There is some sort of bizarre debate happening in the mainstream media. Blackwater is a security company that has contracts to guard United States government employees in Iraq. The debate is around the notion that shooting people is sometimes less responsible than at other times.
Civilization has often debated the nuances of ‘justifiable homicide.’ I remember back in the late 1970’s a local policeman was called to the scene of a a business where there was a report of the burglar alarm going off. By chance, the burglars entered a building during the shift change at the police department. The officer who responded was the only officer on the street at the time – sounds incredulous – but that does happen.
The officer arrived on the scene and walked around the building. As he approached the rear of the building three suspects exited the business. The officer pulled his gun and yell for them to stop. Two of them ran. One stopped and turned to face the officer. The officer thought he saw a ‘shiny object’ in the had of the burglar. He shot the burglar, who died at the scene. The investigation did not find any criminal weapon. There was a pipe laying about twenty feet from the dead burglar. The burglar could have been holding the pipe and it could have rolled away when he fell.
This is a BIG DEAL! We, citizens of this country, take these events very seriously. There was a Coroner’s Inquest. A Jury was impaneled. Witnesses were called. Evidence was presented. This was all done in public – in this case the public interest was so intense they held the hearings in the City Council Chamber where there was more room than in the regular Circuit Court room. I attended the hearings.
After intense scrutiny the case was determined to be ‘justifiable homicide.’ Some people thought the officer might have panicked, might have acted too quickly – but nobody denied him the right to self protection. That burglar was in the wrong place at the wrong time – and he chose to be there. I was one of many who supported the conclusion.
People killing people is VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS! It should be taken seriously. The Iraqi context has distorted our sense of reason, our understanding of death itself.
There is something very wrong with the blackwateresque security concept – when used in the context of the U. S. State Department. The media commonly refers to the 160,000 U. S. Military force in Iraq. There is little mention that there are like 48,000 private security personnel employed to guard American Government employees working in Iraq. (The State Department has paid Blackwater over ONE BILLION dollars) The rules of engagement are different for these private security mercenaries.
This is very disturbing to me! These people represent me, and you, on the world stage! What sort of image are we projecting? Why do people in other countries want to blow up our buildings? What is going on?
I know this: Killing people, humans, homo sapiens – even what we call ‘bad guys’ – should be taken very seriously. We can talk about ‘private security forces,’ but there should be nothing ‘private’ about killing other people. This action deserves public debate!
Have we lost the sense of the seriousness of what is happening in Iraq?