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May 21, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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R.I.P Crown Shakur, March – April 2004

Crown Shakur died on April 25, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia, at six weeks of age, so malnourished that doctors could count all the bones in his body without removing his skin. On the May 2 this year his parents, Lamont Thomas (31) and Jade Sanders (27), were convicted of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. Shakur died because he was raised on a diet of soy milk and apple juice. His parents’ defence? Why, they were only trying to adhere to a vegan lifestyle.

One could argue that the life sentence handed out to this relatively poor black couple was a result of the jury’s intolerance. As Thomas argued, “We are against animal cruelty, so why would I be cruel to my son?

Why would I do something with his body?” The couple’s defence team argued that they did not take him to hospital because they feared hospitals are full of germs (which they are), and that they didn’t realise anything was amiss until minutes before he died.Bollocks. Breast-feeding hardly constitutes cruelty to animals, and I have never met a vegan who claims that it does. The prosecutor pointed out that veganism was not the issue here. Thomas and Sanders put their ideology of “doing no harm” above the actual well-being of their son. They put their beliefs above their actions, and consequentially made a mockery of everything that every vegan I have ever met stands for. But this is not the most absurd case of a diet causing actual harm in the name of supposedly fighting cruelty.

On September 16, 1999, Scottish fishermen dragged the naked body of Verity Linn from the shore of Loch Cam. The 49-year-old local commune resident had begun a Breatharian diet on September 4 of the same year, before bussing into the wilderness. Breatharianism is the doctrine that one may abstain from all food, living off ‘prianic light’ and good vibes alone. Well, guess what? She’s dead.

Darwin’s survival-of-the-fittest, on the other hand, is alive and well.Perhaps Crown Shakur’s parents were not cruel – perhaps they were simply fucking morons. Well, one thing is clear – they were not fit to be parents and, even if they don’t deserve life in prison, they are a fitting prospect for sterlisation. If you put your ideology of kindness above your resposibility to actually be a kind person, then you fail. I have said it before and I will say it again: personally, I prefer knitting my own organic pottery as a way of being spiritually right on.

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Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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