Contact Us    
The Killing Business

by Barnabas
July 10, 2002

Bookmark and Share

The Killing Business_Barnabas- “U.S. drafting 3-front attack against Iraq,” declares a New York Times article by Eric Schmitt on July 6. It goes on to affirm the wisdom of an unnamed military analyst, "The Iraqis aren't just going to sit on their butts while we put in 250,000 people.” There is much more substance to the article, of course, but I’m always amused by the thunderingly obvious statements that editors think are worth quoting, even in a story as unfunny as this one.

It is unfunny because the planners and analysts are putting violent death on the agenda of the nation and the world. They are scheduling death for a huge number of persons on all sides of a conflict. They are in the killing business, and just doing their job.

Recently, where we live on the edge of a wild wood, a snake invaded our garage. It was probably harmless, but it turned hostile when we tried to shoo it out. Since I don’t care to be bitten by any snake -- and in fact its markings were too ambiguous to be sure that it was harmless — I maneuvered it into a position where I was sure I could kill it without it attacking me, and did it. It was the first time in forty-five years that I intentionally killed anything larger than a mouse in a trap.

Had I been in the killing business, I would not have thought about it twice. But I am in the thinking business, so I think about it a lot.

Violent death, even that of a snake, is an intensely personal event — if not for the victim, then certainly for the human killer and anyone who observed the act. Besides the attending emotion, there is always an ethical component. In this case, if it were not venomous the snake should not have died to suit my convenience. On the other hand, the poisonous snake my victim most resembles belongs to a species on the endangered list in the state where I live.

Especially when we kill our own species, as in war, one of those two situations apply: we kill to suit our convenience, or we kill an endangered species. We need to keep clear which we are doing. We cannot justify the first; but the second, even when justifiable, is pure tragedy.

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
The Killing Business
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Barnabas
Barnabas Says Goodbye
Moving on, not moving out.
by Barnabas, 1/19/05
Seats on the Fifty-Yard Line
Yet another American value.
by Barnabas, 1/12/05
Ethical Endgame
When children become sexual slaves.
by Barnabas, 12/15/04
Eighteen Years on Death Row
We have redefined 'speedy trial' and 'cruel and unusual.'
by Barnabas, 12/8/04
Hard on Drugs, Soft in the Head
Legalizing marijuana.
by Barnabas, 12/1/04
Wesley and Wal-Mart
Destructive competition as a stinky enterprise.
by Barnabas, 11/24/04
The Mandate to Govern
Third party time.
by Barnabas, 11/17/04
» Complete List (137)

Recently Published
View Article The Death of a Trailblazer
Remembering my neighbor Paul Allen
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/18/18
Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out
The transgressions of youth and social media follow us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/12/18
So Who are We to Judge?
A timely question
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/4/18
Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright
An amazing comeback for a disgraced golfer
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/28/18
Bert and Ernie are Not Gay!
Attempting to make sense of a senseless claim
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/21/18
A Prayer for Hurricane Victims
Asking God to calm the storm
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/14/18
Are We Ready for Some Football?
A rhetorical question as the NFL season kicks off
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/7/18

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2018 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top