There's another point that keeps going through my head about Michael Vick: people generally ignore cruelty to other people but, in this country at least, get up in arms about cruelty to animals. I have represented people who have been charged with unbelievable cruelty towards other people, children even. These cases have, in some cases, gotten tremendous publicity. But public reaction is generally muted.
But somebody is charged with cruelty to animals and public reaction is swift and vitriolic. I know of several animal cruelty cases that have gotten publicity from up here in Alaska. The prosecutors have gotten letters from people all across the country demanding the maximum penalty, even if it is a first offense. Some horses haven't gotten enough food and all of a sudden, people across the country think the owner needs to do years in jail. Courtrooms are full at sentencing to make sure the judge knows the 'community is watching'. But someone tortures a child and nobody says anything. The judge sentences someone in an empty court.
Is that because moral outrage is higher in cases involving animal cruelty? Why? I can honestly say that if Michael Vick is indeed guilty, nothing he did even compares to people who torture other people. But those cases do not draw near the outrage. Is it because there is some cadre of animals lovers out there that keep an eye out for these cases, writing to DAs and urging high jail sentences? If so, some people need to get a life. Is it because this country is a bit nuts about our pets?
Again, I have no idea. What I do know is that it makes no sense.