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Dogged Hypocrisy: Tucker Carlson Wanted Death Penalty for Michael Vick

Dogged Hypocrisy: Tucker Carlson Wanted Death Penalty for Michael Vick

Recently, conservative Fox News commentator (is there any other kind?) and bow-tied pundit Tucker Carlson, subbing for Sean Hannity, castigated President Obama.  The reason?  Obama had praised Philadelphia Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie for giving their star quarterback Michael Vick a second chance after his imprisonment for dogfighting.  
Carlson said, “I’m a Christian. I’ve made mistakes myself. I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick killed dogs. And he did so in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that.” 
Well, my my, bloodthirsty, aren’t we!

Death Penalty for Animal Cruelty — I Like It!

I fervently oppose the death penalty regardless of circumstance, no matter how disgusting or downright wicked.  This “ultimate punishment” is deeply flawed; among its fatal shortcomings: it’s racially biased, too often based on questionable evidence (such as the now-disputed validity of eyewitness testimony), and too frequently imposed on those with limited economic resources.  
That’s my head talking and I stand by it — but if I were to follow my heart, I would want for those who victimize children, torture animals or commit acts of sheer evil such as the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., to suffer the very torments of hell.  
But in the grand sweep of human potential — from iniquity to self-sacrifice — the death penalty stands as a form of savagery.  At the other end of the spectrum are forgiveness and redemption.  I believe that is the point President Obama was attempting to make when he made his remark: that no one is past saving.

The Devil is in the Details

Despite his pyrotechnics on the football field, Michael Vick is hard to justify, in large part because of the sheer magnitude of his cruelty.  Dogfighting is despicable enough, but to drown, hang and electrocute the animals who didn’t perform well…?  Well, if I were an Eagles offensive lineman who allowed Vick to get sacked, I’d watch my back.  There were many Eagles fans (and animal lovers) who vehemently opposed his coming to the team (although his success might have diminished those numbers).  Many, including myself, question Vick’s sincerety when he claimed that he learned about dogfighting as a familially and culturally acceptable practice (although the “sport” — it’s NOT a sport — is one thing and the profound lack of empathy that would allow someone to kill loyal animals in such overtly painful ways is quite another). But the fact is, he paid the price imposed for his crime and he deserves his shot at salvation. 

The Obama Factor

When Vick was convicted in August of 2007, Barack Obama was hardly a blip on the national radar screen, unlike Tucker Carlson, whose career as a pundit was well-established by then. Did Carlson speak out against what he must have viewed as the criminal leniency of Vick’s sentence?  Okay, the general quarters at Leavenworth Penitentiary might not be Club Fed, but it’s sure not death row, either. 

It would appear that Carlson saw Obama’s comment as a window of opportunity — those of the far-right persuasion seem to feel that not taking every possible shot at Obama is a shot wasted.  And speaking of shots, I wonder how Carlson feels about Sarah Palin’s obvious relish at shooting wolves from a helicopter?  if Carlson is being honest about his revulsion in Vick’s case, and honest about his disapproval of Obama putting “second chances” and “Michael Vick” in the same sentence, then shouldn’t Palin’s callousness provoke even a mumble of disapproval?

Team, Glory and Walking the Talk

If Michael Vick were a mediocre player, or even if he had failed, after prison, to regain his athletic prowess, this controversy might never have arisen.  But this year Vick has been (no pun intended) electric.  If one is a football fan, watching Vick on the field is a thrill — he passes, he rushes, he dazzles (most of the time).  In part due to his leadership, the Eagles have become a dominant team. Despite what one might think of Vick’s character, his talent is awesome — he has taken his “second chance” and turned it into gold.

Except for the fact that on Tuesday night the Eagles were embarrassed by the weak Minnesota Vikings, Vick has been a contender for the NFL’s “Most Valuable Player” award along with the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady.  Their reactions to potentially winning this designation are telling, in my view.
When asked who he would vote for, Vick hesitated and then said, “Well, I’d vote for me.”  In response to the same question, Brady said he thought the award didn’t mean much in a sport that is, or should be, all about the team.  Hmmm.

Perhaps, as he claims, Vick is a changed man.  Perhaps all that has changed is his recognition that, in order to reap the riches that await him, he needs to keep the mask in place.  I don’t care.  Salvation, for Michael Vick, can’t be found on the football field.  Salvation will come from walking the talk, for continuing, for the rest of his life, to use his influence and star power to speak out against dogfighting.  That’s the change I seek.  That’s Michael Vick’s second chance.

Related Stories: 

President Obama Called: He Said Michael Vick is Awesome

Is it Too Soon to Forgive Michael Vick?

Fox News Reprints Onion Article, Confuses Readers Who Don’t Follow Links

 

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341 comments

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10:10PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Then Vick is an edumacated idiot with cold blood running through his coarse veins.

Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Tare the lungs of the earth.

6:58PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Geez, I wish we had an "edit" option! Reread my last comment and this part doesn't make sense..........."We could take have the politicians who have graduated from Ivy League Colleges as examples there"..........eliminate the word "have" and it does, I guess. I was obviously thinking of G.W. Bush and Cheney.............neither one, if they had dynamite for brains, would have enough to blow their own nose, yet have college degrees. Bill Gates, on the other hand, doesn't have one at all.

6:45PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Hi Bette. Yes, you are right about education and intelligence not necessarily being connected or have a relationship. We could take have the politicians who have graduated from Ivy League Colleges as examples there, I think. On the other hand, being uneducated because of not having had opportunities to get an education does not make one "dumb" or "stupid", either. We can take examples there of many women in 3rd world countries who have been denied or even forbidden from getting an education.

All I was saying was that the comment about Vick being "uneducated" was not correct. I stand by that as the proof is that he did get a college education. I think we're probably both on the same page as far as his morals or ethics are concerned, and being schooled doesn't provide those qualities in anyone. Hopefully, Vick learned at least SOME valuable lessons in life from having been convicted of crimes and spending the time he did spend in prison, along with losing so much financially. Who knows, if he didn't, he IS likely to screw up again and lose what he RE-gained. If so, he won't be the first major athlete to end up a pauper. I do think the situation with O.J. is different in a way in that O.J. was found innocent of his double murders, so figured he'd gotten away with it, that he could rely on that to continue his illegal activities. He found out differently.

5:07PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Diane.....Having a college education does not necessarily make a person smarter. A wise person has morals & values instilled in them from childhood......Hopefully.
Vick apparently learned the principles of running his life as he saw fit from the streets. People who are poorhave nothing can still adhere to values & principle of decency & it don't cost a damned dime to practice it.
.
Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth

6:19AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Diane...We've both made our points clear.
Only time will prove who is right or wrong.

Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth

3:09AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Bette, "Diane.....I will have the last word on this
and Vick will comitt another crime of some
kind."............if having "the last word" is so important to you, feel free. That's quite mature. Now you're a mind reader and fortune teller, are you?

We all will commit a crime of some kind at some point in time. I bet you have and you will again. So will I, so will every single one of us.

6:32AM PST on Nov 27, 2012

Diane.....I will have the last word on this
and Vick will comitt another crime of some
kind.
It is all a matter of time.

Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.

9:49PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

"Vick got a college education because the government & colleges watered down the entrance requirement for blacks & other minorities as well. Apparently his running & jumping improved but his rational/caring skills did not."............Bette, I'm betting that every Blackor minority who has gotten a college education would find fault with that. And you know this to be fact, just HOW? The fact is, Vick does have a college education, so that throws out your comment about him being the "UNEDUCATED" offspring of a 15-yr-old child. So WHAT if Vick's mother "turned him loose on the streets"? He still managed to get into and complete college. That's more than many, and BTW, my Mother did the same thing to me when I was 15 and I didn't end up torturing dogs.........quite the opposite. Along with making that one, and suggesting he be sentenced to prison in Alcatraz, a prison now closed for DECADES, not much credibility to your comment at all other than the fact that Vick lacked moral character WHEN he committed his crimes. Whether he's reformed or has learned his lessons remains to be seen. Oh, QB's don't need to have any "jumping ability", either.

8:43AM PST on Nov 26, 2012

Diane L. Vick got a college education because the government & colleges watered down the entrance requirement for blacks & other minorities as well. Apparently his running & jumping improved but his rational/caring skills did not. Vicks 15 year old mother turned him loose to run the streets & live by his own rules.
Deviousness & sneaky behavior became a way of life as well as used to con those around him.

Vick's maturity level back then & now is no more than that of a 7th grader. It is an established fact ones lifetime behavior is set by the ages 5 or 7.
Down the road Vick will get into some kind of criminal activity just like O.J & MJ....Bet on it.

Whever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Ttreesarethe lungs of the earth.

1:55AM PST on Nov 26, 2012

I also just noticed that this is a very OLD discussion. Until I noticed the one right above the comment window was dated Jan. 24, 2011 (almost a YEAR ago, I hadn't noticed that Rosemary had come in to pat Ruby on the back for a 10-month-old post. I read Jami's and was going to ask what 2nd chance Vick blew that she is aware of and nobody else, and then noticed it was so old, so why bother.

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