The Dark Side

Published May 30, 2016 by Nan Mykel

An unnerving number of people swerve in order to kill small animals when driving, according to the findings of a student at South Carolina’s Clemson University. As the AP reported, Nathan Weaver, 22, inadvertently witnessed the sadism in action when he placed rubber turtles on a busy road and observed  as part  of a project intended to help box turtles –a species in the decline–to safely cross the road,. One in 50 cars purposefully aimed to kill the fake creature–which, Weaver noted, is a significant number, given that a real turtle can take around 10 minutes to cross the street.

“This was a bit shocking,” said the student.

According to the AP, Weaver’s observations align with a study by Western Carolina University  psychology psychology professor Hal Herzog, who found that 34 people out of his class of 100 had intentionally run over a turtle or been in a car with someone who had at some point. Two-thirds who admitted this were male.

“They aren’t thinking, really. It is not something that people think about. It just seems fun at the time,” Herzog said. “It is the dark side of human nature.”

P.S. I have since read that in some places they installed pipes under the road as an alternative route for the turtles, but the turtles don’t use them…

4 comments on “The Dark Side

    • Yes, it’s worrisome. At the beach once I saw two boys gleefully throwing things at a jellyfish and laughing like mad. I’m not sure, but as I understand it there is a parenting approach that teaches children empathy. I don’t know how much is genetic–note the greater incidence among males. We certainly do give male children mixed messages about being male, don’t we. When girls are molested as children they are more likely to turn their aggression on themselves, whereas boys tend to turn the aggression towards others. Unfortunately I didn’t index my book “Fallout,” so I can’t easily give you the reference.

      Liked by 1 person

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