Posted by: JDM..... | February 18, 2016

Sanctioned homicide rituals….

in a righteous, moral world.….

One thing that stands out to me when I tally up the nearly 72 years I’ve been a part of this continuous unscripted flash-mob called “life” is that we human beings don’t seem to value it all that much. Life, that is.

History is full of legends and tales, but I have to wonder nevertheless when man first started killing man, and why. The rest of the animal kingdom is easy to understand; it’s the classic “eat or be eaten“, food chain concept. While there are a few creatures who seem to have occasional unexplained fits of recreational mayhem, humankind alone practices the ritual as a norm across cultures, religions, and politic.

The universal explanation involves blaming the victim, or some other circumstance that obviously won’t get off the ground, but when someone provides the “short form” reason of “I felt like it,” we judge them irredeemably insane and provide them with a rectangle of stark real estate for life, large enough to sport a bunk, a toilet, sink, and maybe a rudimentary desk. Alternately, though at a lesser pace than in the past, we teach the killer a lesson by strapping him to a gurney and squirting drugs into a convenient vein, which may put him to sleep, or may cause him to twitch and convulse while a peanut gallery of selected observers witnesses the whole drama from behind a glass barrier.

Bring your own pop corn. In any event, the involuntary gurney jockey dies, usually within minutes, but rarely taking more than a half hour or so.

We, meaning humanity in general, apparently intuit something oxymoronic in this behavior because we try to legitimize it by draping it in ritual and continuing to seek allegedly more humane ways to accomplish the deed. Here’s the rub, while they were certainly messy and barbaric by any modern perspective, some of the ways man devised to kill man hundreds or even thousands of years ago were generally instantaneous and far less painful, or even painless, for the one being killed than any of our “humane”, scientifically concocted schemes. Pain takes time to reach the brain and be recognized as such, but if the brain and its vessel should be disconnected from the location of the injury in the interim, say by a guillotine blade, no harm, no foul, I suppose. Relatively speaking, of course.

Truth be known, all of the fancy footwork and creativity put into this official killing thing since the beginning of knowable history, and presumably since Ung first smacked Ogg on the head with a rock in order to cop his stuff while camping next to Lake Primordial Ooze, the science of making the art of killing more and more palatable has without variation been for the benefit of the ones doing the killing, not for the ones being killed.

We have always rationalized organized, officially sanctioned killing, while condemning and prosecuting identical acts occurring in fits of anger or as “collateral damage” during the commission of a lesser crime. One is called justice and one is called murder. One is always deliberate and one may or may not be. In my opinion, when you look at the bottom line, in both cases, someone is dead and someone else did it.

In the Middle East, such sanctioned killing is being carried out in bulk, ostensibly because Group B apparently doesn’t do the required Deity thing with the proper flair as described by Group A, but most likely just because Group A feels like it. They don’t have the balls to admit it though, so they blame it on some god.

Old story. Frankly, I’ve not had much use for the gods of Man for a very long time, preferring to find my answers elsewhere, but if I were to consider pledging one of the countless holy-fraternities out there, I certainly wouldn’t think much of an organization dedicated to honoring some SOB prescribing that kind of behavior.

People who can’t practice peace, should shut up and stop pretending they know anything about it. They don’t. Killing is killing, I don’t care what committee approves of it or what Man-god supposedly justifies it. Retribution is a dumb excuse. I used to tell clients when I worked as a counselor, “You don’t teach little Johnny to stop hitting his sister over the head with a toy truck by hitting little Johnny over the head with a toy truck. ” Obviously, the same would apply to the global pastime of homicide, else we would have discovered better things to do millennia ago. We have not.

Some of the reasons for constructing involved and ritualized ways to carry out officially sanctioned homicide are nearly as stupid as the act itself. As mentioned earlier, the real primary purpose is to shelter those who carry out such legalized homicide from the reality of exactly what it is they do. The public is similarly sheltered by electing people they don’t know to hire people neither of them knows to activate whatever mechanism is politically correct at the time for ending a human life.

It is worth pointing out that, not too many years ago, a Dr. Kevorkian was imprisoned for assisting terminally ill medical patients in ending their own lives with a modicum of dignity. Whether or not that was a moral, ethical, or reasonable thing for him, or his patients, to do is a matter for personal analysis and conclusion. I think the point is that the more distanced most of us are from the actual act of committing homicide, the more comfortable we are with committing it by proxy. When it gets up close and personal, we don’t like it. Everyone is touched by the death of a loved one, many by terminal illness. Suicide touches an awful lot of families. It is much easier to feel an emotional connection to such events, which made it easier for many to condemn Dr. Kevorkian’s actions. I have sometimes wondered how many supporters of “capital punishment” would be equally willing to pull the trigger themselves (we even insulate ourselves linguistically, as we do with virtually any activity or concept we find distasteful).

In conclusion, legally sanctioned, premeditated, organized homicide should be recognized for the fruitless hypocrisy that it is. Thousands of years of “civilized” living, with countless remedies ranging from right up front revenge to convoluted rationalizations for sanctioned rituals of death-making have changed nothing. Giving the people who carry out these rituals a name tag, a title, and a salary does not change the fact that a human life is intentionally snuffed out.

This is not to say the perpetrators of civilian homicide without the proper permits and credentials should be let off with a scolding and a scholarship. On the contrary, I think they should be sentenced to excruciatingly long prison terms, without time off for good behavior or any of that since anyone can smile pretty and present whatever facade will earn the greatest reward. Sociopaths and other habitual offenders are especially adept at such play acting. The more outrageous acts of homicide should, of course, earn life without any chance of seeing daylight. Budget restraints are a pretty sorry reason for killing rather than maintaining a danger to society separate from society. If we as a society are to judge the taking of a human life to be wrong, except as a consequence of having to defend against threats to one’s own life, then that should morally, ethically, and legally apply to us all.

 

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