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

Or

“…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.

 

InSufficient Reason

I just read this Post on Facebook written by an angry Conservative, named Dear Liberal…Here’s Why I’m So Hostile. It is far from being a ‘Rant’ or easily dismissed. It is very well written and logical. To refute it would take time, research, and much thought. The question I ask myself, having engaged this issue by already reading it, is whether or not to invest my time and energy in writing a rebuttal to this offal.

It seems this self proclaimed conservative and admirer of Ronald Reagan wishes to compare the Bill of Rights to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights:

  1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
  2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  3. The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  4. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  5. The right of every family to a decent home;
  6. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  7. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment;
  8. The right to a good education.

 

THE BILL OF RIGHTS – FULL TEXT

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

 

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The original Bill Of Rights that the conservative writer claims doesn’t cost a dime, because it always comes back to economics with conservatives, the Almighty Dollar, “who’s going to pay for it? “ is the first question asked. Unfortunately or apparently Mr. Choate has conveniently forgotten all the blood and treasure already spent in obtaining and maintaining them.

The word Conservative means:

Adjective

  1. Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
  2. Cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
  3. Traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
  4. (often initial capital letter) of or relating to the Conservative party.
  5. (initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative Judaism.
  6. Having the power or tendency to conserve or preserve.
  7. Mathematics. (of a vector or vector function) having curl equal to zero; irrotational; lamellar.

Noun

  1. A person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.
  2. A supporter of conservative political policies.
  3. A member of a conservative political party, especially the Conservative party in Great Britain.
  4. A preservative.

Choate takes great pains to define who he’s writing to. He claims that there is more in common between the liberals, he intends to abuse in his anti government polemic, and conservatives. In his deluded mind conservatives are the paradigm we should all aspire to, because “conservatives really are concerned with the plight of the poor in this nation”. But unfortunately, because conservatives are by definition; “Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.” they are obviated from doing anything to alter the institutions of Racism, Sexism, or Economic Privilege that maintains the status quo where blacks, women, and the poor have less than a fair chance to compete and achieve the American Dream.

Mr. Choate continues his rant with an attack of the twice vetted Affordable Care Act (ACA) citing concerns over another government run organization. “However, unlike you, we see a grave danger in turning the administration of that delivery system over to the same entity that is responsible for giving us the United States Postal Service.” Again using his selective memory and slanted point of view Choate denigrates the USPS, an organization that has successfully delivered the mail since its inception without asking for any funds from the US Taxpayer until the Congress of the US placed an unbearable burden on it to pre-pay for retiree Health Care.

“US Postal Service workers have a retiree health care benefit in addition to their pension. Before Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the USPS operated under a pay-as-you-go model for retiree health care funding. The new law requires the Postal Service to pre-fund its benefit obligations. The USPS in its current form runs like a business, relies on postage for revenue and, for the most part, has not used taxpayer money since 1982, when postage stamps became “products” instead of forms of taxation. Taxpayer money is only used in some cases to pay for mailing voter materials to disabled and overseas Americans.

USPS spokespersons have been adamant in emphasizing that they are not requesting taxpayer funds from the federal government to make this year’s payment. Rather, they say, the USPS is asking Congress to authorize access to an estimated $7 billion that they overpaid into the future retiree pension fund in previous years.” From a PBS article http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/five-things/the-u-s-postal-service/11433/

The erudite conservative takes some wild swings at FDR’s Second Bill of Rights by claiming, “FDR’s list is no “Bill of Rights”.  It’s a list of demands.” I beg to differ, they are not a set of demands; they are a statement of commitment to a new basis of security and prosperity that should be established for all regardless of station, race or creed.

Closing in on his attack on liberalism Choate makes this statement “your political beliefs are a threat to liberty – not just for me, but for my three boys and their children as well.”

Without having been asked Choate gives his reasons: “In your irrational attempt to classify things such as clothing, shelter, health care, employment, and income as basic human rights, you are placing a demand upon my time, my treasure, and my talents.”

This is a common variation to the conservative chant, ‘I’ve got mine so you can go pound.’ And then he sinks into fear mongering, another favorite in the Bagger’s toolkit. “If I choose not to give to the poor for whatever reason, you won’t simply try to persuade me on the merits of the idea – you will seek to use the government as an instrument of plunder to force me to give to the poor.”

Choate portrays himself, and those who share his views, as the heroic patriots defending home and hearth against the specter of an oppressive Big Government coming to take what they have and give it to those poor, needy, and ‘entitled’ wretches.

The final de-evolution comes with as paranoid a threat as I’ve ever heard or read. “If you want to become a slave to an all-powerful central government, be my guest.  But if you are planning to take me and my family down with you, as we say down here in the South, I will stomp a mud-hole in your chest and walk it dry.

Bring it.”

What can I say, what words can I write that would possibly convince such a person that his well written piece is delusional at best, bat crap crazy at worst. But they are our brothers, we are all Americans, all want what’s best for ourselves, our families, and our nation. I’m a Liberal and proud of it, I too want those things for my loved ones, I’m just not willing to leave others in desperation to secure my piece of it. Humanity, Justice, Forgiveness!

http://sufficient-reason.tumblr.com/post/26781491317/dear-liberalheres-why-im-so-hostile