Preemptive Murder

I began drafting an essay on various scenarios where murder could be justified as ‘good’ a while back. It proved too difficult to tackle in a short blog post. There were too many variables and definitions to explore. Today there is a real life example that sheds some light on this question.
The defendant claims that the killing of 13 and wounding of 30 others was not murder, but an act of war. I believe that this is a ridiculous, unfounded defense.. One can’t go around shooting people, no matter how upset they might be, no matter if the victims are soldiers (rather than civilians.) This is not an earth shattering concept; its common sense.

However if I believe that, as I do, as the prosecution does, as most of the entire United States of America does (a hunch), then I must apply the same logic when the shoe is on the other foot. That is not an easy thing to do.

The defendant, name purposefully omitted here in disgust, did apparently believe that his victims would inflict harm on innocent people. We use this same logic everyday, preemptively striking our would be enemies overseas.

This is not an easy problem to solve. I do not envy the Presidents and Generals who must make these decisions. I am not naive to think that we can just lay down our guns. We cannot.

But we’ve been actively fighting terrorism for the last 3 Presidents (or more), and yesterday we closed 19 embassies down in fear of an attack. So terrorism has not gone away. It’s not working. We may have stopped some short-term attacks but where are we in the long run?

With not enough thought given to the long-term goal – “How can we achieve real peace?” – we will keep playing hit or miss with horrific attacks on our own soil, and on our embassies, like the one in Fort Hood four years ago.

This post is dedicated to the memory of those 13 victims. We owe it to them to try to find a better way. 

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