The Thursday Blog: Leaving Home the Bacon Edition

Pennslylvania State Police Lt. Gregory Bacher said he had never seen an act of cruelty committed on this scale before in his life. And if the evil mastermind Daniel Clark is found, there is certain to be hell to pay.

Daniel Clark was a pig farmer in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. After a particularly acrimonious divorce, (in which I am guessing his wife likely cleaned him out for the value of his farm and livestock) Daniel just walked away. Behind him, in a remotely situated barn in the back of his property, he left 925 tightly-packed pigs without access to food or water. By the time that his ex-wife finally visited the farm and the alerted authorities, the pigs had all been dead at least three months.

Lt. Bacher, after 26 years in law enforcement, feels scarred.

Christian Herr, an executive vice president of PennAg Industries, says this was an illogical, sickening event. A criminal issue.

Gene Baur, the president of Farm Sanctuary, (a farm-animal rescue group) while discussing pigs’ intelligence and sensitivity, says “These pigs died a horrible death, struggling for freedom, and no one came to their rescue. There is absolutely no excuse for this unconscionable neglect, and the people responsible for this tragedy should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is on the case, documenting the evidence and getting all CSI about it. Their goal seems to be the same as everyone elses’, to see Daniel Clark pay for his act of evil neglect.

Dennis Bumbaugh, who works at a local animal shelter and was one of the people called in to help dispose of the carcasses, said, “I want to see justice for what happened in that building,” Bumbaugh said Monday. “I and the ASPCA had our hands on those animals. It’s personal.”

The town of Harrisburg is up in arms, and Clark is nowhere to be found. But I have to wonder… with all this concern and emotion and brouhaha surround these unfortunate pigs and their admittedly grisly fate, has anyone stopped to consider exactly how much worse off they were from their planned end?

The pigs died of dehydration, and that sucks. No fun, and no equivocating. But before that, when they were getting cared for just “fine”, they were being housed in tiny pens in a warehouse style “barn”, where they couldn’t turn around or even lay down without extreme discomfort, (and despite the common misconception, given the choice, no animal will willingly rest in their own feces) in the heat and ungodly stink, (pigs have much more sensitive noses than we do, and are naturally repelled by the smell of their own waste — and consider that even after 3 months of nearly a thousand dead pigs on the property, it was not the smell that tipped anyone off that something was wrong) and that they would have met their end in white-eyed terror listening to the squeals of their bretheren being killed in front of them.

Now, lest you think I am attacking the pork industry at large, let me say here that I am not. I couldn’t do what they do, nor would I ever wish for that onerous capacity. Nor do I patronize the purveyors of pigflesh. I happen to believe that most Americans eat far more red meat than is healthy for them, and I have some sustainability issues with pork and beef land-use policies. However, according to laws of the land they have the right to do what they do. They have the right to fairly barbarically raise too many animals in too little space and treat them in ways most of us on “the outside” would never even dream of. It is my personal belief that it is important to recognize and face our society’s dark corners, if for no other reason than to better understand the world around us and our place in making it happen. Pig farming is most often torture for the animals. War, no matter how sanctioned by the government that sends you, is still murder. I would never think less of an individual for following their heart and acting in the ways they were taught. Eat bacon, join the army. It’s all good. But it’s no reason to shrink away from uncomfortable truths and retreat into the land of the hazy and comfortable euphemism.

Those 925 pigs had lives you or I would likely not have considered a better alternative to suicide. Dehydration is not a great way to go, but given the choice between that and their “future”, I’m not convinced that Daniel Clark did a bad thing.

115 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Leaving Home the Bacon Edition

  1. “By the time that his ex-wife finally visited the farm and the alerted authorities, the pigs had all been dead at least three months.”

    She knew about the animals. What took her so long to go check on them? Depending upon when she took ownership of the farm, SHE could also be liable. If she knew her ex was gone, why didn’t she check on the animals, even if she didn’t have ownership?

    • Answer: Because she’s a thoughtless money grubber who wanted money without having to work for it? If she hadn’t been so greedy and left him with something to lose, this situation wouldn’t have come up in the first place.

      • Another possibility: She caught him cheating on her, or vice versa, and she set this up to turn the community against him after he packed up, handed the keys over and went to go join the army to leave it all behind him. I’ve known a number of escapees from small towns who moved to get away from the social fallout of divorce so him leaving town after a divorce does not strike me as unusual or necessarily mean-spirited.

        • I don’t know if I’d jump to that conclusion yet, though people do seem to try such crazy things in real life, but it could just be that he went away thinking she’ll come to take over the farm. It’s unclear what exactly she got from the divorce, only that it was a lot. Did he even get to keep the farm to himself? I mean, someone who just got hit so hard financially would at least try to sell the farm for some money before he left, pissed off as he might be.
          It could just be that he lost the farm or most of it and decided to sabotage her “winnings” by leaving them to die, or he just left, thinking she’ll be there soon to take over.

          Kevin, the story you presented there doesn’t tell us anything about the ownership situation of the farm or what exactly happened before he left, and it’s kinda one-sided, to say the least.

          • That’s because I didn’t have any information about it and those were all guesses on my part. (As stated.)

            Now continuing along my hypothetical train of thought, she probably did not visit the farm until it actually became her property and she believed he was gone. To me it looks as if he left the farm 3 months before the divorce proceedings were finalized and she showed up as soon as it was legitimate to do so. Of course all of that is speculation, but since he’s the one who left the animals to die, I’m not inclined to immediately demonize her. He sounds a trifle vindictive to me.

  2. Life is full of many uncomfortable truths about the inherent brutality of the institutions that provide what we use and control our actions, and our indirect responsibility for their actions. If people were able and willing to face the facts of the dirty, sickening and brutal standard operating procedures of the livestock and livestock processing industries they clearly would not have reacted this much to some slightly deviant but proportion-unexceptional brutality. Examples: Livestock are usually starved for at least a day before slaughter to lower the fecal contamination. I don’t know about slaughter method for pigs but cows are hooked through their hind-legs and bled to death by slashing open their carotid and jugular if I recall correctly. (Stunned first by hammer blow or electric shock to the head.)

    I don’t have the chutzpah today or else I might cast the first stone against biohazardous, pollution-heavy, intensive hog farming. Can I get someone else to give the third degree about how questionable the product is, the nigh-sociopathic character of environmental destruction caused and the antibiotic-resistant disease creation risks of this dubious enterprise?

    Aside from those two things I have to ask if it’s actually right and fair that this guy’s wife cleaned him out so bad that this seemed at all a reasonable thing to do to him. I bet he didn’t have kids because if he did this would be destroying his kids lives and no man worth anything would do that. Presuming that this was so why the hell is there such a huge alimony system tying chains between people that divorce was supposed to separate? Child support is one thing but I think the point should be addressed that when you break ties with and leave a person it is not right or reasonable to expect them to continue to support you without some exceptional qualifying reason. As I understand it, marriage as an institution serves the purposes of social stability and the protection and care of children. I am just a layman in this field but it seems that alimony and divorce settlements as they currently exist in AmeriCanada interferes in the purpose of legally sanctioned marriage and divorce in creating obligations to support someone who no longer supports you. Why is this done?

    • Well we don’t really know what happened during the divorce, except that it was not kind. However, to your larger point, alimony is generally given to the spouse who sublimates their career and potential to supporting the other partner. Wife marries Husband, who is a proffesional Nut Thumper. Nut thumping is hard work, and Husband makes good money doing it, so Wife gives up her sligtly lower-paying job of Assistant Beaver Taster to stay home and support Husband, cooking, cleaning, and doing all the things his busy schedule make it difficult for him to do. During this time Husband is promoted to President of All Nut Thumpers and they move into a beautiful home in Palm Beach, where Wife makes many new friends and gets a great tan. They are married 20 years when Wife discovers that Husband has been having sex with rodeo clowns and has a meth habit he has been hiding beneath his rampant alcoholism. She divorces him.

      Now, Husband has an awesome job he may or may not have been able get without someone handling the other half of his life for him. Wife not only doesn’t have an awesome job but she has been unemployed for the past 20 years and is hopelessly out of touch with the latest beaver licking practices and technology. She is going to have to move out of her home, away from her friends, take an entry-level job below what she used to have and move into a crappy apartment, all because her husband couldn’t keep his penis out of clowns.

      While the details may differ, (slightly) the above situation is common when it comes to divorce. It may seem exceptional, but the truth is that it is entirely pedestrian. I don’t know what happened to the Clarks, but we don’t know nearly enough to go jumping on Wife, while we know more than enough to kick Husband straight in the nuts.

      • Okay, that makes sense but I am not so sure that the wife should get a forever after support for it; she used to be a beaver taster and we have no idea if she had an upwards career path in that–never mind the fact that beaver taster makes less than nut thumper in your example. If you ladder your consumption and social habits on the income of someone else and then split with that person it does not seem right to me that you should expect to continue to benefit from their affluence.
        I do agree with the point that building relationships and marriages is about compromises and that if you compromise to support someone who fails to respect that and deal in kind that you should not be penalized for it. It’s a difficult question since it involves, in many cases, people suing for the right to continue to enjoy status goods and lifestyles they never would have acquired without the person they married (and which are socially poisonous status gaming quite often). I don’t support that anybody should be entitled to such without earning the money themself and possibly not even allowed with earning the money themself.

          • The oldest profession, or just staying married to their first damn, probably trophy to begin with, wife.
            Really though, the sociopathic rich should be forced to marry other sociopathic rich people in my opinion. Does anybody disagree if I say it’s the appropriate punishment for being a sociopathic rich person?

            • There are certainly those who abuse the system. That’s sort of the problem with any legal system though. Some people are get something, good or bad, that they didn’t deserve. We just need to try and find the best balance.

            • It’s not a trophy anymore after it loses its only attraction- its looks.
              And “the oldest profession” has already been mentioned and tried by those elderly, meaning the trophy wives themselves. Some people just want to make a distinction between those two types of prostitutes and prefer owning a full-time prostitute who services them exclusively, and would probably look down upon those who cannot afford full-time prostitutes like them.

              This hypocrisy reminds me of the concubines in Firefly who are looked on by most of society as honorable businesswomen(and men?) while the other, unlicensed prostitutes are vilified. Or how the high society sees nothing wrong with rich men bringing their paid-for partners to a classy party.
              This isn’t to say I view prostitutes in a bad way, kinda(OK, so slightly negatively but they can do as they please with their own body), just that such distinctions are ridiculous.

              Also, I think there are several levels of prostitution, models being the first(nude models, as in they show even more of their bodies on a more regular basis than the normal “non”-nude ones who wear totally concealing miniature bikinis or gauze-like fabrics in fancy fashion shows, would be a step/half step up the ladder) and lawyers being on the last where one wholly sells oneself out.
              Maybe I should have this discussion with my sister. She’s a lawyer, BTW.

                • Well, technically she’s one…She just hasn’t ever practiced it in court etc, AFAIK.
                  She works with a company selling law books for law students so she’s essentially a saleswoman specializing in those books because she knows what those students need.
                  It still doesn’t stop me from occasionally mentioning how much I despise lawyers, nor did it stop me when I had to use the services of one after my discharge from the IDF.
                  Lawyers are such big sell-outs you can tell them they’re sell-outs in their face and they’d still represent you.

                  That being said, I recognize some lawyers are trying to do good things with their inherently-evil profession, but they’re a tiny minority.

  3. I’m guessing dehydration and starvation was still the worse way to go considering they were probably not have been kept alive for years in their “regular” conditions and butchered when they reached a certain age and weight. There’s no point in keeping a pig fed and “housed” after it has reached that stage.
    For someone who raises pigs in those conditions it’s not all that unlikely to not give a damn and just walk away. They’re most likely just objects to him anyway.

    I’d also like to comment that these divorce laws that plainly ruin people financially are not all that great, and that there seem to be a lot of stories around about the man getting hit the worst in the divorce. Somehow I don’t exactly see the “equality” part of the law here.

    And now for a little point you made that really ticked me off:
    “War, no matter how sanctioned by the government that sends you, is still murder.”
    There’s war and there’s war. Whether you kill someone in self defense as a civilian or fight to defend your country, either on its own soil or abroad, it’s still “murder”, but can you say it’s always unjustified?
    That little sentence there sounds more like it refers to the USA’s recent wars in the ME that are thought by some as wholly unjustified and criminal for some reason(I know, nonsensical as it may sound! 😛 ). Regardless of those specific wars, I think your statement was just too general.
    Do you really believe there’s absolutely no reason to prematurely terminate another person’s life whatsoever?
    But then, why do we humans play all these games involving such slaughter, or draw comics about it?

    • I agree with the point that murder = killing another person but, killing another person =/= murder. However I think this particular argument really only comes down to semantics.

    • Justification is entirely beside the point. I’ll offer this as an example.

      If you break into my home and threaten me and/or my wife, I will do my best to murder you.

      I would certainly feel entirely justified in doing so, and I imagine that the society at large would agree with me. But that doesn’t lessen the impact of the fact that I killed another human being. I am not saying that there cannot be society-sanctioned reasons for killing (murdering) other human beings, I simply don’t believe in hiding from the fact that that is what you’re doing.

      • See my post above about semantics. What you called “murder” in your example, the state calls “justifiable homicide,” and I for one would be inclined to agree that the example situation is not “murder.” In fact, legally justification (or lack thereof) is an extremely important consideration and therefore is never “beside the point.”

        • Ron, your semantic distinction is a bit weak since “the state” refers to all killings as “homicide” rather than “murder”.

          • “Homicide” has a very broad definition, and “murder” is merely one form of homicide. We even have different classifications of homicide based on the intent of the offender (murder vs. manslaughter, for example, are two completely different legal terms with precise distinctions).

            Again, a murder is a homicide, but not all homicides are murders.

            • OK, so “murder” means a deliberate taking of life when one has no justification for it, so just about the most negative way of taking a life, which is exactly why I was riled up at Kevin’s usage of that word to describe any and all killings.
              If I get this straight, Kevin, I understand you’re not averse to defending yourself etc but even if it was purely in self defense and you had no other choice then you’d still feel sorry for having killed, right?

              • I’m with you on this one, orald. I think that killing another person is a terrible thing, regardless of the circumstances or justification. But the word “murder” has a very specific legal definition and I too am at odds with using it as a blanket term to apply to all situations.

        • You are entirely correct, Ron. Personally, I don’t feel that how the State looks at it is relevant to how I would have to deal, internally, with having killed another human being. But I freely admit that my views are not ubiquitous.

          • No doubt I would feel very distressed if I ever had to use lethal force to defend myself, that is completely understandable. I just don’t feel that I would be helping myself deal with it very well if I referred to it as murder. We apparently have different views of what the word murder means to us on a personal level, regardless of the legal standing.

            • If I had to use Lethal force to defend myself or someone else, my only mental distress would be over wishing I had a concealed carry permit and had a gun with me intead of having to grab something nearby as an improvised weapon to bash the attacker’s head in.

              If I ever DID get a permit and have one or more guns with me, my “mental distress” would be over which caliber to use and whether I should fire only one shot center of mass, or empty the clip.

              Sorry, but I have no sympathy for someone breaking into homes or assaulting people on the street.

              The Second ammendment reworded: I have the right to carry a gun. If you’re attacking me or someone else, YOU have the right to carry my bullets.

              • “If I had to use Lethal force to defend myself or someone else, my only mental distress would be over wishing I had a concealed carry permit and had a gun with me intead of having to grab something nearby as an improvised weapon to bash the attacker’s head in.”

                This strikes me as a fairly decent example of sociopathy, you say you have no regard for the person committing that crime. I accept it’s true that they forfeit the protections of society by grossly violating its rules in proportion to that violation. I accept it’s true that if you wield lethal power for criminal purpose and/or without sanction of the society this is definitely the highest breach, worthy of response by comparable lethal power. What I don’t accept is that desiring to kill someone and acting on that desire by physically, mentally and logistically preparing to do so is right.
                We don’t know if your generalized “bad guy” is mentally competent in regard to their actions, we don’t know if they are under duress or responding to crimes against themself. If you seek excuses to use the last resort as though it isn’t I wish you did not exist.

                I will agree that some folks, by their sociopathic actions, prove they can not be afforded the right to live since their continued existence means far greater threat to others than the certain threat of ending their life is worth. I do not trust the state, a human institution, to be competent to judge this as a rule though.

                • Whether or not the attacker is mentally stable or not is irrelevant. Whether his victim (me or someone else)dies or not IS. If the only way to stop someone is to kill them, unnecessary hesitation can make things much MUCH worse.

                  • It’s not the hesitation or lack of it that bothers me (unless it’s a guy who’s holding a gun but mostly doesn’t have the guts to use it anyway, you can talk those down).

                    • We are discussing instances where lethal force IS necessary, and whether or not it would skeeve you out to have to do it.

                      If someone forced me into a situation where I have to kill them to protect myself or someone else, I’m not gonna waste a lot of emotional angst about doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. If he forces my hand like that, tough tittie, I’ll sleep like a baby afterwards.

                    • And being unconcerned about ending of the life of even a guy who is pointing a gun at someone is still sociopathic. Until you paint the wall with his brains he is a person, unless he’s truly unfortunate he has a family. It’s bloody rare that anybody dies without someone that gets hurt by their ending.

                    • So was Hitler. So was Caligula.

                      You wanna try the “If you had a time machine would you go back and kill Hitler as a child” game? Doesn’t work in real life I’m afraid. (Frankly, if I had a time machine, I’d take a German language copy of “How to draw comics the Marvel way” and give it to the Teenage Hitler so he would learn how to draw people and not get turned away by the paris school he was applying to later. That would change his outlook quite a bit and probably even prevent him from participating in the Beer Hall Putch)

                    • Maybe I misrepresented myself.

                      I would not hesitate, in the moment, to defend myself. I don’t think that I would lose a lot of sleep over it either. But I would absolutely acknowledge that I had killed another human being who may or may not have been entirely personally responsible for his having been there. I don’t think I would feel particularly guilty about it, since in the moment (in my hypothetical) my choice is reduced to him or me, and I choose me. However, I did murder the guy. I killed him. Maybe he had kids, maybe a wife, maybe he would have outgrown this phase of his life and become a decent and good person. Maybe he would never have gone on to do anything but hurt other people. While those questions could never really be answered they apply equally to every person killed by another person.

                      When we go to war we are simply organizing together to murder some other people who we feel we no longer want to compete with. This is the normal state of humanity and shouldn’t fill anyone with horror or dread. It’s what we are. I imagine it is also completely normal to try and make this into some higher calling in order to shy away from the reality of what humans are casually capable of. My opinion is that this is WHY we are so casually capable of this type of murder. I am not unilaterally against war, but I think that if we called it what it truly is we might be a little more rigorous in our decision-making in deciding who does and doesn’t deserve it.

                    • My two cents that nobody asked for:

                      I think this is one of those issues where there exist multiple factors, but it is common to argue about it as if it’s a single-dimensional issue. That said, I must admit that anonymous cowards’ posts are those that most raised my eyebrow.

                      The first thing I noted was the equating of *thinking about, or *preparing for a situation with *hoping for or *wanting it, “What I don’t accept is that desiring to kill someone and acting on that desire by physically, mentally and logistically preparing to do so is right.” This is not an uncommon accusation/misapprehension, however, I rather suspect that, when your Average Joe says, ‘…wishing I had a concealed carry permit and had a gun with me instead of having to grab something nearby as an improvised weapon to bash the attacker’s head in.” ‘, They aren’t expressing a *hope to harm someone (though I wouldn’t argue that such people don’t exist). Rather, their meaning is likely, “*if* I was threatened, I’d hope to be properly equipped to deal with it.”. Speaking for myself, I certainly don’t *want to kill or want to “need” to kill, but I do want to be able/prepared *if such a situation arises. I certainly don’t agree that thinking ahead about how to respond to an assault (for instance) is any less socially acceptable than planning ahead for a house fire. Personally, this distinction seems so self-evident that I have to wonder if those who level such accusations (wanting to kill, etc.) have some secondary motive. But then, my thoughts aren’t the barometer for everyone else.

                      This: “This strikes me as a fairly decent example of sociopathy, you say you have no regard for the person committing that crime.”


                      This: “And being unconcerned about ending of the life of even a guy who is pointing a gun at someone is still sociopathic.”

                      Really? Why?

                      Until the moment this person kicks down my door (or whatever), “he’s” imaginary. I don’t know what, who, or even if “he” will ever enter my life. Certainly I can imagine different scenarios for him…backgrounds, upbringings, family life, ethnicity, nationality, clothing, voice, reasons, children, parents…but why? And what relevance could such musing have as he bursts into my home? Maybe if I guessed just right I could talk him out of it? I’m as likely to be wrong as right in my imaginings. He’s as real and as imaginary as anyone else in the world that you or I don’t know, in the same way as the people involved in a tragic news story. I can feel bad about the idea of a 12 year old loosing her family in a flood, but I can’t feel bad for “little Alice”, actually, unless I know her. It’s an abstract.

                      From the moment my door is kicked in, such questions are moot. They have no bearing on the needs of the situation. If I’m thinking about his hypothetical wife and kids etc., then I’m NOT thinking about my actual wife and kids etc.

                      OK, now he’s dead, the immediate danger has passed, the cops are arriving and so on. What then? I dunno. Unless I’d killed before, I can’t honestly say what I would feel. I can guess, I can surmise based on what I know about myself, but I’m no more likely to be correct about it than you are. Is it wrong if I don’t feel bad for him? Is it only “OK’ if I do suffer guilt or what have you? I certainly didn’t create the situation; he entered into a sort of open-ended contract when he invaded and I was under no requirement to react in any particular fashion, I was free to cower, run, plead, fight, whatever. His speculative wife and kids aren’t grieving tonight because of me. They’re weeping because of him. To paraphrase Mal, “I didn’t kill you son, I just carried the bullet a while.” (If this sounds like self-justification, that’s because it is. But not of a desperate sort. Just that of a person(s) trying to explain their point of view when they feel that point of view is being misrepresented, possibly even deliberately.) In the end, I rather suspect it’d be a bit unhealthy to feel guilty for having defended oneself. Then again, there’s opinion that it’s a bit normal to feel a bit of guilt, but that one should also get over it eventually.

                      This isn’t sociopathy, it’s basic, “take care of me and mine” instinct, and, in this little scenario, it’s entirely appropriate. Perhaps even a valid mental/emotional defense for just this sort of question.
                      Another thought: What’s the quantum of caring required in order to avoid this sociopath label? Will, “Well that was dumb, he went and got himself killed.”, do? Or must I/we/whatever wear sackcloth and ashes? (OK, that sounded combative, but honestly, just how much “concern” is required?) Am I required to feel bad for his family? Aren’t they just as abstract as the flood-girl example? They might exist, and sure, I’d hate to be in their shoes, but…really? I’ve gotta give my energy to me and my family that have just been traumatized.

                      Do some people think about this sort of thing too much and keep a loaded gun under the couch cushions while they play with their kids? Do some actually HOPE to have their Die Hard moment? Sure. On the other hand, for others, it’s simply something that occurs to them and they take steps to deal with. Is this the same thing? No.

                    • @Terran: Proper police training emphasizes that you should never kill someone unnecessarily and this practice is backed up by/formed out of something called human rights. Even if it was necessary to kill someone it shouldn’t be a matter where everybody goes to sleep without a worry.
                      I wouldn’t deny that I was characterizing the anticipation of potentially lethal criminal assault and preparation for it as sinister in its own right. I did that to stimulate discussion and thought: In a functional society this should not happen much at all and those few times it does happen should exclusively be the responsibility of the official police who should respond to it with the minimum necessary force.
                      I grant that life, society and the police simply aren’t likely to be ideal and that there are many places where having a gun to protect yourself from other people (including the agents of the state) is sadly reasonable.
                      Regarding your challenge question, I’ll try to give you my best answer. “What’s the quantum of caring required in order to avoid this sociopath label?” You didn’t want that to happen, you didn’t shoot someone you didn’t have to shoot, you’d prefer that it not happen to you or anybody you know ever, and it bothers you that something happened to make this guy bring that gun into your home–perhaps enough to find out why and try to fix that. Is any of that controversial?

                • Or you could give the Archduke a bulletproof vest so both wars wouldn’t have happened(OK, the first would’ve happened anyway, just somewhat later, or even in reaction to the attempted assassination alone).

                  Anyway, AC, I’m a sociopath and proud of it. Hesitating or regretting having to paint the wall red with someone’s brains because they were planning on doing the same thing to you is illogical and quite frankly I find it to be a sort of mental illness in itself. It’s like accusing yourself for being attacked/raped/brutalized instead of the ones who actually committed those attacks.

                  • Sort of a mental masturbation version of the Stockholm syndrome that happens BEFORE the buttholes actually do anything to you…Sure, Captain Butthole might have a family, but his putting someone in the position of having to take him out in self defense (or other defense for that matter) is HIS problem, and going through the whole Woody Allen routine is, IMO, sicker than taking him out without putting yourself through a bunch of mental agony afterward.

                    • It’s evidently a big problem with most of the left-wingers here in Israel. Self-flagellation and guilt over having been born and not dying to clear out the way for more deserving others(i.e Arabs…I wouldn’t say Palestinians because that’s just a silly, made-up term to describe Arabs from different ethnic sub-groups who happened to be living here instead of Jordan/Syria/Egypt/Lebanon in the last 100 years so you’ll feel like they’re actually a special ethnic group who had some kind of long connection to this area of the ME), and working towards screwing others, like me, in the name of that insane world-view.

                    • It’s not a big fat emo-angst pity party I’m talking about here. People dying because you killed them is something that makes you a monster if it means nothing to you besides a notch on the gun belt though. Those notches represent desperate or crazy people who did the wrong thing because they were sick or they were pushed on until doing the wrong thing seemed like a good idea.

                  • Hm. We can talk about structural violence and the principle of most responsibility for the most power another time then. The simple explanation of what I’m getting at is that it should have never come to the point that you had a nut with a gun (or a bomb) being that unreasonable in the first place. This is its own set of huge, multi-topic discussions though and we should really lead into that from a less hazy start than this.

                    • Maybe in some kind of perfect world where there aren’t any crazies about or power-hungry dictators, brain-washed masses hungry for blood in the name of their gods(Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! 😈 ) or plain criminals who just don’t give a shit about you and want to have your hard-earned money or some “good time” with the Mrs. etc.

                      The fact is, there’s war and bloodshed all around us, so all we have to do is respond to it one way or another, we don’t get to be left alone for long.

                    • Someone will end up on top and history shows that whoever ends up on top is likely to run things for their benefit. I don’t think that’s controversial, but as long as we pay lip service to these ideological/legal constructs called human rights I’m gonna poke fingers in where that is only lip service at best.

                    • *sigh* It’s the same damn point, killing people is something you aren’t supposed to do, by law, which is supported by the idea that people’s lives have value. I’m repeatedly stabbing the notion of a generalized, scary attacker it’s okay to kill in the hopes of making it bleed out until folks see behind it that any such attacker had reasons or at least causes for that attack. No small number of those reasons and/or causes involve a lack of care for the mentally disabled, and the compulsion or victimization of this scary badguy. Yes, put the mad beast down but there shouldn’t be such a mad beast with lethal weapons to put down.

                    • anonymous coward-
                      Hmm…OK, reading your direct response, as well as the others since then, I’m not entirely certain of a couple of things. That, and I suspect our positions aren’t *as far from each other as it may at first appear, though they’re still divergent.

                      (BTW, I am absolutely NOT trying to be combative, I find this to be the least acrimonious discussion on these subjects I’ve ever seen, and very much appreciate this fact. I want to thank Kevin for allowing us this venue, and anonymous coward for your opposing, yet reasonably stated view. Gads, I hope I don’t sound like a suck-up.)

                      First: I’m not sure how pointing out, “…you should never kill someone unnecessarily…” contradicts either position. Our hypothetical included the necessity, and I don’t think anyone is proposing a different scenario. And then, “Even if it was necessary to kill someone it shouldn’t be a matter where everybody goes to sleep without a worry.” Here I think we’re closer to agreement, yet not completely. Yes it’s awful that our antagonist did what he did. But frankly, it’s as simple as “Well, I didn’t make him do it.” Except for that portion of violent criminals who honestly can’t be held mentally accountable, no amount of abuse, or drug-use, or poverty, MAKES a person harm another. At some point, perhaps in some brief, hardly recognizable moment, that person made a choice. Can I feel a bit of pity that they had a bad life? Sure. But I categorically disagree that anything “made” them make that choice. (Again, speaking about mentally competent individuals). Rather, that person put *me (and my family) in a terrible, stressful, frightening, etc.& so-on position. Even if I *do feel no remorse (and I’m not saying I would or wouldn’t, I honestly don’t know) for having killed them as a result, I am likely to feel all sorts of other psychological damages just from having been assaulted. Not least of which is a likelihood of being more paranoid in the future. At what point am I to spare a thought for him? Even if I do, it’s certainly more likely for me to feel anger (at the very least to begin with) for his having created this situation to begin with. So, yes, I have been affected, I’m not going to “sleep without a worry”, but I’m sleeping terribly on *my behalf, *because of him, wondering what that noise was, should I put bars on the window, move to a new house, what if he DID have friends and they come for us, should I have done something else, should I buy a gun, etc.?

                      “You didn’t want that to happen, you didn’t shoot someone you didn’t have to shoot, you’d prefer that it not happen to you or anybody you know ever, and it bothers you that something happened to make this guy bring that gun into your home–perhaps enough to find out why and try to fix that. Is any of that controversial?”

                      I’d say we’re on the same page until,”… and it bothers you that something happened to make this guy bring that gun into your home–perhaps enough to find out why and try to fix that.”
                      Except for those cases of mental incompetence, I disagree that *anything other than himself “made” that guy come into my home. I think this is probably the hub of where we disagree. I don’t mind wondering why he chose to, but the important point there is that, in my view he *chose. And, on top of the myriad other possibilities or reasons, sometimes people do bad things just because they’re dicks.
                      As far as, “…find out why and try to fix that” Well, there are as many causes and crusades as there are people and no one can champion them all. True, I’m more likely to push for, say, cancer awareness if I’ve suffered because of it, but “society” isn’t evil, at fault or even callous just because some, instead, work for animal rights, and even less so for any given individual.

                      In a later comment you claim, “…killing people is something you aren’t supposed to do, by law…”. This is simply either incomplete, and/or inconsistent. Incomplete in that the law makes allowances for killing in certain circumstances, and inconsistent in that you made an earlier reference to such legal circumstances.

                      I agree that the circumstances of a given person’s life can make certain choices seem more appealing or reasonable than is warranted. However, the meaningful part (as relevant to our scenario) to *me though, is the “choice”. For you, if I understand correctly, it’s the circumstances themselves. Again, if I understand you correctly, you feel we all share a bit of collective guilt for our assailants’ life circumstances and choices. I’m sure you realize I disagree about the choices. I’m not *as sure about collective responsibility for the circumstances, but even so, if Joe Public does feel that “guilt”, what is he meant to do with it? Honestly, if it wasn’t *that guy disenfranchised for *that reason, it’s be another disenfranchised for another reason. Where does it end, and how much of it is your, my, or Joe Publics responsibility?

                      Then there is this: “I wouldn’t deny that I was characterizing the anticipation of potentially lethal criminal assault and preparation for it as sinister in its own right. I did that to stimulate discussion and thought: In a functional society this should not happen much at all and those few times it does happen should exclusively be the responsibility of the official police who should respond to it with the minimum necessary force.”

                      As a direct response, I’d say (without acrimony, and grateful for your follow-up qualifier)” Show me a ‘functional society’ and I’ll show you one where such scenarios do not occur.”

                      As a tangential response, I’d say that I feel this example (and the seemingly patronizing references to human rights) strikes very much to the heart of where anger comes from (for any side of a debate) during these discussions. No one who holds a given position, and feels they’ve arrived at it honestly, will appreciate being (as they see it) misrepresented in any way, especially if such representations feel deliberate. One of the reasons my posts are so verbose is because I’m trying to use language that, while disagreeing with you (or any other “opponent”) doesn’t make you feel attacked. True, such attempts are often fruitless, but still worth the effort I think. Even before I chose to throw my hat in the ring, I felt myself being judged “in absentia”, by a stranger, for having the audacity to occasionally consider my options should someone ever invade my home. Based on that, I felt that, theoretically, other assumptions would be made of me based on even the fact of, say, whether or not I own a firearm. Such as who I’m likely to vote for, or what other principles I value are. And I suspect this is a common reaction for anyone in this sort of situation. That’s when you get knee-jerk, pithy responses that, whatever their actual merits, automatically lack depth and beg to be deconstructed…which in turn can feel deliberate, which then leads to more anger…and so on, and so on…So, when I decided to become involved with the discussion, I had to look at *why I felt so maligned, and all that, so I didn’t just hit back with some sort of “So it’d be better if I just let him kill me?!” type response.

                      Anyway, I just think there are better ways. At least I hope so.

                      Thanks for “listening” to me blather.

                    • IDK about that. There are lots, and those seem to be doing the majority of such classic robberies , of people who just don’t really care about you, me or anyone else when they they want his/her money for whatever reason(you could feel sorry for those drug addicts who are “forced” to rob to finance their addiction, but I don’t, they got themselves into it and they can damn well ask for help to get straight from all those hordes of people who are just dying to adopt another junkie and cure him/her…usually those religious types who also brainwash you to accept Jesus as your savior while they’re at it). There’s the whole heart-rending story about people forced to steal to save sick little kids(aww, I think I’m getting teary-eyed here…nope, just some dust), but that’s a cliche only really appearing in cheap movies(Spiderman 3, was it? *chuckle*).
                      In reality there are people, who have friends(usually as unscrupulous as them), wives, kids, even parents, and who’d just as soon stab/shoot you for your money as hug their grandma.
                      It’s not your fault, or even the government’s(usually) that they don’t give a shit about you and I see no reason to care if such a person dies, especially when they don’t give a damn about you dying by their hands.

                      A show like The Sopranos shows you a cast mostly composed of just such people. You see their daily lives etc and you’re supposed to care for them. But really, are you required to care for the mafia thug who’s uncaringly extorting money from your business for “protection”? Are these the people we should be sorry if they die? I don’t think so. These are exactly the sort of people whose death should gladden any sane person.
                      I think that’s about the whole reason they went ahead with a show like Dexter, and why he “only kills bad people”(and even then he sticks strictly to the “worst” offenders- murderers…well, except for this one little slip he had, but the guy was kinda annoying and only a random NPC so it’s OK…right?).
                      You’re supposed to be glad they’re dead and not feel too harshly about the guy who kills them(even if all that blood is just so messy and would STINK horribly in RL).
                      Bah, you’re just over-thinking and being over-sensitive about this. You might as well cry “murder” every time I munch on some chicken liver, like I’m gonna do right now.

                      Mmm, murder never tasted so good… 😉

                      ETA: I like learning new words but this “acrimonious” thing is an annoying word. Dreadfully tinny word.

                    • @Terran: I have not been bothered by you stating your position and questioning mine, and your criticisms of my slanting at least are based on a direct and honest interpretation of what I did say. This is actually a pretty high standard of fairness in such discussions in my experience and I congratulate you for it.
                      It is too late or else I would be perfectly willing to answer your reasonable questions by explaining the concept and some examples of structural violence. Your options are to ask me some other time or try to read up on this topic for yourself, I apologize for not doing better but I’m just shy of going to bed.

                    • Orald-

                      That’s probably because acrimony itself is such a dreadful, annoying, “tinny” thing.

                      Either that or because I over-use the word.

  4. There is so much wrong with this story. A man goes missing and it takes three months for anybody to notice? How friendless and alone is/was he? He still hasn’t been found, nobody knows what has happened to him, and yet public officials have taken the time to blacken his name and animal rights groups have painted him as a villain. For all we know, he was murdered and fed to his pigs. At the very least, he must have been in an awful state of mind to just walk away from his life.

    The unfortunate truth is that the narrative that sells the most newspapers is, “Cruel hick tortures pigs”. That’s got sad animals and a pantomime villain. It also suits animal activists, the ex-wife, local law enforcement looking to see their name in print and a host of other people. It does, however, require a rush to judgement and that we gloss over the fact that a man whose life was destroyed is now missing.

    It makes me wonder if the pig farming industry could ever be as vile as the media industry?

    • Ouch, yeah, (over-) intensive hog farming only ruins local water supplies and air quality, breeds new diseases while training others to be antibiotic resistant, and kills people from pollution poisoning but the media blahblahblahblahblah….
      I follow and agree with your points on the unexplored crimes of this story like asking what happened to the guy though.

    • Yeah right? The pigs are dead. Tragic. Now figure out what happened to this guy and see if he’s still alive! Priorities people.

    • While I’m not quite willing to follow you all the way to to the media being as vile and heartless as pig farming, Eric, your point is well made. There is a lot about this we don’t yet know.

  5. More details but maybe still not quite enough. Apparently their divorce included protection from assault and the farm was awarded to his ex-wife in the divorce, which she had listed to sell. It’s looking more and more like some dude snapped and walked out on a situation that was pissing him off to crazy-levels. There is also child support involved so my hope that at least one person wasn’t being crazy or awful here dropped to nil.

  6. If 925 pigs dying of neglect is evil, and one or two pigs dying of neglect (as must happen very frequently) is unworthy of comment, at exactly what number of pigs are we entitled to start showing righteous concern?

    What if it was 925 fish? 925 flies?

    I think we humans have a very confused attitude to pain and suffering of others, the rest of the animal kingdom (and apparantly the odd pig farmer) don’t give a damn.

    • The main theme through all of this is people judging other people and applying unbalanced or emotional standards. The guy had a fucking protection order against being in the same place as his wife; if that wasn’t bullshit to help her get more out of the settlement he was being a jerk there. The woman took so much of what was either his or theirs that he walked out on both it and at least one child–maybe expecting his wife to have arranged someone to continue running the farm or maybe not, I don’t know. Your point about conflicting and possibly confused standards for animal cruelty is definitely shows a lack of balance. The statements from the ASPCA and the cops calling for charging this guy without any apparent response or statement from him, or attempt to find out if there are mental health issues involved with a guy who just had his ex-wife take his farm and start selling it out from under him… this lacks balance too.

      • I know a guy who purposely took the shittiest job he could find just because his ex-wife received a percentage of his earnings as a child payment. He felt she didn’t deserve it, but that is still so cutting off your own nose to spite your face. I feel that this may well have been Daniel Clark’s motivation.

        • Then that’s him being mentally unbalanced, and an interpretation consistent with the inadequate apparent facts.

  7. I was watching an episode of BBQ Cookoff on TLC and had the greatest laugh of my life. At the end of the programme they actually had a disclaimer saying “No animals were harmed in the making of this show.” So exactly WHERE did they get the meat they were using in the contest? LOL

  8. On a completely irrelevant side topic, the fake “body scans” have reared their heads again. Some guy on the radio this morning was saying how the images online, if you reversed the colors, were pornographic photos and this is why body scans should be banned.

    He’s totally missing the point of course…NEITHER of the bodyscan machines currently in use result in something you can just reverse the colors on and get what looks like a nude photo. Any image online that claims to be a body scan where you can reverse the colors and get something that looks like it’s out of Hustler or Playboy STARTED OUT as a nude photo, was doctored to add details that would look like an X-ray of an Ipod or something painted on, THEN color reversed.

    Idiot…Idiots…there are Idiots EVERYWHERE! GAAAAAHHHHHH! The Stupid! It BURNS!

    • Right, the real reason it should be banned is because such invasive search of people should be reserved for suspects justifiably under arrest, and that the right way to secure air travel in the world against suicide bombing threat is for the US and other aggressive countries to stop making themselves so universally hated with so very many loathing-worthy policies and actions.

      • If all Airlines operated like El Al, they would be completely superflouous.

        1) The instant you make your reservation, they run a background check, and they follow up with telephone interviews and finally a personal interview with a professional who can spot dissembling…so they KNOW who you are.
        2) After the extensive personal checks, they then PROFILE (Yeah, a dirty word to the Political Correctness Police, but it’s not your 90 year old Grandma or the 3 year old with the teddy bear who are a potiential threat) and anyone who doesn’t “smell right” gets an in depth interview (questions only, no pat-downs) and if you pass all their security screenings with no hiccups, you go through…
        3) This neat reinforced booth at the airport that will set off any explosives on your person without harming anyone nearby or damaging the booth much (but making a nasty mess for the janitorial staff, and then and ONLY then…
        4) You get on the plane…if you’re in first class, they serve you a STEAK and give you a STEAK KNIFE…they’re not worried, because even if you WERE some kinda whacko who somehow fooled the psychologically trained interveiwer, they have
        5) Armed security on every flight.

        • Y’know… this is police-state totalitarianism at work here, but at least I can respect these people for doing it right instead of beaming harmless people with lots of radiation that could easily be giving them cancer and probably destroys a lot of their personal electronics.
          I’d offer them a, “Seig Heil!” in tribute if they like; Hitler gets a bad name for all the murder and insanity, with good reason, but at least his jackbooted thugs were organized and professional. Nothing like those chickenshit airport security screener drones you expect to be harassed by in every US airport.

            • Just because I don’t want to lose my chances of having children or ability to have a USB memory stick with proprietary secrets that doesn’t get fried when I travel because of assholes who shouldn’t be cavity-searching me with or without X-rays doesn’t mean I have an underwear bomb. Both this naked scanner and this detonation booth are zapping people with radiation to halfassedly pursue safety that should be achieved in a better way.
              I apologize for the unclarity: The comparison with Hitler is actually an attempted positive comparison. I hate all police states but at least the syphilitic Austrian’s goons had some fucking discipline. Similarly, these El Al people getting their security check over with and not going absurd with confiscating steak knives in flight is better than the way these crap-ass TSA dipshits keep hyperventilating over total bullshit. Next I’d like to be able to take an airplane between two different points in the same damn country without someone demanding that I take off my damn shoes.

              • So how, exactly, would YOU stop underwear/Anal Probe bombers? Hire psychics who can tell if someone has a bomb on them? Patdowns certainly won’t find the latter, while the Det booth (which uses EMP, not radiation, by the way, so yes, leave your datastick in the tray) will do the trick.

                (Muffled boom)

                (Over Loudspeaker) Attention standby passengers, there is now an open seat available on flight 324…

        • I’ve only flown once so far, and a short in-country flight at that(and was like, 15 years ago), so I couldn’t tell you about El-Al’s security measures, but do they actually do all that? That looks more like the “Badass Israeli” propaganda machine working overtime.
          Yes, El-Al is understandably quite strict about security, what with Jews and Israeli planes being the prime target to terrorists(the USA is probably second though, so don’t feel left out), but that sounds like how people say all/most Israelis have military training, which is bullshit, even with those who actually served in the army.
          Knowing how to pull a trigger without shooting your own foot isn’t a military training, and that’s just about the only thing I, and most others, have learned.

          And before AC corrects you on it, EMP is still a type of radiation, just not the “scary” type. Speaking of scary radiation, there’s a travel blog/site some Russian woman has documenting her journey via motorcycle through the Chernobyl “wasteland”, including visits to ghost town and such. Maybe I’ll try to find it again later.

      • I find it funny and naive that some people think that if they didn’t hurt others no one else would want to hurt them.
        Regardless of the many ways the USA and every other country hurts others or their own citizens, either by unintentionally or on purpose, there are many, many people who believe in this or that ideal and who feel the best way to follow it is to hurt those that don’t follow their narrow view-point. Or they’re just power-hungry jerks, getting paid for it by others or are just plain crazy.
        The USA is just a big, successful(?), powerful face to many things this or that group of people don’t like. It might be capitalism, secularism/certain religion or whatever.

        Again you hint that you(USA) is always the aggressor and unjust party and that blowing some guy’s brains on the wall is unjustified and and regrettable, even if it was either you or him. With that kind of thinking you might as well stop breathing so you don’t steal the air from someone else or keep on killing billions of micro-organisms intent on feeding on you. What’s the point in living all your life apologizing to others for still living?

        I’ll make a shorter version of this post:
        I’m alive and I don’t have to apologize to anyone about it, dammit!

        • Almost all of the 19 attackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi. Why were they so angry with the US?

          • Because Osama Bin Laden had a bee up his butt because the Saudis asked the USA to help them with Saddam Hussein (remember him? The sweetie the liberals are constantly defending posthumously as a misunderstood world leader who only repeately threatned to use WMDs, fired rockets at Isreal, and gassed his own citizens) when he invaded Kuwait to take control of their oilfields, instead of using Osama’s Al Qaeda fighters to handle it.

            And then we committed the ultimate sin by actually helping the Saudis and kicking Saddam out of Kuwait in record time, something Osama would never have been able to accomplish. This embarassed their leader.

            So, to get back at both the Saudis AND the US, Osama hand picked mostly Saudis for the attack.

            That’s the short version.

            • Bzzzt, wrong!
              But if that’s seriously your answer let’s just agree not to talk until you’re willing to join the reality-based community.

              • See? this is what happens when someone who hasn’t done the research assumes someone else who has is “wrong” because the so-called “news” media reports have convinced them it’s not the truth…enjoy living in your Self-satisfying fantasy bubble world where the Democrat-controlled media spoonfeeds you what they want you to believe, AC…heh…

                If you want the short, short explaination, here it is: They find our religous tolerance intolerable.

                • Try finding out what Kermit Roosevelt Jr was doing in 1953, this is useful background if you want to understand all this instead of parroting American propaganda.

                  P.S. I’m not a democrat.

                  • Democrat, Socialist, Progressive, Marxist…all the same thing really.

                    Anyone who relies on pulling out the “Hitler” card on a regular basis to avoid giving substantive facts hasn’t done enough homework to be worth debating…while it’s unsporting to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent, what can you do?

                    Wasn’t Kermit JR the one who wrote that article about US support of Zionism being “detrimental to long term US interests in the Middle East?” entiteled: Partition of Palestine: A Lesson in Pressure Politics

                    Gee, I woulda thought THAT would be a sentiment that would have ENDEARED him to the Fascists of the middle east, not made them mad.

                    • “Anyone who relies on pulling out the ‘Hitler’ card on a regular basis to avoid giving substantive facts hasn’t done enough homework to be worth debating…”

                      Okay, fine, let’s avoid talking about that by assuming away that I was being cheap. Since you asked for it I’ll give you a better response:
                      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

          • Because the USA has obviously wronged them by occupying their country and stealing all their oil. No, wait, that’s your PoV, isn’t it?*
            Because, like I said, there are all sorts of fucked up assholes who find some cause and reason for what they do.
            Because they believe Muhammad and Allah wanted them to, because their friends all said it was a cool thing to do, because they were each promised 72 virgins in heaven or because they had nothing better to do that day. Probably all of the above.

            Point is, they did it, and most, if not all, of the people they murdered had nothing to do with any real or imagined hurt that was done to those terrorists and their friends.
            If this doesn’t demonstrate how we don’t live in a reality where just keeping to yourself guarantees no one would want to hurt you in any way then I don’t know what will. Oh, yes I do, lets bring Hitler back to the discussion and take a look at the holocaust of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and all sorts of political and social groups that didn’t “feel right” to the Nazi high-command on no fault of their own(well, I could say the commies had it coming, what with their friends in the USSR not being that much nicer and them probably not ending up too different from both Nazis and USSR were they in power).

            *In case you understood that post to mean the USA actually did something to upset them then yea, it did. About the same thing I do by being alive to upset some KKK nutjob, so I mean it’s not the USA’s fault.

  9. I’ll agree on the, “There’s all sorts of crazy non-reasons and bullshit reasons involved too,” point but there’s more to it than that. It doesn’t seem like you want to have this discussion and neither do I at the moment so let’s drop it.

  10. The number of pigs has been corrected to less than 600. There still seems to be no word on who owned the pigs at that time, nor whether the farmer was under any duty to maintain them at that time.

    • Because she has swinophobia? 😛 And according to a certain site Orlando Bloom suffers from it, along with his severe chronic lack of acting skills.