Kill The Terrorist?

Kill The Terrorist?

You might think this blog is about the Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, who Trump recently sent to meet all of his many “virgins in heaven”: It is not.

The concern is far more general than this now departed terrorist.

The question is a simple one: Should someone kill people who are trying to kill them, or their loved ones?

So here is a “thought experiment”.

Imagine that you are the head of a family, once upon a time, long ago. Your homestead is on the furthest edge of America’s Western frontier.

Your family consists of a devoted spouse, a teen son, a 5 yr. old daughter and a loyal family dog. Your elderly mother lives with you and has nowhere else to go.

Over many years, you have built your small drafty wooden home and a primitive barn for your two horses and other live stock. All of this has been done with your own callused hands and with the help of your then 12 yr. old son. Your now frail mother and father did what they could. Your father passed away a year ago.

Long before your arrival there has been a man and his family, just over the hill, who has harvested from your stand of trees that was once on the free range. But now, by distant law, the trees are your property. Your homestead was deeded to you for settlement by the government.

It is essential to use, sell and replenish this lumber on your forested section of land so your family can survive in this wilderness. You have repeatedly tried to find a peaceful solution to the man’s increasingly hostile demands. He has angrily rejected your offers to sell him trees, at a very reasonable price. You begged him to understand that your trees are essential to your families ability to survive, and that you are willing to allow him to purchase a limited supply in order to sustain his family. The man has become increasingly belligerent, claiming that God made those trees for everyone and that you have no right to keep them to yourself. Within days the man’s anger has inexplicably turned to rage and he has begun to make threats that you had better leave; that he and his sons will  run-you-off your land in whatever way needed.

You are painfully aware that you live on the frontier, there is no law enforcement to call. You and your family are on your own.

Within one week, the crazy man’s son’s caught your younger son working alone in your hay-field and they beat him so badly that he has lost sight in one of his eyes and his thinking is still muddled. You went to the man’s house to protest the beating, but the man met you with rifle in hand and screamed at you to get off his property; “or I’ll blow your head off!”

Terrified by the man’s stunning threat you left as fast as you could.

A week later, your family’s dog was shot dead while wandering in your woods. You knew damned-well who did it. But, there is no way to prove it, even though there are no one else to blame for many miles in any direction. More importantly, there is no law officer or court available to prove it to!

Within days of your son’s beating, your hay-field was set ablaze in the middle of a night!

Again, you know who did it, but you could never prove that the crazy man was responsible. These events have devastated your family, they are all depressed, enduring sleepless nights, and constantly full of fear, anxiety and worry for the future.

Your own fear and anger has become almost unbearable. You are not a violent person and so you resolved to stay your course and pray that things will “settle-down” with time.

Shortly after this, the crazy man put a terrifying note on your porch one night: “The dog tells ya what’s next if you don’t get out!.”

What now will you do?

You only have one rifle and a limited supply of ammunition. You know you would be no match for the armed crazy man and his full-grown sons.

As you contemplate moving your family to God knows where, you recall a nearly-full case of dynamite formerly used to blast tree stumps from your fields. It is stored in a locked underground storage bin well away from your house and barn. 

Will you run, or make a stand? To where would you run, or exactly how would you “make a stand”?

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 1/12/20

P.S., The following your essay quiz:

How is this situation significantly different from Trump’s choice of fearfully capitulating to killers of his people, or destroying terrorists that threaten our families living in America?

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