Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions

It was a sad story.  It became a story of hope.  It then became an inspirational story of hope for the entire human race.   Then truth came out, and it didn't end happily ever after.  Good news, the rescue angel doesn't have egg on her face, because she's nice.  Or IS she....

There is an altruistic woman who apparently volunteers for the much maligned City of San Bernardino Shelter in her free time and on weekends.  It was she who took a photo, what was a sad farewell or perhaps a manipulative grifting act that she fell for.   She's not one of those jaded people who think about things beyond the moment or what the ramifications of doing a good deed may be.  She's got that wonderful quality of empathy. 

She took a photo, and sent the story of the "poor man", with only six bucks in his pockets, not enough to bail his dog out of doggie jail. The man, it turns out, had a run in with the evil City of San Bernardino police, who took him in on unpaid traffic violations. There was no one to pick up the pit bull mix, possessing no license, but sporting a set of testicles (against City of San Bernardino policy)  the pooch was taken to the City Shelter.  Little was know about the man, rumored to be "Christopher".

I witnessed this man sitting at the kennel of his dog, weeping.

He could not afford the fees to get him out.

The shelter has the dog listed a coming in as a stray, but I overheard the man saying the officer who brought his dog in, knew he belonged to him.

I wished I could have helped him.

So she sent this story to the Examiner, and it became a search to find the man.   It went viral.

After great effort to find the man, who wasn't picked on by the evil police department, rather

Police said they followed protocol in having animal control officers take the dog to the shelter because Thomas and a woman he was with were both arrested and no one was available to take the animal.

Police Lt. Paul Williams said Thomas was suspected of possessing drugs for sale. Thomas claims he was arrested because he failed to show up to court for speeding tickets.

"He wasn't arrested for speeding tickets," Williams said. "He was arrested for a felony crime."

charge HS11378 SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO .... Possession/Sale of Methamphetamine, in violation of Section HS 11378

Thomas said he had marijuana when he was arrested, but he showed reporters paperwork on Tuesday indicating he's a medical marijuana patient.  That explains the Cheetos.

Thousands of well wishers from about the country landed on the San Bernardino Sun page, and they did this happy follow up story.  SAN BERNARDINO - It's a story that has generated hundreds of dollars in donations, a job offer and even a marriage proposal. And also a few barks.

 At the root of this whole remarkable story, is the what it represents, altruism.  This sort of kind sacrifice and empathy is absolutely a  positive hallmark of the human condition, and it's necessary. But are we really so naive to think that altruism almost always selfless?  In fact, there is much to gain from doing good, from the good feelings anonymous donation generates, to blaring it out with trumpets that we donated $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity. Or Best Friends.  And we rescued a pit bull from a fighting ring. 

What is the dark side of altruism, the dirty truth?   We do it for the expectation for rewards and for building self-esteem. Are we nice to our ungrateful children, because we need them to take care of us in the end.  Do we buy Girl Scout Cookies from the boss's daughter, because we are ambitious?  Do we save the pit bulls, because we want everyone to know, we are nice and we care about the maligned, and we need people to know we are kind, we need praise and to be told over and over again, you are kind.   We do to the kind expectation for rewards,  for building self-esteem. 

 Several researchers have suggested that some altruistic behaviors have egoistic motivations, such as the desire to gain rewards such as praise and self-satisfaction, or the desire to avoid punishments such as condemnation and self-censure.  It's also shown that do-gooders suffer from codependency

Saberi Roy further explained in The Psychology of Altruism, of a kind of religious feeling we get by doing something greater than ourself.  In this day and age, it's an expression of an existentialistic crises.

Selflessness thus is just that, we want to be greater than what we are, we want to be philanthropic because we want to move beyond the traps of material possessions. The same feeling of selflessness which is found in all of us to a certain degree is also found in missionaries, spiritual leaders or even political leaders to a greater extent because selflessness is a defense against our own insignificance and our own mortality defined by material existence. Of course, I will not move into philosophy here, and sticking to psychology altruism is about a desire to be loved by others and a stage in which there is empathy. In strictly psychoanalytic terms 'transference' and 'counter-transference' are terms that define the relationship between the patient and the psychotherapist when one understands the feelings of the other. Although psychoanalyst Jung focused on a possible altruistic behavior in spirituality, he still suggested that self seeking may be present, yet according to Jung we seek a balance in energy systems. Considering this a little further, altruism, philanthropy or benevolence may be our unconscious desire to seek balance in ourselves and in the world.

To illustrate the point, let's consider the opposite, well stated in  The Psychology of Altruism, by Roberto Diego.

Consider the opposite thought, if you aren't an altruist (heaven forbid that anyone would not want to be an altruist), what does that make of you?  In their, the altruists’ minds, it makes you a person deserving of frowns and anger and hatred and ridicule; an outsider, a rugged individualist, crude, unrefined, unintelligent, uneducated – it makes you a BAD PERSON of low values, scandalous, evil, worthy of hate and a hater of man, a person who is looked down upon and who must be converted and educated into thinking the right way – the right way being that you must realize that to be a good person you must put others first – is there a more cynical view of man than altruism, the philosophy that says YOU do not matter but OTHERS do, that your life should be a constant struggle to help THOSE who hate YOU?  Try to build self-esteem on that.  What does that do psychologically to a person trying to live according to reason; a young person struggling to understand what it means to look in the mirror? 

Of course, this kind of philosophy falls right out the window when we learn from the airline stewardess that we need to put the oxygen mask first if we can be any help to anyone else.    Consider that, when you want to help a seeming homeless man who has a pit bull, and not enough money to bail it out of the pound. Maybe it's better for the dog that he get the opportunity for a better owner?  God's will?

Consider what the consequences may be, putting a high risk breed back into the hands of an irresponsible person.  This person shouldn't have so much as a cacti.
Then,  while going down the road of good intentions,   this sweet angel ends up on the corner of "D" and Baseline.  San Bernardino is such a lovely place.   She doesn't know the town very well by her own admission. 

I just got a phone call from KTLA channel 5. Apparently, Dave has called to inform them that I am keeping the money raised for his dog. I have transferred $842.07 into my bank to reimburse myself for the shelter fees, vet and PetSmart shopping spree that I put onto my personal credit card. I had a discussion regarding the remainder of the donations and how he would like to spend them. I said it would be a good idea to pay off any outstanding tickets so that he will not be taken to jail in the future for having a warrant for unpaid traffic tickets. I asked if he had any bills that were due at the time. I told him that every dime that was donated would go to him and Buzz, but that I would not be giving him the cash. I explained to him that the money that was donated was a blessing for him, I wanted to be sure that we respected that and used the donations responsibly. He sat next to me and nodded his head, Not one response, question or concern.

After I hung up with KTLA channel 5, I tried to call Dave. His wife would not let me speak to him. She screamed at me that I was stealing their dog’s money. She said they have called the news stations and that if I did not give them their money, they were going to call the police.

I am exhausted from this entire experience. This is the last thing I needed or expected. I will not be giving Dave or his wife one single penny, what I will do is refund the money that was donated to Dave. I have had my life and the lives of my children devastated by drug addiction. I will play no part in supporting anyone’s habit. I just can’t.

So this angel decided to go public with her good deed, in the end, she will still reap what she sowed. (this glowing blog and examples of the seeming thousands of notes pasted on her page):

Maria I just sent you an email and found your page so I can give youa needed hug , it,s okay sweety , you are loved
I have been following your story and feel compelled to write you. I am so glad that there are people like you in the world and hope that you don't allow Dave Thomas's greed to dishearten you or change your outlook in any way. After all it's thanks to him that I now feel like donating money to YOU and YOUR cause to do with as you see fit. Thank you for all that you do for those poor dogs. Please let me know how I can send you money. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels compelled to help further your cause. I can't let this story ruin my faith in humanity and so I chose to do what's right and reward YOU for all that you do. Thank you!!!! Keep up the amazing work! :)
Bless your beautiful heart Maria. The world needs more people like you. All the love from Manila, Philippines. :)

Blah blah blah X 1,000.
I can't help but think had she taken the advice of Jesus to heart:

Matthew 6:2-4 (New King James Version)

2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

If she would have just taken the man aside and advised him to adopt the dog, there would have been no punitive fees, just the cost of adoption (which includes the license and a microchip)  and a substantially reduced fee for neutering and shots.  Of course, the evil San BernardinoCity Shelter may have not let this dog go to a man with no home (if that is the case) or a criminal record, and an off leash violation.

Instead, she played a loud trumpet solo.

And then this reprise:

I got a ticket for making an illegal left turn in a city I am not familiar with, (which may explain why she doesn't see the problem of pit bulls belonging to homeless drug users.)  I was side swiped leaving the homeless shelter tonight after doing the interviews with the news stations. A witness to the accident (thank God he was there) said a car passed him at a high rate of speed. He watched her try to pass me on my right hand side, instead she hit a parked car, bounced off my car and spun until she knocked over a stop sign and came to a stop on the curb. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I am a bit sore and shaken up, but I drove away from the accident. Someone or something kept me safe tonight! I am so thankful for whatever it was. This is why people should be nice to each other, you get good karma. For the rotten people that were on this thread calling me a scammer and worse…you need to take a good look at yourself in the mirror. WHO HURT YOU?

How nice. She does nice things for good Karma.

From what I can gleen from the information, Buzz Lightyear, now lives with his drug using owner in a homeless shelter.  NICE

This is SOME story, here's another blog about it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Book of Numbers

In all of the religions of the worlds, numbers often hold a mystical and symbolic meaning.    Are there mysteries written in the stars that numbers, ratios, and proportions can reveal? The Holy trinity.  The Five Pillars of Islam.  The laws of beauty governed by the Fibonacci sequence. Then there is the number of the beast...666.  Is that the number of the pit bull and what it represents?  

In the Judeo/Christian Bible, there is the fourth book,  The Book of Numbers.  It's so called, because it begins with a census.  It's an account of 40 years of wandering in the desert because of  disobedience, lack of faith and stubbornness.  Isn't that US?  We don't look at the numbers, we refuse to listen to logic, and we are having a very difficult time traveling the short distance from Egypt to Israel.  Who do we bow to....what is good for the public, or what is good for a certain breed of savage dog?   How many people will be maimed and will be killed on our journey to get there?  

Numbers are also cold and stoic, unlike words they transcend time and space.  They appeal to what is rational, we seek them to answer problems, to solve difficulty, to design and plan and envision a better world.  Isn't that the goal of humanity and civilization?  We have those who are keeping score at our arm chair, those of us who had a collision with the "game of chance",  and we have the actuarial scientists who 
compile the numbers and we use them to make policy.  Policy for humanity, to create a more civil and just world.   Those numbers are speaking.  This is a list of numbers compiled for pit bulls.

I think it reads clearly..the number is up, and it equals ENOUGH!

Dog bite claims totaled $92.7 million for 2,400 claims in California.(Insurance Information Institute, 2011)

$500,000 -   The typical cost of settlements in attacks  by pit bulls and Rottweilers causing death or serious injury.

29,396 $29,396, the average cost of a dog bite case in 2011.

3000 %-  Pit bulls and Rottweilers do three times more killing and maiming than all other dogs combined, meaning that their actuarial risk is approximately 3000% higher than that of the average dog.   More than

2,500  times higher risk of killing than Labradors.

66% - 80%  or 2/3 of the pit bulls who end up at the shelter are surrendered by their owners.

65% - Pit bulls are responsible for 65 percent of all fatal dog attacks nationally.

58% of dogs euthanized at shelters are pit bull types.

44% - of Seeing Eye teams have reported being attacked by other dogs.

25 - 25% of all dog bite claims were by due to pit bull bites

14 - every fourteen days, someone in the U.S. is killed by a pit bull.

14 times more likely to escape their confines.
11th in popularity - *American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, ranked 11th in popularity among 16 AKC-registered breeds and had by far the highest risk of killing — more than 2,500 times higher than Labs.

8 - times more likely to have been charged with drug crimes than owners of low-risked licensed dogs.

6 - times more likely to kill their owners.

5.4 - 5.4 - every 5.4. days, a body part is severed and lost in a pit bull attack

3 - Owners of dangerous dogs are more than three times more likely to have been convicted of domestic abuse.

 1/3 of all home insurance claims are dog bites (25% of them, pit bull bites)

3 - It is estimated that pit bull type dogs represent 3% of the total population of dogs in the U.S.A.. 

1 -  The Leading biters in 25 states.  

Leading biters

1 -  Leading in deaths and serious disfigurements and maimings.