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. Most animal rights supporters actually have a limited empathy allotment, so they tend to save theirs for the victims—not the perpetrators—of cruelty.
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 where their sympathies lie. As always, mine are with the victims.