Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The NAACP Doesn't Get It

R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said today that Michael Vick should pay for his crime but then should be allowed to continue playing in the NFL. He was quoted as saying that Vick had "made mistakes" but that it shouldn't cost him his career.

White then went on to say "The way he is being persecuted, he wouldn't have been persecuted that much had he killed somebody." He also said that he didn't really understand the uproar over dogfighting when hunting animals is acceptable.

In response, I'd like to say that Michael Vick is not being "persecuted," he is being prosecuted, rightly so, for an illegal and heinous activity. The man is taking a plea bargain and admitting his guilt in order to get a lighter sentence. It is no longer a question of innocence or guilt. He has admitted the guilt. Others who were involved in the dogfighting organization have admitted their complicity as well.

There is no persecution here; we in the United States have the right of free speech and are allowed to express our opinion of a person who admits he ran a dogfighting ring, killed dogs that weren't good fighters, and treated the dogs cruelly. And it certainly has nothing to do with his race that people are outraged.

The reason Vick is being castigated in the media, in the blogosphere, and by his fans, is that this man is famous. He had it all - money, fame, glory. And yet he participated in the illegal world of dogfighting. It is hard to understand why he would be involved with this activity (I refuse to call it a sport) given all of his advantages. He didn't need the money that the illegal betting probably brought in. And yet he did it anyway.

Did he think it made him cool? Did he think it made him more macho? Was he proud of his involvement? What motivated him?

It's hard for those of us who love dogs to understand what kind of twisted mind would think this activity was acceptable in any way, shape or form. Mr. White says we should give Vick another chance, that he "made mistakes." "Made mistakes" does not describe what Michael Vick did. This isn't a case of someone who succumbed to a temptation like drugs, drink or sex with someone they shouldn't have had sex with.

This is someone who purposely ran a dogfighting ring with all its inherent cruelty, and personally killed dogs that didn't perform. This wasn't just a little faux pas. This was purposeful, criminal and cruel behavior. It was not a "mistake." What kind of inhuman monster wouldn't know that cruelty to innocent animals is wrong?

I was particularly disturbed by the NAACP's comparison of dog fighting to hunting, a comparison that was echoed by Stephon Marbury, who said, "We don’t say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It's just behind closed doors."

To compare dog fighting with hunting or any other animal-related sport is a shameful fallacy. I am no fan of hunting, but I do see a big difference here. Hunters who hunt legally are limited to a certain number of deer (or whatever they are hunting), they can only hunt at certain times, and usually when they do shoot an animal, the animal dies instantly, or nearly so. The animal is not sent into battle with another of its species over and over again until it is covered with scars, in constant pain. The animal is not left in a bare cage to lick its wounds until the next fight. The animal has a chance to get away. And until close to the moment of death, the hunted animal has lived its life in freedom in its natural environment, rather than with constant cruelty.

Some may compare dogfighting to the human equivalent: boxing. (Which I also deplore, I'd like to add). But the big difference there is that human beings have a choice whether to go into boxing for a living. And they know, or should know, what they're getting into. Dogs being used for dogfighting don't have that choice.

The NAACP just doesn't get it. Neither does Stephon Marbury. Michael Vick is not being treated unfairly. Michael Vick deserves everything he gets and more. Perhaps he can redeem himself. But I doubt it.


Anonymous said...

Stephon Marbury compares illegal dog fighting with hunting?

Stephon Marbury obvoiusly has no clue was to wht illegal dog fighting is or what deer hunting is for that matter. What an idiot.

Hunting Forums

Mauigirl said...

I agree. I couldn't believe it - I heard it on the radio on my way home last night, that Marbury called dogfighting a "sport."

Fran said...

What a BRILLIANT post Mauigirl, brilliant.

As I said on another blog, re Marbury, this is akin to saying "from what I hear wifebeating and child abuse are considered sports. They just happen behind closed doors."

We are lost as a nation, we are lost.

In our culture if you are an animal, a child, a woman, perceived as weak(read- unworthy), lower or lesser than, well then you are fair game for such "sport".

I am disgusted and I am shocked frankly about the NAACP!

Mauigirl said...

Well said, Fran. Good comparison with wifebeating.

I too am shocked at the attitude of the NAACP. To me, dogfighting isn't just about dogs, it is about a total disregard for pain and suffering and life. It is part of an underground, shadowy criminal culture that you'd think the NAACP would try to discourage people from being involved in. To treat it lightly for Vick is to send the message that it's OK for anyone to be involved with dogfighting, and it encourages the brutalization of young, easily influenced people. No wonder kids are being shot on the streets of Newark if this type of behavior is condoned. It's all about a disrespect for life.

Personally as an animal lover, I'd like to see the end of all animal-related sports. Don't get me started on greyhound racing either...

kuanyin333 said...

Well stated, and I couldn't agree more! Oh, and mahalo for entering my contest too! Hugs!

Robert Rouse said...

Did you hear the commentators saying that Vick's gambling on the fights was worse than him making dogs fight to the death for "sport"? Total CRAP!

Also, I thought I would stop by and let you know that your blog was one of the featured spots on the very first BWR at my new place. Drop by any time!

Mauigirl said...

Yes, I heard that as well - that the gambling part may be what ultimately bars him from the NFL, not the horrible crime itself. Sometimes, as FranIam says, I really feel this country is lost.

Thanks so much for linking me on your blog! I'll also change the link for your blog on my blogroll.

Larry said...

Another good post and in my view, anyone who would purposely starve animals, throw them in pens and watch them tear each other apart, then torture and hang the winner, must be horribly cruel.

Mauigirl said...

Thanks, Larry. I agree completely. How can someone do such a thing? And how can Marbury defend it?

pissed off patricia said...

You cannot put a heart in a heartless bastard. It just can't be done. You could never convince me that dog fighting is okay and you'll never convince him that it isn't.

The NAACP guy said if vick had killed a human being there wouldn't have been this much outrage. Well, if he had killed a human being his ass would be in jail now and probably would never see freedom again.

Larry said...

It amazes me how many pundits are saying Vick's cruelty isn't that bad and he is only being made an example of.

I think he will get off with a fine and a little probation, because of who he is.

Mauigirl said...

Patricia, I agree with you. There is something seriously wrong with the very soul of a person who can do this.

Larry, at first I was hopeful that the nearly universal outrage that was expressed right after this news broke would be a catalyst to clean up this illegal and horrible activity throughout the country. But now there's all this hemming and hawing about "oh, it's not like it was people," etc. and etc.

I was afraid of this. He may either end up looking like a martyr and it may backfire and actually encourage more young people to get involved in this, or else he'll get off easy and everyone will forget about it and the illegal activities will just go on as before.

I am very discouraged that the outcry isn't continuing to be as strong, as I was really hoping for something good to come out of all of this. I know how many pit bulls are out on the street and in shelters because of backyard breeders who were hoping to sell their dogs for fighting, only to find out that the dogs are usually friendly and not into fighting, which gets them either killed or abandoned. Mine was probably used for breeding before she ended up on the streets of New York City.

But as long as it is perceived there is a market for pit bulls due to dogfighting, the overpopulation will continue and more pits will suffer both in fights and from abandonment.

TomCat said...

What Vick did is despicable. He is not being persecuted. He deserves whatever penalty he gets. The NAACP's response was completely inappropriate.

That said, this may be less popular. If Michael Vick takes full responsibility for his actions, ant does whatever it takes to effect genuine, authentic change, he should be given an opportunity to restore himself, just like other convicted criminals.

Mauigirl said...

Tomcat, I agree - if he can truly repent of what he's done and perhaps make a crusade out of going around to areas that have large numbers of dogfighting rings and speaking to groups of young people who may be getting involved in it, and sincerely try to convince them not to do this terrible activity, then yes, he can redeem himself.

TomCat said...

Thanks Maui. I just refuse to believe that there is such a thing as an irredeemable human.

Animal Chaplain said...

I always thought making a mistake was forgetting to put the detergent in the dishwasher, leaving the coffee pot on, or forgetting to call your sister on her birthday. Torturing innocent animals for years is not what I was raised to believe was a mistake.

Chaplain Nancy Cronk

Mauigirl said...

Nancy, well said.