Monday, December 01, 2008

Where Does Love End and Hate Begin?

Almost 200 people were killed in the recent atrocities in Mumbai, India (Bharat)

Hindu Nationalists such as the BJP are now crying out for action against Muslims in Pakistan. Almost certainly someone is going to get killed in act of retribution for what happened in Mumbai. In fact, war between Pakistan and India could erupt and killing hundreds of thousands or people.

And yet in the past there have been terrible acts committed by all sorts of nationalists, Hindu extremists (The Partition, Orissa), Christian extremists (The Crusades, WWII, et al), Jewish extremists (Zionists in the West Bank) and even Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (Polygamous Mormons). All religions except perhaps Buddhism, when taken to the extreme by a small subset of followers, appear to lead to shameful acts. Should we not examine the general role of all nations and religions before we single out any one?

Purulia District, India 00024

I do agree wholeheartedly that Islamic Fundamentalists are certainly taking the lead in current murderous events but cigarette manufacturers led to the killing of at least 10 million last year alone. We must work to stop pogroms or genocide wherever they occur.

It is usually not correct to single out any one nation as the perpetrator of a crime perhaps caused by a few citizens. The chaos that allows certain groups to thrive in certain regions of the world does need to addressed.

You will seldom find a religious leader or even a college professor willing to take up this topic before students. And yet the topic of why people kill each other or themselves is perhaps one of the most relevant subjects related to human society.

What Causes Us Not To Kill Each Other?

Certainly the ideas of compassion and kindness appear to be nurtured in loving homes with two parents and perhaps several brothers or sisters. A young man or woman is far less likely to lash out violently against neighbors or strangers if all they have learned is caring and consideration for others.

As long as families continue to communicate they appear to build strong communities. Family ties also allow people to spot those who run into trouble.

Individuals that are treated poorly at home are far more likely to treat others harshly. We know that for certain at this point in our understanding of sociology.

Where Does Terrorism Begin To Grow?

After leaving home many people face economic or physical hardship, for a wide number of reasons. Years of struggle and suffering can certainly turn a good person into a sociopath, but even then the chance that one disturbed person will harm others, or many others, is quite slim. They are more likely to harm themselves.

However, when many disaffected people are gathered together by one or more leaders with malevolent intent serious damage to society is very likely.

Right now, in some part of the world, a leader is teaching his followers to hate another group of people that hold different beliefs. Some of the more ardent followers may choose to follow-up on these teachings by purchasing weapons or bomb-making materials. More deaths and misery will soon follow.

How can we prevent these people from inciting and carrying out such violent acts?

We can begin by taking more care in raising our children. In addition, families can and should maintain closer contact and lines of support with those who have left the home to go live in the world. Finally, we can speak out against religious or other organization leaders that encourage hatred and incite violence in our societies.

These may seem like small acts that individually amount to very little. However they will work to counter the small but repeated negative lessons that build groups of murderous criminals like those that attacked Mumbai.

What Other Forms of Mass Murder Threaten Human Society?

There is also the subject of subtle murder and mayhem to consider. The executives in-charge of the world's cigarette manufacturing plants hardly appear to be the leaders of a genocidal movement. Yet the World Health Organization has clearly determined that many millions of humans die each year as a result of cigarette smoking.

Humans also die from car accidents, auto exhaust, and gunshot wounds. But unlike cigarettes, motor vehicles and guns can be proven to have at least a few redeeming qualities. The tobacco found in cigarettes and all other tobacco products appear to bring about a soothing, slight form of relaxing intoxication, all while slowly killing the smoker and those around or inside her.

The murderous effects of tobacco are absolutely proven. Any perceived benefits from tobacco are far outweighed by the physical, medical, and even fire destruction.

Very recently a young man haphazardly tossed a cigarette into a pile of leaves near a home he was visiting. The home burned to the ground, killing three of the young man's friends. The young man did not intend to kill his friends. The cigarette manufacturer did not intend to kill those three people. Nevertheless the habit of smoking led to the fire that killed three very promising young lives and negatively impacted many others.

Deadly fires caused by cigarettes and cigarette lighters are still very common all around the world.

Deaths from lung disease and cancers caused by cigarette smoking are a major cause of all premature deaths.

Many of these needless deaths can be prevented in the future simply by encouraging young people not to start smoking.

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