Over at Tiny Cat Pants, Aunt B. mulls over some statements made by NBA star Stephon Marbury and (president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP) R.L. White.

I think there is an easily accessible subtext to what Messrs. Marbury and White are saying. (Call it the dog-whistle effect; I believe it resonates in my African-American ear more than it does in my animal-loving ear.)

Neither of them is suggesting that dogfighting is acceptable. What they are suggesting is that one sport involving cruelty to animals is widely accepted and legal, while another is illegal, heavily stigmatized, and has earned a celebrity participant a possible trip to prison (among other sanctions).

While I won’t argue with anyone who says that dogfighting and its associated activities offer demonstrably more cruelty and sadism than the relatively quick deaths suffered by hunting victims, that isn’t the point Marbury and White are making.

I believe they are rather obliquely calling up a larger issue: our society is rife with cruelty and violence, and some it is carried out merely for sport. While we rightfully go after a high-profile minority who gets caught with a hand in abusing animals for sport, most of us are barely disturbed by the sorts of activities that are engaged in largely by middle and upper-class white people.

Yes, I’m talking about hunting. Now, I have no serious moral issue with hunting, per se. If you’re hungry and you’ve got a gun and there’s a lot of meaty animals around and you can’t wait for the harvest, then by all means go out and kill you some dinner. (I buy my meat from the grocery; it’s already been killed for me.) But I can guarantee you that the vast majority of people stocking up at Cabela’s aren’t missing any meals between hunting excursions. Call it what you want, but the vast majority of hunting in North America is nothing but killing for fun. A small percentage of it is gratuitously pointless and cruel.

Of course, the outrage over Michael Vick (and the relative lack of outrage over, say, Dick Cheney) also has much to do with North American affinity for dogs as pets. Other animals, feeling no less pain than dogs, don’t normally garner as much sympathy. However, the ethnicity and class issues of this should be ignored no less than the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine.

So while I might have been a bit stronger in voicing my disapproval for Michael Vick’s actions, I would certainly still agree with R.L. White when he says that Vick should pay whatever penance the government demands of him and then be treated (especially by the NFL) just like any other rich ex-con whose offense had nothing to do with his profession.

And I’ll add one more thing. While I would certainly expect some serious legal sanctions to be handed down to anyone who engages in dogfighting or this activity, I am looking with a jaundiced eye at a society that wants to put Michael Vick in a hole for torturing and killing dogs while willfully paying six-figure salaries to assholes who are guilty of torturing and killing innocent human beings.

5 comments on “

  1. Jeff says:

    I hadn’t been closely following the Vick case and was under the impression that the major charges against him had to do with illegal gambling on dog fights. However, the other day I heard a news story that described how he had a more active role in the fights and allegedy personally (and eagerly) participated in the hanging and electrocution deaths of the losing dogs–which, to me, gives him a nudge from degenerate gambler indifferent to animal suffering into the category of true sociopath.

  2. That’s all fine and good, Jeff, but I still say I want to see the sociopaths responsible for the deaths of human beings face at least the same level of public consternation. Then I want to see their asses tossed in the hole.I ain’t holding my breath though. I’m beginning to suspect that in the U.S., at least, dogs rate more highly than ‘towel heads.’

  3. Jeff says:

    Oh, you cn bet that guys like Kugie would run out and join PETA before they give one humane thought to any A-rabs or whoever–I was just saying that, if true, the enjoyment of manual strangulation and applying lethal electricity to animals (over and above making them fight and then maybe quickly shooting them) makes someone especially wacko and, if immune to dealing out such suffering to animals, possibly makes them a direct threat to humans. I daresay even supreme asswipe Ted Nugent would puke and back away.

  4. Jeff says:

    On second thought, maybe he wouldn’t.

  5. Nugent is a fucking tough-talking, draft-dodging, chickenhawk, piece of shit.

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