I just can't let it go with out a logical diagnosis. The "It" I refer to is the Michael Vick story. I'll leave my thoughts the common human trait that rewards people who play barbaric simple non-intellectual games with the highest stature in recognition and finical influence. That will have to wait. I would like to concentrate more on the crime at hand.
I cringed as I heard this week people actually start to relax their criticism and even almost condone Vick's actions. One person, who is a reverend I am told and a very religious man at the very least said, "When we were kids, we often gathered up the stray dogs and made them fight." Alright, I often say, "It's impossible to offend me". However, that made me feel squeamish. I really respect the guy who said it to. I even found some logic in the statement, "Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a woman and he received less bad press and less heated public opinion then Michael Vick did for killing animals." However, there was always an air of belief of Kobe’s version of his story and his case. His accuser was a woman who had a "sexual history" for the week prior to the incident. She also had DNA evidence showing she had sex shortly after having sex with Kobe. To believe this woman would have reservations after going to a hotel room with "The" NBA superstar is hard to rectify. (This is why your actions do matter. they are not independent of the things that happen two you, even though our court system wants to often treat it that way.)
In interest of full disclosure, I have a dog. My little buddy is one of my closet friends. In truth I love him more then some of my friend and extended family members. He is much more fun to drink with then many of them, and he certainly keeps up his end of the conversation once I have a few. Somebody forced me to pick between say my dog and George Bush, well I sure would miss old George. My wife even accuses me of caring more for the dog then her. All’s I’m sayin’ is he greets me at the door with his tail wagging and exuberant excitement to see me. He is happy I am home no matter how I left the kitchen when I left. The only chores he barks out to me is to throw the stick or wrestle. My wife? Ehhm, anyway I like dogs. I have been around them my whole life. So it is very hard for me to conceive people taking "Schadenfreude". That is "pleasure in others discomfort" for you non-German speakers. But as a logical man, I acknowledge my bias in an attempt to set it aside, but can not write it off as only a personal interest.
So I proceed to the next step in logical analysis. Like most things I ask myself, why does this bother me. What element dog fighting disturbs me so deeply? I mean I think he should face multiple year in prison or even the death penalty. OK, so my depth disdain may be more personal, but the contempt for the crime is not. But why am I (and most of the public) so stricken by dogs in mortal combat with each other? Why is such a past time illegal in every state in the union? I mean dogs fight in the wild naturally. So why is torturing and prodding dogs to fight different? The answer lies in the implications of what people who participate in these barbaric acts are capable of. A public concern over weather the kind of person who would choose in such an activity might be a hazard to other citizens.
If somebody is capable of taking pleasure in watching animals die viciously and violently, then what is there to ensure that person might not take pleasure in watching other animals (the human kind) die viciously. People who can be cruel to animals, especially those such as most of us keep as friends, companions, and pets are consciously and/ or subconsciously threatening to us. When we picture dogs fighting we all picture our own best friends being forced into a vicious gladiatorship. That vision of one of our "family members" enrages and offends us.
Now then you throw in the crime being perpetrated by a person whose life and livelihood is a violent sport where the goal is to smash, slam, drag, and collide with "opponents" and that sense of threat is heightened. A better understanding of why Michael Vick’s activities were especially disturbing comes to light. We are all now living in the OJ Simpson and Chris Benoit age. We are all aware of what these people we often looked to as "heroes" can do some of the most heinous acts.
Dog fighting is not an event where people are standing around in tuxedos, sipping champagne, discussing the latest advances in rocket science, and making business deals. No, these events are attended by the members who rank low on the educational and intellectual ladder of our society. While there is a kin to this in all other violent sports, especially those that involve the scoring of brutality. At least in those cases the "animals" involved are making the decisions to be involved themselves. The goal isn’t the destruction of life.