Opinion: Redefining monsters

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Neville Hardman

Often when we scan newspapers, copious amounts of headlines flood the pages concerning death. It has become normal to graze past the numbers half-heartedly because our culture has become desensitized by the somber statistics we are exposed to on a daily basis.

One of these many headlines dates back to 2012, when a family pit bull killed a 2-year-old child in Georgia. The toddler’s mother is gaining support to ban pit bulls across the state, according to the Alpharetta Patch on Tuesday.

As far as dog breeds go, pit bulls have attracted a bad reputation from the public. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says they are known as unpredictable and dangerous but also one of the most intelligent and gentle if respectively trained. Their tough and occasionally intimidating appearance has twisted people into believing they are aggressive, ruthless animals used to represent their owners in a dangerous light. It is largely speculated that the breed is not meant for families, but as someone that owns a dog that is part pit bull, I disagree.

It makes no sense to ban an entire breed for individual incidents, especially when the ban could negatively affect people who already own or train pit bulls with whom they have a connection. Many people are attached to unhealthy or dangerous practices and possessions, which may aid in their pleasure seeking but are also fatal to their health, such as fast food and illegal substances. However, pit bulls don’t fit into the mix.

We are used to being exposed to news and entertainment that focuses on the murder of teenagers and adults. However, when the victim of violence is a young child, we are surprised and horrified. It won’t be long before our surprise slowly fades to drowsiness as we are constantly bombarded with the same content that streams into our daily lives in massive doses, often clouding our judgment and sensibility.

The pit bull may seem like a monster to some, but regardless, we become the monster when we choose not to care anymore. Monsters aren’t always the people wearing the stained white shirt or growing that unruly crumb catcher because there is not a specific dress code. These people are well-disguised within a culture that decides to shrug its shoulders at death statistics and is more grateful it didn’t happen to them than feeling sorry for others.

We should care more about when the people around us become victims, but often, we don’t because of how often we see it on screen or in print. However, this does not mean banning pit bulls will prove to be effective. Even the exclusion of owning a dog breed is a limitation, and quite possibly a stepping stone for more amendment constriction in the future.