Michael Vick: Morally Bankrupt

According to a newly released USDA report on the Michael Vick case, a witness told investigators that Vick put family pets (the article does not indicate how the pets were obtained) in the ring with Pit Bulls trained to fight. Of course the pets were severely injured or killed but Vick “thought it was funny to watch” according to the witness. The report also reveals how Vick lied to investigators during a polygraph test, denying he had killed “underperforming dogs”. (Those would be normal, friendly Pit Bulls who suffered abuse but did not change their true nature, even to save their own lives.):

The dogs were killed by shooting, hanging, electrocution and drowning, and in at least one instance, according to one of the witnesses, when Vick and Phillips killed a red pit bull by “slamming it to the ground several times before it died, breaking the dog’s back or neck.”

Vick is due to be released from federal prison in eight months. He is currently in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, claiming assets of $16 million and debts of $20.4 million. Court records indicate lavish homes, vehicles and other spending by Vick for himself, his family members and friends. Among Vick’s assets:

His real estate holdings include the homes in Suffolk and Hampton in Virginia where his mother and fiancee live, respectively, and vacant houses in Williamsburg and Duluth, Ga. Construction continues on a $2 million home in Suffolk where he and his fiancee plan to eventually live. [emphasis added]

Now don’t get me wrong. I am all for paying one’s debt to society and starting over with a clean slate. But can we inject a little bit of reality into this situation? Is it necessary for Vick and fiancee to build their own $2 million home? Could they possibly manage to live in a home someone else built, perhaps valued at something less than $2 million? I know nothing of the fiancee but Vick at least appears to be employable. In fact, he may get another job in professional football, although I hope not. But assuming he gets some job, why can’t they plan to budget, repay debts, scrimp and save for the future, a little at a time? Vick claims to owe 20% more money than he has. Newsflash: There are many Americans in this same (or worse) situation. They are struggling to make ends meet, sometimes relying on help from family and friends. Couldn’t Vick’s family and friends downgrade their lavish cars, boats and homes in order to help Vick repay his debts? I’m not saying the guy has to live in substandard housing with no health insurance, eating Top Ramen. Although a lot of guys getting out of prison do just that. For that matter, a lot of Americans, guilty of no crimes, live like that. All I’m saying is that Vick’s bankruptcy filing stinks to me. And yeah, maybe I’m influenced by images of Vick laughing while family pets are torn apart by his abused Pit Bulls. And maybe I’m not thinking as kindly of him as I might otherwise because I can’t help picturing him torturing “underperforming dogs” to death. And maybe I’m wincing at the idea that Vick will probably be working in the NFL again soon, raking in the dough, driving his flashy cars and living in his $2 million dollar home while the dogs he killed rot in a landfill somewhere, their bones being a last testament to the fate Vick handed down to man’s best friend.

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