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Justice For One, Justice For All

brave rescued box turtle
A message from a being who has every right to be bitter and vengeful…yet isn’t. Miracles can happen. And do.

I will admit I feel like I should be blogging about all the social, cultural, racial and biological unrest going on in our world right now.

It is not like it isn’t on my mind. Often. Always.

Yet if I allow myself to spend too long soaking up current events, breaking news, stories of horror and grief and rage, I find myself devolving.

Becoming less me. Less human. Less of everything I need to be more of right now.

Not to say I don’t understand it. I do. Oh I do.

As much as a white person like me can ever understand a black person’s pain, or a homo sapiens like me can ever comprehend the hopelessness of a chimpanzee locked in a laboratory cage watching as the white-coated technician with the syringe heads down the hall in their direction.

Yet again.

This world is full of pain. It is full of inequity. It is full of wrenching questions that may never have adequate answers….at least in my lifetime.

And so I turn to the only place where I can just be. Me. In the present moment. Right now. Breathe in. Breathe out. Dwell in a moment where I don’t somehow feel like I was born guilty and am just now noticing.

I turn to nature. I turn to my animals.

I turn to the tuneful chirping (okay, screeching) of my cockatiel, Pearl, who was born into a flock of bullies who nipped off three of his claws and the tip of his left wing so he could never fly free like the other birds.

I turn to the cheerful crunching – chomping – of my redfoot tortoise, Malti, who is living with diminished lung capacity and a malformed shell thanks to my own early keeper errors and some phenomenally damaging veterinary advice from a doctor I paid very well and trusted way too much.

I turn to the wide, trusting red whirling eyes of my rescued box turtle, Bruce, whose home territory had long since disappeared under a mound of asphalt or concrete by the  time we met. Bruce, who was plucked out of the wild and claimed by someone who thought they had the right of ownership, at least until they got busy with other things and forgot all about him.

I turn to the nesting hawks in the neighbor’s tall tree. I turn to the arguing squirrels in our tall tree.

I turn to the territorial displays of the male mockingbird balancing on the telephone wire outside my window to remember that even if we live in a world full of deadly microscopic viruses and regular midnight wake-up calls that could be fireworks or could be gunfire, we also live in a world of birds nests and hatching eggs and young love and activism and hope.

The pandemic turned a bright spotlight on animal trafficking and the senseless slaughter of thousands upon thousands of endangered species.

The even more recent events surrounding the death of not one, not two, but three African American citizens have activated the floodlight on racism, anti-blackness – I don’t have the words. I am white. But I do know that I am more like every other homo sapiens on the planet than I am different.

I also know that I share the same ancient limbic brain with nearly every other species I co-exist with on this small round blue planet of ours today.

Justice for one species. Justice for ALL species. This is my wish. And my prayer.

With great respect and love,


NOTE: Lately I have seen an uptick in incredibly rageful comments here and elsewhere. Those will be deleted without hesitation. These are difficult times and heart-closing comments do no one any good. All the rest are warmly welcomed. Peace.

Justice For One, Justice For All

Shannon Cutts

Freelance writer. Author. Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2020). Justice For One, Justice For All. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Jun 2020
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