This Friday, two young Black men, Joshua and Justin Moulder, were sentenced for torturing and killing a small puppy in Georgia. The two boys, 17 and 19 years old, had a history of juvenile misconduct and pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty and burglary. Animal activists were furious with the “light” sentencing,
“ten years in prison, plus ten years probation for the Moulder brothers. Not nearly enough… you can honor this puppy’s memory by lobbying lawmakers to increase Georgia’s animal torture penalties and to add felony animal torture to the list of non-parole-able offenses” read more here.
Of course I do not condone the actions of these Black teenagers; the very nature of the crime was cruel and grotesque-they duct taped the puppy and baked it in a gas oven-but the sentencing and reaction from the general public seems incredibly extreme. This story has sparked enormous controversy INTERNATIONALLY, summoning up hundreds of thousands of letters and petitions from animal rights activists to lock these young men up for life. One woman from right here in Syracuse had the following comments,
“Linda Zotter of Syracuse, N.Y., while enduring cancer treatment, took time out to knock on doors and gather signatures for her own personal petition. “I do believe they should be put away for life,” Zotter said. “I would not want them living next to me…” (read entire article here)
This is so problematic. Syracuse got over 6 feet of snow last week, yet somehow Linda Zotter, a cancer patient, gathered the strength to rally her neighbors in an attempt to lock two Black teenagers in prison for life. I do not wish to downplay the severity of animal cruelty, but this situation seems to be outrageously blown out of proportion. I think the most powerful part of her quote was, “I would not want them living next to me.” Is there such an extreme fear and disgust of these misguided children that their whole lives need to be sacrificed? Let’s be real: every steaming plate from Red Lobster or bag of McDonald’s chicken nuggets are probably a result of equally brutal animal cruelty, but i’m sure Zotter would love to live in the same neightborhood as Ralph Alvarez (Mickey-D’s owner). We live in a country where puppies like the one the Moulder brothers killed live off of more money and have more access to food, shelter and clean water than most human beings in the world. I do not say this to condone their torture, but why aren’t we more concerned with the people who live in poverty, with nothing to eat? This is also torture. Furthermore, two young men are about to be swallowed by a prison system that is, by it’s very nature, torturous. The prison industrial complex is a black hole (quite literally) which consumes the resources, labor and physical, emotional and psychological well being of the Black community. By the time the Moulder brothers get out (IF they get out) their lives will more than likely be damaged beyond repair. Why are we comfortable sacrificing two boys for one puppy? Also, Why are we so worried about puppies, when people are tortured everyday at Guantanamo Bay!? I wonder how many signatures they get.