Vick kills dogs, Bush kills people

Before I get into the defense of Michael Vick, let me preface it with this admission: I don’t think it’s okay to kill dogs, and the violent acts Vick committed certainly suggest the man is capable of worse.

Yeah, he should probably be locked up. Hopefully it jars some sense into him — maybe he’ll feel the chill of a cell the next time he contemplates violence.

But Vick’s actions must be put into proportion. This is a country that loves its violence. Look at the No. 1 sport in America.

What’s the number of violent incidents we see on TV every day? Aren’t there up to 500 rounds of lead getting pumped into the tube every hour?

In reality, people are getting mutilated all the time and no one seems to really mind.

This country’s government chose to ignore a brutal genocide in which girls were raped and brutally murdered while the boys — five or six years old — were captured and trained to kill the next village’s men, women and girls. All the while, the White House focused on Iraq, and you know that story. A country that was oppressed — but relatively conflict-free — now doesn’t bat an eye at triple-figure carnage totals in a single day.

On any given day, 12 American soldiers die in Iraq and the country hardly notices. Those watching the nightly news see the faces of young men in memoriam, mutter something about how we got into this mess and then flip the channel to “America’s Next Top Model.”

Acts of atrocity are committed every day where the perpetrator isn’t even forced into an apology, let alone held accountable in a court of law.

The fat old man in Crandall Canyon who gambled with and lost the lives of nine men, while spouting off about how global warming activists were going to hurt his profits, no less, should be held in the same criminal contempt as Vick. I know dogs are man’s best friends and I love ’em too, but what about humanity?

For that matter, what about other animals? What about the cow that was slaughtered for me to grill up and chow on? Or that deer shot down in a hunting expedition and mounted above the mantle? Don’t get me wrong, a majestic buck looks better than a chihuahua over the fireplace, and I would rather have a hamburger than a dog to dine on. But some miht have different tastes than I (what about Korea?) Who’s to say what cultures we should vilify? That doesn’t seem very democratic.

Though Vick and his codefendants haven’t yet claimed to eat dogs, the South has a unique culture — something the press can’t fully understand. I mean, here is a place where only 50 years ago the dominant segment of the population thought black people were on a par with dogs. And it wasn’t necessarily out of the question to hang a black person, especially if he wasn’t acting right.

So, it’s not surprising that the generation once removed from this acceptance of hate find an outlet in dog fighting. Redneck hillbillies go off every weekend and shoot down animals. Heck, there’s an entire industry devoted to this cruelty — I mean, sport.

Yet, on a much grander scale (with more serious repercussions), the nation accepts Dubya and his War Hawk buddies, assuming that the violence they initiate is good for the country. Robert Murray and his at-all-costs, profit-seeking peers are praised as capitalists.

Aside from social and cultural aspects, I have another defense of Vick: the man can flat-out play.

Though he failed to be consistent, his performance on the gridiron could be a thing of beauty. A one-yard net scramble — a burst through four down linemen and two linebackers, followed by consecutive jukes past a safety and corner and into the sideline — was a masterpiece of motion. A short vignette of world-class athleticism. A longer run was the Great American Novel. Vick was the kind of player that came around once a generation. The kind of player where it didn’t matter what the score was, you watched because the guy was amazing.

And as sick as that defense is, I can’t help it. I’m a fan, and I can’t help but be saddened by Vick’s transgressions. Chances are I will never again have the opportunity to see such athletic prowess on the field again.

I guess it was too bad about the dogs, too.

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