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Michael Vick is a sick, depraved monster.

I have come to the conclusion that the National Football League should look the other way regarding Michael Vick and dog fighting. He should be allowed, no, forced to play. When he takes a late hit or an illegal hit, the referees will simply look the other way. This fall, it will be open season on the Atlanta Falcons quarterback. In addition, he will not be allowed to wear protective gear of any sort, such as pads or a helmet. Since he'll only last one game, fill the stadium with animal lovers who cheer when Vick takes his lumps, much like people cheered as the dogs were ripped apart and killed.

Obviously, that isn't going to happen, and no matter how much Vick might deserve such treatment he needs to be punished within the confines of the criminal justice system. The reason that even the worst criminals are given these rights is not for their sake, but for the sake of everyone else.

As a dog owner, I am disgusted by the barbaric nature of the dog fights that took place on Vick's property. Dogs that lost "matches" were killed in brutal ways including "shooting, drowning, hanging and electrocution", according to CNN. I cannot fathom how someone could think that watching two dogs tear each other apart is "entertaining", much less the kind of diseased mind it would take to treat God's creatures in such an inhumane manner.

The NFL did the right thing by suspending Vick pending an investigation. Whether or not he is found guilty in a court of law, there is enough evidence at this point to merit punishment by the league. The NFL has a responsibility to make an example of Vick and send a message that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated in a civil society. Much research has been done that links violence toward animals with violence against human beings, and had he not been caught it may have only been a matter of time before he moved on from abusing God's creatures to abusing those made in the image of God.

But as much as dog fighting rightly sickens us, we must not overreact. Senator John Kerry has proposed "making it illegal to transmit images of dog fighting, to run websites that cater to dog fighting or to own or train dogs for the purpose of dog fighting." This would be fine if Kerry was a member of the Massachusetts state senate, but is not appropriate for the United States Senate. While dog fighting needs to be strictly prohibited, the federal government should not have a role in abolishing it.

John Kerry has shown that he does not understand the nature of our constitutional republic. When this nation was founded, it was not founded with the idea that the solutions to all of the nation's problems would come from one city on the East Coast. States would mostly rule themselves, with the federal government handling things like trade policy and national defense. The founders would not look kindly on Kerry's attempt to further increase the size and power of an already bloated federal government.

It is not a surprise that pit bulls were chosen for the cruel exhibition on Vick's land. Thugs and hoodlums have embraced the pit bull as a "tough" dog, abusing the poor animals until they are ready to fight on moment's notice. If all pit bulls vanished tomorrow, such human debris would move on to another "tough" breed like Dobermans, Rottweilers or German Shepherds. If treated and socialized properly, pit bulls are no more dangerous than any other dog. Pit bulls are not monsters, but many of their owners are.