"its Just Dogs..."

By: Jason Henry

Michael Vick walked into a Richmond, Virginia court room and pled guilty to a felony charge of dog fighting. He is to be sentenced on December 10th in which he may receive a 5 year prison sentence for fighting dogs. In Vicks statement of facts from his plea agreement, he states that he executed up to 4 dogs by hanging, electrocuting, and beating them to death. No argument from me, this was a terrible and reprehensible act and he deserves to be punished. But let's not forget one simple fact... "Its just dogs".

Allow me to give you a few examples of why I say "its just dogs..." Mary Winkler kills her husband, is found guilty and serves 7 months in prison in Tennessee. Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis is charged with murder, pleads out to a lesser charge and does not serve prison time for the crime. St. Louis Rams linebacker Leonard Little is an admitted alcoholic and was responsible for the death of a young woman because of his decision to drive drunk. Mr. Little was fined and suspended 8 games from the NFL. Here is the best example yet. Three black teenagers were murdered execution style in Newark, New Jersey and there were no protest. Where are the people for the ethical treatment of human beings? Hell, what about a civil rights organization protesting crime in that area. What about a little compassion for three innocent young people who lost their lives because of the stupidity of three people. Yet when Vick was first arraigned on dog fighting charges, Peta, the Humane Society and various animal rights groups protested outside of the Virginia courthouse demanding that Vick be thrown in jail. Vick is about to sit in prison for murdering dogs, yet a woman can murder her husband and serve less than a year in prison and we can sit back with a nonchalant attitude while teenagers are being killed. So once again, "its just dogs..."

I also keep hearing about "the Vick divide." Before Michael Vick there was a huge racial divide in this country, he didn't cause it. Anytime a black athlete is accused of doing anything wrong he is automatically assumed guilty and his character is assassinated. People wanted Vick thrown in prison, banished from the NFL and his contract and money taken away. Now if this has nothing to do with race then I have no idea what does. Whether you agree with me or not, white people have an affinity for dogs and if this were of a different matter Vick would be gearing up to start the NFL regular season. Over and over again... "Its just dogs..."

It's shameful that we still live in a society where race can cause such a huge divide on an issue where we should all agree. Vick killed dogs and he should be punished for it. But to take this man's life away for a mistake he made all because of the color of his skin is disgraceful. I'll give you one more example. Robert Byrd, a senator from the state of West Virginia, gave a speech on the Senate floor about his love for dogs. But within Senator's Byrd's speech, he states that "the hottest places in hell are reserved for sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt." So Mary Winkler and the 3 men who brutally murdered three teenagers in Newark are going to hell to right? While we have a war going on in another country and soldiers are dying everyday, this senator decides to spend time talking about Michael's afterlife. And please refrain from telling me that Mr. Byrd was not referring to Michael Vick.

So Michael Vick's case proves that the American justice system is screwed and that the racial divide in America still exists. However, the shortcoming of the justice system and the huge divide of race in America was persistent long before Michael Vick. I only hope and pray that the next brother who makes a mistake, and there will be another one, that he isn't treated as harshly and severely as Mr. Vick. The time for change has come, knocked on the door, beat down the door, gone and come back to try again. Yet we fail to answer the door or the phone when change comes knocking or calling. The Michael Vick case is another opportunity for Americans to change and stop being so judgmental. The phone is ringing and so is the door bell, its just up to us to answer the call. So as long as teenagers are being murdered, socialites can serve10 days in jail for drunk driving, a woman can serve a 7 month sentence for murder, and CEO's steal stockholders money and serve a few months in jail they will always be... "Just dogs" to me..

-JH

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