The video that purports to show a US Marine killing a puppy has created quite a stir.
Obviously, killing puppies is wrong. I don’t even see a need to argue for that claim. If the video is not faked, then the person who killed the puppy is clearly an evil person or has serious defects in his mental workings (or both).
The video has been put to use as a propaganda piece that purports to show the evil of America and its soldiers. However, the obvious reply to this is that the video, at most, shows that the person who killed the puppy is a bad person. This hardly serves as evidence that the military and America are evil.
In fact, the American reaction to it shows quite the opposite. Americans, as the Michal Vick case showed, generally love dogs (even more than they love NFL quarterbacks) and hence the majority of Americans are appalled by what this video allegedly depicts. Further, the Pentagon makes it clear what the military position is on such cruelty:
[This video came to our attention this morning, and we have initiated an investigation. We do not tolerate this type of behavior and will take appropriate action.
The vast majority of Marines conduct their duties in an honorable manner that brings great credit upon the Marine Corps and the United States. There have been numerous stories of Marines adopting pets and bringing them home from Iraq or helping to arrange life-saving medical care for Iraqi children. Those are the stories that exemplify what we stand for and how most Marines behave.”
The Department thanks the numerous citizens who brought the video to our attention. ]
This might just be dismissed as calculated to respond to the outcry against the video. However, reason should make it clear that the Pentagon does not encourage or endorse cruelty to animals. Most American soldiers, like most Americans, are opposed to such cruelty. If the military encouraged soldiers to be cruel to animals, why then would they bring therapy dogs to Iraq to help soldiers? Why then would the military have a K-9 corps which is well known for the bonds between the soldiers and their dogs?
While the act shown in the video is despicable, what shows the true character of America is how rational people are responding to the situation: if it is real, those involved will be found and punished for their misdeeds. America is, overall, devoted to the rule of law and doing what is right.
A rather disturbing aspect of this situation was the comments that begin to pile up on various blogs calling for the horrible death of the person in the video. His alleged name and address were published online and numerous calls were made to harm him and his family.
While a person who kills a puppy should be punished, calling for his death is not a call for justice. It is merely an expression of senseless anger. To call for death in response to this shows that a person does not really think much of the value of life. Yes, if there is a guilty person, then he should be properly punished after a proper trial. While people no doubt feel tough when they cry out for someone’s death, they put themselves closer to being the sort of person who would kill a puppy than the sort of person who holds to what is right.