About once a month anymore, I see some social media argument go viral and everyone vomits up someone else’s arguments until it gets personal. OK, maybe not everyone, but from what I’ve seen, this Michael Vick petition has now boiled down to 1) Michael Vick did his time and if you sign the petition, you’re racist or 2) Michael Vick should be executed for his actions in the dogfighting scandal and if you disagree, you endorse animal cruelty. You think I’m joking? Go for a walk in the comments of an article or post about him. If you haven’t heard, Vick has been selected by the NFL as a Pro Bowl Captain and people are outraged a convicted animal abuser is being allowed to take part in the event, so a popular online petition has been circulated to remove him.
One hot talking point currently is based in whataboutism. What is whataboutism? It’s ignoring someone’s actions or words by pointing to someone else’s actions or words. When I was a kid, I got a C on a math midterm and pointed out one of my friends got paid for A’s and B’s, so maybe I needed motivation. My motivation turned out to be getting my Nintendo removed for a month. I got an A that semester in math after that, but I had tried yelling what about that guy over there. Now, the converse is that a lot of people excuse bad behavior pointed out in whataboutism and this isn’t acceptable either. If the person you support did something the same or worse and you scream whataboutism, it’s a deflection, not a valid argument. For example, if you’re attacking a politician for being a sexist and a guy you like on other issues turns out to wife beater or sexual assaulter, you can’t scream whataboutism, you’re a hypocrite and a partisan. It can work both ways.
That said, the current argument is replete with the argument. One guy I’ve seen is attacking people who are attacking Vick by reposting other petitions and asking why people aren’t concerned about other cases and causes, like for example Brock Turner, the guy who raped a passed out girl and only got six months. Here’s my take: you can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can dislike Vick’s endorsement from the NFL and still be upset about the Amber Guyger slaying of an innocent man. You can detest dog abuse and still think Brock Turner is a scumbag who was let off way to lightly by a judge with absolutely terrible judgement. One thing I am very, extremely tired of in our modern society is that everyone thinks they are experts because they have the internet. “Well, I know everything about the Vick trial because I saw a picture of a dog who may not even have been Vick’s dog and I’m angry.” “Oh yeah? Well I know everything about Vick because I read an article saying he did his time. I didn’t read the trial transcript, don’t know him personally, etc., but I’m going to argue with you to the death.” She how both positions fall short of intelligent debate?
Vick was convicted and the things that happened on his property were abhorrent. He and his pals/associates bred dogs to fight to the point of maiming or death. Dogs were tortured for not winning or violently executed. Many had to be destroyed for their wounds or because they were too violently wired by the process that animal experts found they couldn’t be rehabbed. Did he serve his time? Yes. Did he lose a ton of money? Yes. Did he get to play in the NFL again? Yes. Is he free to do want he wants now? For the most part. The issue most people are having right now is with the NFL promoting him as an ambassador. Can he undo what he did? No, but it’s not like he stole a candy bar. Are there other people who have done worse? Absolutely, even in the NFL. Ray Rice lost his career, not when he punched his fiancee, but when the tape was leaked. People also need to realize this is a human reaction. Once we see videos or pictures, our rage is like a wildfire. It personalizes everything. You can’t unsee an image of a maimed dog. Dogs are also the most popular pet in America, by far. People who are outraged by the outrage need to realize that.
People also need to realize that there are horrific things that go on every day around the world. We only care about what the media tells us to be upset about, politicians can use to get our vote or what is promoted on a viral level. Do you ever see stories about human sex traffickers being arrested? I don’t. Anyone know how many sex offenders live in your neighborhood? Probably not – I don’t and I have kids, but every time a cop shooting takes place I see people take up arms on both sides. Anyone know who your state representatives are? Probably not. I’m told, however, how entire parties are the problem, not the people representing me. People with $1200 smartphones tweet how capitalism sucks. Politicians and actors flying first class or private planes tell me not to use plastic bags and straws to help the environment. People who aren’t sick or in the medical field tell me about my healthcare. The left tells me not to eat a chicken sandwich, then the right does. Everyone is a legal expert and then pukes back an article from some highly partisan website as proof. No, I think I’ll make my own opinion about Vick or whatever and I don’t need someone who knows as much or less than me screaming at me one way or another. Have something relevant? Happy to check it out when I have time and quite frankly, I don’t have much time. Make it worthwhile.
I think he’s a complete reprobate that is sorry only because he was caught and lost everything. I don’t think the NFL should be using him to change toilet paper rolls in the men’s room. He has to live his life though and the justice system that we have said he did his time. Don’t like it? Fill out a petition to increase the penalties for animal abuse. That will do more good than going after Vick. Honestly, though, I don’t care if someone signs the petition because what he did was vile…and yes, so are a lot of things. You can be mad about those also. If you are calling out the world for not caring about other petitions and did nothing to promote them, you’re not helping, you’re wasting everyone’s time.