Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Vickkampf: Clinton Portis is as Helpful an Ally as Italy

Professor Portis, what do you think of laws that make dog-fighting a felony?

"I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it's his property; it's his dogs. If that's what he wants to do, do it."

Clinton Portis, devoted libertarian.

It's hilarious to me that "Portis" then issued a statement that he does not condone dog-fighting. I'm sure that "Portis" had a lot to do with that statement being issued. Seriously, why do teams even bother with statements like that that absolutely no one believes are the real beliefs of their purported authors? Is there a single sentient being who believes that Clinton Portis really believes the content of the statement?

Portis doesn't make this argument, but he got me to think a little about the laws that make dog-fighting illegal. Is it really rational to make dog-fighting a felony, but then to permit the slaughter of cows and pigs in oft-inhumane conditions? I suppose that the distinction is that cows and pigs provide food to humans, so there is some utility in their killing, but dog-fighting provides no utility other than base-level entertainment. And is the possibility of eating venison the reason why hunting is legal, but dog-fighting is not? There is probably also a distinction that dog-fighting is inevitably very painful for dogs, whereas a deer being shot by a hunter or a cow being slaughtered in a meat-packing facility creates less suffering for the animal, although I suspect that in practice, the difference is not too great. Finally, there is no reason why protection of some animals is illegitimate because we don't protect all animals in the same way.

Moving on from my mental exercise, the latest news in the case is that the police found several letters addressed to M. Vick on the property. Color me unimpressed by that revelation, as Vick's name is listed as the owner of the property, which means that he would have received junk mail there. I doubt that the Surry County prosecutor would base a case on a few stray credit card applications and a beige envelope from Publisher's Clearinghouse with Ed McMahon's smiling face on the outside.

If I were a betting man, I would guess that there are witnesses who saw Vick at the property and possibly at dog fights as well, but these witnesses will ultimately be reticent to testify. Vick will not be convicted of anything and may not even be indicted, but the evidence will be sufficient for Roger Goodell to conclude that Vick lied to him when he said that he was never present at the property. Goodell will then suspend Vick for a game or two, most white Falcons fans will conclude that Vick is a bad guy, most black Falcons fans will conclude that Vick was the victim of the justice system and the blood-thirsty media, and no one will come away satisfied.


Anonymous said...

I think most white Falcon fans reached that conclusion some time ago.

I'd be most interested to see if the opinion of black Atlanta fans varies significantly across income levels.

LD said...

I think one distinction is the "side effects" argument. The existence of dog fighting creates the situation where dogs are being trained specifically for that purpose (as may be alleged on Vick's property). The dogs which have been trained to fight and injure are potentially a threat to the public (mauling unsuspecting children, etc.). I think that might be a rational argument against dog fighting.

Anonymous said...

I think a rational argument against dog fighting would be that it serves no purpose other than to entertain complete trash. As one who has helped put down fighting dogs I can attest it is one of the human race's most disgusting activities.

SmoothJimmyApollo said...

What about the people who go to watch cows being slaughtered because it gives them some sort of sexual gratification?

Dogs in dog fights regularly have their snouts crushed, or their legs ripped off. Dog fights are not necessarily to the death. The dog that wins is the dog that, when pulled away from the other dog, still wants to fight. I have never been shot or been mauled by a dog, but I am confident I would prefer the former.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see the effects of dogfighting do an image search on msn ( but I want to warn you, you DON'T want to see these pictures..) All animal abuse is unacceptable!! As decent human beings it is our responsibility to protect the things that cannot protect themselves.. and while you might have an image of tough pit bulls in your mind they are no match against the human mind.. personally I would like to thank Vick for bringing this horrible activity in to every day america, it is ultimatly going to help us enact much stronger penalties against this type of scum.. also lets not forget on may 7th pres bush signed a bill making dog fighting a FEDERAL offense and the feds are in virginia at this moment