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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where's Outrage for Travis Henry

Michael Vick has pleaded guilty. Let justice be done. From all indications it seems that it will be. Along with our judicial system, everyone from U.S. Senators, to the NFL, the media, corporate America, and the public in general have let their voices be heard in this matter. Michael Vick has been keenly condemned, with adjectives such as “cruel,” “sadistic,” “barbaric,” “cannibalistic,” “inhumane,” “abhorrent,” “reprehensible,” and “incomprehensible” used to describe his behavior.

The words and actions of those condemning Vick make me wonder where all this passion is when the lives of human beings are at stake. Former congressman J.C Watts pondered the same in an article he wrote recently, comparing the barbarism of dog-fighting to the barbarism of abortion. He pointed out that, “our culture has degenerated to a level where our priorities are so out of whack, that we decry ‘from mountain to mountain and valley to valley’ the mistreatment of innocent animals, while we turn a collective and legislative blind eye to the premature and yes, barbaric killing of human life in the name of ‘choice.’” Amen.

Recent developments with another NFL athlete give an additional interesting situation to contemplate. I wonder what the individuals and organizations so stirred by Vick’s actions think of the Denver Broncos’ tailback, Travis Henry. On Friday August 24 the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Henry has fathered nine children by nine different women across at least four different states. Talk about incomprehensible.

After Vick’s official admission of guilt, Goodell fired off a letter to him saying in part, “You have engaged in conduct detrimental to the welfare of the NFL and have violated the league's personal conduct policy.” ESPN reported on August 29 that Henry will not be disciplined by the NFL, saying that, “The league has clamped down on off-field misbehavior under commissioner Roger Goodell. But the newly implemented personal conduct policy ‘generally covers criminal violations, not civil matters’ such as Henry's, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday.”

Henry’s actions may not be very detrimental to the welfare of the NFL, but they are likely to be devastating to the nine children he has helped bring into this world.

Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Global Insights and Trends and Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family (www.family.org), writes that, “All things being equal, children with married parents consistently do better in every measure of well-being than their peers who have single, cohabiting, divorced or step-parents, and this is a stronger indicator than parental race, economic or educational status, or neighborhood. The literature on this is broad and strong.” He bolsters this statement by noting that children living with their biological parents have, on average, higher test scores and grade point averages, and miss fewer school days than their peers not living with both biological parents. Also, they receive professional help for behavior and psychological problems at half the rate of children not living with both biological parents.

He adds that kids living with never-married mothers are twice as likely to be expelled or suspended from school as their peers, and those not living with both biological parents are 45 to 95 percent more likely to require parent/teacher conferences to deal with performance or behavior problems than those who live with married parents. And last, one of the most powerful predictors of crime rates comes from such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community. It appears to me that the ultimate consequences of Vick’s actions will pale in comparison to those of Travis Henry.

Many do not like the comparison of Vick’s and Henry’s situations. They contend that Michael Vick was in violation of the law, while Travis Henry has broken no laws. However, it is interesting to note that Georgia’s law against fornication was stuck down by its Supreme Court only four years ago. The Washington Post reported in 2004 that 24 states still had laws against adultery, along with ten states still having anti-fornication statutes. Granted, most of these laws, if they still exist, are not enforced, but it goes to show that there was a time when we considered such acts criminal.

What does it say about our culture when one man can be so vilified by the public and the media, punished by his employer, and sent to jail by our justice system mostly because of abusing animals, while another man (along with the women involved) put nine human beings in the detrimental position of growing up in broken homes with no consequences other than being financially responsible for them?

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com