How to Emulate the Elephants

Paris was held hostage tonight. A football stadium was rocked by explosives. A cafe was ripped apart by machine gun fire. A theater was turned into a bloodbath.

To be candid, I do not care if this was orchestrated by ISIS, Al Qaeda in Yemen, the Russians, the French government, the CIA, the IDF, or some unknown entity. Murder is murder. It does not matter who is pulling the trigger or detonating the bombs. Death is death. Until we stop asking who did it and start asking why it continues to happen, we will always be entrapped in this hellish cycle of karmic retribution. For what difference does it make if the authors of this heinous crime slaughtered innocent civilians in the name of Allah, God, Jesus, the Buddha, Stalin, national security, or any other symbol? There is no end that can justify these means. A targeted assassination in Syria is as sinful as a subway massacre in London. Torture in an American prison cell is the same as torture in an Egyptian prison cell. Whether the flesh is mutilated in Mumbai, bombarded in Boston, or burned in Palestine, it cries out for mercy. Call it a terrorist strike or a drone strike, the flesh cries out for mercy!

Furthermore, I do not want to hear about the need to bring these terrorist to justice. The killing will never cease until people stop seeking justice. The same justice which beheads with a sword can also paralyze with poison, strangle with gas, hang with a rope, or slice open with a bullet. Death is death. Murder is murder. The heart stops whether it is penetrated by steel or fried with electricity. Call it waterboarding or enhanced interrogation: it is all the same. The brain stops. The blood runs blue. The eyes go blank. Death is death. Murder is murder.

George “Casey” Payne, M.A., M.T.S.
Justice and Peace Coordinator with Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes
Visiting Adjunct Professor at Finger Lakes Community College
Founder, Gandhi Earth Keepers International

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