Being Bitten


Something different than what you’d expect this time. This has nothing to do with paleontology. Do not click this link or go below the fold if you want to avoid a non-paleo post.Recent news of a political sort has shaken America. The last time I felt shaken in such a way, I was woken by those closest to me and turned to the TV, and felt the world get turned upside down. The scale of destruction was seeming unparalleled. That’s how it felt. I recalled later that worse and far greater events have caused such destruction, such loss of life, but that was in the past, a thing I never noticed, witnessed, remembered. Now, I watched as one building was burning, followed (live) as a black streak hit the other.

What happened after was short-lived. It was a feeling of togetherness, of such profound grief that even hatred got set aside. There was profound sadness. One commentator said that it would be forgiven if America forgot other nations, that it had something greater on its mind. But that was for a moment; this nation turned to war. We invaded first one, then another nation, regardless of the pretext, and began to ignore the loss of life for what it was, and instead felt that killing would assuage the grief we felt. I thought once that it seemed so horribly human and animal.

A decade passes, and the grief is kept alive by memorials, notices, faces on “Wanted” posters. In this time, people killed people, others grieved for those losses, bemoaned cries for mercy were ignored.

America stood up again as the news came forth a few days ago and cheered, cheered the death of a man. National unity again. We’d won! But I am set aside by me feelings that the loss of life incurred to kill one man is not worth it. No death seems worth it. Not only as a nation did we cheer, we ignored the countless other trod underfoot to get there, be they detained, tortured, silently murdered, publicly killed on the battlefield. All of it seems wrong.

No life is worth another life. I try to tell myself this when seeing the cheers, because I realize to give in to the baser instinct, to reward the pleasure of death and vindication is to become an animal. And that only underscores how human we are, to choose to be animals. No country that says “it is wrong to murder” or “it is wrong to permit another to die” has any right to declare itself free of this rule. Any man who decides in a moment it is wrong to kill one person, but okay to kill another, is a hypocrite. I watched a thousand cheering hypocrites on the news for the last few days, at work, people rushing to my station to tell me what they saw and heard. I didn’t know what to think then. I do now.

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