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RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, lots going on today, but I have to lead off with this. It is the most unbelievable story about Michael Vick and how Atlanta is roiled over what has happened. The story is by Jack Wilkinson, and it says here, special to SI.com. Jack Wilkinson is a guest columnist for SI.com. He lives in Atlanta. His latest book is ‘Game of My Life — Atlanta Braves.’ And of course it says here it’s in major bookstores now. May I read you some select excerpts from this Sports Illustrated story about Michael Vick and the indictment, the dog fighting and so forth? Quote, ”I tell you, this is a big scar for the city,’ said Bill McCloskey, manager emeritus at Manuel’s Tavern, the venerable intown bar where politicians, journalists, cops, actors, sports authorities and neighborhood nabobs are either scratching or shaking their heads over the federal indictment of Vick. ‘This,’ McCloskey said, ‘is bigger than Ray Lewis.” Bigger than Ray Lewis?

May we get serious here for just a second? Whatever Vick’s accused of doing — and, remember, these are just accusations so far. We’ve been here with the Duke lacrosse kids — this amazes me — and I have warned people, all of these indictments, these charges that come down from prosecutors, I have told you, we are inclined as human beings to believe what law enforcement says. They never lie. The Drive-By Media, ‘Sources close to the investigation say,’ blah, blah — and we’ve seen in the Duke lacrosse case and a couple of other high profile examples in the last year or so that some of these charges never pan out. The Duke case ought to have everybody say, wait a second, just wait a second here. But in Atlanta, this is bigger than Ray Lewis. Now, Ray Lewis had a double murder charge hanging over him after a bar fight or something that happened during the Super Bowl week in Atlanta back in the nineties, and he was on trial for it and he ended up turning state’s evidence against people. He was eventually acquitted or pled out of it, I’m not sure which, but a guy died, a human being died in the Ray Lewis incident, and Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens, Art Modell, the owner, immediately went into action, I love Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis a great guy. Shannon Sharpe was a teammate, tight end, Ray Lewis a great guy, this is all bogus, blah, blah. Everybody surrounded the wagons around Ray Lewis, and he played. He played in that season following all of this. I think his trial was in the spring. He ended up playing.

Vick has been told to stay away from training camp, stay away from everybody, the Falcons were thinking about suspending him for four days, may be cutting him. Nike is going to hold off on the latest Vick sneaker. But to say that this is bigger than Ray Lewis, where a guy died — two people might have been stabbed in that incident. These were dogs in Vick’s case. Here’s another one. Brian Maloof, the proprietor at Manuel’s Tavern, ‘This is embarrassing to the city. It sure lets us know about Vick’s character. The wrestler? (Chris Benoit) That’s nothing.’ That’s in print and it’s in Sports Illustrated. He killed his son; he killed his wife; then he hung himself. He said, ‘It sure lets us know about Vick’s character. The wrestler, that’s nothing. Don’t get me wrong; that’s not really nothing. There was obviously some mental illness there — the depression — that that man had to suffer from to take your own life, and your wife’s and child’s lives. Even with steroids. But this is almost like some sick Roman bloodsport. It’s just horrible.’

Hunter Maloof, he’s 12 years old, and he’s the son of Brian Maloof. ‘It’s enough to make Hunter Maloof change his wardrobe, too. ‘I kinda felt like throwing it away when I heard the news,’ said Hunter, 12, Maloof’s son and a rabid Vick fan who’d proudly worn a Falcons jersey bearing Vick’s name and No. 7. No more. ‘There was a picture of that cute little dog on the news, and they killed it ’cause it wouldn’t fight? That’s just evil. I like dogs.” So you have two instances here, the Ray Lewis situation where a murder took place, and I don’t think we know who actually committed the murder in that situation, but Lewis was in the bar when it happened. It was very controversial, but a human being died. The Chris Benoit situation where three people died, one of the three killed the other two. The story in Sports Illustrated says, ‘Well, the Vick thing is far worse. It’s just far worse.’ Now, can you come up, ladies and gentlemen, in your own minds with a reason why people are thinking this way? What do you think, Snerdley? Why are people thinking this way? Absolutely right. After all of these abortions in this country for all of these years since 1973, this Sports Illustrated story — and I think they probably think they’re breaking new ground — this is a testament. This is a illustration to the devaluation of human life that has occurred throughout our culture.

Now, I understand how people are upset with Vick if all this stuff is true. It was cruel to kill these dogs and hang them and electrocute them and this sort of thing. See, animals differ from human beings in the human psyche in that animals represent the essence of innocence, except pit bulls. One of the things that people are leaving out of this is a pit bull is not the essence of innocence. A pit bull is as much a predator as any dog you’re going to have could be. I’m not saying they need to be eliminated or killed, don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying we all have a tendency, we see a picture of animal and go, ooh, essence of innocence, like a baby. We feed pets. They can’t take care of themselves after we’ve domesticated them. They love us, give us unconditional love, how could you treat the essence of innocence that way? All fine and dandy, I understand that psychologically.

But to have a major sports — what have I told you about these sports media? They’re as every bit as liberal as the news Drive-Bys are. To have a story here where Atlanta citizens are quoted as saying the Vick thing is far worse than the Ray Lewis thing, the wrestler thing, ‘Why, don’t get me wrong, it’s not really nothing, but I mean there was mental depression going on and so forth and so on.’ The whole story, and we will link to it at RushLimbaugh.com, is just over the top. Atlanta reeling, Vick’s alleged crimes are worse than Ray Lewis and Chris Benoit. Just shows you how human life has been so devalued in our culture. ‘What kind of person does this sort of thing? What type of man not only breeds dogs to fight, but then kills the losers in the most horrific of ways? Strangulation, drowning, electrocution, even slamming the pitiable animal against the ground. And has another city suffered such a 1-2-3 combo to its sporting solar plexis in recent memory? ‘I tell you, this is a big scar for the city,’ said Bill McCloskey, manager emeritus at Manuel’s Tavern. ‘This is bigger than Ray Lewis.”

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, here are the details on the Ray Lewis situation. I had forgotten some of the details. This is from June 5th of 2000 is when this happened, and it’s in CNN Sports Illustrated which is the SI website. ‘A judge on Monday approved a deal allowing Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to avoid murder charges and jail time by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in testifying against two codefendants. He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, and the superior court judge, Alice Bonner, sentenced him to 12 months probation, the maximum sentence for a first-time offender. Under the terms of the sentence, Lewis cannot use drugs or alcohol during the duration period,’ blah, blah. He went ahead and played. The prosecution’s case against Ray Lewis suffered setbacks when key witnesses provided conflicting testimony.

Look, this is not about Ray Lewis. I got no brief against Ray Lewis here. This has all been resolved and he’s done what he can to rebuild and hone his image as one of the great linebackers in NFL history. It’s just this story, the people in Atlanta, ‘This is bigger than Ray Lewis.’ A human being has not died in this Michael Vick situation. It’s just amazing to me that people can sit there and make this judgment when nothing’s been proved yet. Nothing has been established. These are all still allegations. From the BBC, this is BBC and Wikipedia, the BBC website said that Ray Lewis who had originally — I’m just getting this out there because I want the record established because I had forgotten some of these details. ‘Ray Lewis, who had originally lied to police about his proximity to the incident, the murder (it was a knife stabbing) pled guilty to obstructing justice, but was acquitted along with his codefendants of murder,’ acquitted but not exonerated. That’s what the BBC says. He was fined a quarter of a million dollars by the NFL, which at the time was its largest fine that they had ever handed out. So those are the details on the Ray Lewis situation.

RUSH: Sammy in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Nice to have you on the program, sir. Welcome.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, how you doing?

RUSH: Good, sir.

CALLER: I had to call in. I turned on your monologue. I listen to you almost daily for the last — I guess it’s about 18 years. One of the things I wanted to tell you, I’m about as conservative as they get but there’s two issues you and I always kind of disagreed on I think over the years. I think you’ve softened on the animal rights thing, but getting back to what you’re saying about abortion, things like that, I’ve always been one of these conservatives I just didn’t care one way or the another. I had no opinion on it one way or the other. I never was a single issue voter on something like that, just didn’t care. Animal rights, getting to the animal rights thing, I’m not a big sports fan. To be quite frank with you I quit following a lot of professional sports just due to these —

RUSH: What do you disagree with me about?

CALLER: Well, about — initially when you — I’ll get to my point on that. My point is that I guess after spending about two and a half decades in law enforcement, I realize that humans are basically evil and that animals have — I for some reason in my life, as I hit my upper forties, mid-forties, I began to — you know, in other words, let me just put it this way. This Vick guy, I didn’t know who this guy was ’til this came on the news —

RUSH: Wait a minute, Sammy. None of this matters and I’m really not interested in your résumé. You said you disagreed with me.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: And my point was, I believe, since abortion was legalized, that human life in this country has been devalued. You probably think no, it’s always been evil, human beings have always had a tendency to be evil. Is that what you’re going to say?

CALLER: Well, I’ll just say from my personal standpoint — I think I see — what I’m getting at is I see why people are drawn to animal cruelty things like this. It’s because they can’t — you know, you have your pet, your pet is good, it depends on you for companion — it’s just a companion —

RUSH: I understand that. I made that point. Animals are the essence of innocence. I understand why people are upset, if this is all true — well, we know the dogs were electrocuted — well, we don’t know yet. That’s just the allegations. All this is in the indictment. We really don’t know anything yet but if that’s true, yes, I can understand why people have a gut-wrench about that, that’s fine and dandy, but for people in Atlanta, Sammy, to come out and say that is bigger than incidents where human beings are killed just stuns me. The only way it can be the case, the only way it can be true is if people think the dogs’ lives here are more valuable and are a greater loss than the loss of the three members of the Chris Benoit family and whoever it was that was stabbed in that incident where Ray Lewis was involved. You have to think that the loss of these dogs is a greater loss to society and something more painful than the loss of human beings.

I understand the psychology, why people associate themselves with animals, essence of innocence and all that, but I think there has been a devaluation of — well, I know there has. Kevorkian, we’re deciding on who lives in this country based on the inconvenience their lives cause to the living, both when they’re in the womb and when they become elderly. We always say, ‘Well, we’re doing it because they would want it this way,’ either wouldn’t want to be born into poverty — and Mr. Snerdley, I’m not trying to get abortion calls. Folks, I’m just establishing my reasons here for trying to explain my literal incredulity at some of the comments in this Sports Illustrated story. Sammy, thanks for the phone call.

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