morality on the fly
(A boy is a girl is a dog is a fly...)

Three news items intrigued me, but as they didn't inspire me enough to write three individual blog posts, I thought I'd do the lazy thing and dump them together in one.

In New York, a man posed as his dead mother in order to collect her government benefits. He did a pretty good job of it too, using an accomplice to pose as his concerned nephew, and ultimately managed to collect over $100,000. But that's OK, because (so says the man), he really is his mother:

Thomas Parkin was in need of immediate cash flow so he started dressing up as his dead mother in order to collect her Social Security benefits, according to Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, who announced the arrest this morning. The scam worked so well he did it for six years.

Sporting a wig, sunglasses, nail polish and old-fashioned garb, Parkin managed to collect more than $100,000 in Social Security benefits and rent subsidies.

But he didn't act alone. The makeup-laden schemer crafted a detailed fa├žade, using a cane, fake ID and even inventing a fake nephew, played by alleged accomplice Mhilton Rimolo, to help convince government agencies to shell out the dough.

Cops busted the 49-year-old yesterday and charged him with grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy, perjury and criminal impersonation in connection with the plot. Rimolo was also charged in the ruse.

Here's where it gets really creepy. Parkin impersonated his deceased mother for so long that he appears to believe he actually assumed her identity.

"I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother," Parkin told cops when he was arrested.

Well, it's kind of a stretch, but if you can decide what sex you are (and can go from being a father to being a mother in the legal sense) I don't see why you shouldn't be allowed to decide go from child to parent. Such a result is dictated by simple fairness: if you can have a gender transformation, why not a generational transformation? If I can be a woman, and if I can be my my inner child, then why can't I be my inner parent? (All this guy needs is a good expert witness....)

Besides, if (as Barack Obama is learning the hard way) a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy is a fly, then who's to say what is what or who can be who?

Obviously without contemplating the cruel nature of his actions, the president of the United States apparently lost his temper and mercilessly crushed to death a helpless fly. Naturally, PETA is upset:

WASHINGTON -- The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.

PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Obama's conversation with correspondent John Harwood.

"Get out of here," the president told the pesky insect. When it didn't, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead.

"Now, where were we?" Obama asked Harwood. Then he added: "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker."

I can certainly understand why PETA is so upset, because of the "hypocritical" double standard at work. Imagine the outcry had the president treated a small boy like that, and then bragged about it by saying "I got the sucker."

Yet because his victim was a fly, no one would have cared had not Bruce Friedrich spoken out so eloquently against the president's callused, cruel behavior.

Considering some of his past statements, I think Mr. Friedrich let the president off a little too easy, though.

For example, he likes explosions:

"If we really believe that these animals do have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then, of course we're going to be, as a movement, blowing stuff up and smashing windows. For the record, I don't do this stuff, but I do advocate it. I think it's a great way to bring about animal liberation ... I think it would be a great thing if all of these fast-food outlets, and these slaughterhouses, and these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it's perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows, and everything else along the line. Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it."
And he sees no moral distinction between meat eating (which the president does, BTW) and child beating:
"[Eating meat] is not your personal decision, any more than, you know, whether somebody beats their child is their personal decision."
Which begs the question, by what standard do we punish the latter while letting the former go scot-free? That brings to mind this last news item, about the immigrant mom who set fire to her daughter in a religious rite:
Determined to drive evil spirits out of her daughter, a Queens mom performed a bizarre voodoo fire ritual that left the 6-year-old girl scarred for life, prosecutors say.

While young Frantzcia Saintil was "engulfed in flames," Marie Lauradin let the screaming girl burn, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Thursday.

The girl told cops "the flames crawled up her body and burned her," the criminal complaint said.

Eventually, Frantzcia's grandmother doused the flames with cold water, but the women then put the girl to bed instead of getting her help, Brown said.

Frantzcia suffered for a whole day before a relative begged them to take her to a hospital.

When doctors finally saw her, Frantzcia had second- and third-degree burns covering 25% of her body, including her face, torso and legs, court papers state.

Lauradin, a 29-year-old Haitian immigrant, was charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

By animal rights logic, that really isn't much different than what is routinely done to crabs and lobsters by cruel torturers in millions of homes and restaurants.

And we have a president who crushes animals with his bare hands, and mutilates cruelly murdered chickens.

I am deadly serious. If you think what he did to the fly was bad, just take a look at this shocking and disgusting display of violence:


Worst of all, he and his cruelly fashionable wife blatantly use and wear leather products, which according to PETA are "the modern equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of the people killed in the death camps."

I realize that the emerging definitions of morality I've touched on here are not shared by all people. (As regular readers know they certainly are not shared by me). Sometimes I worry that there's a paradox with newly emerging, activist-created morality, and I do not say this so much to defend "old" morality as to make an observation.

It seems that the faster morality is redefined, and new morality created, the faster morality itself fails.

MORE: If you thought Barack Obama's fly murder was bad, in the shocking video that follows, Ann Althouse helps burn a tick alive:

Personally, I just pop 'em into the microwave on high for five seconds. (On a piece of paper, of course.)

I hate ticks without exception, because they torment Coco and carry Lyme disease, and at the risk of sounding like a genocidal Nazi, I say the only good tick is a dead tick.

The insect issue is by no means new for PETA, which has long opposed the use of silk, because silkworms are "steamed or gassed alive."

I've gassed alive many a bug, and I've burned insects alive too.

Although PETA would probably consider insect-killing behavior another Holocaust equivalent, I think it's worth noting that PETA kills dogs and cats, and while "PETA has claimed that most of the animals it kills are "broken beings" and that: "[W]e refer every healthy, cute, young animal we can to shelters," they have such a high (97%) slaughter rate that an anti-PETA group wants the organization reclassified as a slaughterhouse. (Should Obama have said the fly was a broken being for which he couldn't find a home?)

I have a question: from where does such an outfit derive the moral authority to attack the president -- or anyone else -- for killing an insect?

They strike me as having less moral authority than a satire group called "People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects" -- which Glenn Reynolds discussed here. That's because the satire group is being deliberately funny about a ridiculous cause and they know it. The reason almost everyone is laughing at PETA right now is that they are being deadly serious about a ridiculous cause and they don't know it.

posted by Eric on 06.19.09 at 12:06 PM


I got into a lot of trouble with PETA many years ago. PETA had a big banner across the entrance to U.C. Berkeley comparing the killing of rats at the university research center to the Holocaust. The banner had a photo of dead rats and a photo of corpses at Dachau with an 'equals' sign between them. I wrote a letter to a local newspaper saying that as a Jew, I was offended by this comparison. I got a lot of nasty letters and phone calls from PETA sympathizers. They all felt that killing rats at the science lab was worse, and much worse, than the Holocaust.

chocolatier   ·  June 19, 2009 6:50 PM

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runescape gold   ·  June 20, 2009 3:52 AM

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