There is something very unusually obvious about the #SaveKim campaign: there isn’t the usual ‘gloves off’ online debates and two-sided arguments. You see, the thing is, there doesn’t seem to be any other side for the #SaveKim team to debate with at all (aside from literally one or three people). But there is heap loads of empathy and emotion. Yes, the majority of us want to save Kim and if the online petition is anything to go by, nearly 170000 people do not want Donal Roger’s best friend, loyal companion, family member put to sleep. Sadly, 170000 people can’t save Kim, but 170000 people give a real indication of the desired outcome of a dispute between a lady who was bitten by Kim and Kim’s owner.
I ran into one of the possible 3 who would like Kim put to sleep. He was in the legal profession and yes, I was taken back by his accusatory words: I was victim shaming. So, I did my best to stay rational and I even tried to speak legally with a dusting of empathy. He was having none of it. I was perplexed until, enter ‘into the courtroom’ one friend of his who seemed a bit shocked by what he was saying to me. Afterall I just shared a petition and hoped someone could reach out to the lady to reason with her. Suddenly his tone changed, and the truth came dropping slowly: yes, what was really going on was: he did not like dogs. Hardly reason enough to agree with a lady’s adamancy to have an elderly man’s dog put to sleep (killed!). What it tells you is the importance of naming ‘what’s really going on here!’ It throws light on those who wish to stay in their darkened opinions; it helps us understand where people ’are coming from’.
However, fears, hates, phobias should not be the pens to sign any dotted line.
I have to say whilst I might be biased here, when I ask this question, but why do we give this maximum punishment for a bite when it is a dog that bites. In my work – often counselling young men – some who repeatedly engage in violent behaviour – and yes, have bitten – some shrug it off as ‘one too many’ or ‘sure, they were asking for it!’ I’m not calling for human pts orders, well, I’m just saying really! Strange isn’t it. How a 6 inch dog who was woke suddenly outside her home, which is nestled in a leafy remote area, and who sees strangers, runs out, reacts to the perceived threat and the lady bitten is calling for her to be killed. Yes, I agree it must have been frightening but yes, I’m aware that we also can’t ask Kim what was it like for her that she reacted this way: ‘a way’ that never ever happened before. No, we don’t get to hear her defence.
I’m sorry this lady got hurt but it’s a heavy weight to carry when we try play God especially if the consequences of that role means someone’s world could become undone. I can only imagine what it is like for Donal, especially at night, when he lies awake with his bundle of love, his protector, his Kim at the end of his bed. Yes, I can imagine, he can’t see his life without her.
So, let’s just put it out there:
What would the rationalist do in this circumstance? He or She would work towards a ‘Win Win’ for both parties. It might look like this: compensating the injured party, precautions put in place to ensure Kim is secured so it can not happen again and a behaviourist is engaged with to assess any possible reoccurrence and interventions formulated and put into practice.
What would the deeply human spiritualist do? They might refer to Rumi, who talks about finding that garden that lies between right and wrong and meeting there. They would look at being mutually empathetic and subsequently engage rationally to resolve.
And what do you think a Christian would do? Yes, what would a Christian do?
Finally, what would you do to #SaveKim.