Raging Bull

Mother unapologetic after shooting toddler-chomping pit bull, but no one gets sued and devil dog lives

Original Story: Yuba City Appeal Democrat

A neighbor’s dog wandering into your backyard and biting your child means Drag Race Day. The green light hits and you go: no hesitation and no time for tact. Your foot nails the gas pedal and you point the horsepower at the end of the asphalt. Whatever gets in your way sounds like a melon hitting a barrel, then like a dinner salad falling to the floor. Or so went my reaction upon reading this story. ‘Course, I don’t have kids or guns or drag race cars because any one of those things would get me into trouble.

But this homeowner simply went into her house, got a gun, and shot the dog in the face. It makes so much sense you’d think it was 1940, especially since the dog didn’t wander into her yard at all: it snarled and muscled its way through a fence. And did I mention it was a pit bull? As far as canine profiling goes, everything that happened after the dog chewed the child is everything that should have happened (Steinbeck would be proud). Lucky for the dog, it didn’t die. It’ll have a mask of horror where its snout used to be for the rest of its undeserving life, but Mama Magnum won’t be charged with animal cruelty or excessive Clint Eastwood.

Now, I’m not exactly an eye-for-an-eye guy or an expert on Call of Duty awesomeness. I just think many of us can relate to this parent’s course of action. We might even wish we had her sense of focus during an experience fairly described as terrifying. This woman had the confidence and composure enough to discharge a firearm in a manner appropriate to the situation without killing anything or accidentally putting a round through Mrs. Jenkins’s thigh. She turned a hostile dog that should never have been allowed to slip away into a walking bummer, a deformed monster. When it emerges from mandatory quarantine, this Quasimodo will forever be confined to the role of a creature too hideous to look at — one people won’t go near. 

Too much?

Too insensitive?

Too bad. I wish my mom were Snake Plisskin!

My gut reaction is supportive here because the woman didn’t immediately jump into lawsuit mode, making sure that everyone within earshot knew she was a victim while forgetting she wasn’t actually doing any bleeding.  But the problem with my reaction is that the message mom’s gunslinging may have sent her daughter and friends is one that may very well come back to – sorry for this – bite her in the ass. When these little girls grow up to be jilted teenagers, the last thing we want is for them to remember that problems can be solved – and respect regained – by pulling a gun. To be fair, it’s not likely this was the daughter’s only take-away, but it will still take some effort on her mother’s part to make sure of that. And that’s assuming that elsewhere in this particular parent’s lifestyle and psychological makeup there aren’t booby-traps or broken bits (especially since the news coverage, at least, makes no mention of dad).

Back when my brothers and I were younger (no, it wasn’t 1940 then either), if we or our friends were bitten by a dog the adults around us – even the guy that owned a liquor store on the corner – focused on the injury itself and the psychological state of the kid in question. People weren’t so quick to act as if reality-show hysterics were owed to them, trumpeting their trauma for all to hear. They took a little bit more responsibility for their reactions to disturbing events or challenges to their comfort zones, and they made room for neighborhood kooks, problem pets, and even loud parent humping. In fact, I’m not even sure this story would have made the news back then. If I’m proud of anything that makes me look old, there it is.

So kudos to the lady with the gun and the wherewithal to use it without cry-assing her way into a courtroom. Given the rising tide of entitlement eroding our culture, a few extra lessons for her daughter isn’t a bad price to pay.

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