Sunday, August 16, 2009
What If, Michael Vick Was Sentenced To Life In Prison?
Last night as I was browsing through YouTube, I couldn't help but notice, how many videos there were demonizing Michael Vick. And to be honest, it didn't surprise me. I understand the anger. What Vick did was heinous and evil. So I can see why so many people will never forgive him for it.
But I believe in redemption and feel everyone deserves a second chance. I further believe that we need to use the wrongs of the past to prevent them from happening in the future.
First of all, I don't condone what Vick did and I agree with those who say his sentence was too lenient. But we live in a country of laws and whether we agree with it or not, he served the sentence handed down to him by the criminal justice system. And as an ex-con he has the right to rehabilitate his life.
Now lets assume all the Vick-haters out there would've been granted their wish--and Vick had been sentenced to life without parole. Heck, lets assume their wishes were further granted and he had gotten sentenced to a life of hard labor in a North Korean prison somewhere...
My first question would be--then what? Everyone would be happy because he got what he deserved. Right?
If sentencing Vick to life in prison would mean that illegal dogfighting would seize to exist, then fine. I could see where they are coming from. But the inconvenient truth is: illegal dogfighting was around long before Michael Vick and unfortunately it'll be around long after Michael Vick.
So if Vick is willing to lend his time to bringing attention to the cruel sport and working with humane organizations to put an end to it--why not give the man a chance?
Many were outraged when the news broke that Vick had signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. But in case they missed it, that's his line of work. Just like a truck driver who gets out of prison would seek work in the trucking industry or a construction worker would seek work in the construction industry. It just so happens that Vick's line of work is lucrative and high-profile. But that's not his fault. It's also not his fault that society has taken it upon itself to glorify and idolize athletes. That's been happening long before Vick came on the scene.
I'm sure that Vick is going to donate a healthy portion of his contract to humane organizations and I'm sure the Eagles will kick in a few bucks themselves. Is that a bad thing? These organizations--The Humane Society, the ASPCA, PETA-- are all nonprofit organizations and need funding. So why not take Vick's money? Why not take the Eagles' money? Why not use his voice to help save all the other defenseless dogs that are probably being tortured even as I write this. The problem ain't going away by throwing the book on Vick.
And who better than Vick to infiltrate the inner-cities, where the problem is more epidemic, and deliver the message? I highly doubt these inner-city kids would listen to some unknown characters telling them what's right or wrong. But they'll listen to Vick. He's one of them. He knows their language. And the question of whether he's doing it from the heart or as a p.r. move--that's not the point. The bottom line is putting an end to this problem.
At the end of the day, we can throw Vick in jail for life, water board him everyday, hang him upside down, you know, whatever-- but that's not going to make the problem go away. All that will do, is stop him from doing it again-- but what about the thousands out there who are still practicing this cruelty? Why not have Vick, with support from the Eagles and the NFL, preaching the message and pointing out his mistakes?
If in the future, Vick's voice can save a few dogs from this violent destiny, then we have to ask ourselves--what's wrong with that?
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com