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Where are our priorities?
November 13, 2008 - Joe Gorman
If I didn't know any better, I would have thought a baby killer or a mass murderer was having a court hearing in Municipal Court Thursday.
There were protesters outside with pictures of the victims, asking for support. Inside, the man behind the madness, Steven Croley, who is accused of letting dogs starve to death at the kennel he ran on the rural East Side, was public enemy number 1.
He was accosted with the ashes of a dead dog and a woman snapped his picture with a cell phone when the judge wasn't looking. At least 10 people, possibly more, showed up to see his pretrial.
Across the street at the county courthouse, a man was set be sentenced for a murder committed over two years ago. There was no display of the victim outside. There was no crowd in the courtroom, except for the parents of the victim and the defendant (the hearing was postponed because the defendant is considering changing his guilty plea).
For some reason, crimes against animals are treated on par or sometimes above crimes against humans, and it is maddening. Not that Croley shouldn't be punished to the max if found guilty. Perhaps he should be sentenced to 30 days in a muddy pen like the dogs that were found on his property.
This case got more attention from the media than the murder case across the street. It reminds me of last summer, when over 200 people showed up at city council to complain about a plan to remove trees from West Federal Street, yet not one person said anything about a triple homicide that same week where one of the victims was a child and the other a full term fetus that died when her mother was shot.
It would sure be nice to see that same outcry when a person is the victim of a crime. But maybe that's too utopian. Maybe there's some sort of disconnect when its a person, and not an animal, that is the victim of a crime.
The media can be blamed, and rightly so. But the media also gives people what they want. On the news, more people will care about the dog story than a drug related killing on the East Side of Youngstown.
So who's fault is that?
Maybe it's a question of priorities. For both the public and the media.
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