Sunday, October 4, 2015

Just one more question mark.

I am not political. While I might have opinions about politics I feel woefully underinformed and naïve so I try to keep them to myself, lest my ignorance reveal itself and the world finds a new reason to mock me. Such is the lot of the middle child.

But I do think I understand a few things about human nature. So, sans any political static, I’d like to ask a few questions – these are not references to anything you might have read; these are simply questions about the way a normal human should react. Please, whoever you are, answer these honestly and without trying to picture them as part of something else -- think about them without regard to geography, history and politics. Consider them as a human, thinking about humans.

If you heard that a boy was shot from outside while standing in his house, would you be upset?

If you heard that an ambulance was attacked, would you consider that a normal course of behavior?

If you heard that a teen aged girl was shot while sleeping on her porch, would you be happy or sad?

If you heard that a fifteen year old boy was stabbed while walking through his home town, would you think that such behavior was reasonable?

If you heard that a clergy member, walking with his wife and baby, was stabbed to death on the street, the wife and baby stabbed and injured, and a good Samaritan who tried to help was stabbed to death as well, would you think anything other than how horrible this is?

If you heard that a family, while driving on the road, was shot at, the mother killed and the father, set upon and murdered when the car stopped, all in front of the faces of the 4 children, would you see that as defensible?

And most importantly, if you heard that anyone, anywhere, worked to champion any of these actions, explain, rationalize, support or celebrate any of these events, what would you think if that person? What if entire groups danced and sang, praised the perpetrators and lit fireworks to commemorate the attacks, what kind of response would you have for that group? Would you see them as the people you want to plan your future with? And what if a government, any government, took an official position encouraging the behavior? Would you vote for that government?

What if you heard that all these events took place within a 4 day span, in one country – would you agree that the country has a problem?

Would you blame the boy who got shot? Would you blame the parents driving their car, or the good Samaritan who tried to save a family? Maybe the ambulance driver?

What would you think of a person who openly took responsibility for these actions or who proudly praised the perpetrators? Does that person share a respect for life that you might claim to have? Can you stay silent when he stands up and condemns the police for killing the attacker in any of these cases?

Let’s take religion and politics out of this and just look at it as a matter of humanity. Put this anywhere in the world, make the victims any color or creed you want them to be. Is there any way to contextualize these events that they seem rewardable and not loathsome? Are they not newsworthy and reprehensible? Don’t you expect news anchors to let some of their milk of human kindness seep through and express bitter resentment that such violence should ever be condoned? Shouldn’t people of all stripes be climbing over each other to take the civilized position and condemn these events? Shouldn’t there be an outcry over the wanton destruction and senseless loss of life, regardless of the rationalizations offered?

Considered in a vacuum – in terms of absolute value, shouldn’t there be moral outrage? And do you think that there is a way to cast all of this, not in a vacuum, which makes ANY of these events justifiable? Do we really demand so little of humans that we can explain these behaviors in some way as to make them seem like an expected, accepted and predictable mode of behavior?

And if you had to live a life in which you didn’t feel safe driving your car, walking in your neighborhood, sleeping on your porch or standing in your house, would you feel sympathy for those who victimize you? How would you feel when someone came along and explained that these actions make sense because of what you did and who you are, even if you, yourself, didn’t do anything? Does that make any sense to you?

What if that was your father, out for a stroll, or your son, standing in his house? What if your cousin was the ambulance driver, or your niece, the girl asleep? What if it was your work colleague and his wife, driving home, who were killed. Does it have to be for you to see that this is wrong?

I have more questions to ask, and I have more fears about how people might answer the ones I asked already. But hey, I’m not a political person, so I’ll just move on.

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