Monday, March 20, 2006

Vote for Pedro

I’m sure this won’t surprise you, but my cat is smarter than George Bush.

At the same time the administration is reconfirming its support for a preemptive war strategy, the NRA is championing its national version of the same plan, which they call, “stand your ground,” but which is referred to by everyone else as the “license to murder” legislation.

The philosophy of the two approaches is almost identical. I have the right to attack (or shoot) you if I perceive you are a threat to me. The key word, of course, is “perceive.” If I make a mistake? Well, who doesn’t make a mistake now and then.

We perceived Saddam Hussein to be a threat to our country. Ooops. Turns out we were wrong. Sorry about that, Iraq, but you shouldn’t have let us believe you were dangerous.

I see a man skulking around my house in the middle of the night. I perceive a threat and open fire because I’m scared. Ooops. Turns out it was my neighbor looking for his dog. I’ll send an extra large wreath to the funeral home.

The absolute wrongness of both initiatives is obvious even to my cat, Pedro. When cats, or most animals of similar size for that matter, sense they are in a dangerous situation, they go out of their way to display body language warning the perceived aggressor to back off. More often than not, these stand-offs end with one animal conceding to another. Violence is almost always a last resort. And even then, when dominance is established, the fight is often over before any blood is shed.

Yet we humans want to subvert the established order and make lethal behavior the rule instead of the exception. It’s not even kill or be killed. It’s kill or be scared.

That a twenty-first century, first-world society is even debating these obscene ideas demonstrates how far to the dark side we have been led.

There was a time not so long ago when people with a “shoot first” mentality were diagnosed as having an antisocial disorder and sent to Montana. Now, they sit in the seats of power in Washington, D.C. and make law. They are given guns to hunt quail. They are taken seriously.

They should take lessons from Pedro.

No comments: