Today is the first day of my new commitment to poastaday 2011 and I had been looking forward to my first topic of the day e-mail.
“What would the brains trust at WordPress come up with for my inaugural post”, I wondered as I eagerly signed in to my Hotmail account. Then, there it was, today’s hot issue- “Is it Ever Acceptable to Kill?”
This is a bit of an old chestnut really, an age old question of humanity’s right to deprive cattle of their lives in order to have a BBQ. In reality death is a natural part of living for all things. Everything living on the earth is consuming something else, even great oaks can only grow if there is a living soil to feed from, a bed of decomposing organic matter, the spoils of death.
As I had arrived so quickly at this obvious point it made me think of why this is such an emotive issue for so many people. In fact anyone that eats a portion of meat or fish or fowl has killed something by proxy really. After all, everyone slaughters untold millions of bacteria every day without sparing it a thought (other than that the germs are all satisfyingly gone) yet they pale at the thought of separating a rooster from his head to make a chicken dinner. This question seems to me to be more about people rather than killing per se. When it is the unseeable amoebic swarms that are being killed it is far different to a cute lamb being led to the slaughterhouse to become chops.
So much more so then when the question turns to homicide. Is it ever acceptable to kill another human being? If it is who, in that case, decides what humans it is acceptable to kill? The government? The courts? In fact both of these institutions do kill every day and we not only find it acceptable, we vote them in to maintain the status quo, and to keep our armies in the field. Obviously society seems to find killing, in certain instances, to be entirely acceptable.