Sunday, July 22, 2012

The High Price of Humanity

Just when one thinks that the species that is Man cannot descend any lower in terms of how its members treat one another something happens to remind one that sadly we have not yet touched the bottom of the hole.  Much has been written and spoken about the depraved actions of the piece of dreck who assaulted and murdered dozens of his fellow humans at a midnight showing Thursday night/Friday morning of the new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado.  I have nothing revelatory to add to the discussion.  I know nothing about what "motivated" this man to do what he did - although I feel dirty simply perverting the word motivation in using it to describe his actions. 

Human beings have been killing each other without provocation or reason for as long as other human beings have been present to record the history of our species.  We are an exception among our friends in the Animal Kingdom in that we will take the life of another even after the one we intend to kill has stopped fighting back and even after he/she has begged for mercy.  Dissatisfied with the opportunities to inflict punishment upon each other, we have dipped our toes into other realms and fucked with other species to fulfill our blood lust.  One never sees a rooster at the top of a cock-fighting ring or sees a bull mastiff doing the perp walk when the Feds break up a dog-fighting operation; right?  Of course not.  Atop the pyramid there - as everywhere - is one of us. 

Opportunity shall always exist for the evil among us to inflict harm upon the good.  No law shall ever be written that effectively legislates evil out of existence.  It is simply not going to happen.  And the truly vile shall always be able to wreak havoc on the rest of us.  Irrespective of how much we might enjoy watching it at the movies or on our televisions or reading about it in our books in the non-fiction reality that is our day-to-day life most of us are unprepared to respond when confronted by actual, pure evil.  That lack of preparedness not make us weak.  It does not make us cowards.  It makes us human.   

Any of us who is a parent knows that it is anathematic to the manner in which a parent raises a child to have him or her embrace evil.  We raise our children to be "good" and to look for "good" in others.  We caution them to be on their guard against bad things but given how fortunate most of us to encounter actual evil on an infrequent basis - if we encounter it at all in our lifetime - we are really ill-suited to teach them that cautionary tale.  We do the best that we can all the while knowing that our best likely is not good enough and hoping every day that our lesson's shortcomings never get revealed.  Mercifully most of us live the entirety of our lives without our limitations as a teacher ever being exposed.  We are better for it.  So too, of course, are our children.  That is why when they become parents they shall that very same lesson to their children.  And go to sleep every night hoping - as we do and as our parents did before us - that its shortcomings shall never be revealed.

It is the best we can do.  We cannot do any more.   And unless and until we come up with a better lesson to bestow upon them, we should never stop sharing this one with them. 


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