Missing the link in Georgia––and Wisconsin, and Washington, too
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1999:
ATLANTA, EVERETT, MILWAUKEE––T.J.
Solomon, 15, who wounded six fellow
students with gunfire at Heritage High School in
Conyers, Georgia on May 20, and threatened to
shoot himself, “was a trained marksman who often
went hunting with his stepfather,” a family friend
told New York Times reporter David Firestone.
ANIMAL PEOPLE has now logged 12
mass homicides or attempted mass homicides by
teenaged hunters and/or animal torturers in recent
years, including the April 20 killings of 15 people
at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Yet no other major news media discussed
Solomon’s hunting background.
A confluence of incidents in Wisconsin in
May confirmed that much of the public still doesn’t
recognize the link between violence toward animals
and violence toward humans––perhaps because they
just don’t want to.
First, Wisconsin governor Thommy
Thompson told the Wisconsin Conservation
Congress on May 7 that incidents such as the
Littleton killings can be prevented by teaching more
youths to hunt, trap, and fish.
Dane County resident Patricia Randolph,
a rare WCC delegate who opposes hunting and trapping,
pointed out the typical involvement of classroom
killers in “killing and maiming animals.”
Thompson asked Randolph to come fishing
Similar incomprehension appeared in
Madison on May 13, as Sigma Chi fraternity members
and football players escorted Chad M. Alvarez,
23, son of University of Wisconsin football coach
Barry Alvarez, to a court appearance for allegedly
microwaving frat brother Cory Greenfield’s talking
Quaker parrot Iago to death on May 4. Chad
Alvarez had allegedly hurled the parrot against a
wall on a previous occasion.
Alvarez allegedly killed the parrot
because he thought Greenfield had joked about a
“no contest” plea Alvarez entered on a drunk driving
charge back on April 22.
Beaver Dam teacher Andrea Utrie in May
1998 stood up against making mayhem against animals
a ubiquitous rite––and has been on leave since
June 1998, Meg Jones of the Milwaukee JournalS
e n t i n e l reported on May 18, due to friction with
the administration and stress resulting from an incident
in which Utrie stepped out of the classroom
where she taught pregnant teens to see a girl standing
in the hallway with a shotgun. Investigating,
Utrie found a teacher’s aide using nearby hall space
to teach a safety course for would-be hunters.
“‘At least if she shoots you, she won’t
miss,’” Utrie said the aide told her.
West Bend assistant district attorney
Holly Bunch tried hard to help Washington County
Judge Lawrence Waddick ‘get it’ on May 24, fighting
the request of Leonard J. Kritz, 21, to visit his
20-year-old wife. Kritz is facing up to 36 years in
prison if convicted of eight counts of animal cruelty
and four counts of intimidating witnesses for his
alleged actions on April 26, when he allegedly told
his wife he would leave her if she didn’t disown her
parents and let him kill her pets. He then allegedly
killed her chinchilla, four birds, and three snakes
in front of her, using a World War II bayonet after
making a series of deliberate preparations, and
“made unambiguous threats to kill his wife,” along
with his mother-in-law and two friends, “if he were
incarcerated,” Bunch explained. “It’s hard to imagine
a case where a no-contact order could be more
necessary,” Bunch concluded.
But after the wife testified that Kritz had
never hurt her and that she wanted to see him,
Waddick lifted the no-contact order he had been
under since his arrest. Kritz was freed on bail.
In Marysville, Washington, animal control
officers meanwhile removed six starving and
dehydrated dogs plus a cat from the feces-andrefuse-filled
30-foot sailboat where Victor Matthew
David, 59, lived until May 26, when he was taken
to jail on a charge of assaulting his wife, Linda
David, 50, who suffers from advanced multiple
sclerosis and whose disability checks were Victor
David’s most evident source of income.
Social workers took Linda David from the
boat in 1997, in condition described by Associated
Press as “punch-drunk, blind, scarred, and
deformed from bones broken and healed without
medical attention, apparently from years of abuse.
Her clothes were soaked in animal waste.”
Wrote Scott North of the Everett Herald,
“State social workers suspected Victor David was
neglecting and abusing his wife as early as 1985,
but it wasn’t until January 1997 that law officers
were brought in to investigate,” and even then the
probe initially focused on alleged health care fraud.
Other observers had noticed that Victor
David apparently never allowed his dogs to leave
the boat, but for 12 years no one put together the
pieces of the story.