Don’t Be Cruel

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Elvis said it best: “Don’t be cruel:” I want to dis­cuss to­day an is­sue many are made aware of each day we live. The act of be­ing cruel is that which tends to in­flict pain or suf­fer­ing on an­other per­son or an an­i­mal. But Elvis said it best with his 1956 hit song “Don’t be cruel.”

We will give at­ten­tion cru­elty in the two ar­eas of cru­elty to an­i­mals and cru­elty to hu­mans. It is with­out suc­cess­ful con­tra­dic­tion that cru­elty ex­ists greatly in both these ar­eas. Be­fore delv­ing into a dis­cus­sion of cru­elty in these two ar­eas it seems rea­son­able of ob­ser­va­tions and ac­tions lead­ing to the dis­cus­sion to­day.

At this point, I want to en­cour­age read­ers to go to the web­site “Youtube” and find Elvis and his var­i­ous episodes of “Don’t be Cruel” That song is based on a love for one hu­man for an­other but the ti­tle cer­tainly fits into my re­marks to­day.

The ver­sion on Youtube that I like best that of Elvis per­form­ing “Don’t be Cruel” on the Ed Sul­li­van show in Jan­uary of 1957. That ap­pear­ance was the third and last time Elvis ap­peared on Sul­li­van’s show. The mu­sic ren­di­tion is great and then there is a per­sonal friend in the back­ground of the whole song. Ray Walker is the bass singer for the out­stand­ing singing group Jor­danaires. Sev­eral years ago there were long and pleas­ant vis­its with Ray Walker when he came to the Cal­houn Church of Christ to lead singing in the North­west Ge­or­gia Bi­ble Lec­ture­ship. It was after the Eddy Arnold fu­neral in Nashville, The Jor­danaires had per­formed at the fu­neral, that I spoke with Ray Walker and re­marked to him that if he and the Jor­danaires had been around Elvis more he might still be with us to­day. I will never for­get the longing tone in his voice when he said, “Yes, Jerry, but if we had been with him more we (the Jor­danaires) might not be here to­day.”

One more aside: Tra­di­tional singing en­ter­tain­ers did not embrace Elvis and his rise to star­dom with com­plete joy. When Bing Crosby was asked to com­ment on Elvis early in Elvis’s ca­reer, Crosby an­swered to the ef­fect that he sup­posed he was a pretty good singer and then put him ex­posed to scenes on TV where mul­ti­tudes of dogs, cats or horses are de­nied ba­sic care of food and shel­ter? That is what has been termed “pas­sive abuse” of an­i­mals. Pic­tures of suf­fer­ing and starv­ing bod­ies reach out to lov­ing and car­ing hearts.

Then there is the ac­tive abuse where an­i­mals are beaten, kicked, tor­tured, and pur­posely ex­posed to dread­ful con­di­tions in life. The ac­tive abuse has been proven to be much more preva­lent than most would sus­pect. Re­ports also show that one who would abuse an­i­mals are five times more likely to in­flict cru­elty or pain on other hu­mans. Nu­mer­ous stud­ies have shown a strong link be­tween vi­o­lence to an­i­mals and vi­o­lence to hu­mans.

There are many in­ci­dents I could set forth about wrong or cruel ac­tions against an­i­mals. I will share with you one per­sonal and touching story. For years Sambo, our black lab, jogged with me nearly ev­ery morn­ing of the year. Sambo was never on a leash and never of­fered to bite or harm any­one with two ex­cep­tions. If any­one ( stranger) came by my mother’s house where Sambo stayed, the dog did of­fer de­fen­sive ac­tion. Then when my grand­chil­dren were with me at my house it was not ex­pe­di­ent for any­one to ca­su­ally make ap­pear­ances nearby.

One day I jogged to the Re­cre­ation Depart­ment and Sambo, as was his habit, laid down out­side with­out any ag­gres­sion at all. A per­son came in­side and told me an older man had thrown hot cof­fee in the sleep­ing dog’s face. Just let it be said this old coach was not a happy camper and ex­pressed his dis­plea­sure greatly after nearly a dozen wit­ness said Sambo had not even moved from his sleep­ing po­si­tion since I had gone into the build­ing. That man was an an­i­mal abuser.

I close by en­cour­ag­ing each pet owner to love and care for your pet. They will love you in re­turn. Also, I have learned how smart ( bril­liant might be a bet­ter word) each of our pets are. Re­mem­ber Elvis said, “Don’t be cruel.”

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