Letter: Killing is wrong

Killing is wrong

Editor of the Reformer:

Killing is wrong. We all know that, don't we? No we don't. Killing abounds in our world; sometimes a crime, sometimes not.

On the Reformer opinion page, Dec. 5, both the cartoon and the editorial call for changes in our gun laws in the wake of the San Bernadino shooting; both expressing the need for increased restrictions. However, there is another aspect to consider.

Killing is not condemned by our society. Under certain circumstances killing is acceptable, justified and in the mind of one state's attorney general, more killing is desirable. The death penalty is supported as both punishment and retribution. Many states execute persons on a routine basis, sometimes quite inhumanely; we criticize the Islamic State for public beheadings, but say nothing about Saudi Arabia which beheads dissidents regularly. Killing, is, or is not justified, depending on political considerations.

Daily, our officials and commentators refer to the murder of innocent civilians as acts of terrorism, unless it was done by our military. Then it becomes collateral damage. How many innocent civilians were killed in Iraq? How many millions of innocents were killed in Vietnam? How many still today suffer from the effects of Agent Orange? Does not our government also indulge in terrorist activities, regularly? Have not several of our political leaders been declared war criminals by numerous countries. Has not Doctors Without Borders demanded an independent investigation into the bombing of their hospital, by our military, as being a war crime? Our president did say we were sorry for that one.

If killing can be justified by the government, then it is no wonder that Dylan Roof could feel justified killing nine people in an African-American church. Having been influenced by hate groups, he reasoned that '"somebody had to do it." Killing was for him, as for many, a reasonable action.

Along with increased gun restrictions, which may help curtail mass shootings, it should also be acknowledged that killing is wrong. Wrong, period. The death penalty needs to be completely eliminated. Militaristic politicians will have to realize that military solutions are not the answer? Killing must be deemed unacceptable before we can expect that individuals and governments will not kill. We all need to know -that killing is wrong.

Ken McCaffrey, Brattleboro, Dec. 7


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