If Dylan had been a pit bull
“The Chronicle and SFGate elected
not to report on the suicide,” announces
the SFGate.com blog, The Scavenger,
yet there it is on 2-17-10 —
“A man jumps to his death and people —
the Aileen Yoo compilation
of what witnesses and responders
had already posted at
SF Examiner, SF Yelp,
Flickr, and Facebook
on 2-16-10, the day when
journalism at The Chronicle and SFGate
stood down and “elected” not to report
on the suicide
An employee spoke of that abdication:
“Part of me is ashamed we’ve not covered it…
in light of what we HAVE covered,”
says Wally Greenwell on 2-16-10
on Aaron Anderson’s Facebook page
that included the aerial aftermath shot
of the suicide baiting in front of Forever 21
in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco,
on a FB page that can be googled easily
by anybody, including the man’s mother.
Yet the historic giant of journalism,
the distinguished winner of Pulitzer Prizes,
“elected” to let their 243
shocked or desensitized commenters
tell the Hallidie-Plaza-Turned-Arena-Horror story
And their testimonials DID tell the story
of the suicide baiting
until the comment system
timed-out those responses in spring 2013,
rendering “A man jumps to his death and people —
Gone is this prophetic remark
by newair from 4:20 PM, 2-17-10:
“Had it been a dog,
the outpouring of concern
would have been overwhelming.”
Now, zoom ahead to spring 2013 to consider
the case of Charlie, the Staffordshire terrier
of San Francisco.
Charlie had attacked a park police horse
(possibly the first horse
the city dog had ever seen)
being ridden — incredulously ridden —
INSIDE a Crissy Field off-leash dog park
in August 2012. Imagine or read
if you can google SF newspapers:
all the standard pit bull ownership arguments
for nature v nurture ensued there, of course,
as well as a public hearing, a righteous lawsuit,
and total adjudication of Charlie’s case by April 2013.
In a mere nine months, Charlie had already had his day
in a Northern California United States District Court
and had won swift justice from
Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in a settlement deal.
Charlie would live to wag this tale: the city and county of
San Francisco would pay half the costs for his behavioral
evaluation, incarceration, and rehabilitation.
And just as newair had long ago suggested in
his chilling post about the “outpouring of concern,”
Charlie’s support WAS overwhelming
(Google “Help Save Charlie” FB, 13,000+ likes).
His attorney — that Marine — had argued Charlie’s owner
had “fought the fight because he cares about his dog.”
Revisiting the 2-17-10 comments
posted at The Scavenger’s
“A man jumps to his death and people —
laugh?” is not an easy task for either the faint-hearted
or those prudent enough to print copies
and therefore still can.
While The Chronicle continues its decline,
their commenters, at least, have always been amazing,
often for their uncomfortable but accurate articulations.
The “had it been a dog” comment by newair
scored 35 thumbs up and 2 down, and from
February to June of that first year after
the 2-16-10 Hallidie Plaza Suicide Baiting,
The Scavenger posts served as the account
of the grisly truth
because the host newspaper had
Why do some embrace the truth
while others do not? Who can say?
Many vociferously claim
they only want to hear the good news —
why post the bad, after all?
And this wish might be understandable
if nothing bad has ever happened to you
or EVER WILL.
BUT, if a mentally disabled and ambivalent man,
experiencing an acute medical emergency,
irrationally and impulsively jumps off a sixth-floor ledge
at the evil behest of an unruly crowd
that twenty-four police officers ALLOW
to deindividuate into a sadistically dominated mob
reveling in a vulgar orgy of pure invidious hatred,
and if the victim happens to be your son or friend,
then you are going to want to have the truth.
And if you are reading this right now
out of curiosity or in, perhaps, support
of this man’s mother’s effort to live out this advice:
“Externalize, externalize, externalize. Tell
your story as often as you can
to as many people as you can,”
AND if you are compassionate enough
or smart enough to realize that tragedy
is a whorish and nondiscriminatory lottery:
do be advised this next true sentence is unpleasant
and SHOULD shame us all.
The inhumanity of Dylan Yount’s suicide baiting death
was “elected” as less important to report than
Charlie the pit bull’s close brush with
Granted, Charlie’s story IS definitely important
and worthy of reporting and serving to provide
a foundation and forum for thoughtful discussion.
Dylan, himself, loved dogs
even his best friend’s uncomely, wide-girthed,
duck-footed, sway-backed, cartoon-flatulent
beagle basset hound Eleanor.
We do love our dogs, and only the very evil
would allow mistreatment of dog, even a pit bull.
But Dylan was a mortal
(Google “suicide Baiting Prevention” FB, 638 likes).
And so, a man, my son, died a disgusting,
bizarre, highly-documented, savage death:
confused, afraid, alone in a crowd witnesses say
He died miserably unprotected, victimized, dehumanized,
and stripped of any shred of dignity or self-worth.
Many effectively argue his barbaric death demeans
HUMANITY (not just the man’s mother).
We are WHERE WE ARE today
In Yount v City and County of San Francisco
because those MOST responsible for
that shocking suicide baiting death
will not admit they would change one single thing
that happened the day humanity went beyond the boundaries of any standard of human decency
to provoke an unstable man
into killing himself for their ENTERTAINMENT.
Most think this is a story worth reporting.
Most (not all) of the documentation now is official,
the soul-destroying revelations:
“Would you, ah, do anything any differently?”
— who me? oh hell no!
“Did you guys, um, ever talk about what happened
in training exercises, to um, secure a better outcome?”
— who us? oh hell no!
While it is too late for swift justice like Charlie got,
it is not too late for common decency.
Validation that suicide baiting is criminal.
A public resolve that it should never happen again.
From journalists. From INFORMED citizens.
From the police hired to know and enforce the laws.
From the city attorneys hired to defend the police.
Without the truth, we will not change.
It has been a slow audition for a trial from then to now,
for an opportunity to tell this story in a court of law.
We know that ONLY a legal judgment
will usher in CHANGE
in cases like
the unjust death of a man
not a pit bull.
Our attorney — that Marine — will argue
when — or if —he gets the chance
that his client
“Fought the fight because she cares,
because it is the right thing to do
given the astonishing circumstances.”
Suicide baiting should be completely preventable or
(The poem “If Dylan Had Been a Pit Bull,” written by Dylan’s mother, Kathie Yount, suicide baiting prevention activist, was written on Summer Solstice 2013, USA Bring Your Dog to Work Day. The poem is posted on the Suicide Baiting Prevention Facebook page.)