'Act in the living present'
0 comment Monday, July 21, 2014 |
First, the story being discussed here has been posted on a number of blogs and forums, and has occasioned a lot of discussion, most of it of the garden variety shock and outrage that accompanies -- and should accompany -- any discussion of such acts.
However, the linked discussion begins with a reasonable blog entry -- at least until I hit this sentence:
For that matter, while the possibility of the execution of an innocent man troubles me, I don't regard this consideration as very telling.''
Execution? Innocent man? I'm lost here, I confess.
First, there was no 'execution' in the legal sense. The man was stopped in the act of committing horrible violence on a child, violence which was real enough and serious enough to cause the child's death. He had to be stopped. As for his possibly being 'an innocent man' -- good grief; there were several witnesses to this thing, and it seems the police arrived on the violent scene in progress.
It would seem that there was little doubt about his 'innocence.' So I don't understand the blogger's mention of that as a possibility.
The discussion that follows degenerates into a 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?' exercise in splitting hairs over capital punishment and whether it is or is not moral, or Christian, or fair, or whatever, and whether concern for 'potentially innocent' suspects should be given equal consideration alongside victims.
The exasperatingly pedantic tone of the discussion adds to the frustration it inspired in me.
Another thing: the discussion (and many of the news stories reporting the incident in question) made no mention of the name of the suspect. Just for the record, his name was Hispanic (Sergio Aguilar) and it may be he was illegal, but that is not the main point. His heritage and culture are not inconsequential, as far as I'm concerned. Why? Because culture plays a part in how we comport ourselves individually and in groups. And culture is linked with race. Certain groups are demonstrably more likely to commit violent crimes. That's something most oblivious 'I'm no racist' Americans need to understand; the fact that we are becoming a Hispanic country will not just mean more good Mexican restaurants. It will mean our country will come to resemble Mexico more and more, and this kind of thing is part of it.
But that's not the point of this post. I'm more troubled by the fact that even among conservatives, or 'conservatives', there seems to be a moral obtuseness that hints at how much liberal ideas have filtered into the conservative discourse. This fussing over whether the mad-dog individual beating the child was 'innocent', whether in a hair-splitting legalistic sense, or in an absolute moral sense, should not be taking place. At all. Especially not among conservatives.
30 years ago, maybe even 20 years ago, I cannot imagine those questions being raised and fretted over except among hyper-liberals.
Not so long ago, it was simply a given that should citizens or police come upon such an act happening, the attacker would need to be stopped, by whatever means worked, up to and including lethal force. The fretting about how someone could have stopped him without killing him is just decadent.
I suppose, in a way, this is a predictable side-effect of years of propaganda on the right about how ''all (human) life is sacred.'' Now, this line seems to have come into use as a weapon against the pro-abort crowd. However, the liberals, while not deeming unborn babies' lives to be sacred, certainly seem to think that all criminals (or suspects') lives are sacred. But was this idea of all human life being sacred a commonly-held idea in the old America? I honestly don't remember ever hearing it until after abortion became legalized.
Does the Bible say that 'all human life is sacred'? It certainly holds that all is created by God, and implies that all beings are created for a purpose. Since God is the Creator and giver of life, it isn't ours to decide arbitrarily to end a life, our own included, unless certain circumstances existed. The Bible commands capital punishment for murder. And here, the liberal will say, regarding the situation of the man beating the baby, that 'he hadn't been tried or convicted.' Yes, but under Biblical law, someone threatening innocent life is to be stopped from taking life, by force if need be.
The Bible always differentiates between shedding innocent blood and the blood of a criminal, or even someone in the act of harming another, who has not yet been 'tried and convicted'.
I have never been able to fathom the obtuseness of many liberals who cannot or will not see the difference between using lethal force to stop a dangerous attacker, or executing a killer, and taking an innocent life. It's as though most of our people in the West have become morally blinded.
Distinctions are important; how can we have reached the point where we seriously think that it may be morally wrong to kill a man committing such a heinous act? Can we no longer discern between killing someone for a valid reason, in extreme circumstances where a life is at stake, and wanton murder? Have we gotten too squeamish and too timid to deal with moral absolutes, and thus resort to shilly-shallying over life-and-death matters? I think we have, and I think this is manifest in many areas of our society these days. For example, our reluctance to defend our borders. Nobody wants to be unfair to these nice people who just come here to work and make a better living for themselves and their children. Like Mr. Aguilar, perhaps? Nobody wants to believe that among those nice, hard-working church-going, pious immigrants that there are some like Mr. Aguilar. We must always presume the best of everybody, the evidence notwithstanding.
We refuse to take tough stands and make hard choices. We would rather stand by and wring our hands and discuss fine moral points about the ethics of any possible action we might take to stop whatever evil we are up against. Sometimes, we just have to act and not stop to analyze and shilly-shally. (And by the way, that word comes from the phrase 'Shall I? Shall I?" The favorite phrase of the hesitant and the timid).
Sometimes we don't have the luxury of being timid and self-critical. Sometimes we have to 'act, act in the living present.'
But as for the question of killing a suspect, it's unfortunate, I think, that the English translation of the Ten Commandments uses the phrase 'thou shalt not kill' when the original phrase meant 'thou shalt not murder'. Hence the moral confusion of many about capital punishment. Every time some killer is executed and the bleeding-hearts gather around to protest and weep crocodile tears, the protesters carry signs saying 'Thou Shalt Not Kill.' And someone lectures us, saying that if we execute killers, we are 'no better than they are.' Such people are moral imbeciles.
As for the case of the man, Aguilar, murdering the child, I can only say that anybody who is not outraged and sickened by his actions does not deserve the label of 'civilized human being'. Anybody who wants to split hairs about whether or not he may have been 'innocent' has his priorities exactly backwards.

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