Advocacy Overdrive – Stop Verbal Violence Against Pit Bulls

The blog has a corresponding video at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVRDrA8zuzw

The cheapest version of violence is verbal. It can be dispensed with out any consequences many times and furthermore in many social settings verbal violence is readily accepted as a “joke” or a slight on a group or individuals that everyone can gang up on.

In the media verbal violence against Pit Bulls is rampant. It lives on in the form of talk show hosts using the term “pit bull” as a conflated way to get attention, garner “phones” at radio stations and it has been long understood that headlines which create “monsters” and fear, especially fear of an “unknown” or “other” will sell the news like nothing else. This is programmed fear mongering.

All the verbal violence against pit bulls has led to a cultural meme that “pit bulls” are something to be cautious of at least, and at most be fearful of no matter the common sense logic that floats in the subconscious of just about everyone that stops for a second and thinks it through.

The problem is the media. Plain and simple, there is no other form of verbal violence that chugs along at such a rapid rate as the media. Now with the Internet blasting full speed 24/7 there is more anti pit bull platforms than ever before. There are actual groups that have formed over the hatred and fear of a “type” of dog.

The out right haters of dogs are people that I do not understand, but I do appreciate their forthright honesty and when displayed I appreciate the transparency so we can all see just who is behind the hate. At least then we know who they are and where they stand.

Which is more than I can say for the media.

The media are the shady ones. They play what ever side sells or will get them the attention they want. That is unconscionable when it comes to taking advantage of innocent canine victims.

If you think I am exaggerating about dogs being victims, consider that 5,479 pit bull “type” dogs are euthanized in shelters each day in the USA alone.
There are at any given time in shelters across the USA roughly 4 - 5 million dogs. It is theorized that roughly half of all dogs in shelters are some type of a “pit” “bull” dog. The daily number of euthanized dogs is actually a conservative estimate when you consider there is no real oversight committee keeping account.

The media should know better, especially these “personalities” with talk shows. They have research staffs after all.

Their words can be tracked and traced back so one would think being sensitive to the fact we no longer live in a bubble might be something to consider. If it is written or spoken on the air waves someone, somewhere will have a copy of it.

In one instance the media “loves dogs”, as they know dogs will always “sell news” and “get eyes on screens” and in the next instance they never stop to do an actual investigation into the tragic incidents where dogs have bitten people lethally or fatally.

They have never seriously looked into why the dog was in the trouble in the first place. It is the “rip and read” mentally that the media has long been prone to do with all sorts of stories. However humans have the ability to defend themselves with words and legal tactics. Dogs do not.

There is no consistency in the media as far as how they report on dogs.
Other than the disparaging headlines and the fomenting of fear that they constantly proffer from in the form of negative “pit bull” stories or the viewer benefits they reap from the fluffy happy stories of dogs.

These are the only two extremes that the media seems to be capable of.

There have been no real legitimate journalistic investigations by any major news organizations or journalists into the truth behind this meme of “pit bulls are the bad dog” and where it has come from, why it persists and what the fallouts of it have been for some 25 years.

The only real, legitimate research and investigation into the cause of fatal and lethal dog incidents have been done independently. Though these are valid and deserve more attention, the PBS Frontline or 60 minutes type of investigation into the history of fatal dog incidents would have the potential reach and resources to gather the needed information to give a complete perspective as to why fatal and lethal dog bites occur now and in the past.

Then perhaps the collective consciousness would start to turn towards more empathy and understanding. Logic is the answer, not more sensationalism.

The main commonality in all fatal or lethal dog incidents are the humans that were in care of the dog. Period. It is their behaviors that are to be taken into question. Then that will lead to why and how the dog was in the position they were in to bite fatally or lethally.

In the corresponding video for this blog you will watch people from all walks of life be asked one question.

“Do you think all types of people have pit bull dogs, or is it mainly thugs and criminals”?
The answer comes back from everyone with a resounding commonality that all types of people own pit bull dogs.

So why does the media, especially the talk show “personalities” and the like keep this meme alive? Why do the likes of Kelly Ripa, Judge Judy and David Letterman all practice verbal violence against innocent dogs for the gain of applause or worse, taking advantage of a history of abused dogs so people will have more sensationalized tragedy porn scenario in their consciousness.

Why are talk radio hosts so interested in fomenting fears about dogs they know nothing about? It is understandable when there has been an incident involving a dog that people have concerns and emotions are running hot. However the vitriol and ignorance that radio especially levels at the dogs is at times sociopathic in its tone. There are many time talk radio simply for no other reason chooses to disparage “pit bulls” out of pure hate.

Verbal violence against “pit bulls” with these media “personalities” needs to stop.

Why?

Because innocent people, and innocent dogs are being subjected to prejudice and hatred simply due to what a dog looks like.

There is a scene in the Stop The Verbal Violence Video of a dog and an owner visiting a senior center. To anyone that has seen a picture of a “pit bull dog” would not mistake this dog for anything else but some “type” of “pit”, yet in this short scene the dog is questioned as to if it is a “Lab” twice by two different people.

The point is people have no clue most times to what “type” of dog it might be even when it is apparent.

We have quite a bit to accomplish as a collective consciousness in so far as far as being raised to more empathetic levels in general on the planet, no doubt, but hating on dogs by the media and “personalities? Really? This is what still persists?

This verbal violence is bullying in its most egregious form as the dog is tossed around as a literal psychological play thing to be disposed of as needed for personal gains be they entertainment, amusements or as a object of hatred.

At least when a human is bullied they have options and can usually gain some sympathy, especially if they defend themselves to some degree.

Not dogs though, they have been saddled with the “burden of perfection”, based on the whims of the human that is in their charge. If they are deemed to be less than what someone decrees, they are put to death or left to rot in dog jails, then die.

People that work to understand dogs legitimately and care for them responsibly with empathy adopt the lucky dogs. The rest die or languish in dog jails.

It is not just the USA, of course all over the planet there is a collective hatred and fear of “pit bulls”. This all stemmed from a 1987 article in Time Magazine and a Sports Illustrated cover story on “pit bulls” that same year. The slanted and biased tome of these stories along with “experts” of that era cemented the fate of any dogs considered to be of a “pit’ “bull” “type”.

This meme has held steady for over 30 years. It is time it was put to rest.

The media could do wonders for the fair and just treatment of dogs by simply stopping the hate speech towards “pit bulls”.

I do not know any sane, rational and dog loving person or non dog loving person that is of the mind set that the media should not report on dog incidents when warranted. Just get them right and stop blaming the dogs and using the tragedy to sell news.

These dog incidents that the media finds news worthy could be teachable moments to help avoid other incidents in the future. Don’t worry media folks when there are no more “news worthy stories” about tragic dog scenarios, there will be enough sadness for the news cycle.

The media makes enough money off of pain and misery; do they really need to place a proverbial “kick” at the dogs when they are down?

Talk show hosts and “personalities” have enough to discuss, why the need to even mention “pit bulls” in anything less than a line of questioning based on empathy for all involved, is to me simply sensationalism at this stage of the game and the statements most likely to be taken poorly by many people.

If someone does not like dogs, fine. The goal here is not for everyone to like dogs or even like “pit bulls”. The goal is for everyone to understand dogs and understand “pit bulls”. If someone prefaces their dislike for dogs as a personal feeling, fine, they are entitled to their opinions.

However, opinions and feelings are not facts, though others might share those feelings, and opinions are entitled, they do not give scientific validation to the notions people hold based on their feelings of fear and their opinions based on news stories.

“Entertainment Personalities” should be aware that their words carry influence beyond the moment. That influence will live on in the subconscious and the consciousness of the collective minds of people, all people. What sort of ripple effect do they want to create?

Being responsible with words is something that all people need to practice in daily life in many areas.

Why do people not practice verbal responsibility with dogs?

Why? Because the dogs themselves cannot speak in a language that adequately will defend them from prejudice and keep them truly safe. So people get away with it. As I stated verbal violence is the cheapest and easiest form of violence.

Physical violence is a more expensive behavior for humans, and though far too many dogs suffer at the hands of people using low-grade violence masked as faulty communication, it takes a real socio path to intentionally want to cause a dog physical harm. Verbal violence is much more subtle and usually practiced by just about everyone at some point.

Many of the people that represent dogs are impeded by a lack of knowledge and the ability to defend them properly. Hence they are lacking the verbal skills to answer other verbal assertions.

The canine experts are usually sequestered in academia and so forth and or not queried when needed most on the world stage, so the dogs are left with less than adequate defenders yet again.

By the time the proper people are summoned to the debate the verbal violence has taken hold of the conversation.

Rationality and common sense are replaced with conflated words, over wrought feelings of dread and hopelessness, hatred, and sadness, making the story confusing for most everyone, no matter what side they are on.

It is time for the verbal violence against pit bulls to stop. It is the one aspect that keeps the dogs in a perpetual state of being considered “the bad dog”.

If people would stop bashing them the meme would die and fewer of the dogs would die due to prejudicial feelings. We all understand that dogs will die in shelters it should not be due to the “phenotype” of dog they were born as and someone personal biases.

There are people on both sides of the equation that have no business speaking about or speaking on the subject of dogs, let alone “pit bulls”.

All we can do, those of us that do educate, is to keep on keeping on.

When in the media or someone in a professional manner speaks ill of “pit bulls” they continue the negative bias, or even when people misrepresent dogs with discombobulated pseudo science wrapped up in “good intentions”…they are contributing to the collective hatred of innocent beings. Think about this common statement -

“It’s not pit bulls that are bad, it is”… enter breed or mix that person has a bias towards. See the trajectory here?

There will always be people that hate dogs. There will always be people that love dogs, yet hate, fear and or misjudge “pit bulls”. There will be both dog lovers and dog haters that will want them eradicated. These types of people we can really do little about.

However the people that do love dogs, but fear “pit bulls” and are willing to learn can be educated and at least have their fears well placed in the realm of common sense and logic.

The people that out & out hate pit bulls will continue. I say to them speak up and let us hear what your beliefs and what your intentions are.

The confidence with which true advocates of dogs proceed with is founded in science and math that is unshakeable and impenetrable to feelings of fear and hate.

We can and should keep addressing the media bias both directly by way of contacting them, by way of contacting the person that signs the paychecks, as well as the “personalities”, with honest and no nonsense facts based in math and science with legitimate credible references.

The good news is, we the people defending the dogs have legitimate, credentialed sources within the vast canine community to draw upon. We also have a large body of responsible dog guardians creating a culture built on proper humane education for everyone.

These should always be the basis of any defense of the dogs one undertakes.

This National Pit Bull Awareness Day I am asking everyone to simply stop and think about the words they use when speaking about dogs, let alone “pit bulls”. Words matter and they create a ripple effect that people keep going as they move through their lives. These days words come fast and cheap and stay around forever due to the internet.

When humans spread misinformation, hatred, and fear and or pass off personal biases as “facts” about dogs or “types” of dogs, reputations are built, and dogs, many thousands of dog types, are seriously affected by those reputations and negative ripple effects that they had nothing to do with creating.

Make sure when you do speak about dogs you are creating a ripple effect of truth, understanding and empathy. If not just be quite and listen at least then you’ll have a better chance of learning something.