Crime dramas have been a major fare of TV viewing diets since the 1950’s. Whether a show opens “On a dark and rainy night,” or we are ushered into a crime scene as the crime occurs in medias res, the crime drama continues to draw viewers.
Yet here’s an observation I have made: while watching a particular, unnamed drama which would fall into the above mentioned category, I noticed while the characters have no scruples about “blowing away” a bad guy with a gun intent on harming someone, no one—and I mean no one—is allowed to head-shoot the crazed dog trying to take a bite out of one of the characters portraying a cop at the order of the above-mentioned bad guy!
Fido with fangs gets to live; Guido the killer pimp does not.
Now you may be thinking, “Hey dude, it’s not the dogs fault! I mean, dude, it was trained that way!”
You may believe I desire to see Fido (Fee-Fee, Rover, Claude-the Killer-Cat, whatever) get whacked, I don’t. My wife and I are owned by five cats (“Please, call me ‘The Litter Whisperer’”) and we treat them like family—we love our cats! My observation here has to do more with perceived value and balance.
There are laws and caveats always protecting the mistreatment of animals. Animals are viewed as innocent, as creatures in need of our care and stewardship so we should not do anything which could be construed as cruelty to them. We do not desire, as a people, to communicate anything which would denigrate and devalue the life of animals.
I’m good with this. I love my animals and I have given up even the slightest desire to hunt because of my feelings in this matter. I believe it’s fine for others to hunt, but I cannot. My issues are more with my total dislike of death—especially death in which I would be a cause. Yet while I personally do not desire to cause any unwanted death (yessiree, I’m one of those people who honk and brake for squirrels), I would not hesitate to make the choice between a fang-laden Cujo and me; I win and Cujo gets whacked!
So here’s my concern: we go out of our way not to ever show an animal being hurt, but we have no issues with shooting holes in people, with someone shot bleeding out of their mouth and with news people taking pictures of the aftermath of the Boston Bombings and putting them on the news and Internet.
Am I missing something?
Who have we become as a people? Lines will form with angry voices screaming at the mistreatment of animals, there are cries for baby whales, walruses and seals, yet we receive nothing but silence (and occasionally applause) over the depiction of human death and dismemberment. Are we to be extolled for protecting animals all the while we allow the wholesale slaughter of humanity–portrayed with fictional characters or in real life?
Has anyone ever thought this is a reflection of our values rather than an attempt to influence them?
I mean, really?