[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; please send any tips here.]
Update (IV): For the opposite extreme, we get this story of a woman who saved a dog from drowning and then… gave it mouth to mouth.
Update (III): Well, I can’t say this was not predictable. Apparently everyone who thinks Vick shouldn’t have a dog is a racist, or so Earl Ofari Hutchinson claims.
What an asshole.
The real racists are the people who think we should excuse or minimize a person’s behavior because they are black. And it does no one any good, least of all the “beneficiaries” of this soft bigotry of lowered expectations.
Update: See below to hear from one of the people who took in one of Vick’s dogs.
Update (II): In this clip Tucker Carlson calls for the death penalty for what Vick did. Which I think is a bit much, but I suspect a lot of people who love dogs would agree.
We now pick up where the post originally started:
Here is Megyn Kelly debating with two people about Obama’s praising the way the Eagles gave Vick a second chance:
So her point is basically that what he did was so vile he doesn’t deserve this kind of presidential pat-on-the-back. And the NAACP guy’s argument is that at some point the punishment should end and we should let him rejoin society. I admit to being of two minds on the issue myself. But I am pretty clear that this is idiotic:
When the CEO of a “Humane Society” says convicted dog-fighting kingpin Michael Vick “would do a good job as pet owner,” it should raise more red flags than a Chinese parade. That’s just what happened two weeks ago as Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), endorsed Vick’s future as a dog owner.
Of course that was in response to Vick himself saying:
“I would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process,” Vick said[.]…
“I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding,” Vick said in the interview. “If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted.
“I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that’s the hardest thing: Telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions,” Vick said in the interview.
Yeah and in related news, Roman Polanski thinks he should be allowed to shoot a movie about a school full of thirteen-to-fourteen-year-old girls who run around in various stages of undress, with the working title of Roman Holiday.
Meanwhile we get a voice of reason coming from… um… PETA. Yes, this whole thing is so off-the-rails that PETA is coming off as reasonable:
“Just as convicted pedophiles aren’t allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs,” said Lisa Lange, vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “All things considered, it is a very small price to pay, especially compared to the suffering endured by the dogs who were abused and killed in the Bad Newz Kennels.”
Indeed, not only do I think it would be a bad idea to let him have a dog, I think child services needs to take a close look at how he treats his children. There is something broken inside this man that he could commit those crimes in the first place and like the commenter in the video, I worry that that savagery would eventually visited upon humans.
(And I am sorry, but they called it Bad Newz Kennels? Shouldn’t the state have investigated that place just based on that name alone?)
Anyway, my take on it is this. I think part of my problem is that what he did was so unnecessarily savage—as the woman in the Megyn Kelly video says, it’s not like the guy was poor and doing this to get money for his family—that I think the punishment didn’t quite fit the crime. And further, I have never heard or seen anything that suggested any change in heart for the man. Yeah, he goes around telling people not to do it, but you wonder if this is about anything other than image rehabilitation.
Of course people who make mistakes—even commit horrifically evil acts—can be the best spokespersons against that conduct. One of the better moments in the otherwise bland movie Amazing Grace was when John Newton recalled his days as a slaver, and you could see the man was genuinely haunted by the evil he had done. He feared for his immortal soul. When he sang of his sin and hope for redemption it carried an extra weight because he truly understood the enormity of the evil he had committed. I mean its acting, obviously, given that this is not a documentary, but that is the kind of thing you expect. By comparison, Vick’s clueless comment about owning a dog suggests he doesn’t really get it.
So he should not be completely shunned for the rest of his life. He should not be prevented from working in his chosen profession. But he should be just a player. Even if he is a good one, just a player. Parents should not set him up to be admired by children (indeed perhaps he could be used to teach children that being good at sports does not automatically translate into good character). He should not be getting endorsements and if anyone gives any to him, we the public should punish the company that endorses him with reduced business. And he should never own a dog again.
As for the president, I guess I can’t help but get the creepy sense that this is celebrity worship. It is useful, naturally, to encourage employers to give ex-cons a second chance. But is there no better example the president can come up with? Is there no one out there who gives you a more genuine sense of a person reformed?
[Richard] Hunter and his wife quickly saw Mel’s scars. The dog wouldn’t bark, wouldn’t show affection, and would spend nearly an hour shaking with each new person who tried to touch him.
It turns out that Mel had been a bait dog, thrown into the ring as a sort of sparring partner for the tougher dogs, sometimes even muzzled so he wouldn’t fight back, beaten daily to sap his will. Mel was under constant attack, and couldn’t fight back, and the deep cuts were visible on more than just his fur.
“You could see that Michael Vick went to a lot of trouble to make Mel this way,” Hunter said. “When people pet him, I tell them, pet him from under his chin, not over his head. He lives in fear of someone putting their hand over his head.”
And the columnist captures my misgivings well:
And yet a large percentage of the population will still think Michael Vick is a sociopath. Many people will never get over Vick’s own admissions of unthinkable cruelty to his pit bulls — the strangling, the drowning, the electrocutions, the removal of all the teeth of female dogs who would fight back during mating.
Some believe that because Vick served his time in prison, he should be beyond reproach for his former actions. Many others believe that cruelty to animals isn’t something somebody does, it’s something somebody is.
In the end, there is no need to have Vick anywhere near a dog. I mean millions of children grow up with no dogs as pets. There are entire cultures in this world where dogs have never been considered pets. Yes, they are sadly deprived people, but the point is that Vick’s daughter can live without a dog.
But I am not sure a dog can live with Michael Vick.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing]