Yesterday Michael Vick was sentenced to the maximum 23 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting operation. Even though Vick took responsibility for his actions, pled guilty and turned himself in early to start his prison term, Judge Henry E. Hudson threw the legal book at him for initially lying to FBI investigators and testing positive for marijuana.
Yesterday also marked the day that a Baltimore teen charged with beating Zach Sowers into a coma had his plea deal accepted. Four teens total were involved in the June 2nd crime. Three of the foursome watched while Trayvon Ramos performed the actual assault. The takeaway loot from this violent pummeling was $10, a Timex watch, a cell phone and a credit card that they used to rent 2 movies.
Three of the teens plead guilty to robbery in exchange for their testimony against Ramos, who was going to be tried as an adult. Ramos allegedly punched and kicked Sowers repeatedly and ended his rampage by stomping on the unarmed victim’s head. Therefore the Sowers Family was anxiously awaiting their day in court and dumbfounded and dismayed when they found out yesterday that this day would never come.
Sower’s beating was so severe that his young wife of 8 months walked right by the “John Doe” lying in the ICU as Zach was completely unrecognizable. He has been in a coma ever since diagnosed with diffuse axonal injury, DAI, which per emedicine.com is mostly associated with high speed motor vehicle accidents. To date Zach remains in a persistent, vegetative state although he has been weaned off the ventilator and can now open and close his eyes.
Instead of a jury trial, Ramon pleaded guilty to robbery and attempted first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with all but 40 years suspended. He’ll be eligible for paroll in 20 years and all four will face no additional charges if Sowers dies.
So all this got me thinking. Why do we get so incensed and impose the maximum penalty when animals are harmed and yet allow more leeway when human beings are harmed? I don’t think that we care about animals more than people as much as we’re just more used to the harm that people can and will inflict upon each other. When an animal is abused, the group PETA, The People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals, gets involved, calls attention to the issue and puts pressure on authorities for justice to be served.
Therefore, perhaps we need to start a new advocacy group called, PETPE which stands for People For The Ethical Treatment Of PEople. You know make it politically incorrect to hurt other people. People could, get this, advocate for other people and look out for one another. And then maybe, just maybe they wouldn’t beat each other with a force that mimics high speed car crashes. PETPE could insist that if a person did break the PETPE code, they’d own up to their crime because it’s the right thing to do and not only in response to plea deals or requests from a victim’s family.
You see only 2 of the 4 teens apologized for their crime and that was after Zach’s wife, Anna, asked for the apology. At least Michael Vick owned up to his crimes all on his own.
If you like this novel idea of people caring for and about other people than send a donation to The Zach Sowers Fund. His insurance coverage will be ending soon and his medical costs are skyrocketing. They could use your help. It’s the ethical thing to do.
Anna Sowers kisses her husband, Zachary.
(Photo by Chiaki Kawajiri and taken from The Baltimore Sun/ July 20 2007)