Monday, April 16, 2007

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Did Marjorie Knoller know that walking her dogs without choke chains or muzzles could mean someone would die? Now the case may lead to a new standard in California for determining when an unintentional killing can be murder. At issue is the state of mind of someone whose dangerous act triggers a death: How much advance awareness must that person have of the risks?

This is what happens when lawyers have nothing to do. They pursue legal theories that can hurt everyone. We need legal reform in this country. If dog attacks can be ruled murder, when the handler / owner didn't send the dogs on someone to attack, then we are all in trouble. This could mean the end of dog ownership as we know it.

Further, think on this one... hey you clicker trainers. Does this law mean that clicker training alone, without correction collars, makes you liable if a dog you trained attacks and kills someone? If you recommend a head halter instead of a prong collar, or you teach you should only train with treats instead of choke chains, will that make you potentially liable if that dog one day attacks someone? Are you going to be forced to adopt a training style that you find morally objectionable?

ANY dog can bite, given the right circumstances. Dogs are animals, not people. They can't make moral choices and they will do what animals do... take up territory, protect themselves and their owners, hunt and kill. Sometimes, unfortunately, that means people will get hurt. We can't legislate nature, we have to accept nature as it is.

Will this mean that when the dog sneaks into the baby's room, breaking down a gate or jumping into a crib, and kills the baby, that we put the mother and father in prison for murder? There are a few famous cases of small dogs, not big ones, killing infants. So what breed is then deemed safe? Could you be at legal jeopardy if you have a baby and a dog?

Does this mean that when a burglar sneaks onto your property and is killed by your dog, that you will be deemed to have used excessive force and you go to prison for murder? Then, could anyone own a dog as a crime deterrent?

We are living in an Orwellian world, my friends. It is like the time between WW I and WW II, when the world lived in a fog and pretended that we could wish utopia on ourselves and then it would happen. Look around you. Wrong is right and right is wrong. Look at the parallels of the 1920's and 1930's. These kinds of legal theories are a form of tyranny. Last time, we saw the rise of the dictators. Where is this heading? What are the reasons for this kind of thinking, and what are the risks?

I don't know what can be done about it, except to complain that it isn't fair or moral. We all used to understand what "murder" meant. It is highly dangerous to be redefining the definitions of morality like this.

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