Update: Welcome, Cosmo, and associated Cornerites. You will be very happy for me to know that 1. Links from The Corner generate massive numbers of hits for blogs and B. My hit-counter provider, Sitemeter, thought this would be a nice time to launch a server upgrade which, as we all know, includes a mandatory crash of the system. Brilliant! It's free, you idiot, and it's running again. Shut up!
Update Deux: And welcome to the hordes (that's h-o-r-d-e-s) of Wonkettes as well. A link at the Corner is the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks to both sites and now I'll stop so you can read the damn post.
Anyway, as I said...
I was going to add Marc Fisher to the item below, though he doesn't qualify since I was talking about post.com vs. the newspaper, where Fisher has a column. But he holds regular live chats and certainly fits the mold, as illustrated by his convulsions over polarizing and divisive country music.
But full stop, this is an attitude crossing party lines that is beyond my understanding, from today's live chat:
Crofton, Md.: Hi Marc -- Question about human behavior (mine). I am horrified at the destruction along the Gulf Coast. I see bodies in the water and felt terrible but sadly not half as bad as I feel when I see a dog, cat, etc., dead or in distress from the storm! Am I hopeless? I can look at CNN and watch coverage of body removal but I immediately turn the channel when it is an animal! Why?
Marc Fisher: Beats me. But then again, I cannot fathom why all these folks who stayed behind to take care of their pets would risk their lives for an animal that they could easily replace at any pet store.
I've just started scanning this chat and I expect more than a few chatters fell out of their chairs on that one. Developing...
Update: Yes, Fisher eventually acknowledged a storm of emails, and responded to some. Here's one:
Landover, Md.: You're being facetious about everyone being able to replace their pet at a pet store, right? What!? I don't believe many people realize just how endangered they are/were by staying, and denial plays a part too ... but cavalierly leaving an animal totally dependent upon you for their survival after voluntarily taking on the responsibility of pet ownership is cruel. I'm not saying a situation wouldn't eventually force one to leave a pet behind ... but not because they can be so easily replaced. Where is your compassion?
Marc Fisher: Well, sure, I felt for the dog trapped up in the branches of a tree, and I can understand the sense of obligation that people have toward animals they've purchased, but I do not get any comparison of such connections to a human bond.
He's being honest, and the poorer for it.
There was a video shown a few times of a woman, clutching her adorable dog, who wouldn't evacuate because she wasn't allowed to take her companion with her. She--and the dog--had spent the week before surviving in the hell of New Orleans and helping other human stragglers. Sorry, Mark, your attitude is inhumane. To survive a trial like that and then abandon a pet that provided half the emotional strength you needed to survive.... they're not lightbulbs. You can't find another one "just like it" at Wal-Mart.
Update: More on this in separate live chat with Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society:
Silver Spring, Md.: Just a comment. Maybe one good thing to come out of this disaster is a big wake-up call to government officals to plan and cooperate better with animal rescue efforts to help people and their pets. The animal rescue organizations already know what to do to help animals--all they need is to be able to do it.
Wayne Pacelle: That's right. We've been working for more than ten years trying to get communities and human relief agencies to include pet-friendly approaches in their disaster protocols. Now the whole world can see how badly the refusal to rescue people and their pets can undermine the general rescue effort. We have the expertise but for the first few days in this crisis we were denied access to the impact zone and you've seen the result. Refusals to evacuate, lots of heartache, taking away a little boy's dog after he lost everything else (which caused the boy to start vomiting)....
Referring to this. There's an entire structure of compassion and responsibility that is demolished as surely as New Orleans itself when pets are thrown out with the garbage. That's a lesson that young man will never forget, and we can only pray he'll forgive.
Update: Late note: I can't believe I didn't include a link to the Fisher chat in the original post. Apologies. It's there now, added Sept. 9 around 7:25 p.m.