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The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick.
A few weeks ago my friend Mike and I got into it about Vick.
Mike is a lifelong football fan (the Giants). A really hard-core, basic-part-of-my-identity fan. Pro football occupies roughly the same place in Mike's life as dogs do in mine.
He also owned a pitbull named Rocko. Mike and his ex-wife adopted Rocko from a NYC rescue nine years ago. He was already a mature dog. He had some scars. He had no ears -- scissored off.
The folks at the rescue thought Rocko might have been a failed fighter, then a bait dog. I doubt it. But he'd had a rough life.
Within a week of bringing Rocko home, Mike and Kathy came to visit us. As it happened, we'd brought home our new puppy the day before.
Well, that was pre-digital camera for me, but somewhere I've got the print of seven-week-old Pip blithely taking a bone away from a beaming man-eater. That day Rocko also lit a torch that he carried for our Mel for the rest of his life. Because pitbulls are loyal.
Rocko passed away early this summer. He led a blameless life, and from an inauspicious start, whatever it was, he got a second chance. It would be trite to say that he deserved a second chance. He deserved what every dog deserves, what every being deserves -- a decent first chance. He didn't get that, but he showed us what he would have done with it if he had.
So anyway, I got into it with Mike about Vick.
Because Mike kept getting distracted by his fan-ness, from Vick's depravity into Vick's shortcomings as a player, as seen by Mike. Who doesn't think Vick is much of a player, and will go on about the technical details of this -- so much blah blah blah ... Houlie to me. So he'd start to conflate the two kinds of "shoulds" when talking about whether any team should sign Vick.
And I finally asked him to please picture in his mind, Michael Vick taking hold of Rocko -- Rocko who wasn't any good as a fighter, Rocko whose heart was too big for a life of violence -- and declaring Rocko a useless piece of shit. And clamping alligator clips onto Rocko's lips (lips, because he had no balls, and no ears). And throwing him into a swimming pool. And electrocuting him while he screamed and struggled. And laughing. Laughing at his pain and terror and clawing for a second chance. Laughing while Rocko dies.
Because this is not about a mistake. Hitting a guy with a broken bottle in a bar fight may be a mistake. Believing a slick accountant about your taxes may be a mistake. Leaving the baby on top of the car and driving off may be a mistake. Hell, even shooting a lawyer in the face with birdshot may be a mistake.
Vick pled not guilty to the animal cruelty charges, and they were dropped in a state plea deal. He served Federal time for racketeering. Not one minute for what he did to the animals. He has never admitted that he was "cruel." There is no mistake.
Torturing helpless animals to death and laughing while you do so is the outward expression of a depraved consciousness and a dead psyche. Some souls go to Hell long before the body follows them. It's a choice.
This is not about dogfighting, even, though the dogfighting criminal enterprise provided the backdrop for the depravity. There is nothing in the "sporting" requirements of dogfighting that says you torture the losers to death while cackling.
Do you doubt the depths of Vick's core depravity? I say to you, he is not a monster. There is not a word in English that describes what he is.
From Donna, on the Bad Rap blog (read the whole thing):
The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. Most of Vick's dogs were small - 40lbs or so - so tossing them in would've been fast and easy work for thick athlete arms. We don't know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.
I wear some pretty thick skin during our work with dogs, but I can't shake my minds-eye image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water ... screaming in pain and terror ... brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get ahold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I'll be looking for ways to pull that dog out for the rest of my life.
And now, so shall I.
What about you?
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