Jewish World Review Oct. 22, 2003 / 26 Tishrei, 5764

Michael Graham

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Consumer Reports

KILL BAMBI! | Shoot Bambi now.

That was the plea of thousands of morning drive commuters clogging Interstate 526 near Charleston last week, stuck in "traffic snarled for miles" according to the local paper, because of one lousy deer.

And during hunting season, too.

Traffic on a major thoroughfare was snarled, then stopped, for four hours on a weekday morning because someone spotted a buck struggling in the gelatinous pluff mud of the Carolina Lowcountry, launching a massive response from county officials, local cops and assorted animal lovers all longing to play "Rescue 9-1-1" with an oversized rodent.

Now, I like animals, I don't enjoy seeing them suffer, and I haven't shot anything on purpose since college, but somebody needs to say it: It's just a deer.

That's right, my PETA-afflicted friends, I said "just." As in "just an animal." As in "only." As in "no big deal," "pass the ammo" and "I've got a big-money client sitting in my office right now, would somebody pop a cap in its ass so I can get to work!"

Instead, thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent to annoy thousands of traffic-bound taxpayers so one of the innumerable deer overpopulating the American East Coast can be drugged, tagged and sent to live in a refuge.

The cops named him "Lucky." What Charleston-area commuters called him cannot be printed in a family publication.

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Interestingly, however, there's been relatively little outcry. And what little there has been is drowned out by the "Awww, isn't he cute" crowd, which believes it is impossible to spend too much money or inconvenience too many people on behalf of animals.

We live in a nation where you will get into more legal trouble for killing someone's dog than you will for killing your own baby and dumping the body in a trash can. Just ask the California man who got 3 years in the jug for flinging a woman's Bichon Friese into oncoming traffic, while a California mom who murdered her newborn got probation only. No prison time.

Now, I don't recommend throwing dogs into highway traffic (though if you absolutely had to, the annoyingly yappy Bichon Friese would be a good choice), and I of course believe the dog killer should be punished.

But the passion gap between our feelings for deer and dogs versus our next-door neighbors is reaching drastic proportions. We stand outside the multiplex puzzling over which display of horrifying human carnage we're going to pony up $8 for — "Kill Bill" or "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" — then weave into oncoming traffic on the drive home to avoid hitting a squirrel.

My fellow talk host, Glenn Beck, demonstrated the American view of our fellow citizens as second-rate animals with a recent radio stunt. He told listeners that he was going to kill a puppy, Buddy, if his new book didn't hit #1 on He had planned it all as a comedy bit, and when the book didn't hit #1, he would "kill" the little puppy on the air — then reveal at the last moment that the puppy never existed in the first place.

But he hit a snag: The book DID hit #1. What hit the fan, from lawyers and animal-rights advocates, would better be described as #2.

Beck's point was to link the passion of Americans for the nonexistent puppy to the lack of outcry for Terri Schiavo — the brain-damaged but physically responsive Florida woman whose feeding tube was pulled last week. But you can't point out the societal flaw of callousness towards humanity to a society that doesn't see such attitudes as flaws.

Beck is reportedly still in trouble, by the way. Some animal nuts think that even the fictional portrayal of smothering a pretend puppy to death was too gruesome to be allowed.

Once again — have you seen "Kill Bill?"

It would be nice if we lived in a world where animals never died. It would even be nice to live in a world where people never died. The Earth Liberation Front would even agree with that. I think.

But that's not where we live. We live on planet Earth, where the entire ecosystem depends on devouring and death. Death is the engine of life. There were people lined up on the interstate last week, I'm guessing, cheering the rescue on, not caring what the cost or consequence, because they can't stand to see an animal hurt or suffering.

To these people I say, "Stay out of the woods." In nature, you'll find senseless suffering everywhere, from predator cats who toy with their prey to bears amid spawning salmon, grabbing a fish, taking a single bite, then tossing it aside and slapping at another. That's what they do. It's why they're called "animals."

The final word goes to the hopelessly nave Siegfried Fischbacher of "Siegfried & Roy," who claimed on national TV that the 600-lb. Siberian tiger that nearly ripped his partner Roy Hood's head off was "trying to protect" him. "He was just confused," Siegfried says.

Maybe so. But I'll bet that Roy, along with several thousand Charleston area motorists last week, was wishing for a rifle all the same.

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JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.


Recall democracy
Butting heads
The sweet and down load
07/15/03: Keep your eyes on the lies
07/08/03: ‘LIBERIALS’
07/01/03: Our Strom
06/24/03: Like white on Rice
06/20/03: Security begins at home
06/16/03: DEAR HIL—
06/11/03: Madame Hillary's Lessons for Young Ladies
06/03/03: War games
05/28/03: A few small reparations
05/22/03: Springtime for Hitler?

© 2003, Michael Graham