There's been a lot of controversy surrounding pit bulls recently. Some say they have a bad reputation that's undeserved, that they're loving and loyal and gentle family members when treated like such. Others suggest they're predisposed to viciousness and aggression and are too great of risk to allow into their communities.
Earlier this week in Detroit, a 4-year-old was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls in his neighborhood. He and his mother were walking to his school when the dogs slipped under the gate across the driveway of a neighbor's house. The dogs attacked, and despite the mother's attempts to protect her son and neighbors' attempts to fight the dogs off with sticks and crowbars, the dogs dragged the kid back under the gate and killed him. Detroit Police ended up shooting three of the four dogs on the spot.
It seems like all we ever hear about are pit bulls-not dobermans, rots, just pits. And there's part of me that feels like this whole thing is venturing into the same territory as the gun control debate. "Not all gun owners are maniacs that are going to shoot up a crowd!" "We need to ban guns so that maniacs can't go and shoot up a crowd!." "Not all pit bulls are vicious and going to maul a kid!" "We need to ban pit bulls so they can't maul a kid!"
I feel like the reporting on both of these issues (gun violence and pit bull violence) hews to polar extremes and is agenda-driven (on both sides). I also feel like there's a fair bit of hypocrisy amongst people who comment about both of these issues, as in those that say pit bulls are loving family members are also likely to suggest that we need to enact much stricter gun control, and vice versa. Personally, I feel like all sides need to expand the narratives. Pit bull fans need to start finding the labs and springer spaniels that are mauling little kids, and gun rights advocates need to start finding the machete-wielding maniacs cutting down crowds of people.
So what do we think about the whole set of issues surrounding pit bulls? Are they vicious killers not fit to be part of the community? Are they loving family members that are just as friendly and/or violent as other dog breeds? How do we address stuff like this terrible episode from Detroit? What do we think?