Thursday, August 30, 2012

There are breeds of dogs that have something called "rage syndrome" occur more often than in other breeds. If rage syndrome is hereditary, then it isn't always an owner's fault when a dog goes bad, but that's a separate topic. What I am wondering is whether there is a human equivalent, what is going on in the dog's brain when the rage syndrome has been triggered, and so on.

I know from raising and breeding dairy goats that there are strains and even breeds that are more aggressive, nervous/anxious, intelligent, emotional, calm, loud, quiet, stupid, etc, than others. There are steps that can be taken to play down these traits...sometimes. For example, you can take a kid from a line that's nervous and bottle raise her (or simply habituate her to humans while her dam is raising her, which is what I'd do), spend a lot of time with her, etc....and she will turn out better than if she hadn't been worked with....but the tendency to be anxious will still be there. Aggression can be situational (crowded conditions and scarcity of resources result in a LOT more aggression than usual) but there's definitely a genetic component, at least some of the time. My observation has been that there are some that should be given up on or that I personally cannot deal with (loud, unintelligent drama queens)and others (like the fearful ones) that can be helped and that show enough improvement to be worth helping.

Animal rights people say that we should never, ever give up on any dog. I don't agree with that. Sometimes putting the dog down is the kindest choice for everyone.

Quakers say that we should never, ever give up on any human. I think I mostly agree with this. I do think that there are certain humans who should not be allowed to run loose in society at all, ever. I also agree that prison reform could be a good solution for many people whose lives are being destroyed, that they could lead productive, happy lives. Being able to distinguish between these two groups is essential. I struggle with the idea of being able to see "that of God" (and for me God would be not a person but a concept of order, sustainability, continuity, life energy, etc) in people such as sociopaths. I want to be concerned for and interested in justice for perpetrators such that they will change in a positive way, but to be honest, I am far more concerned about protecting their victims, defending them, etc. People tend to be interested in helping a victim (of whatever, whether a house fire, death, rape, etc) immediately after the event and after the initial hoopla, not so much....even though the trauma can take years to resolve or never really be resolved at all, not entirely. Any one person only has so much time to invest and if I am honest, I would much rather invest that time helping victims than the people who hurt them. I feel like a bad Quaker for saying that.

I also feel very conflicted about the "mind our own business" stance that many Quakers take regarding domestic violence and abuse. Why is slavery wrong except when a child or spouse is being enslaved and abused by their parent or partner? Where is the consistency? Why is domestic violence "not our business" and something that we should "stay out of" even when it is right in our own Meeting, but helping hard core criminals that we don't even know is our business? Is it easier to help people we don't know and to ignore those whom we do know? Why? This seems all kinds of wrong to me and I am not prepared in any way to accept it.

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