Saturday, February 18, 2006

Accidental Shooting

Just last week, the Vice President of the United States of America shot a 78 year old man in face while hunting for farm raised quail at a Texas ranch. No big news here, as this happened about a week ago. But, as funny as this story has been for me and for a lot of people, I'm starting to wonder about the whole dynamics of the accidental shooting in terms of it being an instance of violence. I think that in a lot of ways it boils down to whether or not an accident is a violent act or not. When looking at violence defined as something that has an intentionality to it, it doesn't seem to be a violent act. In other words, what makes this accident any different than the inattentive driver who "t-bones" another car in a intersection? When a car slips on the ice and hits on-coming traffic, does one commit a violent act? That being said, intentionaliy can become a cop out for all those times in history where where a person or persons become un-intentional casualties to people's accidents. I don't mean to say though that intentionality doesn't have anything to with the value judgement pertaining to the accident.

This event in which Dick Cheney shot his friend in stead of a small bird has another little wrinkle to it than just being purely an accident. That wrinkle is the situation Cheney found himself in in the first place. That situation is one in which he felt that he needed to use vacation time to hunt farm raised birds almost literally from his car. I wonder why Cheney needs to commit a violent act in the first place. As the Vice President of the USA who has been gainfully employed for all of his life, his need to hunt that bird had nothing to do feeding himself. Moreover, any aspect of sport has to be ruled out since he had someone else find the bird for him before getting out of his car to "hunt" the bird. The only thing I am left with is considering why he or anyone else needed to kill something. Is this an innate need in all humans? And, if it is, what does that say about us as human beings, animals living in an ecosystem, as the children of God?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Shift in Function...

Hello. I know it's been a long time, dear blog, but I think I'm gonna change the functionality of how this blog has been working for me. This bascially stems from an assignment I recieved in my "Ethics in a Violent World" class this semester. The professor told me and my classmates that we would be writing a journal of reflection recounting our thoughts and ideas on the issue of violence in the world.

To start off then I suppose, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be aggressive and violent. The in-class definitions we came up with last week were a big help, but I still have one question about aggression and violence. That is, "Are aggression and violence necessarily fundamentally "bad" actions or are they integral parts in how this world works?" My first reaction is that no, they are not bad, because of the way aggression and violence not lonyl has preserved life, beauty, art, and freedom but also has progessed humankind to develop new ways of thought, new inventions, and (at least) a new standard of living. But then, another part of me asks whether or not that preservation and progression has to be accomplished in such a way that, ultimately, hurts another in one way or another. I come back with this because, all too often, another is hurt in the name of progress and preservation.

Take a look at Hebrew scripture. Once the Hebrew people are brought out of the land of Egypt and brought out of the wilderness to their promised land, they immediately begin a process of progression through invasion, exclusion, and violence that is mandated by God. They preserving and progressing their society, but they are doing it at the expense of peoples who had not harmed them at all in any way, and God seems to utilizing aggression and violence God's self to get done what God needs to get done.

Now take a look at our current situation in Iraq today. God didn't mandate or invasion, but we saw fit to invade that country because they might, just *might*, harm us in the future. And now when it turns out that Iraq really didn't have the capabilities to harm us, we start to justify our action by saying that we did it for the cause of spreading democracy in the Middle East. We want to prgress them further through our aggression and violence. This has now backfired on us and now we are stuck there trying to create some semblence of a stable society. There just has to be another way.

Maybe that's what the Kingdom of God will be like. Maybe it will be a time and place where aggression and violence are not needed anymore to survive and thrive. God I hope so. May the Kingdom of God come.