The Truth Of A Nuanced Position
The Taliban beheaded two children today, or maybe it was yesterday. Truth is I don’t care when it happened because either way it sickens and infuriates me.
It reminds me of a Mark Steyn quote I used years ago:
â€œIn a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of â€œsutteeâ€ â€“ the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:
â€œYou say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.â€
I think about these things and my role as a father to kids who will enter the 4th and 7th grades this August. I think about these things because I watch what our government does and listen to what Edward Snowden the NSA Whistleblower did and why and try to decide how I feel about it all.
Some things in life are black and white to me and some are touched by nuances that make some actions seem reasonable to me.
Judge and Jury
I don’t have any nuance to to give or grant to the Taliban. If you cut off the heads of children I don’t spent much time thinking about whether you receive a visit from some Hellfire missiles delivered by a drone pilot ten thousand miles away.
But I look at what the government does to protect us and ask myself what lines are black and white and what aren’t. Twenty five years ago I would have been outraged by all of this and wanted to march on Washington.
Twenty five years ago I would have been infuriated and now I am…not.
Now I am very concerned and wondering if my moral compass has been broken or skewed. Do I look at things differently because I have children protect?
Yes, I do.
I don’t doubt that there are people who wish to kill us and who are indiscriminate in the method and means. You won’t ever convince me that flying planes into buildings is reasonable or that there is a reason why I should give them a pass.
The guys who butchered the British soldier don’t receive a pass either.
Barbarism Versus Civility
I am not antigun. I lived through the Northridge Earthquake and the L.A. Riots. I don’t have a problem with owning a firearm to protect your family but I don’t see a reason to own 5,000 rounds or body armor.
I don’t buy NRA arguments that trained civilians will automatically stop some of the people who have been going on the rampage. Some of them have already proven they never cared whether they lived.
Training doesn’t prevent accidental shootings. Ask the parents of the girl who was shot by police a few weeks ago, they were trying to rescue her.
Again. I am not not against owning a gun, but there is a level of nuance that seems to disappear in the discussions.
Nor am I the guy who will give people a pass solely because of religion, tradition or culture. They just murdered some women for being witches. I would be willing to prosecute the crowd just as I would prosecute the animals who beheaded the 10 and 16 year-old boys who were beheaded.
Yeah, I used the word animal.
Parenting In The 21st Century
I teach the children to judge people based upon their actions and not the color of their skin or religious beliefs. Yet the nuances of these positions sometimes make me wonder.
How do I judge Snowden. Do I automatically call him a patriot or a traitor.
What sort of tools am I willing to give to the government to help protect us. There is a slippery slope here.
Boston won’t be the last terrorist attack here. Someone else will try again and sooner or later they will be successful.
We know that there have been other attempts since 9/11 and that we have been lucky to an extent but that runs out. Someone who wants to to hurt, maim and kill will do it and we’ll wonder about it.
When my almost 9 year-old asks me if I would be willing to kill someone who was trying to kill her or her brother I always respond by telling her I will do whatever I have to do to keep them safe.
She needs to sleep at night and I am comfortable with making her comfortable but in the quiet of the night I sometimes ask myself about these nuanced positions.