Mourning Sharky

(This photo, of a dolphin named K-Dog used by the U.S. Navy for hunting mines, is in the public domain.)

[digg-reddit-me]Two dolphins collided during a performance at SeaWorld this weekend, with the 30-year old female dying from the impact.

I’m pretty sure that if a human had died performing a similar stunt, it wouldn’t make me as sad as this story did. Oddly, I think this is a common reaction. Look at the other stories on the Local 6 News page – a woman killed in a boat collision; a woman shot for $1; one person fatally shot while sitting in a car. Yet the top story from the site is the dolphin accident.

I know why I don’t care much about any of these people and their unusual deaths: I don’t know them, and I hear about shooting and accidents every day. Maybe I should care more – but I think if I did, I would become emotionally exhausted. I also know that lurking underneath that excuse is a darker one.

I tend to assume that many – though certainly not all – people at least partially deserved their fate. The person shot in the car could have been an upstanding citizen, a father, a model human being. Or he could have been a pedophile, a terrorist, a gang leader, a murderer. Before I get weepy about the shooting, I need to know something of the story.

But with the dolphin, Sharky, I just feel bad – almost as if I am somehow responsible.

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