Sunday, January 2, 2011

Michael Vick and the Puppies

This is probably only the second time I've weighed in on something non-BJJ related on this blog but this topic is driving me in...sane. No...not the topic. People's responses. I'm going to keep this as short as possible about a few points that I've come to notice over the past few months.

  •  People sure seem to care more about dogs than people. I've yet, in my lifetime, to see any atrocity that affected actual human beings, even if committed on a wider scale than what was committed in this case, cause this much anger in this many people for this long a period of time. Not saying people can't care about both simultaneously...being outraged over the mistreatment of dogs isn't mutually exclusive of being outraged over the mistreatment of humans...but things sure seem off balance.
  • Do people REALLY care about all dogs? I have yet to hear one person...not one person mention making penalties for abuse against dogs more severe...this being the only way to protect future abuse of all those other dogs out there that are still alive and in danger. I'm beginning to question whether people really care about other dogs, or just famous ones or maybe just breeds they own.
  • No they? The president of the Humane Society has supported the idea of Vick owning a dog again and is being accused of selling out. I don't support "selling out", but even if he did, this man's job is to save ALL dogs, not just seek vengeance on someone we may not like. This is likely a good opportunity for him to reach more people and generate more funds for a cause he works for.
  • What happened to American values? This goes along with the previous two points, but since when are we cool with the idea of singling an individual out AFTER they've served a punishment we've sat happily with for years? I don't believe the legal punishments for abuse against animals are severe enough, but once decided, they should be applied universally, regardless of income, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation or background. 
  • Do we only care about animals that do what we say? I am sick...and tired...of people condemning the torture of these dogs while chowing down on steak that came from a cow that was likely tortured itself. Don't get me wrong...I'm no vegan...balancing my love of animals and enjoyment of meat is something I fight with daily. However, I don't classify some animals as more deserving of special treatment than others. If the Chinese want to eat dog, more power to them. We eat beef and it's sacrilege in most of India. Just make efforts to make their lives and deaths as painless as possible. I believe all animals should be treated equally. Not just the ones that I find cute. 
  • Christians are hurting my feelings. As a practicing Christian myself, this one gets me more than any of the others. Today I saw a post that began "I'm a Christian but..." and then a rant on how wrong Vick was and how he should be punished. Straight up...there is no "but" in Christianity. Once a "but" comes out of our mouths, we're off base. Period. Christianity isn't just for making us feel good and it shouldn't be used as a tool to wield over the heads of those you feel you're morally superior to (that's where that whole judging thing comes in...not just saying someone is wrong, but instead deciding on a sentence)...that includes pedophiles, dog abusers, mass murderers, bad drivers and all those other people we tend to feel justified in condemning.
  • Emotions are not action. Being upset at Michael Vick doesn't do anything but raise your blood pressure. It doesn't help one dog. Not even if you're really, really upset.
Honestly, I find people's reactions much more disturbing than the original crime. Why? Because those reactions reflect what we value, and what we value affects what happens on a large scale in this country.


leslie said...

I'm with you. And no one really seems to care whether he has actually reformed or not. Most people just want to drive this "once guilty, always guilty" idea, at least where a public figure like Vick is concerned. I can't figure out what more people want from him. (Probably nothing, really, except to be there as a scapegoat.)

Also, the dog is not for him; it's for his daughters. They want a puppy.

And I think it's a necessary and logical step for him. He's never owned a dog as a pet and has never had an emotional attachment to one. Dogs have always been status symbols and things to him, not a member of the family. What better way to soften a man's heart -- kids and puppies.

As for the Christians, yes, that one leaves me flabbergasted as well, especially knowing that Vick is a Christian, too. I feel like slapping people upside the head with a New Testament sometimes. ;)

Megan said...

I never really thought about the reform aspect...but we as a country seem to enjoy watching public figures fall.

I really don't know if he should be allowed to outright own a dog yet, I haven't talked to the man...maybe other efforts at reform first, but again, there's been very little discussion of solutions to any of the actual problems that still exist.

Trudy said...

Powerful post and on point.

What offends me most is those who claim to want the legal system and laws upheld and when someone is tried, convicted, sentenced, serves time and released, they are expected to be demonized for ever. Certainly there are some circumstances where permanent repercussions of some sort exist (i.e. registered sex offender should NOT live near a school no more than a convicted drunk driver should choose to go to a bar). Even if it is suggested that he shouldn't own a dog again, I can live with that. I cannot live with the racially-motivated slurs and hatred from those who state that they are Christians like the one Tucker Carlson made. When a cop is sentenced to serve less/equal time for killing a man (i.e. Oscar Grant) as Vick and the outrage in society is about Vick, there is something wrong (especially when both of the men in question are Black.)

It is easy and safe to ignore race. No one wants to hear about it. It is very easy to decide the animals that Americans "like" are wrong to hurt, as you pointed out so well. The hard task is to actually discuss the motivations of the hatred for Vick and "solutions to any of the actual problems that still exist" as you wrote in your comment.

I like how you closed the post out: "I find people's reactions much more disturbing than the original crime. Why? Because those reactions reflect what we value, and what we value affects what happens on a large scale in this country." Dead on.

Thanks for your insights.

Anonymous said...

"There is no "but" in Christianity." That has got to be the most profound statement I've ever heard.