Dean Barnett over at Hugh Hewitt’s blog seems to think so. I don’t.
Now I’m a Dean Barnett fan. I find him entertaining, erudite, and thoughtful. He’s one of a handful of guys I make sure I read everyday, no matter how busy I am. But in the blog post I linked to above, he’s going off on the Michael Vick thing and I think he gets a little carried away.
He makes a number of solid points, and then he writes:
I know America loves comebacks and second acts, but arenâ€™t there some people who donâ€™t deserve another crack?Â Vick canâ€™t make right what he has done wrong.Â The dogs he murdered arenâ€™t coming back. (emphasis mine)
Sorry. No sale on that last part. You can murder a person. But you can onlyÂ kill a dog. Sure, if you do it wrongly, cruelly, or senselesslyâ€”it’s a despicable act. It’sÂ also likelyÂ a criminal act. ButÂ murder is, by definitionÂ the wrongful killing ofÂ a human by a human being. (When a bear mauls a camper, the camper hasn’t been “murdered.”Â )
Maybe it was just hyperbole. Maybe it was just the loose, dashed-off-ednessÂ of the blogging medium. But words matter a great deal, which is why I’m in hair-splittingÂ modeÂ on this one.
The entire wrong-headed “animal rights” movement is built upon this kind ofÂ distortion of language and abuse of meaning. It’s embedded in the very name of the movement, in that animals have no transcendent “rights” in the sense that humans do. But this liberal use of the word murder to descibe the killing of animals is standard operating procedure among these folks.
Now I don’t have an opinion on whether or not Michael Vick should be considered to have forfeited all opportunity to ever return the NFL (or polite society for that matter.)
Frankly, I’m not interested enough in the controversy to evenÂ attempt to parse where dog fighting/betting/killing ranks on the heinous-ometer relative to sexual assault, drunk driving, drug peddling, wife beating and the host of other crimes professional athletes are accused and convicted ofÂ with mind-numbing regularity.
But when a dependably clear-headed conservativeâ€”one who uses words for a livingâ€”choosesÂ one soÂ poorly, it gets my attention.