Depraved indifference

May 30, 2008

Do we have to forgive juvenile misdeeds because the juveniles in question haven’t been taught any better, or is it all right to call this kid a monster?

Police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the January shooting death of a horse in Franklin Township.

Nikki, a 29-year-old quarterhorse, belonged to Southeastside resident Cathy Troutt. Authorities euthanized the horse Jan. 27 after finding it bleeding and unable to walk in the acreage behind its home.

[. . .]

Troutt said gunshots are fairly common in the semirural area near her home because of sportsmen who live in the area.

“There was about 10 shots,” Troutt said. “We didn’t really think a whole lot of it (until finding the horse).”

There is something about casual cruelty to animals that seems so depraved that it can tap emotions  not even always touched by homicide. At least when people kill people, there is often passion involved. People get mad, or they get greedy or drunk and stupid. Shooting a horse just because it’s standing there and you’ve got nothing better to do is a cold and soulless thing to do.

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2 Responses to “Depraved indifference”

  1. Harl Delos Says:

    At least when people kill people, there is often passion involved.

    There are a number of mental/emotional problems that result in an individual having an inability to empathize with others. Often it is a genetic problem. For instance, individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome have this as one of the symptoms. PWS is caused by seven missing genes in chromosome 15. But there are many other conditions that cause this.

    PWS was first recognized in the 1980s, but it’s been around a long time. Some think Henry VIII may have had PWS. Most who suffer from PWS are infertile, but with a clever wife, an infertile man can still have children. (Henry was infertile with most of his wives.)

    The question is “what do we do about it?” Well, we can reduce the number of PWS sufferers by improving industrial hygiene; most are born to fathers who worked with certain industrial chemicals. It’s not clear how to reduce the incidence of the other conditions with this symptom.

    The legal definition of insanity includes an inability to conform one’s behavior to legal behavior. These people meet that definition – and we can do nothing to change that, except to provide supervision 24×365. Better to do it now, rather than after they kill a person.

    Cold and soulless? That’s a very description of these people. I feel sorry for them; they got a raw deal in life. That doesn’t mean we can afford to let someone who acts without remorse run freely among us.

  2. Steve T. Says:

    It does not pay for society to overlook or minimize this kind of animal mistreatment by any child, ever, since abuse of animals is now a well-recognized precursor behavior for and predictor of criminal violence against humans by the same abuser.

    It would be a big mistake to underestimate the likely meaning of this act and/or the need to get on top of what’s going on with this young person NOW (in my humble opinion).


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