness to it that is sickening. Instead of taking responsibility with thought, we leave it to warning labels. Through our laziness we become dumber than chimps.
That dog should not be put down. It should be given a medal for restraint and it should be held up as an example of the need to get back to using our heads and not being stupid.

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