EDITORIAL: Poor reflections upon society

Faceless digital communication seems to have stripped the humanity away from many people

News that six dogs, reported stolen from a popular Langley dog walking spot, actually died of heat stroke while in the back of a dog walker’s pickup, was a shocking one.

The poor creatures died due to neglect, with their bodies dumped in a ditch on Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford.

The cause of death is yet to be confirmed through necropsies, but according to the operator of a pet search service called in to try to find the “missing dogs,” the woman finally confessed she had left the animals in the back of her truck, and returned to find them dead.

Several of the dogs belonged to friends, and she panicked. Instead of telling the owners what really happened, she concocted a story that made it appear as though the dogs had been stolen, or at least, were intentionally released from the truck by someone.

One person’s deliberate lie led to many people wasting much of their time in searching for the dogs. As well, a fundraising campaign raised thousands of dollars in what turned out to be a pointless effort to help.

In the meantime, the families who lost their pets were put through a week of what must have been acutely painful, and entirely unnecessary uncertainty.

Their grieving could have been that of closure last week, not lingering doubt.

If the current story is the accurate one,  it’s a sad reflection on how prevalent lying has become. Everybody apparently does it – from politicians on down. It has been elevated to a fine art by sports figures, entertainers and other prominent people.

It’s not a ringing endorsement of our society.

Neither, however, is the seemingly growing phenomemon of utterly vicious online and social media commenting. This story has attracted such ugliness, including death wishes.

Faceless digital communication seems to have stripped the humanity away from many people, who pass kangaroo court judgment on others, and target them with a level of vitriol that would very likely not be expressed on a person to person basis.

Clearly, such people have little capacity as to imagine what it would be like to be the target of such cruel stones, instead of casting them with self-righteous abandon.