I am a rather emotional individual who wears her heart on her shirt sleeve, so I often avoid reading news articles that wail about the worst of humanity. But with the headline “The incredible recovery of Andre the dog: The brave pooch used as target practice found with eyes gouged out and left for dead has a new family,” I knew the horror of this dog’s recent journey would have a happy ending. So, I clicked on the article and braced myself for another story detailing man’s unbelievable cruelty to animals.
But I did not brace myself enough….the story of Andre was gut-wrenching, tear-spilling and utterly nauseating – so much so, I almost vomited on my keyboard. I do not wish to recount the details beyond the headline, but if you must read this horrifying story yourself, you can find the full article at the Daily Mail. Be prepared to weep. So, why then do I repost Andre’s horrific story? First and foremost, it does have a happy ending and I am all about happy endings. Yet, it wasn’t the happy ending, but the comments following the article, that inspired me to write this post. Here are a few of the comments:
“Please find the beasts who committed these heinous crimes and execute them.”
“I hope the despicable human who caused this poor animal’s suffering rots in hell. But first, I’d like to shoot their eyes out.”
“Whoever did this you have a one-way ticket to hell.”
“This is horrible. Absolutely horrible. If only we could inflict the same pain to those responsible for this terrible act of cruelty.”
While I appreciate the readers’ comments, not to mention the intense anger directed at the person responsible for such heinous acts, I find my modest Buddhist training emerging and compassion within my broken heart taking flight.
Wait a minute, c-o-m-p-a-s-s-i-o-n? Seriously?
Yes, compassion, seriously.
Whoever did this to Andre clearly is already rotting in his (or her, but more likely his) personal hell.
A normal person, by definition, would not, could not, inflict such pain on another innocent being. To do so, the individual is either truly a psychopath (having a complete lack of empathy, among other serious anti-social pathologies) or is bursting from their own searing pain within. Either way, this person is not like the rest of us. Can we not extend the deep compassion we feel towards the innocent animal that was harmed, all the way to the person committing the crime, knowing that only a person with great internal wounds themselves could ever carry out such barbaric acts?
At some point, that person we condemn was also likely the innocent victim. Case in point: many child abuse victims will ironically express their intense suffering through cruelty towards house pets or other animals that can be easily controlled. These children often grow up and continue the cruelty as adults. Extending compassion for all who suffer does not excuse the perpetrator, who indeed must be held accountable and often removed from society, but it allows forgiveness — and isn’t forgiveness a healthier place for all of us to be? An eye for an eye, after all, just makes the whole world blind.