Alibi V.21 No.23 • June 7-13, 2012 ››
The Truth About Pit Bulls
Dear Alibi ,
The debate about pit bulls has heated up due to some fatal attacks. This has led many to call for breed-specific bans. This letter is to address both sides (proponents for breed bans and those against). On both sides of this issue, people are generally ill informed. You hear owners attest that their pits are the best and friendliest dogs ever, and on the other side the dogs are vilified and demonized. It takes little research to find out that dogs are dangerous, period (although it is more likely for you to be killed by lightning than a dog).
The Center for Disease Control reports that 4.5 million dog bites happen each year with 885,000 that require medical attention. It is difficult to find which breeds bite the most, as studies report many different breeds. It is also likely that small dog bites may not be reported at all. So really what we are looking at here is that pit bull bites are one of the most damaging bites (along with rotts and German shepherds) and they have a high prey drive (that is what WE have bred them for). We also know that no dog can be held morally responsible for their behavior—it is their owners who are. We also know that pits are used as a status symbol (instead of a beloved pet) in certain segments of the population, and that they are trained to fight (most of these dogs being male and unneutered, it makes for more aggression). This being said, many people are not prepared, educated or even care enough to know what they are responsible for with their pit. This goes for the most loving owner to the gang banger who fights his dogs and forces them to wear heavy chains around their necks.
On a personal level, I am a pit bull mix owner, my dog is a small female, who of course is the sweetest most loving dog I have ever known. She has also been brutally attacked at a dog park by a fully grown pit (I didn't see anyone there or I never would have taken my dog in the first place). It was horrifying to watch my dog's body being literally shaken back and forth while the two teenagers who owned the dog stood there stunned. They finally kicked their pit repeatedly to get the dog to release mine while I was pleading on my hands and knees for their dog to let go. She suffered pretty badly and had drains installed in her neck. I was never mad at that dog, I was mad at the boys who obviously had no business owning the dog in the first place (or probably any animal). The point is, owners should educate themselves and be extremely cautious due to the damage that can occur with pit bites. I let my dog around other dogs or animals rarely, I try to never have her around children, and when she is, I monitor her constantly. When I have visitors I use caution when they enter or leave my house. When I walk her I tell people no when they ask to pet her. My dog has also been through obedience school (where several other breeds had to be muzzled for training but my dog and most the other pits were not). The point is, it’s a lot of responsibility, but I never put her or others in a risky situation because I know she could potentially cause damage. This is called knowing your dog and being a responsible owner.
The solution? Study after study shows that breed bans don't change anything. The statistics still show the same numbers of bites and attacks around the world. A more helpful legislation might be for pit owners to take their dogs to a pit bull obedience and breed education class and present a certificate to the city. Those who violate (trust me, those who want the dog as a status symbol would not want to go through this process) could be fined heavily or worse and may possibly even be deterred from pit ownership altogether. We owe it to these dogs and our community to be responsible with them. We are the ones who bred them for certain characteristics and so it is no fault but our own. Regardless of breed, all dog owners should obey leash laws (because they could meet another unfriendly dog on the trail), be cautious around children and take their dogs to obedience classes.
Criticizing the Critics
I have a big bone to pick with your movie reviewer. He reviewed [in Film Capsules] the Snow White revision Mirror Mirror, making it sound silly and trivial. I strongly disagree: It was a delightful rewrite of the original, empowering for girls and full of extremely creative and cleverly hilarious moments! The dwarfs alone were worth the price of admission.
Now he has given the new Snow White and the Huntsman a good review [also in Film Capsules], comparing it to Lord of the Rings! If any child sees that movie they will have nightmares for years! It is really a horror flick, and not at all like Rings. I don't know who on Earth the producers thought they were making it for, except possibly adults who hate women.
The Alibi has a responsibility with its reviews not to be misleading, especially where child viewers might be concerned! One more reviewer complaint: Speed-the-Plow, recently at the Vortex Theatre, was given a review [ Arts, May 10-16] that made it sound stupid and unappealing. I saw it as a volunteer and thought it was great. The reviewer perhaps does not understand New York and L.A. movie biz producer personalities. I do. The play was a wry and clever commentary, and well worth seeing.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
On the final Friday of May, a bunch of bicycle enthusiasts got together and celebrated Critical Mass. About 50 people, give or take a half-dozen, met at the UNM Duck Pond at 5:30 p.m., and proceeded to bike through the streets of Albuquerque, waving at pedestrians and inviting car drivers to join us.
Though the motivation for each participant may have varied, it seemed to me our collective statement, as we happily clogged a lane on Central, was to challenge all those locked in their cars and chained to an oil-dependent lifestyle to find a better way.
This was another manifestation of people’s power—folks getting together and having fun while also pioneering a more sustainable future, free of the shackles of modern civilization. Whether volunteering at a community garden, or a homeless outreach, or joining critical mass, get out there and do something.
Banks and Believers
Big banks are like the casinos in Las Vegas. They play by rules they have written and with games they have invented and/or control. But, unlike casinos, these big banks are not only gambling with their money but also with our money in the form of both deposits and tax funded insurance pay outs and bailouts. Heads they win, tails we lose billions.
These BINO’s (banks in name only) can make much more money faster and easier by gambling amongst themselves and with other huge players betting for and against their own creations and against their own customers and even entire nations. Smaller banks and mortgage companies aren’t able to gamble as much as the big boys but did participate, to one degree or another, in the mortgage securitization / real estate bubble that brought down economies all over the world, including our own.
So now that the economy is soft, banks large and small are hesitant to lend, fearing default by business and mortgage borrowers in uncertain times of their own making.
At the same time, John Q. Taxpayer has been paying the taxes that have been cut for the Wall Street gamers and their ilk, has lost his job through business failures and downsizing and government cost-cutting layoffs, has lost his house which is now worth much less than his mortgage, and is now asked to pay to bail out the very banks that caused all these woes.
This is much like the crash of ’29 Great Depression, followed by FDR’s New Deal, when only government intervention is enough to reverse the downward spiral of less lending, less investing, less earning, less spending, less begetting less—an economy shrinking on all fronts without government intervention to reverse the spiral.
These free marketeers, these supply-side heads, these trickle-downers, these antigovernoid deregulationists et al will always be true believers in their ideologies, no matter how often they fail. Because take away their beliefs and they’ve got nothing.
The More You Learn, the Nastier It Is
[Re: Election News, “What’s in the Mud?” May 31-June 6] Looks like Al Park has lots to hide:
1) He is making lots of money doing dirty work for the Martinez administration. They are working to purge the state government of all Democrats, even life long public servants, and Al is helping defend their firings and making dollars doing so.
2) Al has been voting with the right wing Republicans in the State Legislature—hmmm, are the payments for 1) tied to 2)?
3) He is siding with the Republicans and fighting the public campaign financing law—hmmm, are the payments for 1) tied to 2) and 3)?
4) He has taken lots of dollars from large corporations regulated by the PRC during previous campaigns. One wonders if it's time for these companies to get a return on their investment?
Sadly it looks like Al is just another old fashioned Democratic crook who is using his office for personal gain. He may squeak by during the primary but his political future in the Democratic Party is gone.
The Budget Derby
[Re: Letters, “Budget Blather,” May 24-30] Once again, a Republican is distorting facts to reach a baseless conclusion. Gessing states: "The fact is that Ryan is the only one having the discussion about needed reforms. Obama is not, and liberals in Congress have not proposed needed reforms or tough cuts."
In 1991, the Congressional Progressive Caucus affirmed that the Cold War was over, and that the nation's budget should show that. They called for cuts in military spending, a tax system placing a larger portion of the burden on corporations and those with higher earnings. They have been doing so regularly since then.
In April 2011, the CPC proposed a budget for fiscal year 2012: "By implementing a fair tax code, by building a resilient American economy, and by bringing our troops home, we achieve a budget surplus of over $30 billion by 2021 and we end up with a debt that is less than 65 percent of our GDP." The Washington Post states that the CPC plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far; it reaches balance by 2021 largely through assorted tax hikes and defense cuts." Paul Krugman calls it "the only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget."
On March 26, liberal House democrats unveiled a 2013 budget increasing taxes by $4.7 trillion, claiming they are necessary to fund $2.9 trillion in new stimulus spending to “put Americans back to work” and “rebuild the middle classes” while reducing the deficit.
The liberal budget contains smaller deficits than the Ryan plan. Obama adds $6.4 trillion over 10 years and the Ryan plan adds $3.1 trillion; the CPC budget adds $3 trillion.
I guess it’s easier for Republicans to lie than debate the issues.
Clarification: [Re: News, “History in the Houses,” May 31-June 6] The Downtown Neighborhood Area Sector Development Plan restricts bail bond businesses to a 500-foot radius around the courthouses. But this only applies to businesses within the plan’s boundaries and only to newcomers. The plan will also not affect historic overlay zone guidelines or boundaries, but the zoning for most properties will change.
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