Monday, September 24, 2012

Opinions/Rants/Raves: Torture Edition

By William G. Muir
It's amazing the kind of responses you receive on the internet these days, especially on Facebook. A while back I had posted a story to a Facebook group that I belong to. The story involved a white male,Walton Henry Butler, who had been shouting “racial slur” towards a group of African-American kids. After being informed about this, one of the fathers, Everett Gant, went to talk to Butler about the situation. According to the police Butler then shot Gant, closed the his door, called 911 and then went back to finish his dinner. During the police interview Butler said he had shot a n****r and acted like it was no big deal.

To say this story blew me away is a understatement. I have a hard time understanding how someone can so easily commit an act like this. It's just a blatant disregard for another human life. And when I posted this story into that Facebook group I was adamant to say that this person needed to receive the fullest punishment the law allowed for. This was an act committed in cold blood and the law need to recognize that.

The post I got in response repulsed me even more so than the story had. Below I will post both the response I received and my response to it. Both are unedited by me.

The response I received:
Why should the People spend valuable resources to keep this piece if filth alive?
There are lots of companies which need living subjects on which to test their products for toxicity.
Now they use non-human animals.
But if the products are destined for human consumption, wouldn't it be better to test 'em on "humans?"
This fleck of excrement would pay back his crime with important knowledge if we fed it nothing but, say, Chik-Fil-A, and kept track of how long he lived on that diet.

My response:
There are lines we should never cross. No matter how vile we may find another person's actions, words or thoughts to be. In the USA our founding father understood this and that is why our constitution forbids cruel and unusually punishment for those convicted of a crime, no matter how heinous we may find their crimes to be. You sound no better than those who supported the torture of enemy combatants in the war on terror. Once we strip people of their humanity we become just as repugnant as those we seek to punish. Every great injustice that mankind has committed against one another has started with this exact line of thought. We might as well abandon civilization as we know it if this the best that we can come up. We like to pride ourselves for coming a long way from the brutish behavior of even our most recent ancestor. But reading your response I am not so sure we have come all that far. Maybe we are not that civil at all.


It is my opinion that the person responding to me had just as little disregard for human life as Butler himself did. What really surprised me is the person who left this response considers himself to be a liberal. But from what I have been able to tell from his post on Facebook is that he is far beyond being a liberal. He is somewhere on the leftist fringe where all the left leaning nut-job are. Before anyone gets the wrong idea I consider myself a left of center moderate. So the kind of thoughts of someone like this disturbs me greatly. And I consider his thoughts to be just as deranged and dangerous as the nut-job you would in the fringe right.

It is my belief that we protect the rights of those we despise not so much for the sake of those people. We protect them so we do not become the monsters we abhor. I have often seen friends like or even share post left on Facebook that make me shake my head. These kind of post will often have something to say like North Korea hunts down and imprison illegal aliens and they have one of the lowest levels of crime in the world. (This not an exact quote but it is very close) This kind of statement is designed to do one thing, to get a knee jerk reaction from people. The point this post is trying to make is that by treating noncitizens as if they are citizens we are inviting trouble into our country. And these kind of statements work because they act on the part of the brain that responds without analyzing what it is that has just been read.

These kind of post are harmful, in my opinion. The reason we do not lock up illegal aliens but instead give them such thing healthcare is because we are not barbarians. These post are advocating that we treat this one group of people like the North Koreans do. But once we start down that road how many other groups that we do agree with do treat in this similar fashion. Do we look to North Korea to how we should treat homosexuals in this country. How about Muslims, do we follow the North Korean model to lock up all the Muslim because a few flew planes into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Now I know I have just committed the slippery slop fallacy, but I do so for a reason. We Americans like to see ourselves as a beacon of hope in a world of chaos. We are the lighthouse that gives guidance to a desperate ship being tossed about on the waves of the seas of despair. Because we see ourselves in such a light we must be vigilant in holding ourselves to higher standards than the rest of the world. We must offer aid and comfort to those that have known neither. Not only for our own citizens but those that seek to escape injustice. We will be judge by how we treat those that are in need. So do we turn a blind eye to them or do we offer them a blanket of hope and opportunity. 

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