Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SUPPORTING LAW ENFORCEMENT SINCE NONE OF US WHO AREN'T IN LAW ENFORCEMENT REALLY KNOW WHAT LAW ENFORCERS GO THROUGH

Recently a brother priest commented to me concerning the protests against law enforcement in light of the various deaths of black citizens at the hands of law enforcement. He said to me that none of us white people really know what fear blacks have of law enforcement and how they feel harassed by them.

I don't doubt for one minute that there are some racists in law enforcement. I also know, having worked in a parish with a significant black population that there is a "racism" towards some whites simply based upon color and nothing more. Racism is a two way street.

But with that said, I must offer a disclaimer. My brother was in law enforcement for well over 30 years and was cleared by the Sheriff's department for two or three incidents when he had to shoot and kill someone who was going to kill him.

My nephew is currently in law enforcement and knows the terror of trying to deal with individual law breakers that could kill you in a second if they had the chance.

So most of us who are not in law enforcement don't really know the psychological angst that many in law enforcement go through day and night. The person they pull over for a routine traffic ticket could shoot them in the face. Such happened last year in Augusta and several other killings of law enforcement in the Augusta metro area.

Protesting law enforcement and shouting words of hate, names of disrespect and pleas that they be killed is irresponsible and like shouting out fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire.

Law enforcement has a system to deal with officers who kill a suspect in the line of duty. It is a legal process. Agree or disagree with the outcome is fine but respect for the law is a necessity even if one disagrees with an investigation or a grand jury's findings. 


32 comments:

Gene said...

The war on the police in this country is outrageous and is being perpetuated by one race and one race only. These people are defending thugs and trash as if they were martyrs. How disordered is that? If you are attacking a cop, you need to be shot. Obey the law, respect the police, keep your mouth shut, and get a job.

JBS said...

Father MacDonald,

While I tend to agree with your liturgical sentiments, I'm not sure I can agree with your equation of Black racism with White racism. There is no reasonable comparison to be made between what the White majority has done to Blacks and anything Blacks have done to Whites. Even today, Blacks consistently speak of their experience of prejudiced behavior towards them, and so we cannot both ignore their pleas and simultaneously expect to have peace. It's simply unjust to compare the misbehavior of an oppressed group with the misbehavior of the oppressors.

Further, the police have ceased being a preventative civilian patrol and instead become a reactive military force, both in their appearance and in their tactics. They should return to their roots so the public can trust them again.

Gene said...

JBS, I think you are wrong. You sound like one of these who believes blacks cannot be racist. Blacks whine "racism" whenever they need a convenient excuse for breaking the law or defying the government. Blacks are no longer oppressed in this country. They have no one to blame for their squalid condition except themselves…50 years of entitlements, lowered standards, and bending over backwards by a number of administrations has only created an entrenched entitlement mentality. Race relations are worse in this country than they have ever been and the current administration has been the most divisive one since Lincoln's. Blacks do not want to integrate or assimilate…they want a separate culture with a separate standard. Liberia was great idea on Lincoln's part. Let's give 'em NY and California and get on with our lives.

Joe White said...

While I am sure that most of the civil war fanatics here will correct me and insist the war was fought over secession, it cannot be ignored that the motivation for that secession was the issue of SLAVERY. Hundreds of thousands of men gave their lives and thousands more lived with crippling injuries fighting this war and the vast majority--no, the OVERWHELMING majority of those who died were white men.

Does racism still exist among white people? Of course. Racism exists EVERYWHERE! If you live in Poland, many Poles hate Russians. Most Russians hate Germans. Most Swiss look down upon italians as scum. Jews in Israel hate Arabs and the Arabs despise the Jews. Chinese people look down upon Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians. Japanese people look down upon Chinese. And just about EVERY country in Asia has a deep animus towards the Japanese. We in America are not that unique.

But getting back to the black-white issue. I grew up white surrounded by minorities. When we were small children, no one noticed. But by the time we were teenagers, it was a big deal. Since I grew up in the 60's, the culture dictated that I was automatically a racist and should feel deeply guilty because I was white AND I DID--for a while. But that proposition gets real old, real fast. I can still remember my peers chanting, "Black is beautiful, brown is hip, but white is just a piece of sh--."

Yes, racism IS a two-way street. If you want to hear REAL hatred, just listen to two black people discuss another black person who they think is "acting white". You will never hear such venom anywhere else. If racism is wrong for white people, then it is just as wrong for white people and all arguments about "equivalence" or historical proportions of prejudice do not justify continuing this hatred of white people or stereotyping police officers. I have grown up bending over backwards to try to prove I am not a racist and NO ONE should have to do that. This police-hatred from black people is not going to make anything better and will only result in making black neighborhoods even MORE dangerous and MORE avoided by white people.

Again, if racism is wrong for whites, then it is wrong for blacks too. Put the scales away and own up to the fact that we have ALL failed. Trying to settle old scores is not the answer. In our zeal to teach the white man not to hate, we seem to have forgotten to teach the same lesson to the black man.

Anonymous said...

The civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome” brings to mind an apparent deception among African-Americans that the recent conflicts with police are just another obstacle that must be overcome.

Black people live in a very different America than the one Martin Luther King Jr. was trying to change in the 1960’s. Did he even dream that one day a black man could be elected president with the support of white Americans?

Several months ago, Rasmussen released a poll that should give us all pause: Most Americans believe that black people are more racist than white people. Even the majority of black people polled believe blacks are more racist than whites. Sadly, this poll might just reveal the underlying motivation for all the media noise about the police shootings and even the Zimmerman verdict.

Black people HAVE largely overcome their obstacles with white people. Now they have a different obstacle to overcome, much harder to fight because it is not against an “outside” enemy. 91% of black people are killed by other black people. Trayvon Martin would be unknown to most Americans had he been killed—as is the norm—by another black person. Instead, we are fed the narrative that it is “open season” on black teenagers because one non-black was acquitted in the unfortunate death of a teenager. Well, IT IS open season on black teenagers, but civil-rights hustlers like Al Sharpton refuse to name the predators—other black people. They’d rather get Black America angry about the exceptions instead of dealing with the rule.

Believe it or not, “White America” wants “Black America” to succeed. Most “White Americans” want us all to be just “Americans.” Yet the media insists that America is divided because of the racial hatred of white people.

Which brings us back to the Rasmussen poll. Why has racism reversed itself so dramatically? Why does the news media live in denial? History’s great sages have taught that if we hate enough, we become what we hate. Could it be that black people in America have endured so much from bigotry that many have become bigots themselves? It’s a scary thought, but the evidence suggests that is exactly what’s happening. White people are not supposed to even talk about this, but listen sometime to the conversations of African Americans. Even black comedians get a pass while they riff on white people. Could you imagine the reaction if a white comedian spent their time making fun of black people? Does anyone here remember the embarrassing Michael Richards incident?

But is being a white person or even acting white really what they believe it is? Is rejecting a pop culture of being the “baddest” going to hurt black people? Will embracing education and speaking clearly hurt black people? Is trying to be “color-blind” going to hurt black people? Doubtful.

I am only one of many white persons who honestly hopes that black people will indeed overcome, but the greatest obstacles are no longer white people. They are dysfunctional neighborhoods, poor education, a culture of fatherless children and unmarried parents and—sorry--their own bigotry. Hatred will not be overcome with more hatred. “We shall overcome” should not end up as “We shall get revenge.”


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

When Fr. McDonald and I had the conversation to which he refers, I was relating the experience of my high school classmate, Sam, a black man. A graduate of Emory University with an MBA, Sam worked in the financial industry in New York where he made tons of money. He owned brownstones in Brooklyn and worshipped a Trinity Church, Wall Street.

About 10 years ago, Sam and I met for lunch while I was on vacation in New York. In the course of our 3 hour conversation, I naively commented that at Benedictine, our high school in Savannah, racism was virtually nonexistent. Sam got a sad smile on his face and said something like, "Michael, you are white, so you have no idea what went on." He filled me in on how difficult things had been for him and for the other black kids in the school. The racist words and actions came not only from the other students, but from a few of the faculty and staff as well.

It didn't end with high school. Sam related that, when he shopped in the toniest stores on 5th Avenue in New York, he was almost always followed by a plain clothes security guard. Although he was familiar to some of the sales clerks since he was a regular customer, the guards targeted him and other black men for surveillance.

I agree that we don't know the anxiety police officers feel when, in the middle of the night, they have to approach a car with tinted windows or enter an apartment complex where known drug dealers live. I don't have that kind of courage and I will always - always - give police the benefit of the doubt.

But we who are not black also don't know the experience of "Driving While Black" or "Walking While Black." I can wear a hoodie and no one gives me a second look. A black man with a hoodie is regarded by many as an imminent threat. I can shop where I want and no one calls security. A wealthy, successful black man, shopping in a high end store in Manhattan, is going to be followed.

When my sister and her husband were married in Ellijay, GA, in the early 1970's, the friends who were hosting the ceremony in their home reminded Margaret and Anselm that, although they had no objections to any guest, if a black person was invited they'd be stopped by the county police before they'd gone 5 miles inside the Gilmer County line.

Law enforcement has a system to deal with officers, but the system is heavily weighted in favor of the police. A prosecutor who must rely on police to do his job and to convict those guilty of crimes is not always going to be even handed when the investigation is of a police officer.

Respect for the law is essential, but when the law is not serving people equally, it is understandable that those who are being treated unjustly will react.

Tevye said...

Nice job JBS.

Gene said...

RE: Sam…I notice Sam integrated into the culture, got educated, became successful, and moved on…he did not use drugs, shoot at cops, whine, complain, and get on welfare. I'll bet he didn't wear his pants at half-mast, either. I'll bet it was also without the "help"
of liberal do-goods like Ignotus who can't wait to take a Black to lunch to prove how not racist they are.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - Sam and I had been friends since high school. I didn't take him to lunch (he paid, actually, since he was rolling in the dough) to prove how "not racist" I am. We went to lunch because we were high school friends.

Your prejudice blinds you to simple acts of friendship and you've got to turn it into a Federal Case in an attempt to justify your own racism.

And people wonder why there is racial tension...

Anonymous said...

I don't think either Gene or Fr. K are racists. However, they are certainly not helping this discussion by their immediate knee-jerk labeling of each other as racists.

Come on folks, this is part of the problem in the first place. We could get on a whole lot better if we didn't have to look over our shoulders every time we do something to worry about whether someone thinks we are racist.

Let's stop the name-calling. All of us.

Anonymous said...

It seems clear that the concept of justice to the black man in the USA is for them to be allowed to rape, rob and murder any white person they like with impunity. It's a waste of time telling anecdotal stories about the experiences of Sam or suggesting that we can't understand the fear that the poor black man feels.

It's funny how the civil rights movement is viewed as such a wonderful success when the evidence is right before our eyes. The life of blacks after 50 years is riddled with drug abuse, broken families, horrendous illegitimacy, murder, blighted neighborhoods, lousy schools where illiteracy is the crowning achievement and government dependency is the desired status because working for the white man is too damn distasteful. If I was a black man I would want to burn down the white establish too, but for completely different reasons.

My Christmas wish is that priests on this blog wake up and realize that the expansion of government is one of the main reasons that more and more Church pews are staying cold. Socialism and Catholicism have a tough time flourishing together.

Trying to stay alive in Chicago
Mike

Anonymous said...

Fr. K,

Not being White myself, I can understand Sam's experience. The trick to survival, though, is not to wear the shoe if it does not fit. People can be watching your every move, but as long as you're not doing anything wrong - and as long as they don't touch you, shake off the dust and move on.

Sam must take comfort at his greater wins - great parents, an excellent education, career, substantial properties, money - and although you didn't mention it, power. [He must be the boss to a number of his employees.]

Sure, I've experienced racism in the past. I'm Asian. Once sitting in a hotel lobby in Reno while waiting for my girlfriend to come out of the ladies room, a [white!] man approached me thinking I was a prostitute. Well, I'm not. I should have been offended, but I wasn't. It's profiling and it's racist, but it could also be based on facts; how would I know if there were a few Asian women prostitutes around there? It may very well have been an honest mistake.

Once I was walking down a street in San Francisco and a [black] man blurted to my face, "Go back to concentration camp - you Jap sh--head!" Sorry but I'm not Japanese, either, so that didn't hurt. Where I came from, the Japanese were the ones who encarcerated my people in concentration camps during WWII. But that was before my time, so I'm not about to demand revenge or reparation for that.

I don't know if it were just a publicity story, but I rather like what I read about how Nat King Cole was banned from entering the front door of a hotel theatre where he was scheduled to perform, because he was black. So he entered through the back door, as instructed, and the show went on. Is that it means when they say, "Don't sweat the small stuff?"

But one thing that has always mystified me, as an adopted American, is this: Why is Sharpton called "Reverend Sharpton" when his business seems not to have anything to do with reverence? Does he have a congregation and is he exempt from paying taxes?

Okay, not my business, sorry.

Joe Potillor said...

Some thoughts on two fronts, hopefully what I'll say makes sense.

a. There is a ton of reverse racism in the black community. The vitriol is downright horrible. I see it within my own family and in particular amongst the older generations. It absolutely angers me that some people have this "race first" identity. You'd think with everything the older generations did go through that they'd want to not have those things passed down. But of course not, projection is a powerful thing.

b. The distrust from law enforcement (I'll admit, even I have it) comes for better or for worse from the law not being applied equally. There is this saying that justice is proportional to the dollar sign....I've seen it with my own eyes. In an event that happened to me, I wasn't even questioned for the official police report, and I tend to think if you're going to make a proper report that one needs to question the people involved. (sorry for this tangent, but I do think it's important to understand the internal situation)...Certainly this does not mean that all don't do their job well, but as the saying goes, all it takes is one bad apple to screw up the reputation for the rest of them. (Similar to the sex abuse scandal, the majority of priests are good and for he most part trying to be holy...but the one that screws up, really screws it up for all)

c. I do think the militarization of police is a huge problem a lot more than the race of the police. The civilian state is not a battlefield, and should not be treated as such, so in that I absolutely agree with Fr JBS.

Part 2 of my comments coming up :)

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is that we all presume to know the minds and hearts of others. This is why "hate-crime" laws are so ridiculous.

What do I mean? I grew up in a racist household. THe constant gripes of my parents and relatives instilled in me a negative feeling toward black people. However, I also recognize that even thought i have those feelings, they are wrong. I have made an act of the will NOT to be a racist, but the feelings are still there. Does that make me guilty? I don't like those feelings, but they don't just disappear because I recognize they are wrong. No. I live with them and struggle against them.

Am I guilty of a hate crime? I make an act of the will to treat black people as equals even though I don't always feel that way. Do I deserve to be punished because of these feelings? Do black people deserve to be punished if they have feelings against white people even thought they try to overcome those feelings? How can we take inculturation and criminalize it?

I don't know, but I strongly suspect the vast majority of Americans have some kind of racist feelings. Does that make all of us guilty of hate crimes? I also think the vast majority of Americans struggle against those feelings and try not to be racists. Even Abraham Lincoln used the "N" word.

This whole race thing is just getting worse and worse and worse and scapegoating each other isn't going to make it any better.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is that we all presume to know the minds and hearts of others. This is why "hate-crime" laws are so ridiculous.

What do I mean? I grew up in a racist household. THe constant gripes of my parents and relatives instilled in me a negative feeling toward black people. However, I also recognize that even thought i have those feelings, they are wrong. I have made an act of the will NOT to be a racist, but the feelings are still there. Does that make me guilty? I don't like those feelings, but they don't just disappear because I recognize they are wrong. No. I live with them and struggle against them.

Am I guilty of a hate crime? I make an act of the will to treat black people as equals even though I don't always feel that way. Do I deserve to be punished because of these feelings? Do black people deserve to be punished if they have feelings against white people even thought they try to overcome those feelings? How can we take inculturation and criminalize it?

I don't know, but I strongly suspect the vast majority of Americans have some kind of racist feelings. Does that make all of us guilty of hate crimes? I also think the vast majority of Americans struggle against those feelings and try not to be racists. Even Abraham Lincoln used the "N" word.

This whole race thing is just getting worse and worse and worse and scapegoating each other isn't going to make it any better.

Gene said...

Asian Anonymous, Of course Asians of all kinds in this country have overwhelmingly been industrious, creative, and appreciative of the opportunities provided in America. They have aggressively taken advantage of the economic opportunities here and have bettered themselves and the nation for their enterprise. Funny how blacks, who have lived here all their lives and been handed every possible opportunity and given every possible break, continue to wallow in poverty, violence, and anger while blaming America for their plight.
On the other hand, I would like for these American welfare blacks who hate America to go to China and behave there as they do here and see what happens to them.

Joe Potillor said...

d. But there's also a problem of victim mentality that exists which needs to stop. I've had it with those that say "mean old whitey is out to get you" or the derivatives there of. The expansion of the government has a lot to do with this mentality, one can't bite the hand that feeds them. It has created a culture of dependence which is being passed on from generation to generation...and if and when the gov't is no longer able to maintain the system, these people will fall and it will be rather ugly.

e. Everyone's lives matter, not just the police, not just blacks, not just born, not just unborn. Every person has a significance and importance. (Yes, even those that misuse their faculties). Fact of the matter is none of these situations should have happened in the first place, but since they did, what can be done? Following the 10 commandments might help...It'd certainly help if people didn't rob stores, do activities that were illegal and things like that. It'd also help if people weren't presumed guilty until proven innocent. People only under a probable cause should be questioned or stopped, just because they look a certain way does not imply anything about them. (Sure the image doesn't help, but we shouldn't project our thoughts on them)

f. Yes, things like WWB and DWB (Walking while black) and (Driving while black). It does not help when the stereotypes are driven through the media. (I have to agree if it were a black on black crime, it would not make the TV news)...but the best way to curb such things is not to act like a victim and certainly not do things to cause suspicion.

g. I'll end on this note...There are a lot of complaints from the black community about the conditions and various happenings within society. It's rather unfortunate, the very entity in which they depend on, is the same one that's causing the problem...Is it possible that there's more slavery now via the government, than ever existed when slavery was legal? I have zero clue why blacks entrust the same entity that legalized segregation, would somehow think it's a brilliant idea to trust them to help them out of that situation, but that's just me. I'm from the government and I'm here to help are a few words that should make people quake in fear ;)

Pax Vobis.

Joe Potillor said...

d. But there's also a problem of victim mentality that exists which needs to stop. I've had it with those that say "mean old whitey is out to get you" or the derivatives there of. The expansion of the government has a lot to do with this mentality, one can't bite the hand that feeds them. It has created a culture of dependence which is being passed on from generation to generation...and if and when the gov't is no longer able to maintain the system, these people will fall and it will be rather ugly.

e. Everyone's lives matter, not just the police, not just blacks, not just born, not just unborn. Every person has a significance and importance. (Yes, even those that misuse their faculties). Fact of the matter is none of these situations should have happened in the first place, but since they did, what can be done? Following the 10 commandments might help...It'd certainly help if people didn't rob stores, do activities that were illegal and things like that. It'd also help if people weren't presumed guilty until proven innocent. People only under a probable cause should be questioned or stopped, just because they look a certain way does not imply anything about them. (Sure the image doesn't help, but we shouldn't project our thoughts on them)

f. Yes, things like WWB and DWB (Walking while black) and (Driving while black). It does not help when the stereotypes are driven through the media. (I have to agree if it were a black on black crime, it would not make the TV news)...but the best way to curb such things is not to act like a victim and certainly not do things to cause suspicion.

g. I'll end on this note...There are a lot of complaints from the black community about the conditions and various happenings within society. It's rather unfortunate, the very entity in which they depend on, is the same one that's causing the problem...Is it possible that there's more slavery now via the government, than ever existed when slavery was legal? I have zero clue why blacks entrust the same entity that legalized segregation, would somehow think it's a brilliant idea to trust them to help them out of that situation, but that's just me. I'm from the government and I'm here to help are a few words that should make people quake in fear ;)

Pax Vobis.

Anonymous 2 said...

The best thing we can do to avoid presuming to know the minds and hearts of others, is to talk to one another with honesty and good faith, like Pater and his friend Sam or like Father McDonald and his police officer relatives. The aim would be to learn from one another and not, as Gene suggests, to “take a Black to lunch to prove how not racist they are” or to “take a police officer to lunch to prove what good citizens they are.” This isn’t rocket science; it is basic to healthy human relationships.

Gene said...

RE: militarization of police: The issue is that, in today's world, the police are often out-gunned by the bad guys. Cops need M-16's or AR's, high capacity magazines, and large caliber pistols. They need armor and armored vehicles in urban environments. Look, we are talking about a time when terrorists or just thugs with means can get rocket launchers if they have the right contacts. I have long maintained that the police are a paramilitary organization and should train like one. They need to understand small unit tactics and how to support one another in a combat environment.
Now, there are limits in that we do not want to encourage the police to view the public and the citizens as enemies, but a lot of that burden is on the citizens. I know quite a few policemen, and they have come to expect bad outcomes in encounters with the black community, and this goes back to the 60's. This is not the cops' fault. Sorry. No cop should be asked to face multiple attackers with revolvers and shotguns alone.

Anonymous said...

Gene is living, babbling, ignorant proof that racism is alive and well in America, Georgia, Macon, St. Joseph's, Southern Orders.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - Asians as a race were never chattel slaves. Asians were never as a race oppressed for generations under Jim Crow laws. Asians didn't suffer as a race under "separate but unequal" schools, again for generations.

There's an intergenerational link in business ownership. A business owner's children are more likely to go into business themselves. If your father was kept from owning a business due to Jim Crow laws, you are less likely to go into business yourself.

Children who work in an industry or business similar to a family's business acquire expertise and knowledge. When your family's "business" is picking cotton or washing clothes, you don't gain much salable experience for the business world.

A loan officer at a bank who thinks that Blacks are a "feral minority" or who uses the "N" word to describe Blacks is not going to be favorable to approving a loan for a Black man or woman to start a small business.

Gene said...

Anonymous, which of my statements do you consider racist?

Ignotus, that just won't fly. Other races and people's have been far more oppressed than blacks…look at the Jews, the Chinese, the Russians under Stalin, American Indians. Blacks have no one to blame but themselves. If people like you do not quit making excuses for them, they will never get out of the ghetto.

Paul said...

The number of people who experienced or inflicted the racism of the old deep south are dying off yet the ideology lives -- perpetuated by the resentful, the vengeful, the angry, the greedy and the manipulative. People do bad things and wonder why bad things happen. "Bad Things" are color blind.

Who has seen a roller skating rink where "no ..." was posted? Who has traveled the back wood pines on a school bus on muddy dirt roads with students emerging from run down tar-paper shacks and shotgun houses? Who saw as late as 1979 school buses that were solely of color or rode on one because the school administration incorrectly assumed that one was of color because of where they lived? Who has seen a brand new, never-used, separate-but-equal high school, sit vacant for years because the schools had been desegregated the year before? Who saw the kids crowding around a scuffle with chants of "Fight, fight, ... and a white!"?

Racism will always exist for those who embrace the ungodly, they cannot see godly in anyone.

The nation is so busy scrubbing God and Christ away from as much as possible is it any surprise that people do not see the image of God in others?

JBS said...

Thank you, Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh and Joe Potillor, for speaking so sensibly.

Daniel said...

Gene, since you asked Anon. which of your statements was racist and didn't get an answer, here's a great one for starters.

" Liberia was great idea on Lincoln's part."

If you don't understand that "send them back to Africa" is racist, then nothing else you say need be taken seriously.

Flavius Hesychius said...

If you don't understand that "send them back to Africa" is racist, then nothing else you say need be taken seriously.

As in anything, like every words he's ever said? That'd be highly irrational.

For example, his views on race have nothing to do with his views on what liquor is the best, nor does his views on race pertain to his critique of the Orthodox Church's rejection of the filioque.

Yeah, yeah, I know, 'Flavius, don't be so literal.'

Gene said...

Flavius, I wonder what he would do if I yelled, "Hey, Dipsh…er, Daniel, there is an Eastern Diamondback crawling by your leg!" Might we be so lucky as to have him discount my warning? Oh, I forgot…LOL!

Gene said...

Fr, I cannot understand why you will not post my revised answer to Daniel. There should be nothing offensive in it. What is the problem?

Anonymous said...

A new record! Gene goes from Zero to Vulgar in under 12 hours!

Congratulations, Fr. McDonald, for your contribution to this amazing milestone.

Daniel said...

Generalissimo Gene: I would certainly heed your warning if I were convinced you knew the difference between an Eastern Diamondback and a West Highland Terrier. The signs I see are not good.

Gene said...

Actually, Daniel, I am quite well-versed in herpetology, having studied and collected reptiles and amphibians most of my life. Around here, the Canebrake rattlesnake is far more common, but I have seen Diamondbacks as far north as Macon.
As for little fru fru dogs, my daughter has a Yorkie…does that count?