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Our Odd Values

Ever since Michael Vick was convicted and sentenced to 23 months in a federal prison I’ve been rather amazed at the public reaction — which for the most part seems to be that Vick got what he deserved.  Don’t get me wrong — animal abuse of this order is certainly an abominable crime.  There’s no excuse for it and people who are convicted of this type of crime definitely need some form of significant punishment.  But somehow 23 months in prison seems out of whack in our society when you look at some of the other crimes that go totally unpunished.  The torture of prisoners that was authorized by various members of the Bush administration is but one example.  Somehow we can look the other way when human beings are tortured, but when it’s dogs that are suffering we are all up in arms.  Hurricane Katrina is another example — over 1800 human beings lost their lives, many due to acts of gross negligence by people in the Federal Government.  And yet no one seemed to be as incensed about that as they are about Vick’s dogs.  And certainly no one has done a day of prison time for those deaths.

Now I do understand that this is a case of “two wrongs don’t make a right”.  But still, the fact that we as a society value the lives and welfare of dogs more than we do the lives and welfare of many of our fellow human beings is troublesome.  And yet, it does speak volumes about the values of many Americans these days.