Attention priorities are skewed

If you feel a little like the world is going to the dogs you might be forgiven this week.

If you feel a little like the world is going to the dogs you might be forgiven this week.

There seems to be a collective fixation with the report some 100 dogs in Whistler, used in a mushing operation until the business hit a slump post-Olympics, were slaughtered last spring.

The employee who carried out the cull went to WorkSafeBC with a post traumatic stress claim and WorkSafe brought the issue to the public view with a report on the claim.

Reaction in the days since has been staggering.

With online petitions and an endless stream of news stories only serving to ratchet public pressure to volcanic proportions, both the RCMP and SPCA initiated inquiries.

Then there was the man in Victoria who was just given the stiffest sentence for an animal cruelty case ever handed down in this province.

Brent Connors was handed six months in jail on Thursday for beating a pitifully cute pitbull puppy to death in a hotel room.

Again, petitions and public outcry waged for weeks before the ruling, leaving one with the clear impression Canadians, or at least the residents of B.C., believe strongly that animals have a full compliment of rights in a fairly similar vein to human rights.

There are now lawyers whose practices centre on animal rights, mind you, but when one figures even the situation in Cairo did not seem to take a bite out of our collective fervor, the dogs’ deaths don’t seem like the only disturbing thing here.

Three countries are embroiled in unprecedented turmoil, at least one on the verge of collapse, with thousands of people injured.

Yet if the conversations in the grocery store and the banter on Facebook can attest to where our attention seems to lie, it would appear far more of us see our political opinions, well, going to the dogs.

This could be exactly why the dogs have become such a fixation, mind you.

If you believe the devil you know adage, it is somewhat forgivable that so many are analyzing the one issue, while just shaking a concerned head at the other, given the enormity and complexity of the situation In Egypt, Algeria and Yemen.

There is an undercurrent of racism in our tendency to simply chalk the difficulties in the Middle East up to it being the Middle East.

Somehow our culture has gotten to a point where Saddam Hussein, Osama, the Iranian nuclear threat, what have you, all get lumped under one umbrella of Middle Eastern craziness that negates any social responsibility to understand what is actually happening.

Interestingly enough, if one does take the time to read the many incredibly well detailed posts and background stories people are being arrested to bring us—though admittedly with a rather flagrant looky-loo flare from some journalists’ style—the dogs and the Cairo conflict are really not so far removed from one another.

In the end, they say it always comes down to money and gross economic disparity, particularly for young people facing insurmountable odds in the employment department, lie at the heart of the conflict in Yemen and Egypt.

Oddly enough, this is something many, many young people in Kelowna can relate to on a much less dire scale.

So it seems all that much more unfortunate that none of us really take the time to say anything about it, preferring to just shake our collective heads, then turn our attention to the dogs.

Democracy, after all, is predicated on freedom of speech and dictators are known all too well for treating people like dogs.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

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