Don’t Be Cruel
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.”