Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vick's Rub

In the opening of "Law and Order," you hear about the two integral parts of, well, law and order... the police, who chase down the bad guys, and the prosecutors, who take them to court. This is a system we have had in place since the early days of the American Experience.

So we all need to get on board and say that the courts do their thing and we need to do ours. I'm speaking of Michael Vick here. The controversy that still dogs him at every it fair?

He was caught by the cops and tried by the DA or whatever they call them in old Virginia. He went to jail for almost 2 years. 21 months! He paid heavy fines, and one can only imagine the true expense of the loss of his commercial potential. He is not now, nor will he ever be, someone who will be paid for endorsement deals and commercial spokepersoning, to coin a phrase. His great days of gridiron glory are long gone and he sits in the backup quarterback role for the Eagles.

Now. What he did was heinous and mean and inhumane. No one questions that. But the man did his time, paid his fine, and has expressed his remorse. He is doing community service time with the Humane Society.

Vick was in B'more the other night, as his team's nominee for the Ed Block Courage Award. This is a prize given in honor of the late trainer of the late Baltimore Colts, a man who did all sorts of great things for challenged children. A player from each NFL team is chosen for overcoming adversity, voted upon by their teammates. Vick did not win, but he was voted as the Eagles' representative by the Eagles, and he came to Baltimore for the gala awards dinner, facing as many as 100 irate protesters on the grounds of the banquet hall.

They have their right to protest, and the police were there, and things stayed orderly. But I like this quote from a lady who attended the event (from The SUN):

"He has paid his debt and it's time to put this behind us," said Libby Westendorf, 72, of Linthicum.

A professed animal lover, she said she owns two poodles "that I treat better than my kids." But Westendorf said she's still willing to put Vick's transgressions to rest.

"You can't hold onto bad things forever or you'll never get anywhere in life," she said.

I say we listen to Libby more.


Pibble said...

Hi, Mark,

Libby, at age 72, could be considered a wise and experienced woman.

But does Libby know what he did to his dogs, in the graphic detail that's been described by Vick's accomplices to authorities?

The jumper cables clamped to the ears of dogs then to a car battery, and then the dogs thrown into pools of water to be electrocuted? Dogs, some no older than puppies, being body slammed to the ground, essentially crushed and beaten to death? Others being hanged from trees, to die slowly while Vick stood by laughing?

He didn't chose quick methods of death for his dogs. Shooting them wasn't good enough. He chose -in what could be described as pre-meditated means - torture to dispose of at least thirteen of his dogs.

I'm all for criminals paying their dues to society and rehabilitating themselves. My father used to work with young people who found themselves on the wrong side of the law. He worked to provide them with jobs and training that would give them a chance at becoming productive members of society with the hope of a future to build a good life for themselves.

Vick isn't one of these people. He hasn't made amends with anyone just because he served jail time - he had no choice there. He's never said that he's sorry for what he did to those dogs - ever. He has said he's "done bad things." That's very different.

In my opinion, it's all about the message that's being sent to our youth. I would not want my son or daughter (if I had one) to look to Vick as a hero. The message that's being conveyed is very clear: Do what you want, pay a minimal price, go on with quite the life. Pro football, a TV show (two of them!), he gets to keep millions in bonuses... And torturing dogs. It's not a nice message.

Thanks for letting me take up space on your blog!

Mark said...

Dear Pibble,

First of all, I appreciate your willingness to contribute. What you wrote is much more than "taking up space." My whole intent in blogging has always been to express myself and allow others to do the same. I certainly cannot expect other people to agree with me 100% of the time, nor will I agree with others all the time. No matter! It's the exchange that counts, the chance to hear what others think.

On to Vick: please don't think I defend him because I don't appreciate the heinous nature of his offenses. I do. And I would not want to be he when the time comes to meet my Maker. But back here on earth, if we are going to have a penal system as currently constituted, we accept as basic the proposition that once a sentence is served, the person is released. How penitent a person is is something quite difficult to evaluate. Which is why I say, he did his time, let's all move on. Perhaps the time these protesters devoted to waving anti-Vick placards might have been alternatively spent working to educate new human companions to animals how better to prevent injury and unwanted procreation.

By the way, I checked out your blogs and found them interesting, well-written, and marvelous conductors of your pro-animal passions. Kudos to you!

Leslie said...

Mark and Pibble,
Just wanted to thank you both for the respectful and polite comments. While I strongly agree with Pibble and fail to see any genuine remorse on Vick's part, I truly appreciate the civility with which you each responded. It's been so disappointing to see this debate reduced to slurs and name-calling.
PS. My opinions on Vick are at

Mark said...

Thank you, Leslie! I am currently reading Sen/ Ted Kennedy's autobiography, and have been impressed that he mentioned many occasions on which he was able to converse civilly with people with whom he was in disagreement. I feel good about our discussions today.


Pibble said...

I feel fortunate to meet someone with whom I can agree to disagree! Productive exchanges don't happen nearly enough these days.

I never intended to imply that you didn't appreciate his actions for what they were. I just had to get that rant off of my chest.

Thank you for visiting my blog as well. 'Til next time...

Mark said...

Tell you what - I'll keep reading and if you do too, we're bound to agree on something sooner or later.

But you're awfully nice to agree to disagree with!

Kindest regards - M

Pibble said...

Agreed! If people could agree to disagree, we'd have a lot less trouble in this world!

Take care!