January 16th, 2011
It's Martin Luther King Day. Last year, I wrote a blog on this website titled, "I Have a Dream". You can scroll back to January 17, 2010 to read it.
This year, rather than racial equality, I want to address violence. They go hand in hand at times, but in reality violence is the downfall of mankind. Maybe shortcoming is a more appropriate term. Or both.
In my 20's, when part of the back to the land movement, I bought a few dairy goats and started getting my own goat's milk and cheese. One thing always bothered me - the goats fought until they established a pecking order. Then the alpha doe always picked on the rest, the beta doe picked on all but the alpha, and on and on down the line. Why couldn't they get along? After all, they're all dairy goats and they're all in this together.
Then I had a revelation. They're just like humans. We're always fighting to establish dominance. Except, sometimes we kill. Goats, along with most mammal species, fight to establish dominance, but they rarely kill and then its usually accidental. Humans kill with vigor, with purpose.
In 2009, there were 15,241 murders in the United States. Sure, that was down from over 24,000 in both 1991 and 1993, but it's still despicable. The US also had a total of 1,313,398 violent crimes in 2009. Are we that prone to acts of violence? Are we a nation of people who are so far from the norm of a peaceful society that hurting another human being is no big deal? Do we have so little value for someone else's life? Are we, as a society, totally insane?
In the world recently in one year India led with 37,700 murders. Russia had 28,904, Colombia 26,539, South Africa 21,553, the US about 16,000, then Mexico with 13,144. Good old Iceland was one of the most peaceful with just four murders. There are currently eight wars in the world that record over 1,000 fatalities per year. There are 24 other wars taking place, with ten of them registering between 10,000 and 200,000 deaths each since their inception.
I won't throw any other numbers at you, since I think I've gotten my point across. We are a violent species. We kill indiscriminately. We kill for power, we kill for profit. Sometimes, we kill because we don't like somebody's looks, religion, color, or politics. People beat up their spouses, their kids, their neighbors, their rivals, or someone who possesses something they want. Sadly, sometimes people even kill just for kicks or to prove they're macho to their peers.
So on MLK Day, I ask that violence end. Only then, can we truly be called "human". Dr. King would agree.