FanDuel - WFBC

December 10, 2007

Vick Sentenced to 23 Months in Prison: Six months after news first broke of an alleged dogfighting ring at his house in Virginia, Michael Vick was sentenced to federal prison Monday for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy that involved gambling and killing pit bulls. The earliest he could get released is May 2009. On the field, Falcons Coach Bobby Petrino's desperate search for a replacement now turns to Chris Redman.

posted by rcade to football at 12:04 PM - 110 comments

Go get'em Chris Redman!

posted by Debo270 at 01:26 PM on December 10

Is he still being prosecuted under state charges in Virginia? Could this add more time to his sentence? I guess next question is what does NFL do now. Will he ever get chance to play in the league again?

posted by BikeNut at 01:32 PM on December 10

Blankety-blank Michael Vick. Thats all I have to say.

posted by GoBirds at 02:05 PM on December 10

He could face more time if he loses the State case. That sentence would not start until after he was released from Federal Prison then he would have to report to State Prison. However I personally don't think those charges will stand. Don't get me wrong I think the charges he was convicted of are horrible and he deserves to be in trouble for those, but to his lawyers point there does seem to be a double jepardy issue here. They cannot convict him twice on the same charges.

posted by T.C. at 02:09 PM on December 10

Rot in hell, Vick. Rot in hell.

posted by Drood at 02:57 PM on December 10

Rot in hell? I wonder how many products you have in your house that kill animals during testing. Courtfilter at it's best.

posted by FlyerFan at 03:06 PM on December 10

Oh yeah....that puts Drood on the same level as the Scumbag formally known as Micheal Vick.

posted by budman13 at 03:28 PM on December 10

Colt Brennan will look good in red and black.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 03:47 PM on December 10

While I confess that I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Vick, I also recognize that this is a sad day for his family and for football. As a football fan, I hate to see somebody so talented out of the game. Really a shame. Not to say he didn't deserve the conviction, just to lament wasted talent.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:06 PM on December 10

It's a sad day in the ATL. Sure Vick should be punished but 23 months with no prior convictions or any type of record? It's the same old story. Keep your head up Mike.

posted by dzach01 at 04:33 PM on December 10

I've piled on Michael Vick plenty before, but not today. This is what the justice system is supposed to do. He's paying the price for the crimes he did. I hope he serves his time and comes out a wiser man, regardless of whether he plays in the NFL again or not.

posted by chicobangs at 04:36 PM on December 10

FlyerFan- You equate dog fighting FOR SPORT, and lab testing on rats as being the same? Don't feel the same. Sorry . . . . Drood just expressing his feelings.

posted by B-2 Spirit at 05:39 PM on December 10

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - we're fucked if we think Mike Vick is the epitome of evil. I mean dog fighting is bad m'kay - but it is about 45th on the list of totally henious crimes, and people who will play this weekend scored higher. I just can't bring myself to hate Micheal Vick. Here's to Vick getting out in 23 months and getting back into the NFL.... Or realistically, the Arena Football League. Do they have a team with a doggish nickname?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:44 PM on December 10

Does Vick have to be evil for me to think he's pretty much got what was coming to him, based on his dogfighting ring, lies he's told about it, and the conflicting stories over his recent failed marijuana test? The guy might see everything crash down around him -- career, liberty, wealth -- in less than a year. So it's hard not to feel a twinge of sympathy on those grounds. But man is he dumb dumb dumb.

posted by rcade at 05:58 PM on December 10

T.C. I found this to explain how it isn't double jeopardy. "However, stretching the bounds of logic, the courts have decided that since the state and federal governments are separate sovereigns and therefore successive prosecutions based on the same underlying conduct do not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause if the prosecutions are brought by separate sovereigns." It may seem unfair and there have been several recent decisions by the Courts (Supreme or otherwise) that have upheld this definition.

posted by lil'red at 06:13 PM on December 10

Weedy, I completely agree with you observations, except for Vick playing again. Regardless of what some people here think of it, dog and cock fighting is common in some parts of the south. I think that dog fighting and cock fighting are barbaric, but I also feel that way about tough man fighting. Michael Vick's biggest crime was in his not being able to separate himself from the culture that he lived most of his life in after making it big. A person just doesn't develop a taste for an activity as gruesome as dog or cock fighting overnight. I want to pick a fight with some of the "animal" rights types that posted on the Vick issue. I have observed how some of you behave in real life and feel that if pushed, you would prefer to see a human being perish before an animal. Maybe you think that is a holy view, but I say review your priorities because they are messed up. I do not avocate cruelty to animals, but the response when trangressions are made needs to be proportional to what was done. Michael Vick should never play football any where again, I certainly would not buy a ticket to watch him or watch on television, but he needs to be given a chance to atone for what he did and make amends to animals and human society - the crap that some animal lovers bleeted out about doing to him what he did to some dogs would not allow that to happen.

posted by Cave_Man at 06:23 PM on December 10

I can't bring myself to think MV is a dummy. I think he is an element of his old environment, and listened to the wrong so called friends. I read the article in SI about his old so called friends from the hood and they actually said they in one word or another, would be waiting to take advantage of him when he got out of prison. Many of these super athletes are in the same situation, Robt. Traylor is another pro basketball player that could not tell his leech friends from the hood to get lost. He is now out of the NBA standing on the corner with all those money grubbing so called friends. I do think these guys are getting their just dues but it seems to me there is someone that could mentor them that they could trust. I know the NFL has a rookie program that is supposed to be doing that, but at this point it seems rather weak and not very affective. It is only my opinoin that these young superstars are thrust a profession to young and they don't get a chance to mature and learn the ways of the world at a natural pace. They are marketing tools thrust into the corporate world making ungodly amounts of money with zero experience on how or what to do with that money. Their guidance comes from a money grubbing agent who cares only about his cut. he makes it seem to these young men that he is looking out for them when the bottom line is his commision. As long as a young man with this God given athletic talent is able to enter a professional sport at such a young age these type of situations will continue to be common place. MV was in the NFL for 5 years with very little foundation in regard to common sense, trust, or guidance. As I've said many times on this blog it's all about money, money ,money, and to hell with the human aspect, nobody cares.

posted by sportnut at 06:44 PM on December 10

I want to pick a fight with some of the "animal" rights types that posted on the Vick issue. Can you take this over to "Pickafightfilter.com"? I think we want to promote discussions, not fights. I have observed how some of you behave in real life and feel that if pushed, you would prefer to see a human being perish before an animal. How exactly have you viewed them in "real life?" This is a message board about sports, where people don't use their real names and talk about sports topics. This might be as far from "real life" as you can get, except for the RenFaire.

posted by grum@work at 06:45 PM on December 10

I agree with Weedy completely. The fact that Vick is being portrayed as the epitome of evil in some circles is beyond me. I think the fact that some can have so much indignation over what Vick has done and then turn on their evening news and find out about a murder in their own city and not give a crap shows how messed up we are as a society. Honestly, i think that troubles me more than anything Vick has done.

posted by brainofdtrain at 07:05 PM on December 10

Over and done with. YAAAWWWNNN! When he gets out there will be another thread about "Should he play or not" He was found guilty and sentenced. So be it...Amen and so forth. Next thread please.

posted by skeet0311 at 07:11 PM on December 10

FlyerFan- You equate dog fighting FOR SPORT, and lab testing on rats as being the same? Don't feel the same. Sorry . . . . Drood just expressing his feelings. Nah, It's a little more than that. Wishing death (and then hell) upon a Human being for what amounts to a crime with not 1 human victim is absolutely absurd. Rot in hell? That sounds like it might run a tad deeper than being angry at someone for being involved in dog fighting. If I'm wrong, then will all the hunters and fur wearers please raise your hand, Drood has something he'd like to say to you.

posted by FlyerFan at 07:32 PM on December 10

I also echo Weedy's statements. Yes Michael Vick's actions were very undesireable, but wishing that he rots in hell is very extreme. There are a vast number of crimes that I would consider worse than what Vick has committed.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 07:34 PM on December 10

Sentence a little long for my taste. Hoping he's learned a valuable lesson and will be able to resume career in NFL.

posted by Snakeman at 08:26 PM on December 10

i agree. spare me the self-righteous indignation. this country doesn't care about human beings much less animals ... sink or swim ... you're on your own ... and I'm no better ... i'm not doing anything to ensure that kids have health care or that MV stops killing dogs ... i'm just wasting time on spofi p.s. true story ... hampton, VA is rough ... my best friend from high school went to college in VA beach ... some complete stranger gang banger walked up behind him while he was talking out cash from an ATM and shot him in the neck as gang initiation. Dog fighting isn't problem #1.

posted by Mike McD at 08:59 PM on December 10

"How exactly have you viewed them in "real life?" This is a message board about sports, where people don't use their real names and talk about sports topics. This might be as far from "real life" as you can get, except for the RenFaire. posted by grum@work at 6:45 PM CST on December 10" Wishing that someone "rot in hell" or "get the same punishment that was given fighting dogs" is about a little more than sports. When people that make such comments stop posting here, I will stop challenging them. Wake up! I did not imply that this board was "real life". Why in the hell do you think I used that term, real life? As far as animal rights people are concern, I share their basic instincts, mostly. I do not advocate hurting a human because that person hurt an animal. Vick got what he set himself up to get by his conduct, it is unfortunate that he did not meet a wise person along the way that was close to him and would have steered him away from his cruel actions.

posted by Cave_Man at 09:25 PM on December 10

Wake up! I did not imply that this board was "real life". Why in the hell do you think I used that term, real life? Because you said: I have observed how some of you behave in real life and feel that if pushed, you would prefer to see a human being perish before an animal. Unless you've met some of these people in person, your only interaction with them would be on this board. Hence, you are equating their actions on this board with "real life", which is what I was pointing out was a bit ridiculous.

posted by grum@work at 10:28 PM on December 10

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - we're fucked if we think Mike Vick is the epitome of evil. I mean dog fighting is bad m'kay - but it is about 45th on the list of totally henious crimes, and people who will play this weekend scored higher. I just can't bring myself to hate Micheal Vick. Well said, Weedy. I also don't hate the guy for what he did, but I do believe he got what he deserved. I wonder who'll get the jail cell "exclusive" interview?

posted by BoKnows at 10:32 PM on December 10

The sentence was more then I expected, but not as much as he deserved. Anyone who enjoys dog fighting for sport or entertainment is missing a piece of their souls or humanity. They are cruel sick SOB's at best and genuine Sociopaths at worst.

posted by commander cody at 10:45 PM on December 10

Vick's been put away for a dime, in dog years.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:08 PM on December 10

this country doesn't care about human beings much less animals ... sink or swim ... you're on your own ... What's your point? The dogs that Vick killed "sank" and it sucked to be them? Thanks for the insight. p.s. ... hampton, VA is rough ... Dog fighting isn't problem #1. Granted, but irrelevant. This was federal case, meaning little to no Hampton, VA resources were used in the prosecution (and besides, Vick grew up in nearby Newport News, and the house was in Smithfield). Hampton Roads, like so many American cities, has deep rooted crime problems. No doubt, it has bigger issues than Michael Vick. But none of that has anything to do with the fact that Michael Vick ran a dog fighting ring, which a great many people consider a pretty inhumane business, and that he did so in a place with laws that forbid such things. Sucks to be him.

posted by cl at 11:13 PM on December 10

In my opinion anyone who gets enjoyment or entertainment from watching two dogs tear each other apart as they fight to the death is a sick, sub-human person. Does Vick deserve death as some scream? Of course not, but he certainly deserves a harsher sentence then he got. The law needs to send a message that this behavior is Sociopathic behavior that will not be tolerated. People who enjoy dogfighting have shown that they are missing a part of their humanity and, at their core, are no different the any other Sadists. They are a danger to their friends and families because of their lack of conscious. They are mentally ill.

posted by commander cody at 12:58 AM on December 11

The fact that Vick is being portrayed as the epitome of evil in some circles is beyond me. There's a middle ground. While I think most people are too complicated to label and a mixture of good and bad, let's just say I don't think I'd want to hang around or trust anyone that would hang a dog. Maybe it's a faulty assumption on my part, but I doubt 'a fine humanitarian' often appears in the same paragraph with someone convicted of Vick's crimes. And I certainly can't think of "45" worst things than torturing an animal. Regardless of what some people here think of it, dog and cock fighting is common in some parts of the south. Oh please, don't blame this on being a part of the south. I've lived in the south my whole life and never even heard of dog fight. Yes, it's more prevalent here (though it certainly isn't exclusive to the south), but vick chose to do what he did. Don't color the entire south with the choices he made. If I'm wrong, then will all the hunters and fur wearers please raise your hand, Drood has something he'd like to say to you. posted by FlyerFan Though you can of course be against both, I started to write down all the differences between most hunters and what Vick did, but then I thought if you don't realize the differences I really can't help you.

posted by justgary at 01:09 AM on December 11

...if pushed, you would prefer to see a human being perish before an animal.
That would be because there are plenty of people who are worse than any other animals, frankly. I'm reading a book on the Spanish Civil War at the moment, and it recounts, for example, an officer boasting about having his troops rape women to death ("they won't last four hours") to punish them for being in a village on the wrong side. Or the post-WW II Greek civil war. The winning side organised kidnappings of children so their parents couldn't raise them with the "wrong ideas". Stalin starving the Ukraine. The Canadian pig farmer who tortured and dismembered women. Getting the picture, yet?

posted by rodgerd at 03:08 AM on December 11

He was into dog fighting, that made him a danger to his family and friends? This is the type of thinking that I'm targeting. Do you have any idea what he has done for his family and friends, outside of the dog fighting issues? The dogs fight to the death? I wonder why they kill the dogs afterward if they are already dead. While I'm sure some of the dogs die as a result of the fighting, I know the dogs do not fight to the death every time. Wouldn't they eventually run out of dogs if this were the case? Dog fighting is like the UFC to me, barbaric and gruesome, but hardly a fight to the death every single time. In the US some animals have to be put down i.e a horse with a broken leg. Every time I saw a TV show about dogfighting it made sure to cover, in length, a portion on all the medical supplies that were present. These dogs had more value alive vs. dead. Whens the last time you saw a hunter give the animal he shot medical attention? Hunter's kill defenceless animals and hang their heads on walls, there was no mention of dog heads hanging on MV's walls. Out of the hundreds of dogs that fought in this so called fighting ring, they only had proof that 6 were killed by the hands of the men involved. Not a bad ratio when compared to duck season, deer season, turkey season etc. But I digress as I'm sure, due to it's history, hunting and killing a defenceless animal for sport is not frowned upon at all since not much of it goes on "in da hood".

posted by FlyerFan at 03:38 AM on December 11

What's your point? The dogs that Vick killed "sank" and it sucked to be them? Thanks for the insight. my point is that I find it odd that people can show such compassion for dogs on one hand and such little compassion for human beings on the other hand. Granted, but irrelevant. very relevant in understanding where MV came from and the range of outcomes ... my point being he wasn't one of those kids walking up behind strangers and shooting them in the head. Which do you think is worse?

posted by Mike McD at 05:37 AM on December 11

Vick admitted to killing 6-8 dogs himself, he plead guilty to the CRIMES he was charged with, he was sentenced. The sentence is in line with the crime. Those who want to argue about how it compares to murdering someone, what do you think the sentence would have been if some no name off the street would have murdered someone? Probably more than 23 months don't ya' think? Also I'm willing to bet there will be people "rotting in hell" for lesser transgressions than what Vick did so the same logic should apply there, right? justgary didn't want to list the difference between hunting and what Vick did, I will give anyone a chance to educate themselves so here are the biggest ones; hunters don't electrocute, drown, nor torture the animals they hunt. The whole argument that there are worst things happening in the world is irrelevant and weak. Should burglars be free from punishment and ridicule because they didn't kill anything (like the families pet dog)? I bet there are people who would want them to "rot in hell" too. Using Vicks "roots" or "culture" as an excuse is also weak. Part of the "culture" of "da hood" is gang bangers killing each other, would that make it excusable if he was out doing drive bys?

posted by Familyman at 06:31 AM on December 11

I don't think the comparisons to human cruelty are valid -- it goes without saying that lots of things are worse than this -- but some of the venom against dogfighting makes me wonder how people feel about, say, greyhound racing. It's also a dog sport that's considered animal abuse by the same groups that first called attention to Vick's transgressions, and in addition to cruel conditions for many racing animals, they produce far more animals than they can support -- the ones who aren't good at racing are put to death if they can't be adopted, some by means as cruel as what Vick and his buddies did to their dogs. An estimated 19,000 greyhounds were killed last year. Some of my neighbors have rescued greyhounds. They're docile good-natured animals. A question I can't answer: If Vick had channeled his interests into one of the 16 (!) greyhound racing tracks here in Florida, would he have been charged with any wrongdoing, no matter how cruel his practices might have been?

posted by rcade at 06:54 AM on December 11

Mick Vick was sentence to 23 months in jail for his crimes. He's done about a month of that time by voluntarily going to jail earlier than expected and should be out of jail in about 20-21 months and then spend the rest of his time in a halfway house. My point is that the man was convicted of his crimes and will do the time in order to come back and live a 'normal' life once he's done with all that. I've read the comments where people have said 'rot in hell' and granted, that may very well be an opinion but how exactly has Mike Vick's actions affected your life? This man has basically thrown a monkey wrench in his life and pretty much gave up over hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm sure that Mike Vick has a lot more to worry about than the people that still bad-mouth him even though there are plenty of athletes out there that continue to drink & drive, abuse drugs, abuse their spouse/significant other and/or carry illegal firearms. I don't condone what Vick has done by any means but at least he's on the path of trying to recover and remember, he's the one that is going to be behind bars for about 2 years. Even with everything that went on and knowing what he confessed to, I can't help but feel sorry for Mike Vick but I guess that's just the human side in me. I hope that everything works out for him but football should be the last thing thing that anyone should concern themselves with when talking about Vick. Let's just wait 23 months for that.

posted by BornIcon at 07:01 AM on December 11

If Vick had channeled his interests into one of the 16 (!) greyhound racing tracks here in Florida, would he have been charged with any wrongdoing, no matter how cruel his practices might have been? Hell no, that's white people entertainment.

posted by yerfatma at 07:28 AM on December 11

Where's my grandfather when I need him? Oh yeah, he's dead. Well, if he were here, he'd be saying, "This is not a competition to see who's the worst." People have expressed some pretty simplistic notions of justice in this thread. Justice, whether cosmic or criminal, is a complex thing -- it's not like buying apples by the pound, you can't look at the next guy over and say, "Oh, he's getting twice as many apples as me, therefore I should only pay half as much." Comparisons to other crimes and who's supposedly walking around free (although no actual names have been named) are irrelevant, because we're not talking about pounds of apples. The goals of punishment in a criminal justice system are multiple and often rather complex. There's a deterrent function, to make a public example of what happens to people who commit a particular crime. There's the function of preventing the criminal from committing further crimes (which, arguably, our current criminal justice system in the US is failing at more than it succeeds). There's a victim restitution function. There's also a valid retributive function; much as we might like it to be otherwise, people want vengeance, and if the state does not carry it out, it's extremely hard to prevent vigilanteism. I think that you need to look at how the Vick sentence measures up against each of these before you can start to have a good sense of its appropriateness and effectiveness.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:41 AM on December 11

If Vick had channeled his interests into one of the 16 (!) greyhound racing tracks here in Florida, would he have been charged with any wrongdoing, no matter how cruel his practices might have been? Answer: Yes (If Congress, Roger Goodell, or some of the members here could prove that Pacman Jones,anyone wearing a gold chain, any NFL player with dreads or cornrolls, Allen Iverson, any group of non whites and or posse was not only present but betting on the races as well). Greyhound racing would be outlawed so fast, you could face 5-10 for riding on one of their buses. But as long as those 19,000 dogs you mentioned were killed by being forced into a sport that's not to popular in "da hood", then it's all good.

posted by FlyerFan at 09:20 AM on December 11

He was into dog fighting, that made him a danger to his family and friends? Enjoying watching dogs tear each other apart is not just being "into" some sport. In my opinion and that of several of my friends in the psychiatric community (including my wife who has nearly 30 years evaluating people to decide if they need to be involuntarily committed for evaluation), it is a sign of a sociopath tendency. It indicates a person who quite probably has a mental illness. He lacks any compassion or conscious and that makes him a potential danger to anyone around him.

posted by commander cody at 09:26 AM on December 11

Count me among those who discount the "environment" excuse. I was born and raised in the South (including several years in Hampton - Newport News - Norfolk), and, yeah, I've seen cockfights, and I knew at least one person who claimed (no proof, just claims) to be part of a dogfighting organization. Guess what? I didn't go on to a career in animal fighting afterwards. Like Mike Vick, I grew up poor. Not as rough a setting as the projects in Newport News, but we were damn sure poor. Still, I didn't turn to torturing animals to get my jollies, or to earn a little extra scratch on the side. Environment only goes so far. At some point, adult human beings have to make their own decisions. Mike Vick made his decisions, and now he'll have to live with the consequences. Personally, I think what he did was reprehensible, and I truly cannot imagine the kind of person who gets gratification from watching animals tear each other's throats out. Still, I hope Vick truly learns from this and comes back to society as a smarter, more compassionate person. Rot in hell? The guy's only 27 years old; he still has the potential to do good, even great things. Time will be his truest judge.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:32 AM on December 11

...but vick chose to do what he did. Probably the most logical statement in this thread, thank you, justgary. Now, Mr. Vick has the choice to benefit from his time in prison and come out a better man, or he can fall into the prison gang thing and make a bad situation worse. I am suprised he only got 23 months, in light of what the maximun sentence could have been. And I agree, let's wait til he serves his time to see if the NFL will let him back in the league. I would imagine how he conducts himself in the mean time might carry some weight in their decision. In closing, he has basically ruined his life/career, jail time is just the icing on the cake. I hope he chooses to learn from this and eventually becomes a productive member of society. And maybe he should move away from all those toxic people and start fresh.

posted by steelergirl at 09:50 AM on December 11

Personally I think the sentence was fair and in line with the crime. I also believe that after Vick pays for what he did, he should have the opportunity to pick up the pieces of his life and move on. Do I think he will go on to be a law abiding upstanding citizen? NO , mainly because I believe Michael Vick is just stuck in stupid, as the marijuana positive test while on court monitored drug testing showed. Nonetheless, the nature of the crime I believe was an accurate reflection on the nature of the criminal. I think most poeple are not only outraged by the crime, but they are outraged by the circumstances. You see, for years us liberal minded types have been told that crime and violence in the underpriviledged areas was a direct result of poverty and lack of opportunity which forces young men to gravitate toward gangs, drugs and criminal behavior. This is why it is hard for us to comprehend that when you eliminate these factors, as in the case of world class weathly athletes, or music stars etc. the culture of crime, violence and ignorance still persists. Why is anybody shocked that even with all the success and worldly opportunities Elvis Presley still remained a country boy as evidenced by his taste with Graceland, and Michael Vick still remained basically a thug as evidenced by his friends, and criminal behavior.

posted by Atheist at 10:07 AM on December 11

or he can fall into the prison gang thing and make a bad situation worse. Is he going to Supermax or something? How do you know there are even gangs at the facility he's going to?

posted by yerfatma at 10:34 AM on December 11

Why the hell is everyone yelling at everyone else here? Everyone's agreeing with each other here. He committed a crime. He got convicted. He was given a sentence commensurate with the crime, and he's serving it willingly. (That's exactly is how the justice system is supposed to work, right? Right?) So. If you think that Michael Vick should have had a harsher sentence, then the problem isn't with Vick, it's with the justice system. Call your local legislature (their numbers are listed and everything!) to have the sentences made harsher. (If you just hate Vick and want his ass kicked, well, he's out in 22 months. Go do it yourself, tough guy.) And if you think that animals don't get enough care in this world (or in "the South," whatever that means in this context), then go volunteer at the ASPCA. And if you're doing that already, then feel free to crow about your superiority, Gunga Din.

posted by chicobangs at 10:55 AM on December 11

"Hell no, that's white people entertainment." And yet I have seen many black, Hispanic, and Asian people at dog tracks.

posted by aerotive at 10:55 AM on December 11

Yerfatma,I suppose that was a generalized statement on my part. No, I don't know if there are gangs where he is going to serve his sentence. I should have said the bad element that is found in prison, but that would have been redundant, wouldn't it? I would surmise in any prison/jail there is always some kind of pecking order, and to avoid trouble you would have to go along to get along. And I would guess the people at the top of the pecking order did not get there because they care about another's rehabilitaion. No, I have not served time (unless you want to count my 3 days for DUI back in 1978, and even then, in the county jail, in the women's part, there was a "pecking order". I was not jailed with just DUI offenders) but I have read much about the prison culture in this country (I am not talking fiction, ok?) and it is not pretty.

posted by steelergirl at 11:06 AM on December 11

Prison isn't one big place, steelergirl. No two are completely alike. And Vick isn't going in for life. He's going to get out, and whether he goes back to the NFL or not, he clearly fully intends to rejoin (or, if you prefer, join) society again. He doesn't strike me as someone with a high chance of recidivism. I think of it this way: If Ray Lewis can stay out of prison after his past, then Michael Vick might be able to clean his act up too.

posted by chicobangs at 11:30 AM on December 11

If Vick had channeled his interests into one of the 16 (!) greyhound racing tracks here in Florida, would he have been charged with any wrongdoing, no matter how cruel his practices might have been? Well, one is illegal and one isn't. That's a big difference. Secondly, to hold water to the vick situation, we need an athlete that invests in greyhound parks. Otherwise we're just playing 'what-if'. Some of my neighbors have rescued greyhounds. They're docile good-natured animals. We have the same in our neighborhood. They walk them all the time. Love 'em. But if one gets loose, forgetaboutit. Why the hell is everyone yelling at everyone else here? Everyone's agreeing with each other here. I agree with chicobangs. With the rare exception, most of the opinions here differ in only a matter of a few degrees.

posted by justgary at 11:55 AM on December 11

Well, one is illegal and one isn't. That's a big difference. Why though? History is full of things that were once acceptable and legal and now are not.

posted by yerfatma at 01:27 PM on December 11

*bangs SportsFilter's collective head on its own wall* Fuck it. I refuse to open this thread again.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:37 PM on December 11

Why though? History is full of things that were once acceptable and legal and now are not. Not making a judgment on what should be legal or illegal. But the reaction would be different because one is and one isn't.

posted by justgary at 01:50 PM on December 11

Not making a judgment on what should be legal or illegal. But the reaction would be different because one is and one isn't. Do you really think that's the major reason why the reason is different?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:21 PM on December 11

Fuck it. I refuse to open this thread again. You'll be back....they always come back. Is he still being prosecuted under state charges in Virginia? Could this add more time to his sentence? More than likely, he will be. The only thing would be if the charges will be applied to run as concurrent or consecutive terms of imprisonment.

posted by BornIcon at 02:23 PM on December 11

But the reaction would be different because one is and one isn't. Yeah, fair enough.

posted by yerfatma at 02:29 PM on December 11

I think that the sentence is excessive given the lack of prior convictions, and for a crime that while is barbaric, involves only animals. And before the animal lovers go for my throat, I do love animals but as a human being I do prize human life above all else. To me, the tough man fighting is far more barbaric. And once Vick has served his time and paid his debt to society, then I think he like anyone else who has done their time, deserves a second chance. And that includes playing in the NFL. makes me wonder how people feel about, say, greyhound racing - ones who aren't good at racing are put to death I would also like to know where the outrage is over the mass killing of Greyhound buses!?!

posted by irunfromclones at 04:04 PM on December 11

Key difference between dog fighting and UFC: consent. Secondary but also important difference: rewards for the fighters.

posted by cl at 04:28 PM on December 11

Key difference between dog fighting and UFC: consent. The same could also be said for the volunteer cow that donated the steak I ate last night.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:10 PM on December 11

Petrino to give up dogs for Hogs.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:26 PM on December 11

The same could also be said for the volunteer cow that donated the steak I ate last night. posted by lil_brown_bat at 5:10 PM CST on December 11 God bless that cow. But I digress as I'm sure, due to it's history, hunting and killing a defenceless animal for sport is not frowned upon at all since not much of it goes on "in da hood". posted by FlyerFan at 3:38 AM CST on December 11 I don't kill for sport. If I don't eat it I don't kill it. My family harvested over 37 deer off of 1500 acres this year. After filling our freezers close to 1600 lbs of bambi burger was donated to food pantrys through the "Hunters for Hunger" program. Now personally if I wound a deer I will nurse it back to health so that I can kill it cleanly next time. MMmmmmm People Eating Tasty Animals. Vick is a moron who risked his life and career for a barbaric sport. He's scum but he's going to pay his debt to society and when he walks out of prison then he's got a clean slate in my book.

posted by budman13 at 06:10 PM on December 11

...but vick chose to do what he did. True, but you have failed to take into account peer pressure. In a sense, Vick is no different from the typical high-schooler who is pressured into doing drugs. He may be older, but his rise to fame undoubtedly slowed his maturity curve (see Spears, ect.). Not to say he shouldn' t be held responsible for his actions, but maybe he isn't the dispicable character everyone thinks he is.

posted by Goyoucolts at 06:37 PM on December 11

Colt Brennan will look good in red and black. I hope Brennan is spared the Atlanta black hole and goes to a team that actually has a future. Brian Brohm, on the other hand...

posted by Goyoucolts at 06:39 PM on December 11

True, but you have failed to take into account peer pressure. In a sense, Vick is no different from the typical high-schooler who is pressured into doing drugs. He may be older... Wasn't Vick the ringleader of all of this?

posted by NoMich at 06:42 PM on December 11

Wasn't Vick the ringleader of all of this? No, he was the banker (see SI)

posted by Goyoucolts at 06:43 PM on December 11

Correct, l_b_b, and that is one of the reasons you wouldn't find a steak on my plate. (Just so you don't think I'm being a total hypocrite.)

posted by cl at 06:45 PM on December 11

Do you really think that's the major reason why the reason is different? posted by lil_brown_bat Nope. One of many. True, but you have failed to take into account peer pressure. I didn't fail to take it into account. I think crying peer pressure is laughable for a 27 year old man. No, he was the banker (see SI) You're disagreeing with the judge who thought vick was much more than the banker.

posted by justgary at 06:58 PM on December 11

The same could also be said for the volunteer cow that donated the steak I ate last night. posted by lil_brown_bat at 5:10 PM CST on December 11 Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........cow.................

posted by commander cody at 07:08 PM on December 11

it seems irrational to me to be outraged about dog-fighting but not outraged about leash laws. undoubtably more dogs are run over by cars than killed by dog fighting each year. hence, if one really cared about dogs and wanted to save dogs you would spend 100% of your time writing and campaining for stronger leash laws until the number of dogs run over = the number of dogs killed by dogfighting (and please don't tell me its worse to be killed in a dog fight (a) the dog is dead either way and (b) i'm certain getting pancaked in the street is really painful). However, I doubt any of the aggrieved are campaigning for stronger leash laws so I have to assume another motive. The most likely motive that presents itself is that the aggrieved parties are self-righteous phonies and it makes them feel good to write about how superior they are to michael vick. I anticipate the first response will be: but intent! MV meant to kill those dogs and people who let their dogs out without a leash didn't. Of course the intent line of reasoning only proves my point. People who only care about the dogs are indifferent to how they are killed, they just want to save dogs from death. People who care about feeling superior to other people care a great deal about intent because that's why they feel superior. I anticipate that the subsequent line of reasoning will be "that's saying murder is the same as manslaughter". Of course I'm not saying that because the situations aren't analagous. It's obviously desirable to discourage people from impairing your life and property (e.g. murdering you), that's why we treat murder different from manslaughter. You can discourage murder, you can't discourage accidents. Its also why I believe we don't distinguish between intent when punishing murder. The evil man who lusts to kill people, spontaneously flips, and murders another human is treated more lightly than the hired killer who plans to kill someone (i.e. premeditated murder). Hence the MV situation isn't analogous to murder because he wasn't impairing anyone else's life or property. He was killing his own dogs.

posted by Mike McD at 07:59 PM on December 11

I think crying peer pressure is laughable for a 27 year old man. I don't know that anyone is "crying" that, but are you trying to suggest something happens to social pressure when you age? What age does it happen at? My general observation is that people graduate high school, but they never leave it. If you think peer pressure stops at Grade 12, stop by a corporate Xmas party this holiday season.

posted by yerfatma at 08:04 PM on December 11

Personally, I think what he did was reprehensible, and I truly cannot imagine the kind of person who gets gratification from watching animals tear each other's throats out. It's funny - but that kind of barbaric entertainment strikes me as being as human as it gets. We love this shit. One man's barbarism is another's Saturday night. Check out them internets recently? I think dogfighting is cruel and inhumane. But I also think that sport hunting, bullfighting and horse racing is barbaric. That's just relativism. Enjoying watching dogs tear each other apart is not just being "into" some sport. In my opinion and that of several of my friends in the psychiatric community (including my wife who has nearly 30 years evaluating people to decide if they need to be involuntarily committed for evaluation), it is a sign of a sociopath tendency. It indicates a person who quite probably has a mental illness. He lacks any compassion or conscious and that makes him a potential danger to anyone around him. Dude. I couldn't disagree more. Firstly because the assumption is that Vick foamed at the mouth at the thought of dogs dying is a leap. It sounds plausible except that within his circle it could just as easily viewed as a sport or a business. Pretty big leap of intent. I really don't think you can do that with 100% confidence in your rightness. Nope. Can't do it. I think Vick is pretty much an idiot - but I don't see him as a sociopath, a murderer or any more terrible than a ton of people who'll take the field. And I certainly can't think of "45" worst things than torturing an animal. But you likely consume animals, have killed them (from ants to fish) and caused direct harm to many. Because I'm pretty confident that we all have.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:26 PM on December 11

Key difference between dog fighting and UFC: consent. The same could also be said for the volunteer cow that donated the steak I ate last night. Correct, l_b_b, and that is one of the reasons you wouldn't find a steak on my plate. (Just so you don't think I'm being a total hypocrite.) You don't win friends with salad.

posted by tommytrump at 08:42 PM on December 11

posting by MikeMcD @7:59 CST on December 11 Huh?

posted by Snakeman at 08:51 PM on December 11

***it shows up on my computer but here it is again *** it seems irrational to me to be outraged about dog-fighting but not outraged about leash laws. undoubtedly more dogs are run over by cars than killed by dog fighting each year. hence, if one really cared about dogs and wanted to save dogs one would spend their time writing and campaigning for stronger leash laws until the number of dogs run over < the number of dogs killed by dogfighting (and please don't tell me its worse to be killed in a dog fight (a) the dog is dead either way and (b) i'm certain getting pancaked in the street is really painful). However, I doubt any of the aggrieved are campaigning for stronger leash laws so I have to assume another motive. The most likely motive that presents itself is that the aggrieved parties are self-righteous phonies and it makes them feel good to write about how superior they are to michael vick. I anticipate the first response will be: but intent! MV meant to kill those dogs and people who let their dogs out without a leash didn't. Of course the intent line of reasoning only proves my point. People who only care about the dogs are indifferent to how they are killed, they just want to save dogs from death. People who care about feeling superior to other people care a great deal about intent because that's why they feel superior. I anticipate that the subsequent line of reasoning will be "that's saying murder is the same as manslaughter". Of course I'm not saying that because the situations aren't analogous. It's obviously desirable to discourage people from impairing your life and property (e.g. murdering you), that's why we treat murder different from manslaughter. You can discourage murder, you can't discourage accidents. I believe we don't distinguish between intent when punishing murder. The evil man who lusts to kill people, spontaneously flips, and murders another human is treated more lightly than the hired killer who plans to kill someone (i.e. premeditated murder is punished more harshly). The MV situation isn't analogous to murder because he wasn't impairing anyone else's life or property. He was killing his own dogs.

posted by Mike McD at 09:17 PM on December 11

posted by Mike McD at 9:17 PM CST on December11 Oh, now it's clear.

posted by Snakeman at 09:25 PM on December 11

posted by Mike McD at 9:17 PM CST on December11 Oh, now it's clear. posted by Snakeman at 9:25 PM CST on December 11 Clear, but really really convoluted and twisted. Still the stretching of logic it takes to equate allegedly weak leash laws with the enjoyment of watching dogs tear each other to pieces in a ring is an amazing thing to see. Sort like Olympic logic twisting, with a full gainer to boot.

posted by commander cody at 10:44 PM on December 11

If you think peer pressure stops at Grade 12, stop by a corporate Xmas party this holiday season. I didn't say it didn't exist. or that it vanishes with age. But I find it silly to bring it up as a defense for 27 year old man.

posted by justgary at 11:27 PM on December 11

I didn't say it didn't exist. or that it vanishes with age. But I find it silly to bring it up as a defense for 27 year old man. posted by justgary at 11:27 PM CST on December 11 Gotta agree with that. If you haven't found a way to be your own person and resist peer pressure by the time you're 27 you're never going to.

posted by commander cody at 11:46 PM on December 11

Yeah, what justgary and commander cody said!

posted by tommytrump at 12:14 AM on December 12

equate allegedly weak leash laws with the enjoyment of watching dogs tear each other to pieces at what point did you lose the argument? At no point did I equate the two. What I said is that is one loves dogs I would expect one to find both equally outrageous (actually weak leash laws a little more outrageous because they end up killing more dogs)

posted by Mike McD at 05:55 AM on December 12

Yeah, what justgary and commander cody said! /points from lunch table, snickers

posted by yerfatma at 06:27 AM on December 12

chicobangs, I understand what you are saying. I guess I am trying to say prison is not a great experience. Yes, it does help some "see the light" and change their ways. I hope Michael Vick is one of these people. But it can also make someone who already has a kink in their character (and I would say running/financing a dog fighting ring is a character flaw) and bend them even more. No, he isn't going to be in for life but almost 2 yrs is a long time. And any prison/jail can/does influence a person (it doesn't have to be Supermax), how that person handles it is up to them. May he have the fortitude to resist the negative.

posted by steelergirl at 10:40 AM on December 12

But you're still treating all prisons as the same experience. Certainly those white-collar federal pens where people play tennis for the government didn't turn anyone into a stone-cold killer. Has anything been said about where Vick's doing that time?

posted by yerfatma at 11:27 AM on December 12

Do those places really exist, or is that just a myth? Besides, dogfighting isn't exactly white collar crime. I'd surmise it'll be more along the lines of Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass Prison.

posted by bender at 12:58 PM on December 12

Do those places really exist, or is that just a myth? Not sure. Former Massachusetts State Senator Joseph Timilty got sent to a low-security federal prison for a white-collar crime, and wrote of the experience. I don't know if the institution he went to is one of these mythical prisons, or if there is some other category of institution above and beyond that, but it certainly did qualify as a "white-collar federal pen", and he wasn't playing any tennis. Here's another article about the "federal prison camp".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:50 PM on December 12

At no point did I equate the two. Your reasoning falls apart at the beginning where you say that people who love dogs should be as or more outraged by weak leash laws then by dogfighting because the dogs are still just as dead and getting hit by a car is just as painful. Then you dismiss why its not the same thing when you deny that intent really has as much to play in the reason why it is different. Dogfighting and leash laws are not analogous to each other. Look at it this way, if a man walks into an elementary school, starts shooting, kills 8 kids and wounds several more (the human equivalent of what Vick did to dogs) purely for the sport of it, he'd be a capital murderer and most likely get the death penalty to the righteous cheers of the crowd. However if a person is driving down a street completely legally and safely and a small child darts out from between two parked cars (the human equivalent of a dog escaping his masters control), gets run over and killed, the driver of the car is not charged with anything because they had no intent to to kill. It was an accident. Ah but what about the mother you say! Isn't the mother of that child guilty of negligence? Well it depends. In your scenario you have negligence as being the same level no matter what because the effect, the dog (child) is still dead, deid just as painfully and it could have been prevented by a leash. However the real world doesn't work like that. If, for instance, the child ran out into traffic because it's mother was drunk on the sofa or turning tricks in the bedroom when she should have been watching her kid, then yes the mother is guilty of negligence and most likely will see prison time for manslaughter. However, if the mother is walking down the street with her child in hand and he suddenly sees a puppy or toy in the street, breaks away before she can grab him harder, runs into the street and dies, well she is technically negligent, but she is not going to be charged with any crime and it will be seen for what it was, a tragic accident. On one hand you make the two out to be the same because the result is the same (dead dogs and all dog lovers should be angry no matter how the dogs died) and yet in your last paragraph you completely deny doing so by saying they are not the same. You're arguing both sides. You say that people have no right to be more outraged by what Vick unless they are equally outraged by weak leash laws so they must be thinking that they're superior to Vick. Yet your argument makes no sense because they so clearly ARE different and very different at that. Your analogy is false.

posted by commander cody at 02:31 PM on December 12

Oh and I actually am superior to Vick, because I don't enjoy dogs fighting until dead or nearly so. That fact alone makes me a better man and person then him.

posted by commander cody at 02:34 PM on December 12

Do those places really exist, or is that just a myth? Yes they do. Growing up in Florida, I lived about 15 miles from Eglin Federal Penitentiary. The term "Club Fed" was coined to describe this facility, which actually had rowboats on a small lake, in addition to softball fields, tennis courts, and other recreational activities. In fact, several of the teams in the Eglin AFB Softball League played their games at the prison fields, because they were so nice. That's where I got to meet Orlando Cepeda, who was doing time for his cocaine conviction, I believe back in '78 or '79.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:11 PM on December 12

I lived about 15 miles from Eglin Federal Penitentiary. Kurt Vonnegut used it as a setting in one of his books (can't think of which one off the top of my head? God Bless you Mr Rosewater maybe?) to describe the softest of the soft federal prisons. He says (and I don't doubt that it true) that they don't have any walls or fences, just lines painted on the sidewalks beyond which prisoners are not allowed.

posted by commander cody at 03:35 PM on December 12

I actually am superior to Vick, because I don't enjoy dogs fighting until dead or nearly so. That's sick. Bad enough to fight dogs, but to find exhausted, weakened dogs in need of help and make them fight . . . awful.

posted by yerfatma at 04:03 PM on December 12

ROTFLMFAO!!!

posted by commander cody at 04:57 PM on December 12

He says (and I don't doubt that it true) that they don't have any walls or fences, just lines painted on the sidewalks beyond which prisoners are not allowed. That reminded me of Les Nessman's office on WKRP in Cincinnati.

posted by rcade at 05:08 PM on December 12

Nice. Thought I was the only one who bothered acquaintances with that reference. Now if I could just find some yellow tape, we'd know which crap pop culture references belong to me and which to you.

posted by yerfatma at 07:28 PM on December 12

I see ... you lost the argument at the first sentence. my conclusion is "those outraged by MV are outraged because they like feeling morally superior to MV; they are not outraged because dogs were killed" my evidence for that conclusion is that people aren't outraged by weak leash laws. If one cared about dogs one would be equally outraged by any dog being killed, dogfighting or car accident. Why is a preventable car accident more acceptable than dogfighting? from fido's perspective, you're indifferent to having your spine crushed by a car or having your throat ripped out in a dog fight. That distinction only matters to people making judgments of others. try and keep in mind my argument addressed people's motivation for criticizing MV. The rest was refuting the specious arguments that I knew would arise. Just as an aside, mv killing dogs is not the analog of a killer going into a school and killing random kids. The analog to your scenario would be going into a dog park and killing a bunch of other people's dogs. As I pointed out above mv didn't impair anyone else's life/property. I hesitate to even mention this because its irrelevant to my conclusion and is a distraction.

posted by Mike McD at 07:34 PM on December 12

I have resisted this for as long as I can. I am in no way an advocate of animal euthanasia, but seriously, will a monkey cure cancer? Was Louis Pasteur a greyhound? Seriously, Vick got what he deserved. I'm all for that. But there is a reason he got 23 months as opposed to the capital sentence had it been a human. We have opposable thumbs, maybe?

posted by hawkguy at 08:27 PM on December 12

I have resisted this for as long as I can. I am in no way an advocate of animal euthanasia, but seriously, will a monkey cure cancer? Was Louis Pasteur a greyhound? Seriously, Vick got what he deserved. I'm all for that. But there is a reason he got 23 months as opposed to the capital sentence had it been a human. We have opposable thumbs, maybe?

posted by hawkguy at 08:33 PM on December 12

my conclusion is "those outraged by MV are outraged because they like feeling morally superior to MV; they are not outraged because dogs were killed" Well, your conclusion is your opinion, and you're welcome to it. I don't feel morally superior to Vick. It's not something I think or care about. I simply like dogs and couldn't imagine hurting one. my evidence for that conclusion is that people aren't outraged by weak leash laws. If one cared about dogs one would be equally outraged by any dog being killed, dogfighting or car accident. Why is a preventable car accident more acceptable than dogfighting? A guy breaks into a house and murders the owner. He's caught and punished. People are happy. We could save many more lives by making cars that only go up to 55. It's doable, would save more lives, why not do it? from fido's perspective, you're indifferent to having your spine crushed by a car or having your throat ripped out in a dog fight. That distinction only matters to people making judgments of others. A dog fight isn't a humane way to kill an animal. An animal being hit by a car at 55 mph probably goes through less pain (of course, that would depend on many factors). Your whole spiel is that the only reason people care is because it allows them to feel superior to others. That's a gross generalization and backed up by nothing, as far as I can see, on your part.

posted by justgary at 08:39 PM on December 12

my conclusion is "those outraged by MV are outraged because they like feeling morally superior to MV; they are not outraged because dogs were killed" No, they are not outraged because they feel morally superior to MV (though I still think anyone who hates dogfighting IS morally superior) they are outraged because of how the animals died. There is a huge difference morally between a dog that dies for some (alleged) humans amusement and one that dies due to accidentally being hit by a car. The idea that people who hate MV for dogfighting must also feel the same outrage for weak leash laws is a false analogy. It's not just comparing apples and oranges, it's more like comparing apples and trees or rocks. There is no viable relationship between them. It's more like saying that if you hate MV for dog fighting then you must also be a vegetarian. To two simply are not connected except by the greatest of leaps of logic.

posted by commander cody at 08:56 PM on December 12

A guy breaks into a house and murders the owner. He's caught and punished. People are happy. jeebus! your reading comprehension is abysmal. Maybe the 3rd time you'll understand (or you can just read the initial post where I anticipated this exact response). We punish people for murder as a deterrent. We want to discourage people from committing murder. MV didn't hurt anyone else. Just his own property. We could save many more lives by making cars that only go up to 55. It's doable, would save more lives, why not do it? I agree. I think its irrational that people think 1,000 people dying each year in Iraq is a tragedy buy 55,000 people dying each year in cars is a statistic. And I think its rational to fear cars more than guns or terrorists. Cars are more likely to kill you (or your children)

posted by Mike McD at 10:41 PM on December 12

they are outraged because of how the animals died. really, that's your answer. MV is evil because its that much worse for a dog to be killed in a dogfight than to be hit by a car? There is a huge difference morally between a dog that dies for some (alleged) humans amusement and one that dies due to accidentally being hit by a car now you seem to admit that its not the dogs they care about ... its the moral judgment that's important. so you agree with me?

posted by Mike McD at 10:48 PM on December 12

A guy breaks into a house and murders the owner. He's caught and punished. People are happy. You're throwing the word happy around pretty carelessly there. I sincerely doubt people are happy, satisfied that justice has been done is far more likely to be true.

posted by tommytrump at 11:16 PM on December 12

your reading comprehension is abysmal. Maybe the 3rd time you'll understand (or you can just read the initial post where I anticipated this exact response). posted by Mike McD My reading comprehension is fine. It's the fact that your writing is atrocious that's giving me problems. Now I've insulted you and its gotten us nowhere. Disagree all you want. But keep the insults for the playground. On topic, this is going nowhere so I'll just end with this. I don't know Vick personally so I'm not going to judge if he's evil, or a product of his up-bringing, or just someone that got over his head and went along with his peers. Dog fighting is bad. No, it's not killing a person, or hurting a person, but it's pretty disgusting. I feel bad for the dogs. That animals are tortured in many other ways doesn't negate that dog fighting is bad. It's not that I don't like Vick, or that I feel superior. I simply like dogs. I find it amusing that anyone would have a difficult time taking that on face value. Vick has lost a lot because of this. He has himself to blame.

posted by justgary at 11:42 PM on December 12

Dog fighting is bad. No, it's not killing a person, or hurting a person, but it's pretty disgusting. I feel bad for the dogs. why don't you feel bad for dogs that get run over by cars?

posted by Mike McD at 06:30 AM on December 13

why don't you feel bad for dogs that get run over by cars? This is how your "logic" works: justgary: "I like grilled cheese sandwiches." Mike McD: "Why do you hate tuna fish?" Now, does that really make any sense to you? From an earlier comment: We punish people for murder as a deterrent. We want to discourage people from committing murder. MV didn't hurt anyone else. Just his own property. You've been meandering somewhat with your assertions about the motivations in other people's heads (i.e., why they "hate MV", according to you); now you're making some more assertions about the justice system, seems to me. Deterrence is one reason why we punish murder, dog-fighting, and other crimes; it is not the only reason. As for Michael Vick's only having hurt "his own property", it's not always the case that the law allows to do whatever you want with your own property, be it living or inert.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:53 AM on December 13

MV is evil because its that much worse for a dog to be killed in a dogfight than to be hit by a car? Yes. now you seem to admit that its not the dogs they care about ... its the moral judgment that's important. so you agree with me? I never said it wasn't a moral judgement. However it is also one because it's the dogs they care about. In fact most of our laws are moral and legal judgements. What he did was much more morally and legally abhorrent then if the dog had died being accidentally hit by a car.

posted by commander cody at 07:10 PM on December 13

A bunch of friends and I owned a dog once, named Dave, a big black mutt of a fucker who was loyal as hell but since we were all transient and Dav was there to stay, the neighborhood dog pack would set upon him and every couple days there was a big dog fight to break up. See, all the neighborhood dogs had owners and identities, and Dav was completely scattered -- he loved us, but we were only in the country in six month- or year-long shifts -- so to the rest of the dogs, with their families to go home to, he was a homeless pariah. Quite a few times, I waded into the melee, flashing boots at muzzles, and plucked the 80 lb. Dav out of the fray, carried him the half-mile home, dressed his wounds, and put him to bed. As time wore on and the fights got worse, Dav's tail stopped wagging and he grew surlier and less likely to heed a command. One day he cornered a group of children in a schoolyard, snarling and snapping at them. The next day my friend Adam and I took him down to the garbage tip and I looked away while Adam fired a pistol point-blank into the back of Dav's neck. It was summer but he looked like a frozen doormat; I never noticed all his grey hairs until he was dead and they looked like frost. That night I drank as much liquor as I could, and when we heard the wild dogs go crazy down by the dump, a couple people wanted to go scare them off, and maybe they did in the end. I just cried a little and passed out on the grass until someone who loved me took me home, cleaned me up, and put me to bed. Dogfighting rings involve taking big dogs like Dav and encouraging the crazies, making weapons of them. Dav was miserable in the months before his death, hounded by a pack of well-adjusted and vicious pets, constantly in pain from bite wounds, and desperate for a firm human touch. I'm sure these fighting dogs have a more balanced set of rewards and punishments than Dav, and rarely get into one-on-twelves, but I imagine even the most well-behaved killer dogs are put down before their time, as their pain and need blurs the line between dog and man. Or not. It's a fucked-up thing to do to a dog, and while I'll admit it pumped my blood up to be in the middle of a pack of fighting dogs, the inevitable outcome, when it came, was one of the more sickening and memorable experiences of my life.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:07 PM on December 13

Aw Hugh, that's awful. I'm sorry for it.

posted by yerfatma at 07:35 AM on December 14

Thanks, yerfatma. It was awful. One of the worst things about it is that I know how exciting it can be to watch dogs fight, I know how thrilling the smell of dog blood in the air is, and even though I did everything I could to stop it, I know how powerless I was to try to control this dog in the long term. It was the way his whole life went. Quite a few times these dogfights occurred outside the local bar. When we'd go up there to drink, so would the locals; their dogs would follow them, and Dav would follow us. We'd be inside drinking and dancing and pushing each other around, when a donnybrook would break out and we'd all go outside and Dav would be in the thick of it. While I dragged Dav out, I would see these local dog owners kicking their own dogs and encouraging them to attack. Once, after bringing Dav down the hill and putting him to bed, I found a dog bite on my arm, remembered a guy who had kicked his dog and shouted "Get him" after I had pulled Dav free, so I went back up the hill and confronted him. "Yeah, my dog bit you." "Did you tell him to?" "No." "Did you want him to bite me?" "Yeah, you're an asshole for breaking up a good dog fight." I ducked, punched him as hard as I could right in the throat, and the place erupted in a human fight that mirrored the dog fight until my friend Barak went home, got his assault rifle, climbed the boulder across the road from the bar, and squeezed two rounds into the air. Everyone froze, he calmly said, "Go home," and the place emptied within minutes. This sort of wanton violence is as horrible as it is exciting, and that's just the trouble. There's no great gulf between the soft-hearted and the cruel, and there's a lot in between that's in all of us. I can't say I hated dragging Dav to safety, though I did it out of mercy and compassion. I can say I hated being part of his death, but I think I became part of his death when I first met him, halfway down the spiral. I know why people enjoy dog fighting, and I know they aren't all absolute monsters; I don't like horror movies because I don't like being scared, and I don't like bloodsport because the thrill sickens me. As far as animal rights are concerned, dog fighting for sport is horrible and must be stopped. As far as whether enjoying it makes you a monster, or a degenerate, or inhuman; well, there are many more wrinkles in that idea than most of us seem to want or be able to count. I do not mean to exculpate Vick here; he deserves his sentence and justice is upheld. I've felt the excitement of a dog fight, though, and while I didn't like it and I tried to end it (I guess I did end it), I recognized that not all those who did like it were top-to-bottom monsters. Which sucks, because I'd just like to loathe them without understanding. It compromises me to know how they feel.

posted by Hugh Janus at 09:23 AM on December 14

As far as whether enjoying it makes you a monster, or a degenerate, or inhuman; well, there are many more wrinkles in that idea than most of us seem to want or be able to count. Based on your account and other things I've heard and experienced, I'd say that it makes you very human indeed. The distinction is between "human" and "humane". If we want to put a stop to evil, it doesn't help us to label evildoers as other than human, because doing so is tantamount to saying, "I could never do that, my friends and family and neighbors and all the people around me could do that, because we're human and that is the act of a monster." We need to recognize that in-humane behavior comes from human beings. Only by recognizing this behavior as part of our potential can we be reasonably sure that it doesn't become our destiny.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:23 AM on December 14

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