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Joe Hawk on 9/11: "I did not shed a tear. Not one."

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by oj762, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. oj762

    oj762 New Member

    anybody see this?


    Aug. 22, 2007
    Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

    JOE HAWK: Vick deserves harshest sentence


    I have a confession to make, one that I am embarrassed to share: On Sept. 11, 2001, one of the most horrific days in U.S. history, when terrorists turned our pompous belief in national security upside down with hijacked air attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans, I did not shed a tear. Not one.

    And I have yet to in the nearly six years that have passed, although the magnitude of death and the global significance of the tragedy certainly is not lost on me.

    Back in May 2006, standing in a cold, clinical veterinarian's examination room with my 19-year-old Shetland sheepdog, Bart Simpson, lying on a counter, a tube inserted into his tiny body to inject a chemical that would send him to eternal rest -- a decision I knew I had to make when he wouldn't eat even a nibble of cooked hot dog or lap up a drop of water -- I cried. Uncontrollably.

    And I do every time I think of him, although I'm trying my best to hold back welling tears as I write this.

    People who know me well know that I love dogs and tolerate people. I acknowledge the latter doesn't say much about me as a member of the human race, but I certainly give St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs, a greyhound's run for his kibble when it comes to our four-legged friends.

    Even the much-maligned pit bull.

    "Dog people," as we frequently are called, come in breeds as different as the animals themselves. Some prefer pound hounds; others spend more than $1,000 for a pedigreed pooch. Some are partial only to beagles or terriers or German shepherds; others mix it up. Some are one-dog owners; then there's people such as myself who push various ordinances to, well ... let's just not go there.

    Late Sunday afternoon, while sitting on my back patio and using my Chuckit ball launcher to effortlessly flick tennis balls across the yard and into the swimming pool where my two golden retrievers, Bailey and Alex, would sprint, hit the decking and then leap into the sun-warmed water to fetch them back to me, I kept thinking about the inevitable trouble Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick faced for his then-alleged participation in a dogfighting operation in Virginia.

    As heinous as the dogfighting aspect was -- and the practice continues in pockets of our country, from stories I've read -- what made me want to retch was the accusation Friday by one of Vick's co-defendants that the suspended quarterback actually took part in the killing of "underperforming" dogs.

    Yes, if a dog didn't fight to his opponent's death, then he often got the sentence, with Vick alleged to have taken part in hanging a number of them. And if they didn't die from that, Vick allegedly helped put their heads in five-gallon buckets of water to drown them.

    Thinking of those suffering dogs while playing with two of my pups -- happily sprinting back and forth, sopping wet with tennis balls in mouth -- I again started to get teary-eyed.

    Pit bulls have never been my breed of choice, mind you. But I've read enough about them -- and know enough about dogs in general -- to understand they are not as mean as portrayed. In fact, like all dogs, they are gentle souls unless beaten into becoming vicious. They are faithful friends, always ready to please while asking for nothing more than food, water, a toy to play with and your legs to lie against when you sleep at night.

    Dogs are God's gift to mankind, I believe -- although I'm sure the counterculture "cat people" will disagree. And I'm OK with that. To tweak an old saying, "Different pet strokes for different pet folks."

    But the "different strokes" mind-set of accepting dogfighting as sport cannot and must not be accepted in a civilized world. It is incomprehensibly sadistic. To that end, I implore the judge who takes Vick's official plea on federal dogfighting charges Monday not to go by the recommended 12- to 18-month prison sentence reportedly pleaded out. Rather, I beg him to give this heartless individual -- who once was quoted as saying that, next to football, "I love animals, I love fishing and I'm a mama's boy" -- the maximum of five years behind bars.

    Take away Michael Vick's life, if only for half a decade, as he took away the lives of creatures born to bring joy, not bred to do harm. Make him pay, if not by electrocution, if not by drowning, then with a seemingly interminable amount of time to think about what he did wrong.

    Make him cry, your honor. Make him cry, just like those of us who have lost a dog have cried.

    In most of our cases it happened the way it should -- naturally, peacefully, because God probably needed a friend to play fetch with.

    Miss you, Bart. Every day.

    Joe Hawk is the Review-Journal's sports editor. He can be reached at 387-2912 or jhawk@reviewjournal.com.
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Thanks for posting, Joe!

    Sorry had to be said.

    A lede that hooked you into a moving column. Well-done.
  3. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Great, great column.
  4. I'll admit that before reading this I didn't even know who Joe Hawk was, but he hit this one out of the park.

    Well done.
  5. oj762

    oj762 New Member


    Nice angle?

    Grabs your attention?

    Innocent people were killed.

    More than 3,000 Americans.

    The ones who were not killed by the impact of airplanes and could not get out, had two choices - get burned alive or jump to their death.

    I'm sorry. Dogs do not compare to humans.
  6. pallister

    pallister Guest

    I knew somebody would make that false comparison. He's not saying dogs are more important than humans; he's saying some things hit people at a more personal level. 9/11 was horrifying, but I didn't cry, either. But you can be damn sure bet I'll cry like a baby when I lose my dogs.
  7. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Vick deserves every bit of abuse he's going to get.

    . . . but I'm going to stand aside, tomorrow, and simply watch the torrent of grief Hawk's going to get, as folks wake up and get into gear, Thursday . . .

    Won't be a bit pretty.
  8. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Yeah . . . . I got misty.

    Back on the collective in Siberia, I was one of many boys who had his own dog, and will never forget the day that little guy died. And that column's beginning and end called to my memories.

    And, Mr. oj . . . I didn't cry on Sept. 11, for I felt that tears were reserved for those who had actually lost loved ones, who the tragedy touched forever. I was not going to trivialize the profound grief they still feel, by dredging up my own sobs and creating a need to be comforted.

    I instead thought of vengeance on that day. And I suspect I'm not the only one.
  9. Well said, Piotr.
  10. Tierra

    Tierra New Member

    Free OJ - Did you cry?

    When you saw those images on your television, those scenes that looked too unreal to be believed, did you weep?

    I think few of us did. I think that moment was too overwhelming to draw tears. It was surreal and painful and life-altering all in one punch. It was too much to react to.

    I think what Joe's saying, and maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I think what he's saying is that we all have our sacred cows, things that, when violated, it brings something home to us. Maybe for you, OJ, it's memories of Sept. 11. For Joe, it's associating the slaughter of those dogs with his own dog. Same way I feel bad when I see a cat with its legs sticking in the air in the street after it's been run over.

    As much as us reporter types try to disassociate ourselves with what's going on, it's impossible to get that word "we" out of our vocabularies. We see things, we feel things. It happens. Joe had a bully pulpit, and made his association. I didn't think it was his best writing, mostly because of the typical Joe Hawk yuck-yuck jokes. (I was very thankful this one didn't include the word YOWZA!)

    But it was nice to see a columnist write from the heart and have a leg to stand on when doing so. Too often, especially in this department, columnists tug at your heartstrings in a surgical way, latex gloves on, sterlized, careful not to get too messy. Good for Joe to have the stones to lay it all out.
  11. Eh, beats me. I slept through 9/11. Didn't see a damn thing until I woke up around 2 p.m.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I was stunned by 9/11 and worked too hard that day to even think about it. It wasn't until a couple weeks later, and after I found out that my paper was going to screw me out of some overtime I had coming to me on 9/11-related work that I shed a tear at the inhumanity in the world.
    Joe Hawk, what a cool name. Part Robert Parker, part Robert Crais.
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