Friday, January 31, 2014

One Death, Two Deaths, A Deep Dark Puzzle

A police dog named Rocco died this week after being stabbed by an assailant. His stabbing, veterinary care, death and memorial service were all prominently featured in local media. I'm not providing links, but people in Pittsburgh will know what I mean; Rocco's story has been everywhere. Non-Pittsburghers, you can search "Rocco K-9 Pittsburgh" to see what I mean.

Perhaps this is a measure of my brokenness, but I have not been able to muster up sympathy, empathy or compassion for Rocco. The reason is that every time I thought of him, my mind refused to stick with the subject, and instead turned to the subject of a woman, a mother of five, pregnant with her sixth and engaged to be married, who was shot to death this week.

Susan Sidney's story grieved me so that I had no sympathy/empathy/compassion left for Rocco. Her family and friends are the ones that I have prayed for, not those who knew Rocco. More than that, I have grown increasingly perplexed this week as so many other people - who, like me, did not know either Rocco or Ms. Sidney - have demonstrated so much more concern for a police dog than for a person.

Again, this may indicate a flaw in my character, but I cannot comprehend how the extensiveness of the coverage and the outpouring of public feeling for Rocco have dwarfed those for Susan Sidney. How can Rocco have been the subject of four stories in the Post-Gazette this week, not counting an editorial ("Heroic Rocco: The killing of a police dog calls for justice"), and Susan Sidney the subject of one?

Perhaps one day my powers of reason will enable me to understand. But today, the fact that a "Justice for Rocco" Facebook page has gained nearly 50,000 likes in less than 48 hours does not break my heart - the news about Susan Sidney did that - it breaks my brain. 

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