Attention must be paid; Willy Lowman

Friday, February 10, 2012

Advocates for humane treatment of cats and dogs, horses and fighting cocks have said it often enough that plenty of Tribune readers already know the message.

A society is known by the way it treats its animals.

It's an indication of how such folk treat their children.

The largest issues of mankind are playing out before our eyes every day here and, too often, and tragically, there's only so much that can be done.

Next week, there's a good chance that county residents - some who don't live in Lewisburg - will ask the city council to do something to improve the dog pound.

On another subject, and for years, it seems, one of our fellow human beings - born without some essential strand of DNA - has lived in a house here because a large institution was found lacking in humane treatment of the patients, residents, clients, individuals - whatever recent and politically correct term exists for them - those who were housed at Clover Bottom in Nashville where the developmentally disabled were housed.

Both issues deserve attention, but how much can be done and how soon?

The class-action suit over conditions at Clover Bottom took so long that one now-former state-paid lawyer made a career out of the work.

Every man and woman deserves to have their story told, eventually, and with attention. Those stories continue to come in to this newspaper through no fault of our own and there's a decision to be made as to which ones appear sooner rather than later or with greater attention on the front page, or inside.

Frequently, judgments are made to exercise restraint.

"Just because you know something doesn't mean you have to tell."

That advice was delivered - by an older woman working as an editor - to an intern who matured in the job. and she eventually became one of her mentor's successors.

Just as there's advocacy for humane treatment of the strays taken by a dogcatcher, there should be careful deliberation on what's right for juveniles in trouble.

In a neighboring county a judge held off on ruling over a young man's recent past so that he may have a future. The case was considered in Circuit Court. The young man wanted to join the U.S. military. He was accused of tampering with evidence. Given the circumstances, a judge gave him a chance to join, escape his wayward ways and move on, see the world, serve his country and - as the commercials say - be the best that he could be.

Eventually, something will be, and should be, done to improve the dog pound here.

Meanwhile, just as every dog has his day, the people should get more attention.

Arthur Miller's sentiment may fit well here. In "Death of a Salesman," he has a character speak about Willy Lowman.

"His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person."

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.