Where Your Sympathies Lie

Some people are animal people and some are people people, while others claim to love everyone equally. The fact is, whether consciously or not, at some point we all have to make a choice as to where our sympathies really lie.

It seems that all but the most saintly of us has a limited quantity of compassion. If it’s too focused, a lot of individuals can get left out, but spread too thin it’s not much good to anyone.

Animal advocates are often some of the most caring people around, yet  at times it appears as if they don’t have a whole lot of compassion for the people who abuse animals. Though nearly Christ-like in many ways, most animal rights supporters actually have a limited empathy allotment, so they tend to save theirs for the victims—not the perpetrators—of cruelty.

Although biologically there’s no real difference between us all (except that new studies have shown hunters suffer from DMGD, that emotionally crippling Diminutive Male Genitalia Disorder), the simple fact is that people are different from one another in the amount of empathy, guilt or remorse they are capable of experiencing.

When animal rights advocates look at their own culpabilities, they take responsibility and work to change their actions. This is something you cannot expect from willful animal exploiters. Those who knowingly mistreat can’t be made to feel shame for anything; they’ve built up a wall of rationalization eight feet thick. Nothing gets in. They can’t or won’t be changed, though they may profess a profound transformation to their parole board.

Such was surely the case with Ted Bundy, before he ultimately confessed to the brutal murders of thirty young women (many of whom he decapitated and—like a typical sport hunter—kept their heads as trophies to help him relive the kills).

When the day of Ted Bundy’s execution finally came, people in Florida were weighing in on all sides of the issue. On one extreme were folks chanting and carrying signs like, “Thank God it’s FRY-day,” “Bye-Bye Bundy, and more power to you” and “Hey Ted, don’t forget to file an appeal in Hell” expressing their displeasure with the serial killer’s horrendous acts. At the other end of the spectrum was a virtual fan club of Ted Bundy devotees and groupies, one of whom had married him surreptitiously during his sentencing hearing.

Most people’s reactions were somewhere in between the two, depending on their sympathies. As always, mine are with the victims.

Wildlife photography Copyright Jim Robertson

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11 thoughts on “Where Your Sympathies Lie

  1. I’m pretty sure that all our sympathies lie with the victims. My sympathy lies with the baby who was killed by the dog. But I can also understand and empathize with the dog when I discover that he was brutalized as a pup. It doesn’t mean I want him to go free unless he is completely rehabilitated. But being open to such understanding can sometimes help us to prevent a like attack.

  2. The big difference between man and animal is that man KNOWS BETTER! we have values and morals and know right from wrong were an animal doesnt! My sympathy will always go to the victim, providing we arent talking about an animal who doesnt know better in which case my sympathy lies with both!

  3. My sympathy lies with the underdog, whether human or animal. That’s why I was involved in the human rights movement years ago, and why I’m involved in the animal rights movement now.

  4. I must add that I do not condone the hunting of endangered species, either. It is utterly selfish and despicable. And an ethical hunter/huntress agrees.

  5. Nor do I agree with hunting to the point of endangering a species, such as your blog about the wolves in Yellowstone discusses.

  6. After reading several of your blogs, I agree with much of what you have to say. However, your focus seems to target hunters, who have the least impact in comparison to our society as a whole, who really is to blame. It’s not just those with a gun who are endangering our world’s animals. It is every human on the planet, plugged into technology, wanting the bigger, better house, faster car, latest smart phone… We care nothing about the habitats we are destroying every time a new building goes up or a neighborhood of luxury homes is built or about the carbon footprint we are leaving behind. For those of us who want to change that, society has made it very difficult by making “green” and “eco-friendly” expensive. Not only is it used as a marketing tool, but everything organic and energy efficient costs more making it harder for many lower and middle class families to make the switch, and we’re rarely exposed to the truth. Why not advocate that?

    • You make some good points here (except when you suggested hunters had the least impact–not only do hunters actively KILL wildlife, but they are also part of all the other things you mentioned–just as much as any of the rest of us. And as for why not advocate for something else, all I can say is that this is an anti-hunting blog so if you want to read about other issues, why not visit an environmental site that is focused on those other issues?

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