I am, at heart, a peace-loving person. But sometimes, circumstances call for decisive action.
For example, yesterday, as I was doing some work near a sidewalk in Avondale, a man and his dog came walking by. The dog, startled by me, pulled out of his collar, and the man just started wailing on him. Totally involuntarily, I told the guy to stop what he was doing. He spun around and looked at me, dumbfounded, and then said, "It's called discipline". I said, "It is called animal cruelty and it is illegal, you fucking bastard!" He then told me to mind my own business, to which I responded, "The welfare of my canine bretheren IS my business!", at which point he threw a punch at me, which I deflected with ninja-like quickness, and then, in self-defense, I laid his sorry ass out on the pavement and took his dog which is now free to a good home.
Actually, that's what I wish had happened. What actually happened was after he said, "It's called discipline", I suggested he get a nice book on dog training (none of which would suggest ever hitting a dog), to which he responded, "I've raised several dogs", and turned to walk away. I meekly called after him, "I wish you would consider being kinder to your dog".
Hitting dogs is like hitting children: It is always wrong, and never helpful.
Since then, I can't help thinking about what an abysmal scumbag that guy was and how I could have handled the situation better. What I think is most important is that I did something. I didn't just stand there and countenance a blatant act of cruelty. But it occurs to me that I have. I can think of times in my life when I watched someone I knew mistreat a dog and didn't say anything. I have listened to racial jokes and gay jokes and laughed, though not in recent history. (Though I do still sometimes use the recently controversial phrase, "That's so gay", for which I am rightly admonished by a gay friend. But its just such a good phrase, and I don't use it to describe anything stereotypically homosexual. In fact, I often use it to describe things that are distinctly un-stereotypically homosexual, like auto racing or pro wrestling, for example. The best way I can describe my use of the phrase is to describe something that is actually pretty silly, but is taken way too seriously by a group of people. Isn't that how most people use the phrase? I'd gladly stop saying it if I could come up with a way to express an equivalent idea. Any ideas? My, but do I digress.)
I think we should all resolve to stand up a little more to address little things in our world that we want to change. I'm going to start by tracking down that guy and "disciplining" him a bit.