Tuesday, October 7, 2014


We were at a restaurant a couple of days ago.  It must have been a little slow in the section our waitress was working.  When she picked up the money, instead of just thanking us and walking away, she started up a conversation about the meal which evolved into her pulling out her phone to show us pictures of her cat.  He is only 17 weeks old, orange and white.  He has been neutered and also de-clawed.

I understand, the girl is a college student and shares an apartment with another girl.  You have to be concerned about furniture and the cat doing damage to the apartment.  He's never going to be an outside cat.  He really doesn't need claws.

Cats with claws can defend themselves and climb trees to escape danger.  They can also hunt and kill to feed themselves, but, sometimes, they kill songbirds.  Maybe we should de-claw all cats, or breed naturally de-clawed cats.

I can't do that.  Claws are part of a cat's nature.  They are predators.  They kill other creatures to live.  Hunting and killing is in their DNA.  You don't really have to teach it to them.  Some are better at it than others.  Some seem to have the killer instinct bred out or mostly suppressed.  Those are not much different than prey animals -- sort of an odd, short-eared rabbit.

Yes, I'm still talking about cats, but it does seem to be applicable in other areas, doesn't it?  We talk about sheep and wolves and sheepdogs.  Perhaps we ought to consider throwing in the de-clawed cat analogy.  Sheep don't turn into sheepdog nor wolves into sheep, but you can de-claw a feline and make it more or less completely dependent upon you.  It remains a cat, one of the most efficient little killing machines on the planet, though it can no longer act according to its nature.

There are a lot of people who think we ought to de-claw humans.  Weapons are dangerous.  Sometimes they are misused and abused.  The thing is, though, the government can take all my guns and all my knives, but it does not change my nature.  I am not and never have been a wanton, wasteful killer of animals, but I'm still a killer.  I certainly don't want to ever have to kill another human.  So far, so good.  Nevertheless, should it ever become necessary, I am capable of killing.

As humans we can sublimate our instincts, but sublimation is learned and not a natural phenomenon.  It may not be learned consciously by instruction.  I think it's mostly by modeling.  If people, men in particular, are not taught how to properly handle aggressive, violent, and predatory feelings and impulses, they will have a hard time living in a civilized society.  You can take away the father figures and the role models, but you can't turn a male into a female.  You can take away the weapons, but if the instincts are not channeled, you will have outbreaks of pathological behavior, assaults, murders, muggings, rape, property destruction, etc.

You can try chemical de-clawing, but I haven't seen much evidence that that works well.  Mass shooting seem to have some correlation to prescriptions of psychotropic drugs.

It should not surprise us that the population centers with the highest rates of children born out of wedlock, the most absent fathers, and the least opportunity for positive outlets to channel the predatory nature have the highest rates of violence and crime.

The answer is not to de-claw the well-adjusted.  

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