Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Michael Vick....


I'm not sure how well I will express this but Michael Vick's press conference yesterday morning was disturbing.

I'm not a fan of public apologies where one mimics the socially expected speech about taking responsibility for one's actions and feeling ashamed. That content doesn't feel authentic because it is a canned recitation of the current cultural emphasis on accountability. His referring to himself as "immature" didn't come anywhere close to the more appropriate "cruel". His actions were indicative of a person who is so hollow inside, so mindless, that killing innocent beings doesn't even register on his ethical radar screen.

The reconciliation of his feelings though is a private matter, not for public display.

The "I found Jesus" card at the end of his confession was almost comical in its predictability! How often have we heard that one lately? Does anyone find that believable anymore? It seems like a conversion of that nature would a) take some time to assimilate and b) would not be something to boast about publicly. Again, it's a private matter.

The only thing important to me is that Vick begins to understand the implications of his actions, the fact that he harmed living beings and that he now has karmic responsibility to reconcile that. That will take quite a while. People don't change overnight.

Some people have been saying that he should suffer the same fate as his dogs. I don't believe in revenge. (An eye for an eye only leaves everyone blind, so it's been said.) That is perpetuating the very type of thought that creates a Michael Vick, someone who can see other living beings as objects to be dispensed with when they become inconvenient because something stops working.

Maybe a good spiritual adviser would be an option for him. He needs someone he can respect to help him guide his thinking in another direction.

The changes within him must be internal.. and if he becomes a better person, a person who lives more mindfully, that is all I hope for.

~*

43 comments:

Blog Antagonist said...

Oh yes, they always find Jesus, don't they? Why didn't someone tell him that such a statement would come off sounding every bit as disingenuous as it was? I agree with everything you said about Vic. He's an embarassment to the NFL, he's an embarassment to the human race.

Julie Pippert said...

Chani, I think most people are utterly satisfied with hearing you say what we all seem to think is the expected and accepted thing to say. I imagine those who want to believe him found that completely fine. The rest of us? I don't know that there was anything for him to say.

I agree with your assessment. And I'm sick of playing the 'Fallback on God' or 'Fall on my sword for Jesus' cards.

It cheapens true faith.

Julie
Ravin' Picture Maven

Open Grove Claudia said...

As a person who has made many mistakes in my life, I am grateful for never having to make a public apology. I don't really know what I would do if I had done such a thing. Clearly, his life, culture, values and history led him to get involved in something that he now regrets. I've done that... more than once.

meno said...

Next he'll be entering rehab, you just watch.

Anyone who would treat any beings in such a cruel manner has more issues than "finding religion" will solve. So i'm just not buying it, dude.

Anonymous said...

He isn't fit to be an example to children. Of course if he is good enough, all will be forgiven in the name of the almighty dollar.

flutter said...

despite myself, I found my heart filling with forgiveness and tenderness at his words, and my tears overflowed in commiseration that he has at last found redemption in the arms of his lord and savior, Jesus Christ.


NOT.

actually, I don't think I have ever wanted someone to burst into spontaneous flame, more than that guy.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I may be cynical, which is never pc, but I think that anyone who could do what he did is way beyond any kind of quick fix from finding religion.

The whole accountability/responsibility thing really reads like a hackneyed script at this point. I think that his "epiphany" is more likely caused by the reality of lessened income than by anything remotely spiritual.

I am utterly disgusted with those who slaughter helpless beings, and frankly, don't care what happens to him now.

Mary said...

I didn't like the word "immature" either. He is not very bright.

I don't believe he should be destroyed or killed as punishment. Someone commented on my blog recently about a possible sentence and I agree with it:

For several years, put him in a well-guarded animal shelter, hand him a garden hose and shovel. Let him shovel dog sh-- 365 days a year.

If he should, by some chance, become a better person and lets go of his sadistic and cruel tendencies, that would be great.

slouching mom said...

Honestly?

I didn't believe a word of his apology.

And I was struck by his eyes. In graduate school I looked into a set of eyes like that.

They were the eyes of a sociopath.

(Before you all come after me, sociopaths who kill account for very few of the total number of sociopaths -- most sociopaths fit quite well into society, but there is something missing -- a developed conscience. Thus they are inveterate liars and do not feel remorse.)

thailandchani said...

BA, I'm not sure why no one bothered to tell him exactly how it would sound. People like that are usually surrounded by sycophants who never tell them the truth about anything. Truthfully, the guy sounded like an idiot up there.. even with his "I'm not a public speaker so..." line.

~*

Julie, it does cheapen true faith. I know my own conversion took time... lots of time.. and study.. and reflection. Sorry.. but I can't buy that happening instantaneously.. and especially when it's so politically convenient.

~*

Claudia, I understand what you're saying.. and I'm not judging the guy. I've made lots of mistakes, too... but, hopefully, have never truly harmed any other beings. I might have really pissed some people off... but this.. his actions.. are just so over the top that it's nearly impossible to consider it a "mistake". Maybe though... You've given me something to think about...

~*

Meno, I'm not buying it either, dude. :)

~*

Anonymous, in consumer culture, it always does come down to that ultimately, doesn't it?

~*

Flutter, you had me going there for a minute. LOL

~*

Susan, I agree about his epiphany. It is pure self-interest.

~*

Mary, naturally I'd like to see him sent to some facility where he would not become embittered.. but would develop some reverence for life itself. Maybe a few years in Tibet would do it.. where he could be influenced by the world's greatest ajahns.

If I had the ability... that's probably what I would choose for him.

~*

SM, I saw that, too.. the sociopathy. His words were as hollow as an old acorn on the ground. There's no one home inside there.

~*


Peace,

~Chani

Cecilieaux said...

I may be the only one in the US of A, but I don't see what the big deal about this is. Football and rugby and lacrosse and boxing and war are all pretty violent and people get hurt and even killed. No one bats an eyelash.

thailandchani said...

Cecilieaux, you're not alone.

Let me present this idea though: All of those human activities you've mentioned involve some sort of agreement among the players. Whether it's war or Lacrosse, people are agreeing to play. In the case of war, it might not even be voluntary ~ but choices are made.

The dogs didn't get to choose. They didn't get to make a contract. They were exploited. They were treated like objects to be used for the entertainment of human beings.

.. and that's probably what people are reacting to, perhaps even more than the violence itself.

I'm not sure though. Really.

~*


Peace,

~Chani

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I do not see the comparison Cecilieaux is making here.

He is equating violent HUMAN sports, which are another matter altogether, with the gratuitous, vicious murder of helpless animals.

As I believe he said elsewhere, that is like apples and oranges.

crazymumma said...

I am unaware of this story...I'll have to check it out.

Cecilieaux said...

I'm sorry, Chani, but animals have long provided entertainment and a whole variety of services, all unasked. Or what do you think pets and beasts of burden are? Do animals get to choose their "owners"?

The common thread between the dogs and the humans -- see, it can be said without SHOUTING -- is sports and violence. Why is anyone surprised that Vick, a sportsman in a particularly violent sport, enjoys watching violence? As to apples and oranges, it would seem to be some of the few things left to eat or clothe oneself from, if one excludes the meat or byproducts of helpless animals. But wait, that's the meat and byproducts of helpless plants! They're alive, too, you know.

ThomasLB said...

Right now Michael Vick is the Bad Example, the guy who lost everything through a brutal combination of cruelty and stupidity.

I hope, by the time this is all over, that he becomes the example of a guy who screwed up badly but found a way to turn it all around and become a credit to the community.

jen said...

sports stars seem to be easily forgiven. and i often wonder how jesus feels about how the new converts find their way.

MsLittlePea said...

Everyone here has pretty much said what I myself feel. I watched the 'apology' and maybe I'm a biased animal lover, but I just didn't believe it either. It seemed forced. And the whole, 'I'm not a public speaker..' irritated me too because I'm sure he's done countless interviews as a famous athlete. I was thinking the EXACT same thing about his,'I found Jesus,' crap, how convenient. He also says he didn't point any fingers and took responsibility- to me it just sounded like he was taking a shot at the people who ratted him out to save their skins-but again maybe that's just me. And it just didn't sound to me like he was fully taking responsibility, it seemed more like he was doing the apology because that's what's expected if he wants to play football again. Apologies mean nothing to me in that case-he's only sorry he got in trouble. Maybe with time he really will understand the cruelty he participated in.

QT said...

Chani - While I agree the speech was "canned" and touched on all the important talking points, I still think it is important. There are children that look up to some of these athletes, for better or worse, and I think the apology and acceptance of responsibility (that I would LOVE to hear come out of some politician’s mouths!) was critical to moving on to the next phase, which should be forgiveness.

Additionally, I feel that once he serves his time, he SHOULD be given the opportunity to redeem himself. God only knows the mistakes I have made in life, I have never been to jail, but let's just say I've been close. I am thankful for my second chances, and what is the benchmark, Chani? How will we be satisfied? Have we turned into a certain middle eastern country where people turn out in droves to see the thief’s hand cut off?

This should serve as a wake up call to us about what children who are raised in poverty are seeing on a daily basis. Michael Vick reports going to dogfights at an abandoned lumberyard before he was even a teenager. The desensitization that he has gone through is not unique to him - it is something that people living in the lower social strata of this country are dealing with every single day. YES, some of them "pull themselves up by the bootstraps", but there are a ton of Michael Vick's out there with a lot less motivation to turn their lives around than an NFL contract. What about them?

As for cecilieaux, your comparison doesn’t hold water. Many have tried to make your argument, but the fact remains that in all of the “sports” you mention, there are guidelines to prevent injury--dogfighting is a fight to the death. These animals are abused to the point where they want to kill--they are not born with this aggressiveness; it is taught to them by cruelty and mistreatment. And to willingly torture and ultimately, kill these dogs who lose matches is horrific--we don't go out and drown a professional boxer after he loses a match.

And while factory farming is horrific, I think more and more people are starting to see the light and find alternatives. Most farmers don’t torture and abuse the animals that they own. And very few animals are raised strictly for the leather, my friend. The leather is a by-product of the beef and dairy industry.

Cecilieaux said...

QT, war -- which I mentioned originally -- is very much to the death. That's what "unconditional surrender" meant at Casablanca -- which ensured that Germans fought to the bitter end -- or the only kind of truce accepted by Gen. U.S. Grant in the Civil War.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cecilieaux,

First of all, I wasn't shouting. I used caps because my program does not facilitate italics.

I also did not resort to sarcasm, and it was unnecessary for you to do so. It tends to make people suspect that you have no valid winning points, and thus resorted to a tactic akin to name calling.

Do you seriously expect anyone to equate dog fighting with war?

Anvilcloud said...

It's quite probably a bogus confession, but If he says he found salvation, who am I to argue? While I certainly am skeptical, it could possibly be true, or at least events such as this have been known to sometimes turns lives around. Possibly. Sometimes. Occasionally.

thailandchani said...

QT, I can only speak from my own spiritual context, of course, and can quite honestly say that if he had indicated that he is re-thinking some of his positions, that he has learned from the experience and plans to learn to change his thinking, I'd be content. I also think that would be a better example for children than the canned apology.

As for what US culture demands, well, I can't speak to that. I'm becoming increasingly removed from it.. but the middle eastern country reference does resonate. :)

The thing is that spilled blood only leads to more spilled blood, so I can't go along with the "throw him in jail and melt the key" mindset because that will not change him. It will only embitter him.

~*

Cecilieaux, I recognize some truth in what you are saying. Meaning basically that I can't argue with the logic of it. Yes, everything leads somewhere. However, that doesn't make it right.. and "right" is what concerns me.

If we take on a pet (which I have one), I believe we take on an obligation to treat that pet with respect and kindness, just as we do other people. They are living beings, too.. not objects. While I'm not sloppy sentimental about my pet and feel no need to anthropomorphize her, I do recognize that she is a living being with a path... just like me.

All the kindness we put out into the world compounds. So does negativity.

~*

Peace,

~Chani

Janet said...

You're right: "immature" doesn't even come close to describing his behaviour.

I think Slouching Mom's assessment is a little more on target.

(PS Thanks for stopping by my blog!)

Snoskred said...

Hurting animals actually upsets me more than hurting humans does, most of the time. To me it is the equivalent of torturing children.

Imagine for a moment we were talking about children fighting to the death. The parents of the kids are supposed to be looking after them, taking care of them, helping them grow to be good adults. Instead, they shove them into a ring and tell them to fight until they kill the other child - or they die themselves. Could any parent do this?

Essentially that is what any pet owner is supposed to do as well. We have to look after the pets we have chosen, otherwise they should be taken away from us.

I'm sad that you don't see what the big deal is, Cecilieaux. Yes, this is just another media beat up, another story for them to play over and over, but at the same time this is about animals trained to fight other animals until they kill them - for the humans to bet on and profit out of. For no GOOD reason.

People do get killed in sports but generally this is quite by accident and not something done deliberately. No coach says to a player - I want you to kill number 26 during this game. All the players on the field are there by choice and because they want to play the game. They know the risks and they are willing to take them.

I think people are batting an eyelash at war these days. In fact I'm fairly sure a lot of people are. At the same time, the people going to war volunteered to serve.

You cannot compare dog fighting to those things. No dog volunteers for this. No dog wants to fight another dog until it kills them. They may do it in nature when they are threatened.

There's a great show on one of the nature channels - Animal Precinct - where they look at cruelty to animals and it is always shocking to me that people can treat animals so badly. Anyone who watches a few episodes of that can gain a better understanding of what animal cruelty is all about - and I recommend parents sit down with their kids and watch it together before owning a pet.

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

painted maypole said...

i too found his apology insincere

someone pointed out, and i found this interesting, that Michael Vick is getting more public outrage and a harsher sentence than most NFL players who are found guilty of abusing their wives. And while I think dog fighting is a serious offence, that gives me pause, as well. Not in thinking we should let him of the hook, but that there should be just as much if not more concern for the humans being hurt.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I second Snoskred's suggestion that people teach their children to be kind to animals before they own one.

Years ago, I adopted a grey wolf who had been born in captivity and severely abused by her first owner: blinded, beaten with chains, and starved.

Within days of being treated kindly, she not only house trained herself, but was the sweetest, smartest and most loving animal I have ever shared my life with.

I have also adopted abused horses and cats, and I believe that there is a very thin line between deliberately hurting an animal and a child.

Those who would do so have no humanity and do not deserve to be called human.

thailandchani said...

Just for the record, I agree with Snos's suggestion, too. People really need to get that animals are not objects.. but living beings. It starts with parents and children, just like most things.


Peace,

~Chani, who is trying to stand back a bit and let the conversation flow between others ~ but wanted to interject this much... :)

Kyla said...

The Jesus card kills me. It is cheap and trite, and if it were true, he wouldn't be using it attempt to bail himself out.

But like Painted Maypole, while I understand just how horrid and cruel what he did was, I see other crimes that are equally bad, if not worse, that get by with less punishment. I don't think his sentence should be lessened in the least, I just wish all situations were treated as gravely, I suppose.

Snoskred said...

It's also fairly well known that the majority of humans who end up killing other humans started out with cruelty to animals.

You may recall the Jamie Bulger case from the UK, where a two year old boy was abducted and brutally killed. The killers left his body on the train tracks and when the child was found he was completely cut in half after a train had run over him. All police officers involved with this case found it extremely difficult to cope with.

I don't have my books available to refer to but from memory his killers had been known in their neighbourhoods for being cruel to animals. Nobody reported it - somebody should have.

The killers were only children themselves, I believe 10 or 11 at the time they committed this cruel act.

Jamie Bulger haunts me to this day. What that child went through before his death.. it was horrible. :(

If you can be cruel to an animal, you can easily be cruel to a human.

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

River said...

That poor "Jesus" fella seems to get lost a lot. Good thing people keep "finding" him. Heh-heh.

Christine said...

julie said it perfectly--falling back on the religious card cheapens everyone else's religious convictions.

and i love the eye for eye quote--we'll all be blind--yes!

My Reflecting Pool said...

I believe no one is a lost cause if they want to change. Does this guy want to understand his actions and actually change? Or does he just want to get the sentancing over with to get on with his life?

enigma4ever said...

many prisons have programs where they work with neglected dogs...maybe he needs to learn about these living creatures and see them as being something other than a toy...I worry though is this how he also treats women and children? does he value life? .....geesus...then rehab...and then the presser to ask for forgiveness to come back to football....

Cecilieaux said...

Spare me the false pity, Snoskred, I understand fully well what this is and I wouldn't organize or attend or bet on such a thing myself. But that a footballer is doing so does not surprise me in the least. That this is coming out in August, when in the northern hemisphere people are relaxing and not particularly focused, does not surprise me either. Had someone published that Vick was a ballet aficionado, that would have made me sit up. But this ... please!

I like animals as much as the next person and as a child had a dog (who died of a brain tumor) and my kids had a hermit crab and a frog. But I have no illusions that animals have ever been held on a par with human beings and doubt very much that we could survive if we did. That goes for plants, too.

Cruelty to animals? Given all the cruelty to our own species, what is so surprising? When we learn to treat one another well, we'll be better equipped to think of treating other species better.

Snoskred said...

You're very much mistaken if you think my pity is false, Cecilieaux.

I don't know what your issue is or even who your issue is with but it is clear to me you have one. The venom you direct at others here on this blog is really quite out of line.

Especially the venom you direct at Chani. Don't think for one second the rest of us don't see it - and that is one reason for my pity. Why anyone would want to pick on Chani is beyond me. If you don't like what she's saying, is someone holding a gun to your head and making you read it?

If the way you act here makes you feel good, then you are yet another of those people inflicting cruelty on other humans. Why would you want to do that?

I try to keep away from people who are so negative. That's your problem, not mine. ;( And that's another reason I pity you.

Over the past week or two I have noticed you becoming more angry and negative here in the comments. Clearly something is happening in your life to make you act that way all of a sudden. You have my sincere sympathies, but do you have to take it out on everyone else?

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

Cecilieaux said...

We disagree, Snoskred. (You are wrong, natch.) That's all there is here.

As to motivations and feelings and undercurrents, I would never attempt to offer psychological treatment over the Internet, as I am not a qualified therapist; even if I were, it would be unethical to do so in public and without a face-to-face consultation.

If I misunderstood your previous tone of condescension, and if I am misconstruing your current decidedly more hostile tone, accept my apologies. In either case, you're right, your tone, whether it is good, bad or fattening, is irrelevant to the ideas we are attempting to discuss. I shall try to ignore it in the future.

Snoskred said...

Absolutely you misunderstood it, and absolutely you are misconstruing it, and if you think that comment above from me was hostile.. well, all I can say is, it absolutely was not.

I don't like the kind of comments I have been seeing from you here lately. I am aware I am not the only member of this community who feels that way. I can't imagine how Chani must be feeling about it. SHe wisely is keeping her lips zipped. I'm not the kind of person who does that and I hope she doesn't mind me speaking my mind, and I hope no other readers do either.

You did to me exactly what you recently accused Chani of doing - not answering the questions I asked.

That's fine, but please don't tell me that your comments recently have not been in a negative tone. I can easily go back and grab them and present them to you so perhaps you can see the negative tone for yourself.

I am speaking in particular of the weekend temptation posts but that wasn't where it started. It began with this comment on Chani's good neighbours post -

What happened to the "you comment - I reply" policy? No comment for last post's 19 comments

- and it has continued on from there.

All I'm saying is, if you can't respect Chani and the other people commenting here and you want to present a negative tone to everything, perhaps this is not the best place for you to do that. I can send you links to forums where people flame each other, if you want to char broil people.

Nobody here deserves char broiling.

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

Cecilieaux said...

Respectfully, Snoskred, the only person who can censor the expression of thought here is Chani. All the rest is, as you wisely said earlier, irrelevant.

thailandchani said...

In reading this exchange, I'd have to say that a few things come to mind:

In any discussion, respecting other people's boundaries is important. Any time I believe a question has gone too far, I don't answer.

If I believe the question is presented in a way that is intended to put someone on the defensive, I don't answer.

Not because I can't. Because I won't. It's a boundary issue for me.

I'm not willing to "censor" anyone.. but it's okay, imo, to ask that everyone be respectful and kind to each other.

That's primarily what's important to me.

I'm not a heavy handed, dictatorial person and I don't like having to moderate other people's behavior. We're all adults here and can interact accordingly.

There is only one time I've deleted a comment on this forum and that is because the guy was using vulgar, racist language. Readers have a right to not be exposed to that kind of filth. I'd like to think that everyone who comes here is intelligent and educated enough to express him- or herself without resorting to gutter language.

In a case such as that, I don't feel the need to explain it to anyone. The comment will be gone. If someone construes that as "censorship", I'm willing to live with it.


Peace,

~Chani

Cecilieaux said...

The word "censor" seemed to catch your eye, if I am not misreading.

To censor is defined as to act as an official charged with examining speech in various forms for the purpose of suppressing what is deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds. The U.S. Constitution does not prohibit such action when it is done by private citizens.

The philosophical problem that always arises in the suppression of the expression of ideas is the matter of its justification, public or not. If we lay claim to freedom of expression as an inalienable right, as most of us Westerners after 1789 have, on what grounds may we deny this freedom to others?

Legally, the answer given so far involves matters of safety (Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous objection to yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater). Whenever obscenity or lewdness, much less manners, have been raised, the courts have struck down restrictions. The tenuous exception so far is for violations of "community standards."

The larger problem with community standards, however, is that the majority isn't always right -- not to mention that standards change.

This being your site, Chani, I would think you have the legal right to do whatever you wish insofar as censoring.

I thank you for your patience with Snoskred and myself.

thailandchani said...

Legally, yes.. I agree. I could do all of those things here.. and more.

However, I don't hold that as a highest value.. in the respect that I don't believe anyone should be free to say whatever they choose. Things that are deliberately disruptive to social harmony, things that are meant only to incite or cause trouble.. so on. I'm sure you get my drift.

In this particular forum, I don't see anyone deliberately trying to be troublesome. We come in a variety of sizes and shapes here with all kinds of sensibilities. We are not always going to like each other's styles. But still.. as grown people, I think we're all capable of being sensitive to those things.

I count on others to modulate their own behavior.

Obviously, I have a "thing" about use of language. But I recognize it as mine. It is difficult for me to not discredit what someone has to say when it is peppered with obscene language.

That's where the balancing becomes difficult.

This site, as far as I'm concerned, for most intents and purposes, belongs to everyone who comes here. That's why I will never interfere when someone is responding from his or her own sensibilities. As long as it doesn't turn into an outright flamefest (which would disrupt the harmony of the site), I won't likely say anything ~ except to perhaps state my impressions and opinions.

I can't stand power-over and try to avoid it. I believe that with a little bit of consideration, everyone can get along well enough.


Peace,

~Chani

Lex said...

There is so much to say about that speech, but you have said it well. I will restrict my comments to the "I found Jesus" part.

I agree with you that it is so cliche and predictable. It seems insincere and appears to be the easy way out to appease his critics. But unfortunately I think that what's worse is that those with the community who have "found Jesus" accept this easy out and offer it even. I've spent the majority of my life active in a religious Christian community. I've chosen to remove myself from that community because, quite frankly, I couldn't take it anymore. I believe that the message of Christ is just thrown at situations like Vick's in a very "All you have to do is..." way.

I don't think the Christian message (whether I agree with it or not) speaks to "when you get in trouble real, real bad", rather it is a much broader message that seeks to address the state of one's being at its core. It's a message bigger than what one's done. It addresses who one is.

I think the Church has done as much damage to it's own message as people like Vick who accept what they are offering...a quick, easy Get Out of Jail Free card. It's sad and reminds me of Ghandi's words:

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.