Who should live, who should die, and who gets to decide?

The recent tragedies in Orlando FL have launched me on a strange dark path. Killing is wrong, we can all agree on that, enshrined as that imperative is in Judao-Christian doctrine and I believe humanity is the better for it. However, what rules should apply for the other sentient species with whom we share this planet? It is in their natures to kill to survive, so should that other biblical compulsory edict apply to them too.

 “…19’If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. 21’Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death.…” Leviticus 24:20


“…20″The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21″Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

Now, I do not consider myself religious, I view the bible as a guidebook for appropriate behavior and not the ultimate word from on high that some do. I do; however, see a conflict with how men act with regard to other creatures with whom we share planet Earth. Humankind looks at the species on the land and in the oceans as commodities, purely for personal gain, a concept currently described as ‘ecosystems services’. It holds the notion that plants and animals are merely saleable items and indentured to our market system. We view ourselves above nature. It is an anthropocentric view of the world. Thinking that human needs supersede all others is what has brought us to this desperate state of affairs in the first place.

The deaths in Orlando, forty-nine murders perpetrated by a human being acting against his nature and the other single death, the result of an animal acting according to his/her nature presents a sad and disturbing question. Should the same rules apply for both species? Should the alligator who dragged the two-year-old child to his death be held to the same standard that Omar Mateen would have been held to had he survived? If that is in fact the case then how is it justified to hunt and kill all the alligators now residing in the inviting manmade lakes surrounding Disney World? Mateen would have been apprehended and stood trial for his crimes; however, no such consideration is given to the reptiles now inhabiting the Disney lake, they are hunted and killed. Protection, Justice, or Retribution?

I am finding it difficult to justify the general slaughter of any animal simply because it is behaving as designed by nature. After my fashion, I took to the internet to see what others thought of this dilemma and as you would expect I found much written about this topic.

“We are the most invasive species who has ever roamed Earth, redecorating nature willy-nilly with little regard about the lives of the other animals into whose homes and lives we’ve trespassed. When we choose to live or go where dangerous animals live there is a risk involved.”

I read many articles calling for the animal to be destroyed on the justification that “That individuals “get the taste for blood” after attacking a human…” a myth that seems to live on and on, unlike any predator unfortunate enough to have dined on human flesh, since we humans, apex killers ourselves, do not suffer a man-eater to long survive. I would prefer that the alligators currently living in and around ‘the happiest place on earth’ be relocated to where our presence does not offer so tempting an opportunity to do what they do best, hunt and feed.

Recently I viewed a National Geographic Magazine documentary featuring villages in India where the human inhabitants have learned to live peacefully side by side with Leopards without the need to kill or destroy the entire population of these magnificent creatures.

If several small villages in India can find the means to live in relative harmony alongside an apex predator, then why cannot visitors to Disney World do likewise?

“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.