I have been thinking about the value of human life, mine and every other living person currently existing on the face of the earth. Sacred texts, humanists, the Declaration of Independence all agree that each and every life is precious and deserves to be cultivated so he or she can flourish on this planet. But millions of people have very little access to such well-intended thoughts.
The spark of life is routinely snuffed out all over the globe. I googled the word “killed” the last couple of days, and only looked at the first five or six pages of results. Eliminating death by accident or natural disaster, I found wrongful human termination all over the place: Atlanta, South Carolina, Michigan, Afghanistan (lots in Afghanistan), Mississippi, Texas, Cameroon (lots in Cameroon), the Sinai (a lot in the Sinai), Malaysia (almost as many as the Sinai), Israel, the Philippines, South Africa, Libya, Cairo, Memphis, Detroit, and Tennessee. All told, in just two days, and counting only those deaths somebody bothered to report, I tallied 438 lives lost by nefarious means.
As you might imagine, many of the individuals above died in some kind of war-related incident. Some died at the hands of murderers (maybe that could be said for all of them, war-related or not). And I didn’t bother to anticipate the thousands of children who are nearly dead of starvation (the experts predict it won’t be long now for them.) At an average daily rate of reported killings somewhere around 200 (a very conservative estimate), we’re talking about 73,000 lives unjustly and untimely snatched away in a year. And I have a feeling it’s much higher than that.
Is it possible to do anything about this? Or are we just kidding ourselves at Christmas time when we talk about Peace on Earth? I know we all have other things to do, people close to home we need to worry about, but in a world where crowdsourcing and social media bring us together to help somebody we don’t know start a new sneaker company or something, I wonder what we could do if we joined hands all around the world and rejected the value system instilled by the “powers that be and have been” that reduces the worth of a human life to discount rates and leaves so many people vulnerable and unable to ever think about realizing their potential or, in thousands of places, to even realize they have a right to be happy.
I know I’m pretty naive for a 65-year old, but I just have to wonder if it could be different if everybody put their heads and hearts and Twitter accounts together for a few minutes.