Vick is the victim, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Reimer

Columnist for the Baltimore Sun newspaper, Susan Reimer

In her column in the Baltimore Sun, Susan Reimer asserts Michael Vick is now the victim. Dogtime editor Leslie Smith begs to differ.

Dear Ms. Reimer:

I read your piece in Monday’s Baltimore Sun. It stunned and confused me, and I’m hoping to get clarification on a few passages that still have me perplexed. I invite you to correct, explain, or refute any point I may have misinterpreted.

You say:

Mr. Vick has a target on his back and a price on his head – a Philadelphia animal rescue group will make a donation every time Mr. Vick is tackled. Nice. I guess animal loving doesn’t extend to human beings.

You do realize that Vick is playing football voluntarily, right? He enters the game of his own volition and if he’s hurt, he’s taken out of the game and given the best medical treatment available. Main Line is not asking members of the opposing team to maim, attack, or otherwise violate the rules of football. It’s not as if they’re advocating for Vick to be hanged, drowned, or electrocuted if he doesn’t perform well. They are simply donating when a standard play occurs.

You say:

…The punishment did not fit the crime. Mr. Vick spent 18 months in Leavenworth prison… He worked as a janitor for 12 cents an hour. He not only lost his $130 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, he was forced to repay $6.5 million he’d already received. He was required to pay more than $1 million for the rehabilitation of the dogs that were rescued.

And you go on to bemoan his lawyers’ bills.

Ms. Reimer, it’s not as if an innocent man has been stripped of his rights. He broke the law, and then lied about it. But worse, he acted in such a sadistic manner, it’s impossible for most people to view the photographs of his victims without feeling completely sickened and horrified. I’m not sure what part of the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Many think that perpetrating such cruelty ought to result in further punishment–not just for Vick, but for anyone who delights in the brutality of innocent beings.

You say:

The shaming continued on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” where Mr. Vick admitted that he wept in his prison bunk and spoke of his renewed faith in God as interviewer James Brown questioned his sincerity 10 different ways.

Vick’s “60 Minutes” segment was not court-ordered, he chose to appear. And in fact, securing an interview on “60 Minutes” is a public relations dream come true. If you’re looking to sell a book, send a message, or simply ask for redemption, you couldn’t ask for a more respected venue.

And yes, there is public scrutiny because Mr. Vick has chosen to enter public life again. He is returning to fame, fortune, and for many, what would be a dream career. He could have opted for a quiet, low-profile existence. But he committed those acts and he is responsible for his decisions. If he was “shamed,” he has only himself to blame.

You say:

But the worst of it is, Mr. Vick is now on a leash held by the Humane Society’s Wayne Pacelle. Mr. Vick has to make any number of appearances on behalf of the society, confessing to the error of his ways. Mr. Pacelle must be loving this. Mr. Vick’s head is on a pike at the city gate as a warning to any who would dare fight dogs, while the Humane Society gets untold millions in free publicity, and probably a healthy amount in donations, too.

Ok, let me get this straight. The worst part about this whole thing is that Vick actually has the chance to steer someone away from the terrible path he chose, to spare an innocent animal a life of extreme suffering? I can’t begin to understand what you mean.

As for the short leash HSUS has him on, ok you win on that one. He’s chained in the sense that he landed a PR deal of a lifetime which requires a 10-minute talk every few weeks and offers the chance for redemption. But no, not chained in the way he chained his animals, outdoors summer and winter with a metal ring around their necks forbidding even the slightest movement. And you begrudge HSUS for receiving publicity and donations which would undoubtedly help other dogs trapped in similarly horrific circumstances?

You say:

Don’t misunderstand me. I love dogs. Ask Amber, Lulu and Sugar. But I love human beings more, and what Mr. Vick is being required to endure is its own brand of cruelty… For Michael Vick’s dogs, the suffering ended in death or rescue. I don’t think it is ever going to end for this man.

If I understand you correctly: Michael Vick’s prison time (in which he was guaranteed meals, medical care, a warm bed, etc.), his interview on “60 Minutes,” his court order to pay for his victims’ rehabilitation, and his sporadic appearances on behalf of HSUS are worse than the broken bones, dislocated jaws, severed tongues, punctured organs, teeth-torn skin, hunger, isolation, and terror his dogs endured every day of their lives? I wish his dogs had suffered so terribly.

Ms. Reimer, you’re free to love any humans you choose. Myself, I prefer the ones who act humanely. But if you choose to love the human being who would slam Lulu’s head against cement, electrocute or drown Amber, and send Sugar into a fighting ring with broken legs and teeth ripped from her mouth so she couldn’t defend herself, that’s your right too.


Leslie Smith

Thank you for writing, but I have made my case and I am moving on to other subjects…I don’t have time to address your issues, point by point.
Susan Reimer
Baltimore Sun

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