August 20, 2007

Guilty as sin

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has accepted a plea deal that could send him to prison.

CNN has the latest. I'll post details as they become available.

Evening roundup of Vickedness.

Sports Illustrated first with a good Q & A: Could the judge impose a stiffer sentence?
Dohrmann: Usually judges stick to the guidelines, although the judge in Vick's case -- judge Henry Hudson -- let it be known at the plea hearing for Peace and Phillips last Friday that he could sentence them to five years in prison and they couldn't then get out of their pleas (or appeal). If Vick agrees to plead guilty to the same single charge as his friends (federal dogfighting conspiracy), he faces the same quandary. He might get the sentence his lawyers negotiated with prosecutors or he might get more. Hudson won't make the final decision until the sentencing hearing, the date of which we won't know until Monday.

Terrific column by Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News:
Please spare me the comments that this is just like hunting. Or that this is a race-based investigation. Or the scapegoating of a superstar. Or that we should save our outrage for crimes against humans, like spouse abuse, rape and murder. Of course, we should also be outraged by other crimes. But the outrage people feel on behalf of innocent animals is also true and deep and morally justified. All the other arguments only attempt to minimize the horror of such an inhumane activity.

Vick's apology rings hollow to SI's Don Banks:
I'm just wondering if we're going to hear again from those wise men of all wise men, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Clinton Portis and the like? I seem to remember that Sanders told us Vick might love his dogs as much as any dog lover, it's just in a different way. He loved them because they fought for him.

Now that we know Vick and two of his co-defendants killed some of those dogs by hanging them from trees in their backyard, I want to hear Deion's latest take. And what about those dogs that just wouldn't die by hanging, but had to be finished off by having their heads held in five-gallon buckets of water until they drowned?

If that's the way Vick and his buddies "loved'' their dogs, please explain it to us again, Deion. Because I'm just not getting it.

Vick's attorney says the plea is "just verbal":
The proposed plea is for Vick to plead guilty to one federal count of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities. [Daniel] Meachum declined to take questions on a possible sentence or whether the sentence discussion is part of the plea offer.

Meachum has referred to Vick as "a kid." Spare me. Vick's 27. He's a parent. "Kid," my elbow.

Complete coverage, as expected, at Google News, CNN, etc.

Does Vick deserve a second chance?

Last word on that goes to PitFriend from the Pit Bull Forum message board:
All [Vick] had to do was keep his head up and play the game, and he had it made. But he threw that away for the thrill of torturing helpless animals and making a little extra cash on the side, and we're supposed to give him a second chance? What an insult to all of the hardworking people in this world who struggle just to get by and still manage not to break the law or commit such heinous acts against sentient beings. The idea of it makes me sick.
My prediction: Vick will serve at least two years, and never play pro football again. Hey -- a girl can hope.

1 comment:

Animal Chaplain said...

I think Mike Vick should get a life sentence cleaning cages at the local Humane society.

If there is anything good about the Michael Vick story, it is that there is an emerging increased awareness about animal cruelty and animal fighting. There is so much anger about this issue. If we channel it into a positive direction, hopefully, something good can come of it. However...

I watched Vick's public apology with my little son who USED TO wear Michael Vick jerseys to school. It is disturbing to think a certain percentage of the population is honestly going to be swayed by Michael Vick's "enlightenment" carefully crafted by his overpaid attorneys. Call me a cynic, but I don't believe a man who has been allegedly torturing animals since childhood coincidentally has a religious epiphany as a result of getting caught and losing his job. I hope I am wrong.

I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, are using the Vick story to compare "What's worse?" "What's worse", we ask, "carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?". "Dogfighting or gambling?" "Dogfighting or rape?" "Dogfighting or racism?" "Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?" "Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)....?" The comparisons to dogfighting have been endless.

Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings - they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

Dogfighting pits one dog against another until one of them dies. The survivor gets his flesh torn off, ears ripped off, eyes pulled out, etc., and the reward for being "a winner" is to writhe in pain until the next fight. Enough said. The pictures make my flesh crawl. The losers are tortured, beaten, starved, electrocuted or drowned. For what? Because these poor creatures were unlucky enough to be born a dog!

Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

Chaplain Nancy Cronk