Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beware, sad animal story

Last week, I think, a woman was found guilty of, or sentenced for, leaving her child in a hot car, leading to the child's death. What really shocked me was that the woman regularly used to get her children to sleep by putting them in a warm car. One just went to sleep permanently I suppose, to be flippant, and I shouldn't be.

The Australian sun is hot. Even in winter, if the sun is out, leaving a child in a closed up car will put them at risk. Many children are rescued from cars every week, usually from being accidentally locked in the car. To deliberately leave children in a closed up car in the sun is almost sentencing them to death. How a jury might judge such an offence when they have the details might be very different to the very severely judging public opinion.

Like babies, animals can be quite defenceless in response to what humans do to them.

I normally read the newspaper with great equanimity at our often disastrous human condition. Umpteen wiped out in a flood in China, a bomb blowing people to bits in an Afghanistan market and much more. I can't take the weight of the world on my shoulders. Good and bad things happen to good and bad people. I will read the newspaper story and move onto the next. Local disasters and incidents of course grab more of my attention. Never in my years of reading newspapers have I stopped dead, slammed the paper down and said, 'Oh fuck'. I didn't finish the article as I knew what was coming.

Martin Flanagan has been writing for The Age for 132 years, well it seems like it. At times I don't agree with him, but he is fine writer. I was reading a piece he had written about his dog. It seemed light-hearted, describing his dog's maturing from the puppy stage to a young adult, you know, the usual puppy mischief stuff, the growing love between a family and a pet. Just another happy pet story, the like of which I have read many times before. I suppose I only bothered because Flanagan wrote the story.

I am not going to search the article out, but towards the end it went along these lines. It was a fine and hot day and we met up with friends. Kids were running around everywhere. No one saw the dog jump in the open car door. No one knew he was in car with the heavily windows when they shut the door. It was a couple of hours before he was missed...

I feel very sorry for all those involved in such a horrible event.

15 comments:

  1. Although I find it an excuse not to care, there truly is a thing called Compassion Overload. I have broken my heart about
    1. the massacring of Israeli children in schools and kindergartens, by terrorists
    2. horrible deaths of Russian families in Beslan theatre, by terrorists
    3. wiping out of complete Australian families in the Bali nightclub and later the tsunami etc

    But I know these people, or know of them. There is a personal connection. What about the poor sods in Mali? Most of us wouldn't know where Mali was, if we were handed a map.

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    1. Hels, think back a few decades where we would have in time learn of such events via the newspapers, prepared in a manner to be factual and without much emotion. Now all day, every day, we can hear terrible news for all corners of the globe. The best we can do is focus on that which we feel a personal connection with.

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    2. Oh yes. I know where Mali is. Don't worry, President Hollande is looking after it.

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  2. Hello Andrew:
    Somehow or other it is much easier to identify with human tragedy, if that is what it is, when it is on a more personal, even individual scale and where one can empathise more closely with those who are the victims.

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    1. JayLa, there is a saying that goes along the lines of the death of a family member, equals the death of two people in your street, to four people in another state, and so forth, concluding with a terrible earthquake in a far away third world country. You have correctly identified empathy as a connection.

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  3. The stupity of people never ceases to amaze me but that woman who killed her child will have to live with her guilt for the rest of her life.

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    1. Fun60, maybe she feels guilt, or maybe she feels anger at being blamed. Sadly I feel in this case, more of the latter.

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  4. I had to look up the dog article. It as a very nice tribute.

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    1. Ad Rad, it was a nice tribute, but seldom have I been so shocked. I just didn't have a clue that it was more than just a happy dog story.

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  5. Je comprend pas how these 'left in car ' accidents happen.. there's only one solution DON'T do i!! It was 41c here in Perth today, it wouldn't take very long. I can understand how some people refuse to read the newspaper these days, its so bloody depressing, I'm just too curious to see what's going on. There must be a few good things going on in the world, would be nice to hear about them now and then oui!

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    1. Grace, I have a couple of positive Aboriginal stories up my sleeve. They will take time to write, so I need time to write them.

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  6. Is it easier to speak to strangers when there is a baby or puppy around, because one thing humans tend to have in common is an instinct for protecting the most vulnerable lives? Kids and [most] pets haven't had a chance yet to become objectionable or threatening?

    I didn't read Flanagan's article [and now I'm glad I didn't]. He's a fine writer, and so his dog would have become familiar, or a friend to a reader before the end. The poor kid in the car was faceless - which just makes it even more of a tragedy.
    Maybe another factor in how we react is sometimes shock. And how awful that we would not be shocked by the story of the kid left in the car.

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    1. FC, in both cases, baby or dog, ever so true. I'm afraid though that some kids show bad colours at a young age, when they have bad parents.

      I think I do recall when the child's death happened and the news report at the time. I think it was at a pokie venue.

      I am part way through reading a shocking book about a girl growing up in Ireland in the perphas the 40's. What a terrible life and how she was so mistreated.

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