Sunday, August 16, 2009

Man's Base Appetites

I was reading several Philadelphia Eagle fan blogs yesterday and was mildly surprised to see that the pro/con ration was maybe fifty/fifty.

I was over to my buddy Cookie's blog, the Cook Shack, this afternoon and read his take on Michael Vick's hiring by the Eagles and decided to examine my own feelings about his recent good fortune and to delve into the reason why I react to his situation the way I do.

About six years ago I was conducting some initial surveys of missing persons and unsolved homicides in our part of the state. I also got interested in the studies of serial murderers and found that some of them displayed their homicidal tendencies by killing animals.

This 2003 study cities the interview of violent and nonviolent offenders in a Florida correctional facility. The study found that there is a much higher likelihood that violent offenders, as children, committed acts of animal cruelty, particularly on their pets. What was even more chilling was that the manner in which these animals were tormented or killed resembled the manner that they tormented their human victims. This was not true for nonviolent offenders who also committed acts of animal cruelty as children.

Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that Michael Vick is a serial killer, nor am I suggesting that he could be a serial killer in the future, nor that all those who engage in this activity are potential serial killers or potential violent felons.

I am suggesting that dog fighting is not a "sport" like hunting or racing. It is an ignoble exercise designed purely to satisfy a base human appetite for gambling, violence and bloodshed.

And I am suggesting this - that dog fighting will attract people who desire to see animals tear each other to pieces. Same thing goes for cock fighting.

This amuses them; this excites them, this entertains them. And perhaps for a small percentage of them, this will not be enough. And these are the people that will prey on humans. They have already become insensitive to suffering and bloodshed and like low grade pornography, they are ready for the next step.

It not only amused Michael Vick to witness this savagery, he provided an organized outlet so that others could satisfy their immoral, bloodthirsty appetite for suffering and death. And for this reason he should not participate in any professional sport.

It's not that I hate Mr. Vick; I don't hate him - I don't know enough about him to say whether or not he is an evil person. I realize that anyone can change their ways and that people can be redeemed (Jesus has done this for us) and conduct themselves as useful, productive citizens. And indeed I welcome the opportunity for Mr. Vick to prove himself. But there has to be an element of accountability. Professional sports must prove itself to be a haven for role models, not ex-offenders. We cannot, as a society, keep sending the message to our youth that no matter how completely you screw up, it doesn't matter. It does matter, it matters a lot. Our prisons are full of this message. Mr. Vick should be free to pursue any career he chooses (except perhaps as an animal trainer) but he should not be allowed to reenter professional sports. He had his shot and blew it.

Now I like to hunt. Last November I only had one chance to take a shot at a deer running by me. I completely missed it. I was very relieved that it was a complete miss because I did not want the animal to suffer while we tracked it down to dispatch it. I wanted a clean kill and then harvest the meat. If I did not intend to harvest the deer, I would not be out in the woods.

Hunting is a sport, a great sport. I feel acutely alive when I am hunting. Every sense is heightened. I am completely focused. Thoughts of work, finances, stress factor - all is gone as I concentrate on my physical surroundings and prepare myself for a possible encounter with some prey. Even if I do not see a deer (or a turkey), I walk out of the woods refreshed and revitalized; joking with my family and friends who have joined me for the morning.

This is hunting, this is sport. Dog fighting is a bloody, idle diversion that must be eliminated.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Devil's Advocate here, and I was wondering how many people that decry dog fighting as the most evil thing in the world will sit and watch a boxing or MMA/Cage/octagon fight without batting an eye???

What's the difference? In either case, you have two combatants using all the weapons in their arsenal to physically destroy their opponent and claim victory.

Let me save you the time you will take to tell me the humans know what they are getting into and the dogs don't. I have been to dog fights before*, and I've seen dogs go nuts when they see the pit and try their best to get into it as fast as they can because they know what lays ahead.

(*I'm not saying I'm proud of the fact, just that I know of what I speak*)

sig94 said...

Not a problem Forger. It certainly took me a while to get to this point.

Guess I am just sick of the way our society glamorizes violence. I used to like boxing and see these guys beat each other up in a controlled violence scenario. The new kick boxing is even worse. They indeed go after each other in a way that troubles me.

I dunno. I was an evidence technician for the PD and I documented all kinds of violent crime scenes for years. I saw things that today still sicken me a little. Prolly that might have something to do with it also. I have seen a belly full of bloody messes.

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling Sig. As a medic working for ambulance companies that had contracts with the St. Louis and Shelby County (Memphis) M.E.'s offices, I got to pick up the pieces after you guys were done.

After a few time of having to wash the leftovers of human violence off of your hands, or throwing away a uniform that still reeks of death after half a dozen washes, or using a screwdriver to dig the chunks of what used to be a person outta the sole of your boot, you will lose your taste for such nonsense.

Mope said...

Gentlemen: I disagree with you both. While dog fighting is reprehensible, I fail to see how a federal crime can be made of it. Granted, the actions of Mr. Vick should be made an example of, taking his chance of gainful employment away is scurrilous, at best. We had a government that, until today, would have created a system whereby a doctor, not merely some vet, would be making less than a vet. What's wrong with that picture? Yeah, it's wrong to try to decide which dog will live or die, but that's EXACTLY what our government was trying to do with us!

Our government tried to be in the business of dog eat dog, only we were the dogs!

Can you imagine what were to have happened if the government try to pull this health care bullshit on pets? It would never fly.

Thank-you, Mikey Vick.

*with only have my tongue in cheek.