It’s fairly well-known by now that a couple of weeks ago a very significant number of people were killed a good 5000 miles away from the United States of America, in Syria. It is also established that these people were murdered by way of a chemical weapon. That is about all we truly know for sure. For certain, there is a truth to be known about it all like whom the perpetrators were. Almost as certain, however, is that only history has a chance of revealing that truth and quite frankly, the odds are not in history’s favor.
The attack is now being dissected, discussed and debated in such a way that can only be described as unmitigated farce. Politicians and pundits ponder what, if any, more death and destruction should be delivered as an answer to the death and destruction in an effort to discourage further death and destruction. Despairingly, of course, what is already lost in the event, if, in fact, it was ever even fully recognized by anyone outside the immediate area are the lives of so many that were extinguished in the blink of an eye for the whims of advancing an agenda. That is true regardless of the actual guilty party.
In the short life of this blog, I have already mentioned a number of stats and facts that (hopefully) demonstrate just how deeply we have fallen and how much trouble we are in especially here in America. However, at this particular moment, I actually ponder if we ever indeed have risen to such a position from where we could fall? By that I mean, as a society, a civilization, a people, how far have we really come? The answer, of course, depends like so many things, on how you look at it. On one hand, this country has achieved absolute, historic, never-seen-before, levels of individual freedom, health, wealth and standard of living. I submit, however, that despite that irrefutable fact, we have only regressed as a civilization since declaring our independence 237 years ago.
Regression can actually be established in many sectors. For example, I could simply speak of the fact that this nation was built on the idea of extremely limited government and immense, personal freedom. Both ideals have not only slowly eroded but a case can be made for each that the time of inception was also their peak. Regardless, where we are today is virtually the complete opposite of what the framers had initiated.
However, what is perhaps more stunning, and how this relates to Syria, is our regression from our most fundamental right, life. It is undeniable that the historic, never-before-seen levels of individual freedom, health, wealth and standard of living has been entirely built on the idea that the right to life is arbitrary at best.
It started, of course, on the backs of slaves. From the get go it was evident not all men were in fact created equally nor bestowed with even the most unambiguous of unalienable rights. Slavery was merely a stepping stone when compared to the genocide of the native population occupying the new country. I’m sure there were actually plenty of people who felt the slaughtering in the name of progress was wrong. However, they too likely met the same fate.
In the interest of time, let’s fast forward up to today. The numbers of the carnage through the 19th and 20th centuries are well documented. Suffice to say, all told they number in the hundreds of millions. The question remains, however, have we progressed in this area as a civilization? Do we value life anymore today since it is the cornerstone of our own independence as a nation?
Let’s start in Syria where we have 1000 dead by way of chemical attack. An atrocity by standard. However, is it more so than the 100,000 that have been killed in the last 2 years from this civil war? That’s almost the equivalent of one chemical attack a week. Apparently, being shot, burned, blown up, starved or any other method of death is not enough for the West to get involved. Use sarin gas, however, and we have ourselves a problem worth military action.
How about Iraq? Since a tie to 9/11 was never found, nor were WMD’s, most people seem comfortable with falling back on, “Well, Saddam was a bad guy, he had to go.” Saddam was a bad guy, that’s true, but let’s forget the fact he was originally put in power by the CIA. It is estimated that since the first invasion of Iraq in 1991, 1 million Iraqi civilians have died either from direct result of war or the suffocating sanctions levied over the years. 1 million with roughly half being children. Once again, that’s roughly one, Syrian chemical attack a week over that span with still, no end in sight for those people. The highest number I’ve seen on civilian, Iraqi deaths under Saddam are about 1 million with some as low as 1/4 of that. I can only ask, who is the bad guy here?
Let’s take a look back here at home, shall we? Not long ago the country was gripped by the murder of a young, black man at the hands of non-black man. It was nearly impossible to escape the trial coverage of George Zimmerman, the man accused of taking Treyvon Martin’s life. Literally, thousands upon thousands of young, black men are murdered each year but for them, nary a whimper. For the record, just a couple of weeks prior to the verdict, 2 black teens shot a 13-month old white baby in the face at point, blank range. The story was barely a blip on the radar screen.
How about Sandy Hook? In December last year, the nation was horrified when allegedly, one young man decided to take the lives of 28 others, most of which were children.We may finally be getting somewhere because this did really strike a nerve with the American people. The horror turned to outrage which turned to….nothing. Absolutely nothing was done save for a pathetic push to take certain kinds of guns away from law-abiding citizens. But there was outrage! Children aside, though, it was 28 murders. Know what 28 murders are called in Chicago? A weekend. Where’s the outrage over that? If children are the bar, where’s the outrage over the 1 million homeless ones barely living in America? They can starve to death but don’t you dare shoot them!
It’s abundantly all to clear and dreadfully troubling that we as a people have not only stagnated the right to life but by our continued silence have condoned and elevated the right for others to take it. Makes you wonder. If we have not been able to progress one iota at this elementary principle than have we really progressed at all at anything?