by Rodimus Dunn
I don’t have a hard time understanding why everyone had such disdain towards Michael Vick for his role in the Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting nonsense. To be completely frank, when I see pictures of some of the mangled dogs he owned I’m absolutely sickened. America is a country of dog lovers; our dogs are included in our family pictures, our dogs sleep in our beds, we spend more money on medications for our dogs than on ourselves, and we actually have funerals for our dogs. I get all of that, but what I can’t get is the continued vitriol towards Vick and his, so far, great comeback. He served time in prison, he lost all his money (had to file bankruptcy), and his popularity was extinguished. He now speaks out against dog fighting and is a spokes person for the Humane Society. People will say that he’s not really contrite, that his apologies aren’t genuine, and that he only does all this stuff because his PR people basically make him. I can’t say that that argument isn’t true, but do we want him to come out of prison and say how much he missed abusing and killing dogs? Would we rather have him say how much fun and enjoyment the fights brought him and brag about how much money his dogs made? Is his PR speak any different than celebrities talking badly about China owning Tibet during the Olympics only because it was popular? Have you heard anyone talk about Tibet recently now that it isn’t popular? Many won’t remember this, but a few years before everyone was on the Tibet bandwagon, the Darfur genocide problem was the hot topic in Hollywood. The man is a football player, not the secretary of state, maybe we can alter our expectations for his redemption.
Even though this is a rant, I digressed from my original issue, and that is man versus canine. Talking heads were saying that Vick should never be allowed to play football again, and any team that signed him would be committing attendance suicide. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I never heard anyone say these things during Leonard Little’s and Donte Stallworth’s infamous killings.
In 1998 Little was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after driving drunk (his blood alcohol level was 0.19, more than twice his state’s limit of 0.08) and killing another driver in a crash. His penalty was 90 days in a city workhouse, 4 years probation and 1000 hours of community service. Huh? So Vick gets 23 months in prison for killing dogs but Little doesn’t even see a minute of prison time for killing a human being and leaving a teenage boy without his mother? Furthermore, no one ever said Little should be permanently banned from playing football in the NFL, in need of psychological testing, and a brain MRI (he was suspended 8 games for the killing). If we fast forward Little’s life to 2004, he is pulled over by police for speeding, and upon interrogation, he looks and smells drunk. He also fails 3 field sobriety tests. He eventually admits to police that he did indeed drink that night, but he is somehow found not guilty in 2005. This is hard to wrap my mind around; I have a guy who kills someone while driving drunk in 1998, his found driving drunk again in 2004, but faced no significant legal or professional penalties? Is this still America?
Donte Stallworth was also driving drunk, and he struck and killed a man walking to a bus stop at 7:15 in the morning. His blood alcohol level was 0.12 at 7 in the morning!!! Anyhow, he was found guilty of DUI and second degree manslaughter. His sentence was 30 days in jail, 1000 hours of community service, 2 years of house arrest, 8 years probation, and forever surrendering his driver’s license in Florida. He was suspended by the NFL for the entire season. In case you missed this, killing someone gets 30 days in prison (he served 24 days actually), but killing dogs gets 23 months?
No one can say that it’s a racial thing because all three men are African-American. No one can say it’s a money thing, because all three are filthy rich professional athletes. Is it a man vs. dog thing? We’ve all heard stories of people who say they would save their drowning dog before they save a drowning stranger. I worry about these individuals. People have argued that Vick’s dogs were innocent animals that had no choice but to comply with that heinous behavior, and that he even tortured many of them. Agreed, but isn’t a guy walking to a bus stop at 7 AM pretty innocent also? Aren’t a husband and teenage son tortured when their wife/mother is killed, and the killer doesn’t even go to jail? In addition, isn’t it torture when you hear people raucously cheer for this same guy just 8 weeks after his so called conviction? Is it a political/financial thing? We all know PETA is kooky, but do they and the Humane Society have that much more clout than organizations like RID, MADD, or NCADD?
I don’t really have the answers to any of these questions, but if you love dogs more than people, you need to re-evaluate some areas in your life. If you’d save a dog’s life over a person’s life, you may need some counseling. I’m absolutely not exonerating Michael Vick in any way, but our judicial system needs some serious introspection if someone can spend almost 2 years in jail for killing innocent dogs, but only 24 days for killing an innocent person.