Here are a whole slew of news article links about the Michael Vick affair now winding to an end after his guilty plea yesterday.
They're from, respectively, the Washington Post and the Toronto Star, and am just going to list them without making any introductory comments.
The WP articles can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/20/AR2007082001879.html, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/24/AR2007082401970.html?tid=informbox, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/20/AR2007082000898.html, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/27/AR2007082701906.html, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/27/AR2007082701751.html, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/27/AR2007082701791.html?wpisrc=newsletter, and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/27/AR2007082701454.html.
The Toronto Star piece can be found at http://www.thestar.com/article/250487.
For the record, I can see where Vick's defenders have a point, in that the lives of canines are being held above those of human beings, and, especially for his African-American defenders, I can definitely see this as being rooted in the quite often-true perception that, if one's African-American in this culture, oft-times others will, to use a quote I got from a Russian describing how he was treated in Germany in a biography of the late Dean Reed I read a while back, "people say Hello to the dog, and not to you."
That is all too often most certainly true.
There are others who bring up other forms of animal mis-treatment, exploitation, abuse, neglect and, of course, mass killing of animals to denounce meat eating, etc, etc, etc.
There are also those who point out that the real outrage should be directed at the current Administration for its cruel war in Iraq, and many other issues besides that.
All of these are good points, but there is just one problem with all of that, and that is that Michael Vick was not, by his own admission, an innocent Lambie-Pie who got inadvertently sucked into Bad Newz Kennels' operations, betting on dog-fighting, killing dogs that didn't perform, and all the other charges he plead out to.
He was a financier and active participant in Bad Newz Kennels' operations from beginning to end, and, like it or not, Vick is now having to pay the consequences of his own bad behaviour, period.
I hope Vick finds the redemption he said he now so urgently seeks.
But, I also stand with Michael Wilbon's comments about Vick and that search for redemption, and say that it's going to take a long, long, time and much real soul-searching and effort on his part to do that.
As for the other topics mentioned by Vick's supporters, I have to say this; those topics need to be debated, yes, and well they should be. But, using them as a kind of smoke screen to deflect criticism and outrage over Mr. Vick's actions in this matter strike me as being All-American, Grade-A, 100% percent bullshit.
Yep, his actions and attitudes occurred within the larger context of this culture, and the various sub-cultures of which he was a part, and those should be taken into consideration within the larger debate about how and why this culture acts the way it does, and what can be done to change it for the better.
This doesn't mean putting the lives of dogs, or other animals, above those of human beings, and it means making damned sure that African-Americans and other people who have been traditionally excluded from full participation in just about every sphere of this society have the opportunities to make decent livings for themselves and their families, and to be treated with respect by every institution in this society.
But, it also means that Mr. Vick and his associates, who made their deals with Federal prosecutors to testify against him to get lesser sentences, and those who participate in and profit from dog-fighting, have to be held accountable for their actions, and punished accordingly.
Cruelty's cruelty, whether inflicted by the whip hand of a plantation overseer on a field hand during our country's Slavery period, or by a professional football player into dog-fighting on a dog that was bred, trained and put into a fighting ring to make money for its owner by fighting, winning or dying.
The principle's the same, even if the target of such cruelty differs, and it is unjustifiable in the end.
Here Endeth The Lesson, and be seeing you.