Last week, I dropped over to "The Blue Voice," and felt compelled to comment upon a particular posting. Not the rah-rah, "You go!" comment I usually make—TBV is a left-leaning blog penned by folks whose views generally closely mirror my own. But I had to take issue with some statements that I felt went off in a direction that left-wingers, like, say, Hillary Clinton, seem all too prone to go these days.
I was reminded of the—shall we call it a point of disagreement?—when I stopped by Tina’s post on Ride Along With Me, where she linked back to a study pointed out by her husband. It seems the men in the study took measurable pleasure in seeing "bad people" receive painful physical stimuli-—revenge? As opposed to the women partipants, who evidently reacted sympathetically to witnessing anyone--good or bad--receive the electric shocks administered in the study.
This whole scenario hearkened back to an exchange I had with Neil last week at The Blue Voice. He posted an entry lauding the reported killings of some high-ranking Al Queda members in a bombing raid somewhere in Pakistan. He went on, in the comment string, to insist that Osama Bin Laden’s death was absolutely vital in retribution for 9/11. Admitted in so many words that his desire was for revenge, and that revenge was good and proper. Adding that once we attained that revenge, it would of course serve as a deterrent to other terrorists bent on attacking the US.
This just goes to show how even men whose political sympathies don’t necessarily follow the right-wing, war-hawk, get-them-before-they-can-get-us model that kept the Texas Cartel in power in Washington, can rationalize their basest instinctive bloodlust enough to claim it has practical and political merit. Who on earth could credibly conclude that murdering those who have no respect for any human life, not even their own—evidenced by their weapon of choice: young people willing to blow themselves to bits for the glory of taking a few of the godless invaders along with them—would serve as a deterrent? Certainly any thinking person would realize that the execution of those who believe that dying in jihad at the hands of infidels earns them a pass straight to paradise—only calls up longer and longer queues of zealots eager to do the same? In such a case, revenge becomes an emotional luxury in which we are foolhardy to indulge.
But, it’s not revenge. It’s justice. It’s "an eye for an eye." It’s courage. It’s patriotism. It’s proof of our lofty principles and our willingness to defend them. Our males have employed this semantic sleight of hand since we crawled far enough beyond the mouths of our caves to realize that, in order to keep ourselves from wiping out our own species, we needed social codes to curb our violent behavior. And the females…since time immemorial, we are the ones left behind to testify that all this exchange of blood changes nothing. We who have been brushed aside, trapped beneath the combat boots of the men who would ensure our complicity, we shake our heads and endlessly wonder why our men cannot comprehend the futility of their actions. We’re sent home to tend the graves of our fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons who acted upon their "noble instincts" at any cost. Or we are ourselves buried, as collateral damage of our mates’ unreasoning lust for blood.
I know. Not every man harbors a violence-obsessed alter ego. Only the ones, it seems, who do the most damage. And not every woman recoils from the blood that stains the hands of her mate. Only the ones whose mournful wails have composed the score of all man’s bloodiest battles throughout time.
I'm sorry, Neil. I know it seems easy for me to pay lip service to adhering to a higher code, to overcoming emotions and thinking rationally about the consequences of the taking of any human life. I live a continent away from Ground Zero. What I know of the tragedy is, at best, second-hand. I didn't personally know anyone, or the family of anyone, killed on 9/11/01 at Osama Bin Laden's command. Still, I have to ask: What wrong, in all history, was ever made right by a vengeful killing? What transgression was ever washed clean in a bucket of blood? When will we ever learn? Thousands of years of human-upon-human violence have not yet given us cause to employ these massive brains, encased in these great skulls, perched upon these peculiarly upright spines, to contrive a way to keep us from destroying one another. From destroying ourselves. We will be the death of us, yet.