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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Michael Vick's Very Troubling Profile

Earlier this week, Michael Vick was back in court to face a series of state charges.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence in a minimum-security federal prison camp in Leavenworth, Kan., on a conspiracy charge relating to the interstate dogfighting operation he helped run on a property he owned in Surry County, Va. Vick is scheduled to be released on July 20, 2009.

Vick is currently being held in protective custody at Riverside Regional Jail in Hopewell, Va., until his hearing on Tuesday in Surry County Circuit Court to plead guilty to two state charges related to dogfighting.

The state charges -- one count of torturing and killing dogs and one count of promoting dogfighting -- each carry a maximum prison term of five years. But under the terms of his plea agreement, Vick is expected to receive a three-year suspended prison term and a $2,500 fine (which would be suspended if he pays court costs and maintains good behavior for four years).

By resolving the pending state charges, Vick would qualify to participate in the Federal Bureau of Prisons re-entry program, which could enable him to serve part of the
remainder of his federal sentence in a halfway house.

I for one hope that Vick gets his life back on track and I am willing to forgive him if he genuinely looks for forgiveness. That said, the nature of the crimes has admitted to along with his profile lead to a very troubling combination.

First, his participation in dog fighting has all the hallmarks of a sociopath, an individual devoid of a conscience. That's frankly the only way he could justify such a brutal act on a defenseless animal. He justified it because in his mind there was nothing to justify. A sociopath is so selfish that anyone else's feelings or thoughts never enter to the equation in their decision making process. Michael Vick justified being the ringleader in this dog fighting operation because the brutality that this would do to the dogs never even crossed his mind when he made the decision.

Second, to find the brutal sport of dog fighting enjoyable an individual must be afflicted with an enormous amount of sadism. Vick enjoys the sight of pain in a way that would make must people squirm. Rather than squirming, Vick gets a rush out of watching others inflict pain on each other.

Someone with this much sadistic tendencies is exposed to all sorts of criminal tendencies far beyond dog fighting, and when those tendencies are combined with sociopathy.
Finally, prior to being jailed, Michael Vick was in the middle of a contract worth well in excess of $100 million. This not only likely gives Vick an enormous sense of entitlement but power. It gives Vick the resources to do a nearly unlimited amount of damage but also the sense of entitlement for the worst kind of reckless behavior.
It's frankly not a very long road from animal torture to crimes much worse than that. In fact, serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer started their evil with animal torture. The sort of behavior traits that it takes in order to engage in such a vicious behavior is exactly the sort of behavior that creates criminals and other sociopaths that spend their lives being a cancer to every situation they come into contact with. I hope that Michael Vick has taken his time in jail to try and conquer his demons, but if he hasn't, he has a very troubling profile. It's a profile of an individual that will go on to do things much worse than orchestrating a dog fighting ring.

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