Pit Bulls--those charming, lovable and oh so misunderstood canines who seem to be gaining ground as the leading cause of death among humans who can’t run very fast—are back in the news.
”Dogs tear off man’s arm in attack” read the small article buried on a back page of our local newspaper (as if such events are so common here they warrant almost no coverage).
Seems a few days ago, up at Palatka, Florida, a couple of fun-loving, but bored, pit bulls were looking for something playful to do. Together, the two decided to jump the fence and kill something. Anything would do—another dog would be nice, maybe a child or two, perhaps a herd of milk cows. As bad luck would have it, human, Roy McSweeney, was working in his yard that morning just on the other side of that fence. Imagine old Roy’s surprise when one moment he is pulling crabgrass and the next he is rolling on the ground fighting for his life. First, the 74-year old man’s right arm was torn completely from his body. Then, as Roy tried to fend off the beasts with his left arm that too was nearly ripped off. The animals then went for the face and tore that apart. Finally, satisfied that the old man was dead, the dogs left and went looking for something more challenging to kill, say a horse. McSweeney was discovered and taken to the hospital where he remains in critical condition. The dogs were also located, presumably covered in blood and still chewing on Roy’s arm. Although the animals were destroyed, no charges have yet been filed against the dogs’ owner, poor fellow.
I saw an item last week wherein the State of Michigan tried to pass a law banning ownership of pit bulls. Unfortunately, the bill failed. Some of the tired old cliches were wheeled out to counter bill supporters, such as those which claim pit bulls are really just overactive teddy bears, “sweet natured” and “wonderful with the kids.”
Like other pit bull owners, I am sure, the owner in the above case was stunned, confused and searching for answers following the attack. I’m sure that if he were ever sober long enough to make any sense, and if he were able to formulate a thought above the third-grade level, the pit owner would ask himself how could the same animals that were raised from pups, the same who seem so obedient to commands and protective of the children, how could they turn so vicious so quickly? That, at least, is the 64-dollar question they all seem to ask when speaking with reporters after this fatality or that fatality. I personally do not care to understand why that switch works as it does with these murderous brutes. They are hard-wired for violence and I would very much like to see the entire breed banned from the U.S. And while we are at it, I would also like to see their owners--big beer guts, meth pipes, tattoos, and all--placed in prison for harboring a beast that would as soon tear every living creature they encounter to shreds as look at them. But the sad fact of the matter is, as long as it is the Roy McSweeneys and Tom Goodriches of the world being dismembered and killed by these animals, little will happen. When the Brad Pitts, Obamas and Gagas of the world start losing their legs or their lives to them, then we might expect swift change.
But anyway. . . . Just back from a great weekend down at Naples with our buds and travel mates, Ernie and Kathy. Naples, two hours south of us, is perhaps the best kept secret in the world. It is one of the loveliest and most exotic smaller cities I have ever seen, anywhere, and certainly this tropical playground is, by far, the wealthiest per capita. But despite all the glitz and glamour and high profile people—our hosts included—one of the features of Naples that stix to the ribz are the incredible banyons (above). These magnificent trees, growing everywhere in the town and looking like things from another world, harken one back to an older, easier, gentler Florida; a tropical retreat of taste and comfort before greed and gold paved everything over for parking lots and strip malls. Truly, Naples is different.
Upon reaching home Sunday from Naples, we spied a dead possum in the middle of the road, not far from our house. A buzzard—and a hungry one at that—was doing a nifty wire walk in his attempt to avoid beach traffic. It was far too much effort for this largish bird to take wing again and again, and so the big black thing ducked and dodged like a chicken when he had to but mostly, while cars and motorcycles passed slowly a few feet beyond, Senor Vulture just held his ground and feasted. This morning, nary a sign of possum or buzzard. Natural balance.
Power Pistols of the Day