Friday, August 24, 2007

Shaw: Today, We're All Michael Vick

Russell Shaw is probably the number one reason I stopped reading the Huffington Post. The man's logic is either painfully contorted or painfully simplistic. It was only appropriate that when I dropped by the HuffPo tonight, his was the first post I read. As usual, Shaw's logic fails. He fails to get his nut in one lede paragraph, so I'll be forced to fisk him a bit even though I'd prefer not to waste that much time.

I spent one of my boyhood summers on a farm where chickens were raised for their eggs.

But I will never forget how, one day, the farmer decided that one of his chickens would make a perfect dinner.

He chased a chicken down, grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and after about 30 seconds of loud death cries from the poor bird...there was no more life.

30 seconds? What did the farmer do, read Russell's early writings until the chicken died? The poor bird can be killed in the time it takes an ax to pass through its neck. And as far as sustenance goes, I'll no more apologize for the killing of animals for food than the fox that would have enjoyed that chicken just as much.

Apparently now-former NFL star Michael Vick is going to serve time on that dogfighting rap. You know, forceably kill pit bulls that he and his friends decided weren't mean enough to excel at that disgusting non-sport.

Vick's accomplices said the dogs were dispatched by means that could only be described as highly barbaric. Shooting, electrocution, even repeatedly hurling one dog to the ground until it breathed no more.

But as a society, we should not be so quick to condemn Vick and his friends without looking in the mirror.

Not being a vegetarian, I'd like to shine the mirror not on our eating habits, but the way so many of us hunt and select live beings for slaughter. To me, there is a profound difference.

This very weekend, numerous "game ranches" will host high net-worth, highly ammo'ed "hunters" who will track jungle cats and other exotic creatures down, and kill them for sport.

I can't say that I'm a fan of killing animals purely for sport. I can assure you that a high powered round is going to bring death far more quickly than will come to the loser of a dog fight, however. And just to humanize it, I'll take a high powered round for my own death than being thrown on the ground until I stop breathing, thank you very much.

Probably as I type this, greyhounds whose "entertainment" racing days are behind them and have not been adopted will be given a "mercy" killing. No, they won't be flailed to the ground until their skulls are crushed, but the "mercy" killings will leave them just as dead as the canines in Vick's "kennels."

Come to think of it, what about the animal shelter who cannot place the stray dogs in their custody? Is the gas chamber or fatal injection any more "humane" than what Michael Vick and his posse are accused of doing?

As opposed to starvation? Yes, it is. Or shall we just contribute all of the unwanted dogs and cats that society cannot care for to fights to the death? I guess that would be just as humane as putting the animals to sleep by Shaw's logic, right?

This weekend, much of our recreational countryside will be killing fields for deer and airborne game dispatched by hunters with telescopic sights. As these creatures experience a nanosecond of pain while their life ebbs away, they may just feel a type of fear and dread similar to the dogs that Vick and his companions are believed to have killed.

I have two issues here. First, we return to the sustenance discussion. The creatures he describes here are almost exclusively killed for food. There is a purpose to their death and it is a natural part of the existence of all creatures on this earth. Second, the comparison is nearly idiotic. What Shaw discusses in this paragraph is a predator-prey scenario that those creatures would face even if man did not exist. What we have in the Vick scenario is domesticated animals-in other words, animals man has a certain amount of responsibility for-being set against one another for no other purpose than to savage each other until one is injured and the other dead. In this guy's moral book, there is a big damn difference.

If Shaw wants to get in bed with dog fighting and defend Michael Vick, he should come right out and do so because his moral equivalence is lazy and disgusting.

No comments: