swimming up stream (a controversial opinion on the crimes of Ron Mexico)

July 23, 2007 at 5:08 pm (Pop thoughts, Sports thoughts)

In our chaotic, media-driven, politically-correct, pop culture world certain opinions are simply unacceptable. It seems that within a matter of just a few hours one opinion can become fact. I guess the rise of blogs is the natural counter balance to try and keep common sense afloat but it just seems too difficult. The topic of this particular blog comes from a tremendous sense of duty. I feel obligated to promote common sense and justice even though I know it is an opinion that goes so strongly against the grain that it may invoke personal attacks and persecutions. In fact I may loose all of my potential readers after this post, but come what may, I must.

We’re talking dog fighting.

Last Tuesday it was annouced that the highest paid NFL player in history, Michael Vick, Quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, had been indicted as an owner and operator of an illegal dog fighting kennel (Bad Newz Kennels). Most of what he is being charged for is owning, training, and using dogs in fights across state lines (that’s why it’s a federal crime). If convicted of all the charges Vick would face a maximum of 6 years in prison.

Given that the conviction  rate of  federal indictments is higher than 90% there is a very good chance that Vick is indeed guilty of at least some of these charges. And whether he actually serves time or not he certainly has already begun serving a sentence in the court of public opinion.  And it is that court and that opinion which I feel obligated to challenge.

I think the sentiment that I am referring to is best modeled by West Virgina Senator, Robert C. Byrd, who gave a speech that sounded  like an Old Testament prophecy on capitol hill last week. In his speech he repeated the term “barbaric” no less than 10 times. He went on to claim that the “hottest places in hell” are reserved for people who participate in dog fights.  I find it terribly ironic that a democratic senator with a long history of  supporting abortion can come to the conclusion that dog tortures deserve a hotter place in hell than people murderers.

And generally speaking the Senator is not alone in this. Everything I hear, read and see is tilted towards making dog fighting crimes worthy of life-imprisonment.  I don’t get it.

Let me make it very clear I do NOT support dog fighting. I do NOT think it should be legalized. I do NOT think Vick is innocent. I do NOT think dog fighting is humane, tolerable, justifiable, reasonable or pardonable. Even given my strong distaste for canines (which has been well documented on other postings)  I don’t think any of them should be kicked let alone forced to fight to death.

But that being said lets get some facts straight.

Fact: Dog’s aren’t people!

Fact: Dog’s don’t have eternal souls.

Fact: Dog’s are dangerous. They aren’t all cute little puppies, they are animals with a natural instinct to fight, bite and kill.

Given these facts we can (hopefully) treat this crime with a reasonable sense of justice rather than a vindictive emotional reaction.

It is therefore my opinion that if Vick is found guilty of these crimes he should serve no more than 30 months in prison.

That seems like a just punishment to me. I should also say that I personally do not like Vick at all. I find his “style” of hip-hop, bad-boy, tough guy, to be deplorable. I wouldn’t mind in the least if I never saw him on “NFL live” ever again.  But at the same time I don’t think the life of a human should be ruined for taking the life of an animal.

I disagree with the sentiment that claims Vick is being targeted because he is black. I think any “star” no matter what race they are would be called out  for this crime, nevertheless I do think there is a racial element involved when it comes to how to punish the criminal. If it were Peyton Manning there would still be an outcry for him to be banned from the NFL, but I don’t think Sen Byrd would be calling for him to go to the hottest parts of hell.  Mostly because Manning isn’t as polarizing as Vick (and probably because Manning doesn’t make you regret picking him on your fantasy team), but also partly because Manning is white.

In conclusion I think that more attention needs to be paid towards banning/punishing (In progressive order) these things which illicit far less out cry…

Music lyrics that promote illegal/immoral activities.

Media that depicts acts of human torture (i.e. movies like “Saw” and “Hostel”).

Group and individual acts of assault (such acts recently ended in the murder of a local surfer)

Domestic violence cases such as spousal or child abuse. (Which many sports stars are constantly being accused of.)

Abortion. (Which is state sponsored MURDER.)

(To clarify: I am not saying music and movies are worse crimes than dog fighting (though assault and domestic violence are) I am simply saying we need more public outcry against those things.)

So there you have it, someone who is willing to go out on a limb and tell you that you are wrong for being so angry at Mike Vick. I must be a glutton for punishment.



  1. LynnH said,

    I have a theory…Sen. Bird had Vick on his fantasy team last year.

  2. pokerforprofit said,

    I have said all along that Mr. Mexico would be better off if he was involved in an underground human “fight club” rather than underground dog fighting.

    This statement is just as true as it is crazy.

    Our society has such a high view on animals (higher than humans) that makes me cringe.

    On a more important subject,

    Thankfully the Chargers traded that #1 pick in 2001 so we could draft a fine, upstanding individual named LT instead of a scrub named Vick.

  3. danielbalc said,

    indeed. if that debate was still smoldering in some minds it has now been completely extinguished.

  4. 5najeras said,

    I will never understand why people get harsher punishments for the mistreatment of animals than they do for many crimes against people. I guess what we have to keep in mind is, if you have to beat somebody you better make sure its a person and not an animal. Messed up.

  5. itsasecret2u said,

    OK, as a reformed animal-lover, let me explain what I think is the logic here, (BTW, among my animal-lover credentials, I can include not being able to eat for a day and half after watching “Old Yeller.”)

    There is something about an animal, particularly what I believe has been described as a soulish animal (dogs or cats, as opposed to cows or sheep), that makes it seem so helpless, as if it needs defending and advocacy. People feel a need to defend the “underdog,” absolutely no pun intended. Now, this is marginally ridiculous, especially when you consider the contrast between the lack of defense (by the general public) when people are attacked, exploited, hurt, maimed, murdered, or whatever. But still, I think that’s the logic. “Don’t pick on the puppies! Pick on someone your own size! Like your neighbor!”

  6. pokerforprofit said,

    This whole topic rubs me the wrong way.

    First off, I will never understand the desire to have a “pet”. There would be no need to have pets if everyone would just find companionship and friendship the way God intended it, with OTHER HUMANS! ( Gen.2:18, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”)

    Second, what makes an animal soulish? Don’t you think if everyone started loving to have cows as pets they would be just as “soulish” as dogs and cats? All animals have equal levels of soulishness, and that level is ZERO.

    Third, it is natural for all animals to want to fight because deep down that is the way God created them, not as pets, as animals! We are the ones that domesticate them and have decided that their natural instinct to fight is wrong.

    Shoot your arrows this way!

  7. itsasecret2u said,


    I think what makes an animal “soulish” is that they have the appearance of having emotions, personalities, and relationships. Cows and sheep don’t ever really go there, at least in my limited experience. Pet owners would say that cats and dogs (some might even say birds, although I don’t see that at all) do. Personally, the only pets I’m really into are dogs for protection and rodent-control. I still love animals, but in a naturalist sort of way: leave them alone in nature, let them do their thing, don’t kill them unecessarily… Hopefully it’s a little more balanced than an animal-rights view. (BTW, killing animals for food is not “unecessary” killing in my opinion. God put certain animals there for that purpose.)

  8. Anthony said,

    The law has been in place for some time and Mike Vick broke it anyway. He deserves whatever punishment is given him if he is found guilty. That is how the system works. Do you agree dog fighting should be against the law? Do you believe 30 months (for one of the worst cases) is a sufficient deterrent?

    Dogs are part of God’s creation. I don’t think God enjoys it when we kill his creation for entertainment. Animals are sacred in the sense that they were killed as a sacrifice to God. Now we have people killing them for their own pleasure and for money.

    Don’t let your anger against the idiots that buy their dog diamond collars get in the way of your love for God’s creation.

    Sidenote: Remember, when we killed those frogs in your old spa? That was wrong. I’m sorry frogs.

  9. danielbalc said,

    What about the crawdads we killed in the creek by your house? Have you any remorse for those devil creatures? what about the one that you essentially killed by keeping in your house and allowing it to escape downstairs to frighten the female members of your family?

    I’m not ready to take on guilt for all the bugs I’ve squashed over the years. Even the ants that got it from the magnifying glass.

    But really I have nothing against Vick never playing another nfl game again. I just don’t think he should be viewed as worse than a rapist or a murderer.

  10. Anthony said,

    Exactly. I don’t think the problem is Vick getting to harsh of a treatment as much as it is rapists, sex offenders, murders, and hardened criminals not being punished enough.

    His offense is magnified because he is magnified. The story is really annoying. I got really upset when I missed Baseball Tonight on ESPN because they thought it would be a better idea to reshow the same clips of Tim Donneghy and Mike Vick ad nauseum. I hate the attention that it brings. But at the same time I don’t want to let him off the hook because he is who he is.

    I feel bad for those crawdads. I’ve read that kids that torture animals as a hobby end up being serial killers. Some kids like model airplanes, some like sports, and others like hair spray, cigarette lighters and crawdads.

  11. danielbalc said,

    “I’ve read that kids that torture animals as a hobby end up being serial killers”

    Seriously dude? I think the world would be kinda like Mad Max beyond thunderdome if this were true, don’t you?

  12. Anthony said,

    All kids have stepped on a snail or a bug at some point. I’m talking sick stuff with bigger animals like dogs and kittens.

  13. 5najeras said,

    Like giving the ducks at Poway Lake Alka Seltzer to make their stomachs explode????

  14. Pablo Honey said,

    Apparently Ron Mexico is in S.D. Now this is just ridiculous, I mean it’s sad and all but $500??

  15. itsasecret2u said,

    A partial print on the can? Are they going to go all CSI-like and actually run that print to see if they get any hits? Goodness… It wouldn’t bother me so much except that we couldn’t get the cops to even come to our residence when we were robbed, let alone look for prints. Sheesh.

  16. danielbalc said,

    It was announced today that vick has reached a plea agreement. From the bits an pieces that I have gathered through the media people seem most upset that Vick personally killed or approved of the killings of 8 dogs through miscellaneous ways (electrocution, drowning, hanging and shooting).

    I’m sorry but I don’t think killing dogs is as bad as everyone on TV seems to think it is. It’s a cultural taboo because dogs are a part of americana, but had he killed these dogs in 90% of the rest of the world he would face no penalty.

    either way I’m kind of sad that vick won’t be playing this year because I always like to laugh at whoever takes him in the fantasy league. I guess I’ll just have to laugh at who ever takes harrington instead.

  17. pokerforprofit said,

    This whole story is amazing to me. Why someone like Ron Mexico would risk his career and a ton of money to do something so stupid is beyond me.

    Why would anyone think that running a dog fighting ring could end any other way than the way this one is going to end, jail time.

    His stupidity in aligning himself with this activity dumbfounds me more than the actual acts that are being alleged.

    I can only think what would have come from his career had he been drafted by the Chargers. He would have been 3,000 miles from his hometown and his friends and he would be in So Cal, hardly the dogfighting capital of the world. Perhaps his life would have went in a different direction. Guess we will never know.

  18. itsasecret2u said,

    I don’t care if it’s illegal in other parts of the world or not… hanging or drowning dogs is just sick. If you feel the need to kill an animal, shooting seems more humane (or electrocution, if it is of the sort that would just stop the animal’s heart).

  19. danielbalc said,

    Hard to say which method of execution is the most or least cruel. We don’t know that their motivations were torture or because they gained pleasure from watching a dog drown. MAYBE that will come out in the future but maybe not. Though shooting clearly seems like the quickest and least painful it also happens to be the kind that would attract the most (unwanted) attention.

    To clarify: in defense of vick, I don’t think the method of execution should be a factor in his punishment. Since as far as I can tell it’s not more of a crime to throw a dog from a bridge than it is to shoot a dog in the head. UNLESS it can be proved that it was for the purposes of deriving morbid pleasure, that the dogs were tortured.

    one might say that’s what dog fighting is but I disagree since I think dogs fighting with each other is a fairly natural instinct for dogs and humans betting on it is a fairly natural instinct (though one that should be repressed in a civil society) as well.

    In other words I don’t think people want to see the torn flesh of canines but are rather degenerate gamblers looking for a chance to gain money in dishonest fashion.

  20. itsasecret2u said,

    Come on… drowning HAS to be worse than shooting. It would draw the most unwanted attention, but that shouldn’t be considered when deciding if something is morally reprehensible. They wouldn’t have to worry about people hearing what they were doing if they were living within the confines of the law.

    Dogs fighting is natural… but not in the fashion typically observed at a “dog fight.” I’m not sure about dog fights, but I know in cock fights they tie razors to the roosters’ legs and the fight is not over until one of the roosters is dead. So is it natural for roosters to get in fights? Yeah, maybe, but not in that fashion. It sounds a bit like a sick “let’s see flesh get torn!” sort of thing to me. I do still agree, however, that too much emphasis is placed on protecting the animals in our society and not enough on people… particularly unborn babies.

  21. danielbalc said,

    I wouldn’t know to what degree things happen at a dog fight. I’ve never been to one and I don’t trust what the humane society tells me about what happens at them. Anyone who gets their facts from PETA or the Humane society needs to take a heavy dose of “consider the source”.

    logically speaking if it were MY fighting dog, and I had invested tons of time, effort and money into training it I think I would want it to fight more than once. But the humane society tells me that the dogs fight to the death virtually every time. Why don’t I believe that?

    When millions of people are watching Planet Earth to see sharks devour seals, crocodiles tear up zebras and a pack of lions jump on an elephant how can we be infuriated by people watching dogs fight each other?

    Punish Vick, but don’t think he’s some sort of barbaric, blood-thirsty, Neanderthal.

    I loved his statement that said “Mr. Vick wishes to apologize to anyone who has been hurt by this.”

    Who has honestly been “hurt” by his crimes?

  22. itsasecret2u said,

    The doggies. 🙂

  23. itsasecret2u said,

    P.S. I consider watching Planet Earth to be different because that actually IS natural and not staged like a dog fight or cock fight. Even so, I usually close my eyes if a fury little anything is getting ripped apart. Ew. Although, I have to admit I kept my eyes open watching Shark Week on Discovery. There were Great Whites JUMPING out of the water and getting little seals in midair. It was too spectacular to shut my eyes.

  24. danielbalc said,

    I consider watching Planet Earth to be different

    Most of us do, but it’s not entirely different. It proves that we are violent people attracted to combat. If it were possible to predict the time and place of an actual animal fight in the wild (any kind of animal) don’t you think that they would set up cameras, air it on PPV and take bets as to which animal would win? I guarantee they would, and we would buy it, because that’s what we are. violent.

    The Romans didn’t invent this with the gladiators and we haven’t perfected it with the NFL.

  25. itsasecret2u said,

    The Romans didn’t invent this with the gladiators and we haven’t perfected it with the NFL.

    You’re right. We’ve perfected it with MMA.


  26. danielbalc said,

    In case this story gets swept under the rug now that Vick’s kennels have been shut down what are they going to do with the 53 dogs he owned?


    “They” being the humane society WITH PETA’s endorsement. I heard a quote on the radio today from a PETA rep saying something like, “the best thing we can do for these poor animals is to take them out of this world that treated them like trash.”


    Vick kills 8 in 6 years, the Humane society takes over and kills 53 in one afternoon?

    I’ll never understand animal activists.

  27. itsasecret2u said,

    WOW. I wonder what their reasoning is…? Maybe that they are not safe to be kept as pets?

  28. danielbalc said,

    “Rehabilitating fighting dogs is not in the cards. It’s widely accepted that euthanasia is the most humane thing for them.”


  29. itsasecret2u said,

    Ugh, they’re pitbulls anyway. Kill em all.

    I mean… save the whales… and the trees. Sorry, I felt a little too un-green for a second there.

  30. danielbalc said,

    This classic ESPN piece of “journalism” includes true highlites of this whole MV dogfighting debate like…

    Veterinarians say putting a dog to sleep is painless. Forty seconds, and a dog the size of a pit bull is gone. In some clinics, dogs are given an overdose of Phenobarbital, an anticonvulsant for humans. It sedates them, then stops the heart.

    Sometimes pet owners want to be there. When they can’t handle it, they call Karen Cohen, a certified animal chaplain in Virginia, one of the first in the country. She does pet memorial services and counsels grieving owners.

    She’s been thinking about the Vick dogs, praying for them and nearly offered her services to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Then she thought of all the people who are already involved, the feds and the shelter workers, and decided she didn’t want to “muddy the waters.”


  31. pokerforprofit said,

    On the bright side,

    It appears Mr. Vick has “found Jesus” (all you reformed Calvinists should love that) and that he feels (I am paraphrasing) it is his best option for right now.

    I am not one to question someone’s salvation but this sounds a tad bit like a PR move to me. I actually have a problem with how flippant people are toward the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

    It makes me cringe when people use Jesus as tool to get back in the good graces of the public. Jesus is not someone you try for a while. I hope Mr. Vick understands this. Something tells me he does not.

  32. danielbalc said,

    That something is your racism.

    Or perhaps your FFLism?

  33. pokerforprofit said,

    Honestly who is Cody going to draft as his quarterback?

  34. danielbalc said,

    Duante Culpepper. Duh.

  35. danielbalc said,

    Top Ten NFL players (other than Mike Vick) probably involved in dog fighting

    10) Vince Young (By virtue of being from Texas)
    9) TJ whozurmomma + Chad Johnson + Carson Palmer (By virtue of being Bengals)
    8 ) Lance Briggs (where do you think he was going when he crashed his Lamborghini?)
    7) Brett Favre (No one owns 1800 acres in Mississippi for fun)
    6) The Manning Brothers (It’s a family tradition)
    5) Tank Johnson (for target practice)
    4) Terrel Owens (He loves anything with muscles)
    3) Tom Brady and Travis Henry (so their kids have something to play with)
    2) Joey Porter (No explanation necessary)
    1) Anyone on the Raiders

  36. danielbalc said,

    Comments 14 and 15 immediately came to mind when i read this story about a noose being hung on a professors door at Colombia university.


    While I don’t have a problem with the police watching some surveillance video I do have a problem with doing DNA testing on the twine.

    This is outrageous. This whole noose thing has gotten way out of hand. I haven’t written anything about the Jena-6 just because I think it’s so ridiculous that people actually can come to the support of a group of kids who beat one kid unconscious.

    It makes no sense. none at all whatsoever.

  37. itsasecret2u said,

    I’ve thought about blogging on the Jena-6 situation, but the whole thing is so dumb, I don’t even know where to start. Swabbing the noose for DNA is way overboard too.

  38. danielbalc said,

    My Jena-6 blog has been written and re-written in my mind at least 50 times.

    unfortunately it only comes out in painful sounds instead of cognizant thought patterns.

  39. itsasecret2u said,

    But we’re used to that on your blog…

  40. danielbalc said,

  41. itsasecret2u said,

    Wow. I’m not exactly an advocate of hanging things from nooses in your front yard (it’s just a little creepy, isn’t it?), but why does everything get turned into a racial issue? If the dummies were all representing black people, that’d be different… but how is a space alien on a noose offensive?

  42. danielbalc said,

    Has anyone heard anything about the Columbia university noose case?

    maybe you already forgot about it, but you had to have heard about it. A female professor found a noose hanging on her office door handle and made a stink about the atrocity of this racist crime against her.

    After that the police collected 50 hours of surveillance video to try and find the perpetrator of this “hate crime”. They also did DNA testing on the fibers of the rope. (See comment 36 above for a link)

    That was nearly a month ago. I don’t know how long it takes to watch 50 hours of surveillance video (My best guess would be 50 hours) but evidently it’s going to take NYPD a LONG time to catch the criminal who did this. Heck this might even fall into the “Cold Case” file then we can watch it at 10 PM on Wednesday nights. OH wait. I forgot, the screen writers are on strike so all we’ll get is reruns. GASP how will we ever survive?

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