Yesterday a young man lost his life live on TV. A shocking occurrence. But are people mourning his death? No, instead it is being celebrated because this particular young man was Victor Barrio, a 29 year old bullfighter who was killed during a bullfight in Teruel, part of a festival in the east of Spain. Yesterday and now again today my Facebook feed is full of people sharing links to articles about this and video clips of the actual Moment he was fatally gored. Sadly, I wasn’t surprised to see that the majority, if not all of the comments posted on these links are full of hatred for Barrio, with hundreds of comments applauding his death and wishing the same to all bullfighters and even the audiences themselves. One comment about his death even stated, “The best thing for him! The only thing that would make it better is if there were a fire in the bullring and the doors were locked so that all the participants and spectators suffer and die together.” Really?
I too despise bullfighting. It is an abhorrent sport. I could never effectively write the words to communicate exactly how much I hate it. I see no entertainment value in seeing any animal tortured and killed. I, like most of us, feel physically sick at seeing any animal hurt or abused and would personally love nothing more than to see bullfighting and all the many other ‘sports’ and festivals, not just in Spain but all around the world, that involve any form of animal cruelty to be banned. However, I would never wish death or suffering on any human, just as I wouldn’t wish this on any animal.
Within my class of young children at school I have the son of a Spanish bullfighter, a very famous bullfighter. While this father is not a friend of mine and I am not close to him, he is a person, in fact a very lovely person. While I don’t agree with what he does this doesn’t take away from the fact that he is just a loving family man with a wife and a 4 year old son who chooses to do something that I personally don’t like. Does this mean I would be happy if he were to die in the ring? Would I rejoice in the fact he has died doing the sport that so repulses me? Of course not.
In recent times death has become so prevalent in the news; terrorist attacks, high school shootings, child abuse deaths, there is so much tragic news every day in the world. But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that life is a precious thing and should be valued as such.
No, I didn’t like what Victor Barrio chose to devote his life to. Yes, I feel strongly that bullfighting should be banned. But do I rejoice in the fact that a young man was gored, and soon after lost his life, so publicly and on live television, undoubtedly viewed by his family and friends? No I don’t. For that would be heartless and if we can regard the loss of any life so flippantly and with such fervour then I despair of the future for this world.