Saturday, October 15, 2011

Michael Vick – Part II

Way back when, I wrote a post onMichael Vick and I called it Part I with the intention of there being a Part II.    Well Part II is finally here!!  This is the first chance I had to really sit and think about what I wanted to say and not just write my standard ramblings about my in-laws and whatnot.

Although this is Michael Vick Part II, it’s really not about Vick at all, and completely about what he brought to our attention.  

Prior to Vick’s arrest, I rarely heard about dog fighting.  The only thing I really remember hearing about is how “pit bulls are vicious”.   Which is a complete stereotype based solely on the fact that one can train a pit bull – and really many other types of dogs – to be vicious for dog fighting.   I have two dogs that are complete mutts no matter how much they look like labs.   I know my mom falls into the stereotype, so sorry mom – but I am 100% sure that my new puppy Kalas has pit bull in him as its all over his face, and Im 90% sure Charger has pit bull in him.   And they are the sweetest, most loveable dogs ever.    There are plenty of full pit bulls out there that have are complete lovers.   As a matter of fact, I was talking to my vet about pits, and she said that 99% of pit bulls out there have never attacked and are not at all vicious.   And most of the ones in shelters are in there because they were too “soft” for dog fighting.   I honestly never thought of it that way!

Anyways, back to dog fighting.   We all know Vick did a horrible thing, and we all know how I feel about what he did and Vick – but I have to say SOME good came out of it.   We are now all more aware about dog fighting.   Unfortunately, it really hasn’t changed much.   All it changed is those of us who aren’t living in the low-income areas where dog fighting is so prevalent are now more aware of it.   But unfortunately, even with Vick spending time in jail, there is still plenty of dog fighting going on.

Vick has been going out to some of those low-income communities in the local area to talk to young kids about why its wrong and how they shouldn't do it.   Unfortunately, that's about the end of that - there really is nothing else going on to try and stop this from occurring.   People have boycotted and protested the Eagles, but that’s not really affecting those who are active in the dog fighting community.

More needs to be done directly in the communities where “we:” know dog fighting is prevalent.   You have to reach the kids, because unfortunately the adults are already set in their ways most of the time.   Maybe have special assemblies in schools to address the issue, maybe SPCA and PETA can team up and get some cartoon for tv created that gets the point across with still being entertaining enough for those kids.   Maybe somehow get a video game created – cause no matter how poor these families are, they still usually have cable and video games.

These kids are growing up in an environment where they see so much bad that that is what they learn.    It takes a special kid (and usually a strong parent) to grow up around all sorts of bad and somehow work themselves out of that way of life.   

It’s going to take a lot to make the change that needs to happen.   And unfortunately, it goes far beyond dog fighting as well.   

I’m fairly certain all of my readers come from middle class families having grown up in decent working class neighborhoods, eventually having moved to the suburbs.   We never had to experience the life of growing up in low-income areas where you were lucky if you had two parents living with you and you were luckier if whoever took care of you (whether it be a parent or grandparent) really pushed you hard and made sure that you went to school and did good and came home after school and did your homework.   Where it was safe for you to go play with your friends outside and ride your bike around the neighborhood.  

Instead these kids are growing up with parents who send their kids to school and expect teachers to do all the parenting, but then get mad at the teachers when their kid is acting out or doing bad.   Schools are limited in what “punishment” they can enforce because of fear of losing a job and having a lawsuit on your hands.   And there is no punishment at home, so the kids do whatever they want.   In many instances now, those kids are bringing knives to school and having sex in elementary school, joining gangs and doing drugs by middle school, and selling drugs and killing others by high-school.*   If we can’t get it across that all those things are bad, why do we think they learned from Michael Vick’s going to jail that dog fighting is a bad thing?

When you grow up to be someone as high profile as Michael Vick, yeah, you probably should know better at that point – but all your life you learned a certain lifestyle and that’s what you know. **

*Im not trying sterotype to say all kids who live in low-income grow up in this circumstance, but I am saying (and therefore stereotyping) that many kids live in this environment – specifically the ones who get involved in dog fighting and other illegal activities.  

** Im not making excuses for anyone!   It is completely inexcusable, but unfortunately, there needs to be more education out there.   

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