The Dark Side

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…

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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4 Responses to The Dark Side

  1. I very much do the opposite. Much of humanity is dark, but not all of it is… 😢


  2. ShiraDest says:

    … ! ? Deliberately intending to kill the animals?
    Very Worrisome.
    Would feeling more in control of their own lives change that?


    • Nan Mykel says:

      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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