Tuesday, October 03, 2006
History's Alarm Clock is Ringing
A 53-year-old homeless man, Michael Roberts, is dead in Florida. Four teenage boys allegedly beat the decrepit, reprobate to death in May 2005 with fists, sticks and logs. My first question upon hearing that news report was, "Why?" The quick answer, from the youths' own mouths, is they did it for fun, excitement, and entertainment.
When I try to think about it from their perspective, I can understand their motivation. Beating an old man might indeed be exciting. Just think of the adrenalin rush. And since the guy wasn't a viable, productive human being, their fun and entertainment might have done the state a favor. They did, after all, take one more bum off the welfare rolls. So, why are they being prosecuted for doing the state a favor?
There is one small hole in that reasoning: Our culture places inherent value on human life. That explains why cruelly killing an animal is not murder. It's a dirty, rotten shame, but not murder. Killing a human being with malice of forethought, however, is murder. Our laws protect human life by assigning severe penalties for wantonly taking a life. Negating that inherent value ultimately places all human life at risk.
Not too long ago, abortion was illegal and considered barbaric, rather like murder is today. But today's law allows pre-born human beings to be killed at the mother's convenience. In view of that "advance" in western mores, I wonder when society will declare reprobate human beings to be less-than human, or profoundly disabled human beings, or even those unwanted by someone with enough money to legally remove their viability status.
Yes, it sounds far fetched, but legally killing pre-born humans also sounded far fetched just yesterday, by history's clock.
Do I detect an alarm going off?