Friday, April 27, 2012

Dead or... Well, Just Dead

How would we feel if police had the authority to shoot people dead on our streets if they were engaged in what the police perceived to be “suspicious activity” but were otherwise completely unknown? Not stopped and questioned, not arrested and not persons whose faces had appeared on wanted posters. Someone is “dressed funny” and looks “furtive” as he approaches a bank; shot dead. Turns out he was avoiding his wife.

That is precisely what Barack Obama just authorized our forces to do in Yemen, a nation with which we are not at war; to employ Hellfire missiles from drones against unknown persons based on “suspicious activity” such as “carrying rifles and walking toward Afghanistan.”

Virtually every adult male in Yemen carries a rifle, and when I go to the barbershop I am “going toward” the state of Georgia. That does not mean that I am going to Georgia, and in fact I am never going to get within a couple thousand miles of Georgia, but if going there was illegal then under Obama’s policy I could be killed on sight for taking a rifle with me when I go to get a haircut.

I cannot imagine living in a nation that calls itself a democracy, talks about human rights and the rule of law, and does this sort of thing, but I do live in that nation. More and more I am coming to believe that nothing we say actually means anything. Nothing.

2 comments:

bruce said...

At first I thought you were going to talk about Zimmerman in Florida. The first paragraph pretty much describes what happened, albeit substituting "neighborhood watchman" for "police". Although the former may well be a latter wannabe.

Arthur said...

It only seems right that we do in Yemen what we do here at home. Like my bro' said, that is exactly what we do to our own citizens -- shoot them dead when they look suspicious and we are law enforcement.
Even if that is only a free-lance vigilante. Which, along with police-wannabe, is exactly and all, Zimmerman was. But he saw himself as a junior assistant cop.
As I commented elsewhere, morality no longer matters much to our national consciousness (or is that conscience?), only effectiveness.

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