The Value of Life

Of course, we are not alone, but this country, too, is in the midst of a moral deficit. And I’m not talking about matters of sex, either—I mean people’s (that includes children) utter disregard and disrespect for human life. They can commit murder without any conscience or remorse. What is so disturbing to me is this seeming disregard for life in general. We don’t put much importance on human life, certainly not on animal or plant life, and we don’t even seem to care if we ourselves live or die. As a race of beings, we are so intolerant and unforgiving of each other’s common foibles. While we can accept the fact that nobody is perfect, we turn right around and constantly judge each other harshly for our imperfections.

(“Off with their heads!”) We are a great society for persecution, vengeance and retaliation, staunch advocates of capital punishment and have a morbid fascination with public executions. Consider all the lion-feedings, crucifixions, impalements, immolations, duels, pugilistic bouts, firing squads, hangings, lynchings, lapidations (stonings), gassings, electrocutions, lethal injections and decapitations that people have advocated and willingly witnessed over the centuries. It’s another hypocritical situation. I think that a society that practices criminal “tit-for-tat” is no better than the people that they are condemning. We are taught, in theory, that the taking of a human life is the worst thing that a person can do to another, then we, in turn, proceed to punish the perpetrator by taking their life!

There are many Americans that regard the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to be completely unwarranted, as if we are totally innocent and have never done anything to anybody (although I am not entirely convinced that it even was a terrorist attack, at least not a foreign one, as I have elaborated in another post). “Why do those people hate us so much?” Well, we are not all that innocent, now, are we? Besides the atrocities that we have perpetrated on the peoples of other nations, look how we have treated in the past, and still do, our own fellow gentry. Of course, I don’t condone terrorist activity from anyone, but how dare we judge and condemn anybody for committing mass murder, as if we are completely guiltless of the same thing?!

Ever since there have been people in the world, there has been homicide. We can’t abolish murder by killing everybody who commits it. And since everyone is a potential murderer, why don’t we just kill everybody to prevent them from killing somebody else? An absurdly extreme notion? Well, to me, it’s no more absurd than arbitrary capital punishment. Every person in the world is guilty of some wrongdoing some time in their life, including killing. That is a basic fact of humanity.

I have to blame the media somewhat for this attitude of unconcern for human life, when reports and depiction of murder is so commonplace and matter-of-fact these days. It’s a daily occurrence on the news broadcasts, and although entertaining–I watch many of them myself–the TV crime shows treat murder and mayhem as if they were no big deal. The writers of these shows have to come up with different ways and means to commit murders week after week, year after year, and it has gotten so that people will kill each other for any or no reason. One new show is even called “Motive,” where the victim and killer are revealed at the top of the show, and the detectives spend the rest of the hour determining the why. The reasons become more nonsensical every episode.

A popular motive is they-know-too-much-so-kill-them-so-that-they-can’t-tell-anybody. Not that they will necessarily, but the fact that they could is grounds for extermination, you see. When knowledge of privileged information becomes definite grounds for being murdered, then none of us are safe, I guess. I saw a recent drama where a woman murdered her own daughter because the young woman had a conscience and didn’t like that her family were into some criminal business dealings. The mother’s excuse when she got caught was, “I sacrificed my daughter in order to protect my husband and sons. It was for the family.” So your daughter is not part of your family? The very next week on the same show, “Perception,” a dollmaker, who specialized in realistic baby dolls for women who used his creations to fill the void after the death of their own babies, murdered one of his clients because she didn’t take care of her doll properly to his satisfaction. Each doll was a work of art, you see, and how dare that bitch abuse one of his masterpieces! She had to die. That’ll teach her!

Characters kill spouses, family members and friends for the pettiest of reasons, not that any reason is good enough to merit murder, in my opinion. Fortunately, there are enough rationally-sane persons in the world, like myself, who are not influenced by all that gratuitous violence that we witness on the screen. But there are those who are impressionable, especially the youth, who become callous and apathetic by it all and regard killing as a non-issue. Many are obsessed with those video games where violence is the main objective of gameplay, and too often the line between fantasy and reality become dangerously blurred.

It’s little wonder that we don’t care about each other, because we don’t even care what happens to ourselves. We seem to be hell-bent for self-destruction. For example, we now know what foods are potentially bad for our health and which substances and chemicals are detrimental to our body, yet we continue to put harmful things into it. We know that nicotine and alcohol, for instance, are addictive and deadly, yet the tobacco and liquor industries are forever thriving. Ambitious athletes pump themselves up with harmful steroids, knowing full well their eventual, lethal effect.

We read the warnings on the diet soft drink cans and bottles that say that the artificial sweeteners contained therein have been proven to be carcinogenic, then we go right ahead and buy a case of the stuff anyway. When Patrick Swayze and Alex Trebek (who should have known better), to name only two, died of pancreatic cancer, it was later reported that they both were addicted to Diet Coke. It was their primary beverage for years. The pancreas is designed to process real sugar. When aspertame is introduced into the system, the pancreas get confused. “What is that?” it asks. So its not being able to process this strange substance, it rebels and creates cancer cells to itself instead.

We continue to pollute the air that we have to breathe and the water that we need to drink. We have jeopardized people’s health and well-being by the dumping of toxic and nuclear waste materials into our waterways and environment. For the individuals and companies that do that, what are they thinking? Don’t they have to live here, too? Where are they going when their careless apathy some day renders this earth uninhabitable?

We upset the balance of nature with our senseless, gratuitous killing of wildlife and drive masses of animals from their natural habitats. If you go out and destroy an animal’s home where it lives and eats, then don’t get all indignant and want to kill it when it comes into your yard looking for food. We continue to destroy the rainforests and the ozone layer. I heard a news report that the rainforests’ decimation is responsible for unleashing all these “new” deadly viruses (like the Ebola) on the world, which previously had contained them. So see, that’s another thing that we have brought upon ourselves.

The cutting down of trees, along with the excessive burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), also cause an increase in potentially-harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting in the “greenhouse effect” and “global warming,” which has been proven to be already affecting the earth in catastrophic ways. When we didn’t know any better, that was our excuse. But now that we do know better, what’s our excuse? I guess we just don’t care enough. I have heard elderly persons exclaim, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!”

3,087 thoughts on “The Value of Life”

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