Killing People Is Wrong

I believe this has been said before. It has all been said before, over and over. Everything you can say about it has been said…Lots of times. If only it were really a trite, pat or obvious statement! Everybody tends to agree that killing people is wrong…and folks like Jesus and others have said it for a while now. And it would be hard to find someone on the street who would disagree with the general sentiment.

But we still keep doing it.

If one person kills another person it is always condemned, even if it excused by circumstance. If one person mass murders it is always a shocking and horrific event. If a mob of people kills someone it is universally condemned.

The snuffing out of a human life is…or should be….the greatest crime a human being can commit. The wrongest thing you can do, the biggest taboo

But if a nation simply ‘declares war,’ or in the current madness euphemistically “Authorizes The Use Of Military Force” and proceeds to kill a million or so people…..and that is supported by millions of other people.

Why?

Tradition.

For our entire life as a species we have had war, we have killed people. Every year we celebrate traditional holidays and every once in a while we decide to kill big bunches of people. Killing people is bad…..war is ok. Sorta….It’s….different.

Peace movements have been around for a long time too, and I am sure that there has always been SOMEONE who has stood up and said before every war….”hey lets try NOT killing big bunches of people and have big bunches of our people killed this time!” After big wars, peace movements are usually  pretty popular, what with all the dead people lying in their graves and all the families of the dead people shredded. We do stuff like form The League of Nations or the UN.

But then a new generation of humans comes along and the warlike segment of the species gains power again and then somebody does something and somebody else does something back and there we are again….killing big bunches of people.

This time around though there seemed to be more reluctance, generally speaking, about killing a whole bunch of people. There really WASN’T much of a coalition of the willing to kill big bunches of people. And after the Jingoistic frenzy after 9/11 has had some time to die down…..all but the bloodthirstiest and most scared Americans have pretty much agreed that killing big bunches of people in Iraq is wrong.

Now only the people who want the war to continue are those who are scared that Muslims will swim over and make “their women” wear burkhas….and of course those who PROFIT from killing big bunches of people still support it.

Here is my question.

Is it working? Are we getting better at not killing people?

ARE we as a species evolving away from war?

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    • Zwoof on September 21, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    That’s why they have to dehumanize them first.
    Axis of Evil
    Fanatics
    Terrorists
    etc…

    It’s not killing “people” to them.

  2. The snuffing out of a human life

    That sounds so  – neutral, so sanitary, just a mere dampening of a candle flame.

    A little while ago I wrote an essay about how we are experiencing Iraq – and it’s getting no response.

    I think that we do an awfully dayam good job of turning our eyes away after we rubber neck for the voyeuristic sensation – all sanitary from the safety of our teevees, laptops or another types of media where WE control what and how much intensity we choose.

    But I think that we have a moral obligation – just like the Germans – to look, to see, to hear, to feel, to smell, and to taste the violence of Iraq.

    Our society has done too efficient a job of charging others to do its actual hands on violence and rescue work.  As a former nurse who was exposed to violence in trauma center settings, but not in military ones, I find it outrageous that those – voters – who charge us with cleaning up the wounded and dead and trying to calm the terrorized and horrified survivors and victims – not be made to look at what they sanction square in the eye, up close and within hearing, taste, smell and touch range.

    Until everyone shares in the violence, it will not stop.

  3. I’ll bet there are stats out there to prove it.

    Hmmm…

    The internet is your friend…

    Here’s something to ponder in your equation.

    (Possibly) The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

    Rank / Death Toll  / Cause / Centuries
    1.  55 million Second World War 20C
    2.  40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C
    3.  40 million Mongol Conquests 13C
    4.  36 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
    5.  25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C
    6.  20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C
    7.  20 million Annihilation of the American Indians 15C-19C
    8.  20 million Iosif Stalin 20C
    9.  19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C
    10.  18 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C
    11.  17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C
    12.  17 million British India (mostly famine) 19C
    13.  15 million First World War 20C
    14.  9 million Russian Civil War 20C
    15.  8 million Fall of Rome 3C-5C
    16.  8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C
    17.  7 million Thirty Years War 17C
    18.  5 million Russia’s Time of Troubles 16C-17C
    19.  4 million Napoleonic Wars 19C
    20.  3 million Chinese Civil War 20C
    21.  3 million French Wars of Religion 16C

    I don’t know what this shows except to day damn, that’s a lot of violence and yes, it does appear to be going down since WW2.

    Holy crap – look at #7.

  4. we’re getting better AT killing people…

    i think killing americans is still considered bad.  well, unless they really, really deserve  it.  or unless it serves a political purpose in some way.  but, yeah, killing americans is a crime punishable by…death..??…is that right???  that doesnt seem right…

    but i know its totally, completely, intrinsically wrong to kill americans.  that’s a start…right? 

  5. For our entire life as a species we have had war, we have killed people.

    untimely death of one at the hand of another indeed figures into our species history. it’s reflective of our position firmly within the animal kindom, which pretty much precribes that if you want to eat, you’ve got to kill: either your dinner, or that furry somebitch who’s in the way of your next meal.

    and while i’m not going to suggest that non-human members of the animal kingdom are without emotion, or are lacking in soul (big can o’ worms i’m going to now set back onto the shelf), i will suggest that our big, delicious, meaty brains, replete with analytical capabilities and the capacity for empathy, compel us to grow as a species, to leave behind this particular aspect of our evolutionary heritage.

    there have been writings (search: cultural creatives) that go so far as to suggest that there’s evidence–such as the very existence of a peace movement, for example–demonstrating how and where homo sapiens is evolving into a new species, albeit slowly.

    it’s a long tough slog. our collective progess is and will be impeded by those who’ll want to keep walking on their knuckles.

  6. The lies though, I mean the outright stupid “f”ing lies that got made up and spread around and still believed by this 29% group…….Nah, we still suck for the most part.  Seems like we missed us a good war so much we were just about to believe anything.

  7. upon nation states, above all, in their legacies of butchery.  Me, I’m rooting for their extinction as a phenomenon.  I’m not a thorough anarchist; tribal councils, regional consortiums are understandable.  But once you have a full blown nation state it begins to seek out its own needs instead of those of the people it pretends to serve.

    Interestingly Jesus taught that fostering hatred in the heart was tantamount to murder, that and slander.  I guess the word never got out among the reichwing about that.  Which is why it blows my mind someone like [coughs, sputters at name] Coulter gets hired to speak at putatively Churchian gigs.

    Really until we take those words seriously about rejecting hatred from the mind on out, there won’t be much success controlling the outward deeds.

    • Faheyman on September 21, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    evil man make you kill me.”

  8. violent, prides itself on it, glorifies it, looks at war as a sporting event. All politicians worship it if not their ridiculed as sissies. The worst thing about our lack of social evolution is that our technological ability to kill get better and better we get smart bombs and missiles and war becomes even more like a game.

    Information of the realities in Iraq is smoothed out with stock footage and lies, but somehow the reality of what were doing is starting to grow to seep out. Either that or were losing and next to violence what love even more is winning. I think the only hope we have is information globally and I really hope that the world does not have to kick our asses to start the process of peace on a evolutionary level again

    • byteb on September 21, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    When we first crawled out of our caves, it took a lot of work to kill someone. It took face to face battle. Human beings struggle and fight to survive. Often the attacker was mortally wounded along with his victim. A person might think twice about killing another.
    But now, we’ve become very efficient at killing a great many people from a far distance. It’s clinical in operation and it affords emotional distance to what is really happening. That’s why BushCo. didn’t want the pictures of dead coffins shown to the public..because actually “seeing” the dead soldiers and civilians stirs a response of revulsion.
    I wish I could say we’re getting better at not killing people but I fear the opposite is truth.

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    • tjb22 on September 21, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    slightly better.  Let’s face it, if we had wanted to, we could have “conquered” Iraq long ago in the manner we “won” in Japan and Germany.  Ofcourse, there are segments of our society who believe we should have, or still should do, just that.  Its not being done, however, because overall, it just would not be accepted.  Ofcourse, the flip side of this is we might well end up killing as many people in Iraq in a slower manner….

    Ofcourse, we are no better at not interfering where we don’t belong.  We kid ourselves by thinking we can do it “more humanely”.

    • snud on September 21, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    …Or I certainly see no sign of that happening now or ever “in the course of human events”.

    I guess far too many of us are just mean-ass apes with clothes on.

    • TheRef on September 22, 2007 at 2:20 am

    high school biology class that human beings are members of the animal kingdom, the kingdom that has survived and in some cases thrived on the rule of survival of the fittest. War between the members of the human community will remain just as common as war between any other opposing animals. For the lower (on the intelligence curve) classes of animals, war is instinctual. For humans, it is more of a thought-out process.

    While animals may fight for sexual favors, to protect territory, or to defend offspring. Humans would have us believe that our wars are for higher purposes. In some cases, that is true.

    Hitler and his Axis buddies meant to bring all of the world under their command and control. Those to whom the aggression was aimed disagreed and fought back. I agree with that response.

    The Korean policing action was meant to champion one ideology (democracy) over another (communism). I kind of support this effort.

    Vietnam was a contrived war (Bay of Tonkin) again aimed at the bug-a-boo of communism according to our leader …JFK, LBJ and Tricky Dickie.

    The first Gulf War …to repel an aggressor that invaded one of our treaty-bound friends.

    The second gulf war …Iraq, to salve the W’s swelled ego and in pursuit of the neo-cons version of world order.

    I believe a moralistic case can be made for some of these wars …though thousands were killed in some, hundreds of thousands in some, and millions in others.

    Is it right to kill another? I don’t think that question can be answered “no” in the absolute. It is a question of relativity and it requires an answer in the same vane.

    When attacked, unprovoked, I believe one has the right to defend his own life. I believe that is just as true for a country.

    Do we have the right to preemptively attack another because, in our perception of the others intentions / motives, we believe that we must attack (kill) them before they have the opportunity to attack (kill) us, that my friend takes war (the potential of war) to a stage beyond rational control. We have concluded in many instances over the years that intelligence that accurately predicts the course of action that another may take is very hard to come by. When our government has demonstrated that our intelligence mechanisms are infallible, then ask me about war.

    In America today, our government is attempting to make intelligence (i.e., spying) the initiator of war (and thus, killing) with other human beings.

    I don’t buy this approach.

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