It's been rather surreal to see my little blog post/column of Feb. 25 take on a life of its own, and become the subject of endless and hysterical rants in the blogosphere. In addition, I was contacted today for interviews by the Chicago Tribune (whose reporter told me she'd read about it on the Daily Mail in London), and by radio stations in Alaska, Seattle, and L.A. Plus I have been chewed out by numerous animal rights zealots either via phone or email.
What apparently gave the story some legs is that I was falsely reported as calling for the stoning of the killer whale, when of course I did nothing of the sort. I simply called for the animal to be euthanized, which can be done humanely and entirely without using rocks. I'm sure, for instance, that the veterinarians at SeaWorld have put animals down any number of times. Plus even if you wanted to stone a giant dolphin to death, I'm not sure exactly how you'd go about doing it.
Also, and likewise bizarrely, I have been reported as calling for the owners of SeaWorld to be stoned, which of course I did not do either. I called for legal action against them to hold them accountable for negligently exposing an employee to life-endangering risk. Perhaps this additional note will reduce the level of unhinged bloviating on the internet.
The simple truth is that this story is about the value we place on human life. In a Judeo-Christian worldview, a human being has infinite, eternal value while an animal does not. Because of the sanctity of human life, we ought to euthanize an animal which kills a human being so that it cannot kill again.
It's fairly routine to put a pit bull to sleep after it has mauled a child. There's no reason not to put a killer whale to sleep after it has killed a trainer. It might be worth asking my hyperventilating adversaries what they think should be done to a pit bull owner whose dog mauls a child to death but refuses to put it down, only to have it subsequently maul a second child.
Since Dawn Blancheau's life is equal in value to the life of a child, whatever my hissy fit friends think should be done to the owner of the pit bull should logically be done to the owner of the killer whale. I'll be happy to let them recommend suitable punishment.
In my blog/column, I simply extracted an underlying principle from the Exodus 21 passage and gave it a contemporary application. I made no attempt to apply it in a crudely literal fashion, which apparently is a great disappointment to my critics.
One unanticipated benefit of the mindless overreaction my blog has generated is that a lot more people know what's in Exodus 21 than did a week ago. I'm happy to serve humanity by increasing biblical literacy, one passage at a time.