Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dog Fighting Video and Free Speech

The Supreme Court in wading in on a controversial issue with the ACLU and the NRA siding with one another this should be a good one to watch. The issue simply put is over a video showing dog fights. If this is ruled unlawful then videos of bull fighting and many hunting videos could soon be ruled unlawful. Just a small step from there to outlawing certain fishing videos that show the death of our scaly friends. Although I oppose any form of dog fighting this video was used by the defendant in the case to condemn that so-called sport. As I see it, this should be a clear and easy case for the nine black-robed members of the high court, but then one can never be sure.

As a life long fisherman and hunter I see nothing wrong in video taping my fishing trips and the kill on hunting trips. I still maintain a number of videos taken south of the border at the bull rings. And as I was quick to point out to my grandson recently--they do kill the bulls. For some unknown reason he didn't know that and the young man is now 20 years old--what can I say, a product of our great school system.
read more Above image from Patriotic Gentleman
Supreme Court Weighs Free Speech in Dog Fighting Case
Robert Stevens, a dog lover, sold bloody pit bull fighting videos that have raised questions on whether free speech protects the sale of horrific scenes of animal cruelty.

WASHINGTON -- On the first Tuesday of October, the second day of its new session, the Supreme Court will take up the case of a dog lover whose bloody pit bull fighting videos have raised questions on whether free speech protects the sale of horrific scenes of animal cruelty.

Robert Stevens, 69, was sentenced by a Pittsburgh jury in 2005 to more than three years in prison for selling the graphic videos of dog fights. The Virginia man's sentence was harsher than the one NFL quarterback Michael Vick got for bankrolling a dog-fighting ring.

The 1999 law used in Stevens' sentencing "prohibits the knowing creation, sale, or possession of a depiction of a live animal being intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed" for commercial gain. But the law stipulates that the material must also lack "serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value."

The case centers on a basic fundamental question examining the reach of the First Amendment. Is the law so broad that it also covers some protected speech, thus making it invalid on its face?

A lower appellate court ruled that it was, striking down Stevens' sentence.

Stevens has defended himself against charges of animal cruelty, insisting that he is a dog lover who distributes information about pit bulls to educate the public. Meanwhile, the government defends the decade-old law used to convict Stevens as an effective deterrent to stop animal cruelty, alleging that Stevens is the type of facilitator and profiteer the law is meant to stop. read more


TexasFred said...

Ya know, I love boxing, and collegiate wrestling, and MMA - Ultimate Fighting, but dog fighting is just hideous in my opinion...

I was happy when Michael Vick went to prison, I love it every time I hear of a dog fighting ring being broken up...

But, as you say, if this is banned from view, what's next? And I shudder to think...

Ron Russell said...

Yea, you never know what else is coming if you open the barn door.

Right Truth said...

I agree that these should not be banned, in spite of how vile dog fighting is. In fact, because it is so horrible, I think there needs to be video and still photos also so that people can see what goes on and make every effort to report and break up these rings.

With Vick, I think he should be treated the same way he treated those poor dogs he tortured and ultimately killed or horrific ways. Let the punishment fit the crime.

Deborah F. Hamilton
Right Truth

Ron Russell said...

As for Michael Vick, I would throw him in the pit with three(3) mad pit bulls. I would pay to watch that and even bit on the outcome. You know what I would like to see them grab first, Ha!

hbl said...

I really think these videos ought to be banned because they have no redeeming social value. The idea is that this sort of thing tends to brutalize people. And, training dogs to do something not in their nature has to be one of the most brutalizing things I can think of.

As far as the killing associated with hunting and fishing goes, the same can be said. I hunted and killed because it put food on the table in hard times. I know of people that did the same for the thrill. Not a good thing.

There are right reasons for killing an animal and wrong reasons. Wrong reasons include 'thrill killing' amd killing something that is not a needed source of food which includes trophy hunting. Wrong reasons for not killing include 'how can you kill bambi.'

There is a natural order to things but there are some things that people do that pervert that order.

Anonymous said...

That's an ugly photo and should be shown to show the brutality of dog fighting. The First Amendment should stand here.

Ron Russell said...

hbl, you make some good points. I have always hunted and fished for sport and for food for the table and would never kill unless I was going to eat the kill and same goes for the fish I caught. I have often however photographed the kill and mounted the headed on my walls and see nothing wrong with it. I have the utmost respect for the animals I kill. Even the early native americans used the parts of their kill to adore themselves and would never disrespect the animal. In a world of fewer and fewer hunters your position is a popular one and I understand that. But I'm from the old school and reject many modern trends and will continue to mount my trophy bucks and eat their meat. Traditions I value.

LD Jackson said...

I have a hard time with dog fighting. Animal cruelty laws should be enforced to the greatest extent. However, there seems to be evidence that the defendant in the case in question was not guilty of actual cruelty to animals. Common sense needs to be applied to each case.

As for the comments about hunting and fishing, I enjoy both but especially the hunting. There is nothing better than a big plate of deer tenderloin and gravy and biscuits. Having said that, I also believe the animals I kill should be shown respect. I have also mounted deer heads but the trophy is only a very, very small part. There is nothing wrong with either.

Ron Russell said...

You are correct Larry, the trophy is only a small part---its the hunt and the enjoyment of nature. And as for hbl's comment about "Bambi"---Bambi was never in my sights only his big older brother with the bush on his head.

The Right Look said...

It's hard to imagine someone training a dog to kill! It's given pit bulls a bad name. I've met some really cool pit bulls too! Sweethearts!

As for Vick, this country is all about second chances. He paid the 2 dollars, satirically speaking, and is now trying to make it better. We shall see where it goes from here. Nuff said!

As far as hunting goes,... come on Oct. 17th! Come on cool frosty mornings. Come on my dear black tale and later in November bring on a bull elk! I've got the camera all charged up!

Go Newt!
God bless America!


Ron Russell said...

Sound like you may have your spot picked out TRL to get that big one--good hunting!

Mr Pink Eyes said...

I heard about this case for the first time earlier today. This man has been sentenced to more time in prision for selling these videos than Michael Vick got for actually participating in dog fights. Something is wrong here.
I didn't even think about the next logical step that you brought up about the hunting videos.Where will this stop if the supreme court upholds this?

Ron Russell said...

MPE, sometimes if the camel gets his nose under the tent the game is over as with the public option or the video.

Teresa said...

As vile and repulsive as I think dog fighting is, I believe that free speech trumps banning the video. I believe the video was made and sold for more of an informative purpose than to promote the evils of dog fighting. So, I believe that banning the video would violate free speech afforded to us in the constitution.

And, I think Michael Vick should be thrown in a cage with some of the dogs he abused.

Ron Russell said...

Yea, a cage with the pit bulls would do for Vick, I would let him have his football pads for whatever good that would do.

hbl said...

My 'bambi' comment was a reference to the anti-hunting crowd that was making a lot of noise a few years ago. I am not anti-hunting. And, I am not against mounting a buck's head for the den. But, I am against some people I am acquainted with who only go hunting simply to get a trophy buck. They have no interest beyond that; they don't even like venison.

So, as I said, there are right reasons for hunting and wrong reasons. The same for not hunting.

Ron Russell said...

Sorry I misunderstood you hbl. Think we are on the same wave-length now.

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