Recently, Falcons football star Michael Vick announced plans to plead guilty to criminal conduct involving an illegal dog fighting ring,
He has been universally vilified for his role in all this, and rightly so.
However, it seems a bit strange for this extended outrage against the man when far more heinous crimes against humans, particularly children, go largely unremarked.
Is it just because Vick is a star and a celebrity? Partly, although plenty of other sports stars, singers and rappers get brought up on charges of violence, drug use or other criminal behavior and it barely garners a ripple of attention.
These folks can murder, abuse their wives and/or children, and people tend to bend over backwards for them, giving them the "benefit of the doubt" and manufacturing excuses right and left.
Some of this has been true in the Vick case, but in general he’s been dropped like a hot potato. Nobody wants to have anything to do with an alleged dog killer.
All this makes me wonder, when did we, as a people, collectively decide that abuse to animals is far worse than abuse or death of humans?
Little 6-year old Christopher Barrios this past year was unspeakably tortured by family members and neighbors, then murdered and stuffed in a trash bag, right here in our area, and barely a word did one hear about it. Again, in the low country, an eight-year old girl was burned to death in scalding water by her stepmother the day her father returned from Iraq, and it made the local papers for one day-no real national coverage. We’ve been hearing daily about Vick for weeks on end.
Where’s the outrage? The press conferences? The call for action? The silence is deafening. Listening to a talk show host discuss this very issue, he asked an important question. "At what point," he said, "did America cheapen life so much that we don’t care what happens to the people around us?"
The answer immediately popped into my head, and I was amazed when he actually said it. "The answer," said the host, "is 1973, when abortion was legalized in the U.S. with no restriction on the procedure whatsoever." His point was that, with abortion legal, a very real degrading of human life had entered the culture, whether people recognized it immediately or not.
The legalization of abortion took a class of American citizens and turned them into non-human entities. Dehumanizing a class of people is the first step the powers that be take in order to do what they like to people without raising outrage.
Look at history. Examples of this abound. It was OK to enslave black people from Africa because they weren’t "fully human." It was OK to gas millions of Jews in WWII because they were classified as sub-human by the Nazis. In 1990’s Rwanda during the genocide, the Hutus regularly dehumanized the Tutsi minority by referring to them as cockroaches. It’s always okay to kill a cockroach, right? And so they justify their actions.
This same effect has occurred with abortion. It’s okay to kill a baby if we can call it something else, like "fetus" (the Latin word meaning "little one"), blob of tissue, or embryo. We can experiment on embryos and use their parts because they aren’t really human babies, just bits of flesh. South Korea’s Supreme Court recently ruled that a baby is not classified as a human until after it is fully born. This opens the door to any number of abuses, including the horror of abortion, as well as experimentation on babies who could live as early as 24 weeks, but aren’t considered human until birth at 40 weeks. As far as the unborn baby is considered, it’s all about location, location, location. Inside Mom, you’re fair game. Outside Mom, no matter how small, the world will bend over backwards to save you. Does this make sense to anyone? Am I the only one who notices the horrendous inconsistency and hypocrisy here?
In Savannah alone, at one abortion "clinic", over 50 babies are killed every week by abortion. That’s 200 babies every month. That’s 2400 babies every year-just in one county. For comparison, imagine all the approximately 3000 public school kids of Richmond Hill from pre-K to high school disappearing every year. That’s the kind of numbers we’re looking at. The state of Georgia itself can "boast" 30,000+ abortions every year. This is a tragedy, no matter which side of the abortion fence you’re on. In addition, if these abortions are the result of rape and incest (the ostensible reason given for legalizing abortion), I sure haven’t heard about it. If there are 50 rapes a week in Savannah, we’ve got a major problem. But that’s another topic. Why does this tragedy continue daily, unnoticed by Americans in their daily lives?
And yet, here we are, getting all hot and bothered and foaming at the mouth over the electrocution of some dogs. Do animals need to be protected? Of course. Should Michael Vick be excused for his behavior? Absolutely not. He was an evil and stupid man for engaging in these actions. But let’s get some proportion. Save some of this outrage for the thousands of human victims-abused women and children, unborn babies who are deemed unworthy of life-who deserve our mercy, our compassion, our love. They don’t deserve our silence, and Michael Vick doesn’t deserve our notice.
DeBry is a Richmond Hill writer and mother.