EDITORIAL: Avoiding Stereotypes In Cockfighting Case
The busting-up of an extensive cockfighting operation in western Moore County will, unfortunately, do little to foster more tolerant attitudes on the immigration issue.
The "sport" of pitting roosters against each other and watching them tear each other apart is not a Mexican monopoly. Though we Americans have mostly outgrown it, it has a long and not-so-proud tradition in backwoods America. Nor have we totally forsaken the equally inhumane pastime of dog-fighting, as last year's Michael Vick conviction showed.
Still, it was probably hard for many Moore Countians with roots deep in local soil to read The Pilot's Friday news account of this cruel and bloody activity without thinking, "illegal alien." It is, indeed, illegal. And it certainly qualifies as alien to the system of values most of us now hold. And there is no reason that opening our doors to others should have to mean learning to put up with this kind of outrage in our midst.
Officers Faced a Grim Task
When law-enforcement and animal-control officers raided a remote rural site near Eagle Springs last weekend, a sorry sight greeted them: 75 caged or tethered roosters, along with more dead ones. Also seized were boxes of razor-sharp artificial metal spurs as well as a veritable little chemical lab featuring steroids that could be injected into feathered bodies to intensify the willingness to fight to the death as cheering onlookers bet money on the diminutive gladiatorial combatants.
When the officers arrived at the arena on Dawson Place, several human participants vanished into the woods. Not so quick were Obdulio Ventura, Luis Zavaleta and Orlando Zavaleta, who were collared. Arrested later were Orgelio Catalan and Francisco Pulibo Arzate. All gave addresses in surrounding communities, though their citizenship status was unclear.
Later, the animal-control officers had the unenviable task of submitting all 75 of the hapless birds to the accepted form of "euthanasia" administered in such cases -- though that term, which means "painless or happy death" in Greek, hardly seems to apply to what the officers had to do, which was to shoot the contraband fowls one at a time with .22 rifles.
A Benighted 'Entertainment'
America, we're often told, is "a nation of immigrants." More precisely, we have been a nation of settlers who came here, bringing their families with them, with the intent of becoming permanent, law-abiding, contributing members of U.S. society and adapting to the customs and ideals prevalent in the host nation. It is for such that the Statue of Liberty has always raised her welcoming lamp. We must continue to embrace this principle and hope to see it continue as a signature characteristic of American life.
Granted, that ideal does seem a far cry from what is exemplified in this lousy case, which appears to be a group of single men who are temporarily in our country with no visible effort to become a part of it, preferring instead to continue pursuing an inhumane and primitive form of imported "entertainment" whose presence flies violently in the face of all we hold decent.
But it would be a mistake to assume that these defendants and their benighted game represent most, or even very many, of the immigrant community as a whole. The vast majority in that community, we feel sure, are as revolted by this sickening situation as the rest of us.
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