Imagine that the cruelest act you ever committed were exposed for everyone to see and discuss and analyze. Then imagine that that single act is all that we know about you and, by that act alone, you will be judged. Who among us could bear such scrutiny?
When you have committed a reprehensible act, how do you move forward to live an affirmative life?: by continually wallowing in the perpetual tyranny of one’s moral failures or by learning from one’s mistakes and by striving to lead an exemplary life. Tom Otterness committed such an act and has had the courage to move forward. As a community, we should applaud and support his personal growth and his otherwise positive voice in our American culture. To his sponsors and those interested in a society where one single act of youthful hubris does not damn one for life, I ask, please, stand up for growth and maturity and forgiveness.
To his detractors, who care about the well-being of all creatures, I ask, please, show as much heart for people as you do for animals. How much do you know about Tom Otterness beyond this single act? Has he made it a centerpiece of his work? Has he, in any other instance, done anything that amounts to, supports, or can be construed as cruelty to animals? Have you looked for a way to positively engage him in advancing your cause?
Every public endeavor necessarily requires the talents and hard work of many people, every one of whom has committed numerous moral offenses. If we all have to be blameless, how will our culture, our community, or our nation ever make progress?
John L. Daiss
October 3, 2011