Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Won't somebody please think of the children

PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Philadelphia Eagles have chosen to sign a man who hanged dogs from trees, electrocuted them with jumper cables, held them underwater until they drowned in his swimming pool, and even threw his own family dogs into the fighting pit to be torn to shreds while he laughed. What sort of message does this send to young fans who care about animals and don't want to see them be harmed?

That, my friends, is the official statement from PETA after Michael Vick signed a contract to be the back up quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. A spokesperson from PETA later stated that Michael Vick "fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD)," more commonly referred to as a psychopath. There is no denying that Vick did some terrible, terrible things. Dogfighting is a brutal and dangerous sport. For this, he was sent to prison for two years, and is currently on probation.

If I may answer your question, PETA, the message to "young fans who care about animals" is that being the organizer of a dogfighting ring will earn you years in prison and cost you millions of dollars in legal fees and lost wages. And kids, if you're a professional quarterback who would be lucky to play 8-10 years in the NFL, then you should count on forfeiting about 20% of your lifetime earning potential. You should also expect to be treated as a morally inferior child by those who profit from a different brutal and dangerous sport.

The question that I have for PETA and everyone else showing such moral indignation about a football team signing Vick is this: What sort of message does this send to young fans who believe that human beings can change and should be given a second chance after they have been punished for their crimes? I'm not saying that Vick is or is not a psychopath or that he won't participate in a dog fight again in his life. I have no idea if those things are true. Nonetheless, he has been deemed eligible to return to work by our legal system. It would be a shame if we decided that an ex-convict could never work in his chosen field again.

I would be very happy to hear PETA's answer to these questions: Should someone convicted of harming animals never be allowed to participate in society again? Should we cut them off from all legal sources of income or just extremely high paying jobs in sports? I don't know the answers to these questions either, but I am fairly certain that if I operated a lucrative underground dog fighting ring and had a lucrative legal job and I was told that I was no longer morally eligible to return to my legal job, well, I would only have one choice left, wouldn't I?

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