[forthright] Vick's Punishment?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 15:04:46 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Fidelity

Vick's Punishment?
by Mike Benson

The name, Michael Vick, evokes strong emotion.
Until recently his name was associated with
athletic excellence and the Atlanta Falcons. Today
his name is synonymous with the so-called "sport"
of dog fighting. One of the National Football
Leagues' most talented and exciting competitors is
now a poster child for animal abuse. According to
court documents, Vick not only fought dogs, but he
brutally killed those animals that didn't pass
muster. If they didn't perform to his barbaric
standards, then he hung, electrocuted, or drowned
them.

It has been interesting to watch this saga unfold
in the media. The real venom spewed in Vick's
direction is not due to the fact that he gambled
on the dog fights, nor because he lied to
investigators, but because of how he abused those
poor dogs. There is a cacophony of voices shouting
not only for his life-long banishment from the
NFL, but for his long-term imprisonment.

According to ESPN, Vick has now been suspended
from the NFL indefinitely. The punishment is
appropriate, but in the eyes of many, inadequate.
Animal rights activists are demanding a conviction
and the maximum sentence: a quarter of a million
dollars and a 5-year imprisonment. Yet, for some,
this is still not sufficient. The American Kennel
Club has expressed concern that even this falls
short of necessary justice. AKC chairman Ron
Menaker observed, "While we are pleased to hear
that the Vick case is being settled through the
criminal justice system, we remain concerned that
the punishment will be inadequate considering the
heinous nature of the crimes."

Heinous crime? Don't misunderstand me. Vick's
behavior is unacceptable. Killing dogs for sport
and animal cruelty is reprehensible. He deserves
some form of suitable punishment, but let's get
some perspective here. A preacher's wife in
Tennessee murders her husband by shooting him in
the back and she's back on the street in less than
three months. American's murder 1,000,000 innocent
infants in the womb annually and we scarcely blink
an eye. Why is it that doctors(?) can jam sharp
needles into the skulls of defenseless babies and
no penalty is enacted? Heinous crime, indeed.

I certainly do not condone Vick's actions. But
before we put him in prison and throw away the
key, let's get serious about the real moral and
ethical issues that face us as a nation. If folks
didn't know better, you'd think we were more upset
about a few dead dogs than precious human lives.

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