People who love to hate
We are dumbfounded by the tragic death of a woman called “Cat Mom” in Yongin city, Gyeonggi. She was hit by a brick thrown out a window by an anonymous neighbor on an upper floor of her apartment building. The woman was killed because she was trying to build a shelter for street cats. Her death shows the severity of our communal crisis. Shortly after the cold-blooded murder last Thursday, a number of netizens posted messages in cyberspace describing various ways to harass people who attempt to help stray cats. Their suggestions included putting rat poison in food cats might eat - pouring antifreeze into canned tuna, for example. The level of attacks on both street cats and the so-called Cat Moms is bad enough to arouse serious worries about potential violence down the road.
The police are having trouble figuring out the identity of the Cat Mom killer because the brick contained no DNA information except for the victim’s. The police are trying to find out what floor the brick was thrown from. It is conducting search and seizure operations on every suspicious household. Despite the ongoing investigation, it is crucial for the police to continue to demonstrate a strong determination to arrest the perpetrator of an obvious hate crime.
In addition to law enforcement authorities’ campaign to bring the offender to justice, we need to find effective ways to restore the integrity of our community, which we were once proud of. These days, people choose to attack others on the Internet just because they don’t like them or agree with them, and even engage in hate crimes by resorting to violence, blackmail and homicide.
The number of alley cats is now estimated to exceed 250,000, and some citizens vent their anger on Cat Moms. By feeding them, they help them reproduce. But some Cat Moms have played a positive role by having cats neutered and that they contribute to a cleaner environment by providing food for the cats so that they don’t pollute the environment as garbage scavengers. But most of the opponents don’t take such positive functions of Cat Moms into account.
Stray cats are precious living creatures, and Cat Moms take care of them with deep love. Any use of extreme violence aimed at these people can hardly be forgiven. In a society where citizens attempt to release their blind hatred violently, anyone can be the target of crimes any time. Just as one’s own life should be respected, we must maintain a mature society that treats the life of others as we would wish to be treated.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 15, Page 34