Violence. Terrorism. War.
A guy walks into a mall and shoots his girlfriend. She lay dead on the ground, and everyone around scatters to the nearest exit.
A guy walks into a mall and shoots 83 people. They lay dead on the ground, and those whom are lucky enough to live, scatter to the nearest exit.
A ruthless dictator walks into a mall in his country where he has launched genetic warfare against his people. The government that apposes his rule drops a bomb on the mall and wipes out everyone.
Tonight, as Obama contemplates launching cruise missiles at Syrian targets, I have to wonder, what is the true difference on a moral and human level between violence, terrorism and war. There is still no 100% hard proof that the Syrian government carried out chemical attacks against it’s people. Over the past 5 years, these are the situations that Obama has shined in. Without definitive proof, he does not act. With proof, he strikes a mighty blow. Obama’s Presidential steadiness is not what I want to talk about in this blog though. This blog is about violence, terrorism, and war.
Violence is defined as behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. Terrorism is defined as the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. War is defined as a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.
Each have a clear difference, but one important similarity—harm and/or death. It seems like measured response is a thing of the past, and it’s a shame. All we have to do is look at the Bush “regime” to see an example of this. It would stand to reason that if the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad actually had his government engage in chemical warfare against it’s people, killing roughly 1,400 people, then al-Assad and his government need to be taken out. After all, if this President is capable of such attacks once, he is certainly capable of it again. Evil becomes stronger the more it is practiced. At the very least the government officials should be detained and stand trial.
It’s the same treatment that the guy who killed his girlfriend in the mall would get. We don’t bomb the guy, killing innocent people, because he shot his girlfriend.
This then leads me to the next logical conclusion that, if Obama (as so many Presidents have done before him) drops bombs on Syria and kills people, doesn’t that then make him and anyone he planned the attacks with terrorists? Under the guise and policy of war, the answer is no. However, coming from a stand point of simple rationale, it does.
Anyone that kills another, is guilty of murder. Are there degrees of reasoning? Of course. But, it’s still murder at the end of the day, and if one man is going to kill another with a gun, or from a chair watching others commit the act, there better be no margin for error in the understanding of the reason.
With 100% proof that the Syrian government launched these attacks, if the UN and other Nations called for the regime’s arrest and they fought back, then targeted strikes (sending in Navy Seals, or something to that effect) would have to be considered. At that point, it’s justifiable. You can’t leave some nut-ball with his finger on the easy button for bombs. However, until the proof is actually there, Obama can’t do jack shit—or at very least, shouldn’t. I believe this will define his Presidency. Does he attack like Bush, or think like … well I can’t think of a Presidential example of thinking at the moment.
Situations like this are what allow conspiracy theorists to run amuck all over the internet. Killing in the name of circumstantial evidence is murder, and why would the US government commit unjustifiable murder? To cover up an alien invasion? To secure oil? To hide a story about the President getting blowies in the bathroom at a TGIF? The conspiracy theorists are given plenty of ammunition.
Violence is terrorism is war, when the situation is devoid of proof. Sure the girlfriend could have had a gun and been ready to shoot the guy in the mall. Sure the ruthless dictator could have not launched an attack on his people at all. Sure the government could have been misinformed regarding their strike. Sure, any of this is possible, but do we want to kill people based on assumptions? That’s not a world I want to live in. We might as well be living in ancient times when you could string up a woman for being a witch, and burn her alive to determine if she was indeed what you claimed her to be.
I believe in the general good of people. Somedays it is harder than others, but I do still believe in our capacity for rational, moral growth. I just hope that the President I worked all those long hours for, forgets his title for a moment, forgets his Patriotism (one of the ugliest words in the human language), and remembers that at the end of the day he’s human just like al-Assad, and just like the many innocent lives that were taken as a result of chemical warfare; and humanity dictates proof without a shadow of a doubt is required before killing people. Otherwise, he’s not a President, he’s a tyrant.
WRITTEN BY JAMIE HALL Writer, Entrepreneur & Fan of Superman from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada