Monday, July 23, 2012

I Feel For Black Widows

   When I was an apartment manager in Hollywood, one of my duties was to take care of safety issues around the property. And, as I discovered, one of those issues was black widow spiders. Around the pool and garden areas, specifically, UNDER THE CHAISE LOUNGES. They seemed to like the shade provided, and one chaise seemed to be the right size territory for one spider. I would go out in the mornings and quite often find a spider under every chair. I would dutifully get the Raid, and spray the life out of the creatures because it was my job, and I certainly didn't want a tenant or a pet getting hurt.
   I know most people cringe at the thought of spiders, especially dangerous ones, you're probably ick-ified right now just reading this, but I always felt bad. I don't mind spiders, unless they're on me, or snakes or rats or a lot of other creepy-crawlies, my disgust level is pretty high. I feel every being serves a purpose, even mosquitos, and they don't necessarily deserve to be destroyed just because they inconvenience us. A black widow can't help that she's a threat, can't help being poisonous, there's no malice in her little spider heart. She is who she is, and I have a great deal of empathy for that fact.
   I read an article by Amanda Marcotte about psychopathy and autism, and how, although both are mental diseases, they get such different treatment. I remember an interview with Jeffery Dahmer's dad, and how I felt so bad for the man, because he seemed just as bewildered as anyone as to how his son could possibly have turned out that way. And the soul-sinking guilt and self-recrimination he carried. When your child is a psychopath, a monster, and does something horrible, we tend to blame the parents. We blame upbringing, nurture, when we should be blaming breeding, nature.
  I'm not defending the actions of psychopaths, I'm not saying they don't need to be punished. They are a threat to society and, just like black widows, need to be kept away from people they can hurt. Hopefully, one day science will be able to correct whatever malfunction it is that creates psychopathy in the human mind, whatever defect that removes a person's natural empathy and compassion. Until then, we're all just swimming in the ocean, trying to avoid the sharks.

1 comment:

Me said...

I read the article you referred and then went to the article in the New York Times - Gnarly!