Thursday, July 01, 2004

Early signs of sociopathology

From the Tulsa SPCA:

Another dog, who recently had a litter of puppies, is also at the SPCA. This dog, about a year and a half old heeler mix, has been named Amaya. She’s frightened and traumatized. When the neighbor found her Monday morning, she was laying with her six dead puppies. The neighbor said six small puppies were dead at the same location where the two surviving dogs were rescued. All dead puppies had fireworks in their mouths and their mouths were partially blown off. Neighbors called police Sunday night and reported three teenage boys walking through the neighborhood with lighter fluid and randomly shooting fireworks rockets. Police are investigating.

Then from their front page:

Animal cruelty is not limited to periodic fireworks at the Fourth of July. It happens year around. The Tulsa SPCA emphasizes that animal abuse is people abuse, the beginning of a pattern in people who seek power and control by making other living beings suffer. This kind of cruelty does not remain isolated only to small animals. Abusers of animals graduate to abuse children, spouses and the elderly. It covers a wide range of behavior against animals from neglect to malicious killing. The burning and killing of these dogs was intentional. There are many studies linking animal and people abuse and the FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when bureau analysis of the lives of imprisoned serial killers suggested that as children they had killed or tortured animals.

I find this interesting if taken in context with this report, from '00, in which NYT columnist Kristof writes of George Bush's younger years (the report has aged into NYT's paid archives, but was preserved here):

In addition to church groups, various civic organizations were also active, and one of the local rituals for children was the meetings with cookies and milk at the home of a nice old lady who represented the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The cookies were digested more thoroughly than the teachings.
''We were terrible to animals,'' recalled Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out.
''Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,'' Mr. Throckmorton said. ''Or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.''
When he was not blowing up frogs, young George -- always restless and something of a natural leader -- would lead neighborhood children on daredevil expeditions around town, seeing how close they could come to breaking their necks.

I find the boys-will-be-boys jocularity of the reporting to be particularly repulsive, in light of what is now known (and was known in '00) about children who display these behaviors. Fortunately, George apparently found socially 'acceptable' outlets for his tendencies, gloating over condemned prisoners as governor of Texas and giving his surrogates in Iraq legal cover to torment hapless Iraqis in their care.


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