We Don’t Value Life

The 14 county employees who were killed by an armed-to-the-teeth couple in San Bernardino this week hit us hard at the state agency where I am employed.  Although I did not know any of the people involved, I do have professional contacts in San Bernardino County who emailed me to let me know that all non-essential county offices were closed for the remainder of the week.

This latest horror occurs right on the heels of the terrorist attacks in Paris in which so many lost their lives.  Indeed, the media now tell us that the San Bernardino murders had terrorist connections as well.

All the presidential candidates, both Democrat and Republican, have now been addressing the issues of gun control and stamping out terrorism.  Perhaps I am too jaded for my own good, but I am not so sure that there is much that can be done about either one.

Let us not forget that we have now reached the third anniversary of the mass murder of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  And then there was the mass killing in a church in Charleston, South Carolina and so many other scenes of loved ones ripped from us in an instant by bullets.

Most gun murders barely make a blip on the local news due to the fact that, typically, only one or two people are killed, and they are usually family members.  Then there is gang violence about which we throw up our hands and chalk up to the breakdown of the American family.

I don’t think there are any easy answers for us.  In other countries, ownership of firearms is illegal.  Despite the gun lobby screaming that if owning guns were a crime, only criminals would own guns, the murder rate is far lower in most other nations than it is here in the United States.  As an article in The Washington Post recently pointed out, Congress will never make any significant move toward gun control due to its effect on liberty interests (in other words, the Second Amendment).

So I guess this means we are stuck.  Placed in social context, however, our propensity for murdering each other should come as no surprise.  The sad fact remains that there is no longer any respect for life in this country.  Any society that sanctions abortion, capital punishment and hunting is obviously just as happy to have dead corpses in our midst as it is to have the company of living beings.

I am constantly appalled by the way we treat animals, from the terrible abuse of pets to the murder of cows, pigs and birds so that we can eat their flesh.  But, really, it all makes sense.  How can we hope for any respect for our fellow creatures when we don’t even value the lives of those of our own species?



3 thoughts on “We Don’t Value Life

  1. The perps had also manufactured pipe bombs, so guns aren’t the only issue. But I’m skeptical that gun control would do much to solve the problem of Muslim terrorist activity. ISIS has been able to smuggle weapons into Western Europe, where it is much harder to buy guns legally. A week or so before the Paris attack, German police arrested a guy traveling from Montenegro in a car filled with automatic weapons, ammo, grenades and dynamite.</a< His GPS was set for Paris.

    • I don’t often agree with you, Janon, but this time we are right on the same page. The ease of obtaining guns is certainly a separate issue from that of terrorist activity. Much as premeditated murderers often try to make their crimes look like robberies, I believe San Bernardino was a case of terrorists trying to make their crimes look like workplace violence. Goodness knows, we’re already panicked about fellow employees “going postal.” It’s too easy to play on that fear.

      What does bother me, however, is that at least some of these cretins’ weapons were obtained legally. This reminds me of the pilots that flew passenger jets into the World Trade Center on 9/11; they had entered the United States legally. I’m no sociologist, but it seems to me that the bottom line is that those who are hellbent on committing murder, terrorist-influenced or otherwise, are going to do it and there’s no stopping them. Those who are ready to die for their beliefs or who simply do not value their own lives will in no way be discouraged from their crimes by the threat of capital punishment, either via electric chair or via a hail of bullets courtesy of the local cops. However: We don’t need to make it easier for them to do their murders. We may not be able to stop them from acting illegally, but when the necessary preparation for their crimes is conducted by legal means, we are doing something wrong.

      • Well, one way to reduce the risk of Muslim terrorist activity would be to restrict legal immigration from Muslim countries, tighten visa requirements, and enforce the immigration laws we have. If that’s too politically incorrect, an across the board immigration moratorium should be considered. The real unemployment rate (not the heavily massaged number the media likes to report) generally fluctuates between 15 and 20%. Jobs for unskilled and even skilled labor are not plentiful, and automation technology is coming online that will further reduce the number of jobs available, perhaps steeply over the next few decades. Native born citizens could be trained where there are shortages, which used to be much more common. Moreover, immigration presents far more costs to the taxpayers than it did when our ancestors came because of the expansion of government social welfare programs. I could go on and on about this country’s insane immigration policies.

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