War. Capital punishment. Self-defense. Protecting someone else from a deadly attack. When is killing another person necessary?
In American culture, on a near daily basis, we hear or make comments jokingly threatening to kill someone or be killed: “Man, my wife is gonna kill me when she finds out I forgot to go by the bank today!” or “I could just strangle that kid!” It’s so common we think nothing of it. The idea of actually killing a person for some trivial offense is humorous, because committing murder is so serious of a crime, we obviously wouldn’t act out our off-hand remarks against some who has frustrated us.
But often, behind every joke is at least a little truth. I know as a man, I sometimes have to calm my own emotions in events where a person offends or frustrates me. Because in reality, I am wired to kill, as most men are. It sounds more melodramatic than it is, and I’m not just saying it because Dexter is one of my favorite TV shows. Since the beginning of time, men have been engaging in and defending themselves in war. There is an “execution switch” in a man’s body that once it is turned on, it prepares the man for one sole action: Terminate the enemy.
In Capital Punishment, In Theory, I admitted that I don’t know that I have what it takes to fight in a war: I don’t know that I could kill another person, the enemy, when other than trying to kill me because I am trying to kill him, he could be another law-abiding citizen who will do anything it takes to protect and care for his family because he loves them, including killing me. In a way, the dictator of his country is forcing him to kill me.
Yet many men I’ve talked to told me they would be willing to kill someone in war before they could be an executioner of capital punishment. Not me- I would be willing to pull the trigger, flip the switch, whatever necessary to kill a man who is a murderer or rapist; therefore preventing them from hurting other potential victims. Other men are wired to terminate soldiers of enemy nations; therefore preventing them from hurting weaker nations, what I call “group self-defense”. And I’m sure there are some men that could do both.
There’s also the scenario of a man defending himself and/or his family- what if an armed man breaks in the house? Is the man of the house willing to kill that armed shadowy stranger to protect himself and his family?
At some point, taking another human life has to be justified. Whether as a nation or as individuals, if we never defended ourselves, we would be weak, foolish, defeated, and possibly dead ourselves. It’s important as a man, who is wired to kill when absolutely necessary, to know which lines another person must cross in order to be worth losing his life. For me, a man loses his right to live when he murders/attempts to murder or sexually assaults/attempts to sexually assault another person.
Because our nation has basically been fighting most of its wars on foreign land, the thought of “a good man killing a bad man” is pretty much a concept reserved for our military; on a different continent. But I can’t just look outwardly; I have to look within our borders as well, at the men of the same race and religion as we are who prove they can’t live their lives without hurting their neighbors. When is killing necessary? Unfortunately, “never” is not a valid answer in the world we currently live in.
“Kill or be killed” is a tough law to live by; but mankind has been doing it for a long time now, premeditated or not.