Burning Devils and Pagans

I see the Dow closed below 10,000 today.  Told y'all so!  I'm so glad I got completely out of "the market" a few years back.  Seriously guys, just take a look at the 5 year chart on the Dow.  We've actually had no real growth of anything with inherent value in this country for probably more than 15 years so the Dow should be lower than that but we'll just wait until inflation catches up, I'm sure.  Real, inherent, value changes little so it's just this game we play now that our money is no longer tied to anything of real value. 

A few days ago, I saw mention that the Dow dipped below 10,000 so people were shifting to Treasury Bonds.  I almost fell out of my chair laughing.  Do they not know the US Treasury is now invested in the same companies?  I mean, that is what all those bailout dollars went to.  So, if the market, those companies, aren't growing the US Treasury is doomed too.  Oh, well, it was bound to happen and they even knew all that in DC.

Sometimes I wish I didn't have a decent background in accounting and the time value of money, of adjusting the" silly money" numbers into real value numbers in the back of my head!  We're all screwed if we don't get back to some basics and I see some real "devils" on Wall Street and in Washington who need "burned".

I don't actually believe in the Devil or in devils.  To me, those are religious creations from religions and faiths other than my own.  I am pagan.  I follow a tradition brought over by my great, great grandmother from Scotland.  Being a child of the '70's, I was not inclined to hide my faith but I don't generally wear it on my sleeve either.  When my mother found out that I wasn't hiding my practices, she made her point of concern by bringing me a newspaper article titled: "They Still Burn Witches" that was about practitioners in Africa literally being burned at the stake ('twas back in the news just weeks ago too).  Although that was far away and we supposedly support freedom of religion in this country, I took her point to heart.  However, I've never been able to bring myself to join a church and openly practice Protestantism (the choice of most from Scotland when my forebears immigrated) or some other Christian faith while privately practicing my more soul felt beliefs even though there is little incompatibility between these faiths for me.

I have openly defended those of all faiths nearly all my life.  Having broadly educated myself in a wide range of them, I know there really are few differences on fundamental issues between the faiths.  I believe we should be free to practice the faith of our choice and, if one wants to flame us based upon personal beliefs, then do so in context and with regard to specific objectionable practices/beliefs rather than surface level appearances.  I consider it grossly inappropriate to take something that is legal and irrelevant and use it to inflame the public against someone in a completely unrelated matter.  Either show the relationship or at least spell out your theory of the relationship or it's simply nastiness to my mind.

I am finding the seizure of animals from James Vonda and family in Fannin County, TX, particularly troublesome because the whole mess appears to be based in 3 real issues.

  1. Rescuer on rescuer flaming and instigation;
  2. Using personal religious beliefs and sexual practices between consenting adults as inflammatory allegations; and
  3. The usual animal rights activist gross exaggerations.

1 and 3 are becoming regular topics for me here and I hope #2 doesn't but I certainly suspect it will now that the activists see what nice ammo it makes.  In recent years, it has become increasingly more acceptable to once again flame people for their religious and sexual practices.  To "burn the witches" with words in an era when damages to reputations by words is worse in some ways than it would be to bind someone to a pole and set them afire.

The flaming of the Vonda family started while they were operating the Ferris (located on the line and extending into both Ellis and Dallas counties), TX, animal shelter.  It appears to have been started by a single individual who clearly intended to make huge issues of their personal matters that, as far as I can tell, have nothing whatsoever to do with their care of animals.  In yet another "news" video on this seizure of animals from the Vondas, I find increasingly disturbing items.

The report says "some animals" while Maura Davies of SPCA of Texas says "most of the animals were suffering".  The reporter says Marura saw "dozens" of animals "chained" around the perimeter of the property but there is a single cable tie-out in the photo shown.  What was "burn barrels" or "fire pit" in previous stories is now depicted by Maura as "remnants of a bonfire with a pile of bones in it".  Colorful and inflammatory but hardly descriptive or fact filled.

The animals shown in the video and pictures posted by SPCA of Texas appear to be in reasonably good health and at least 2 reporters who have seen them have described them so as well.  Actually, if it is true that 40 of them came from the Ferris shelter, they are in amazingly good shape as the animal owners in the Ferris area aren't exactly known for their high standards of animal care or even of keeping track of their own dogs.  (The city was so frustrated less than 2 years ago that it issued a "euthanize immediately after 72 hours" policy to deal with the overwhelming number of stray dogs in the area.  They hired a shelter director who attempted "no kill" but was summarily fired and I'd guess that was because her methods were incredibly costly to the city of Ferris.  Then came the Vondas probably not knowing that the supporters of the former and fired shelter director were likely to get pissy and vindictive.)

Lt. Daryl Parker of the Fannin County Sheriff's department has jumped on the bandwagon alleging this is "not the first time he's [Vonda] been involved in an animal welfare issue" (reference to the Ferris/Dallas county issues) which he then states "necessitated" the Vondas move their "operation".  The reporter then goes on to tell of the Ferris animal shelter.  The implication is that these are separate happenings, to imply that there has been more than one prior incident and that the Vondas were forced out of Ferris rather than having made a choice not to stay and deal with the ongoing defamation.

The "reporter" then goes on to "report" that the Vonda women wear "dog collars" and to make a big deal out of reading what is on James Vonda's MySpace page.  They also show tents on the property and say the Vondas were living in them.  I'll assume that those are actually facts (although I don't know that).  SO THE F'ING WHAT???????  What is the relevance of any of that personal information to the animals?

In fact, very little has been said as to the actual animals in this case and even less inflammatory allegations than is the norm for these cases; let alone to the nature of the issues the authorities say are grounds for alleging "cruel" treatment of them.  I saw the original craigslist posting that seems to have instigated all this.  I probably have a copy of it the way things are copied and pasted and passed around via email.  It was posted by someone who allegedly adopted 2 cats in very poor condition that were not euthanized by the Vondas.  They were CLEARLY in poor condition per the photos she claims were taken the same day she adopted them and she adopted them ANYWAY and then made them the basis for her complaint and even whined to me on facebook yesterday about the $1400 she's put into them for veterinary care.

Perhaps the Vondas should have killed those cats although I don't have a problem with allowing an animal a natural death either.  However, this woman clearly adopted 2 INJURED and ILL cats.  They are hers and it is hers to make the tough decisions rather than adopt them and then whimper and whine and use them as ammunition against the Vondas.

In a city/county/public shelter, one doesn't get to choose which animals to take in.  The animals arrive and in all kinds of condition, including injured, ill, and even near death.  Contrary to popular belief of some, "no kill" philosophy does not mean that animals don't die or even that they aren't euthanized.  It means that adoptable animals aren't killed.  If they arrive in poor condition and the shelter hasn't the resources to treat them, they are usually allowed to die or are euthanized.  The Vondas, the shelter, the city of Ferris had ZERO obligation to treat these cats and this person knowingly took them on as her own.

I have euthanized some of my pets and I have allowed some to die naturally.  Those choices are undoubtedly based in and influenced by my fundamental beliefs.  I cannot say what I would have done with these 2 cats.  I never saw them and they were not mine to make decisions for.  If the Vondas/their shelter owned the cats (and it appears they did after 72 hours per their agreement with the city of Ferris), then it was their decision to make.  Once this woman adopted them and having done so knowing their condition, it became her responsibility.  Are both their decisions based upon their fundamental and religious beliefs?  Very probably.  And they rather obviously disagree.  And again, SO WHAT?

To me, it appears the Vondas would have permitted the cats to heal on their own or die naturally but they were also willing to give the cats a chance at life by adopting them out.  I can find no fault in those decisions even if they might well differ from the ones I would make.  For one who would take on the cats knowing their health problems and then using them rather than taking responsibility, I can find great fault.  This individual's actions were tender for the fire now burning the Vondas for wholly unrelated issues.

That SPCA of Texas and the Fannin County Sheriff's department have jumped on the bandwagon is no surprise.  They are responsible for the seizure and they have a vested interest in winning the case.  It should be clear to all by now that SPCA of Texas is quite willing to seize animals that are not cruelly treated and claim they are; as evidenced by their continuing defamation and allegations even when courts order animals returned.  That the media is jumping on too is no great surprise in these times when they sensationalize and emotionalize every issue they can.

The animals seized in this case appear to have been mostly in good or better condition and exceptional condition given how many of them came in through the Ferris shelter.  SPCA of Texas is now calling the tethering "cruel confinement" on their website so it appears they've realized the animals weren't tethered in violation of the anti-tether/dog restraint statute.  If one complies with the restrain statute but can still be accused of "cruel confinement", there is definitely a problem as people have the right to clear statement of the laws with which they are to comply before being accused of crimes or subjected to forfeiture of property, including animals.

Given the condition of the animals, the nominal allegations, and the inclusion of so much personal information about the Vondas, I can't find a better term than persecution because that's what this is.  All too many of these animal seizures involve some form of persecution.  In this case, the persecution is clearly founded in religious bias; it may also be founded in race and/or sexual orientation and preferences.

I am saddened that my country and its citizens are becoming less tolerant with every passing day.  I am saddened that so many who do not know me and with whom I would often agree have such negative reactions because they know nothing of my faith and choose to hate or fear rather than find out or learn.  I wonder how many regular readers didn't get past my statement that I'm pagan and will never returned based on that alone.  Nearly comical to me as I'm so conservative that many pagans would find me objectionable.  I guess it's also comical that I tolerate all their perspectives whether they be pagan, jew, christian, muslim...

I am blind angry that my government continues to persecute in my name.

May persecution end; may all learn to learn and be tolerant.  Blessed Be to ALL, no matter their choice of faith.

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