Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All our fellow Earthlings...

are Trayvon Martin. It's only been a few days since the ending of the trial of the slayer of the adolescent human named Trayvon Martin and the reactions are still unfolding. For those of you unfamiliar with the incident, a man armed with a gun killed an unarmed adolescent. The man said he had a good reason to and initially that was going to be the end of the incident. Eventually the killer was arrested and tried and found not guilty of murder. Because apparently the jury agreed he had enough reason to justify murder.

This case has outraged and upset many many humans. Justifiably so to my mind, but then again I don't hold with killing or violence, period. And...I'm outraged and upset anytime I think about humans behaving violently toward other beings whether human or not. There may be some extreme cases...really extreme where some kind of serious and understandable case can be made for killing...but those are few and far between.

The furor over this instance of evidently gratuitous harm offers the opportunity to remind us that in fact every Earthling on this planet who doesn't belong to the human species is Trayvon Martin in the sense that they are at risk of (and billions are actually killed) being killed every day by any human animal they encounter for no reason except the human wanted to kill them.

Another part of the furor has to do with the victim looking different than his killer (the killer was white, the victim was not). It is quite likely that difference contributed to the motivations and behaviors of the killer. Killings often occur because someone looks and acts and sounds different...that's the way encounters often are for those beings who don't belong to the human species. And many of us, justifiably so, get really upset when it happens among human beings. Those to whom this happens who don't happen to be human animals are worthy of upset and anger too. As long as we engage in the ranking of the significance of a life because of appearance, of race, of gender, of ability, of species....such horrors (mistakes?) will continue to occur. Racism, sexism, speciesism...all are equally wrong and despicable. Period.

My last post was about a mother opossum who was killed by a hit and run driver who drove on and left her body and her living children lying in the street. That's the world our fellow Earthlings live in if they happen to encounter a human. Their life may be taken by accident, carelessness or intent and there are no sanctions or rules against it (mostly) and that's "just the way it is".  There is no justice for them beyond what might be dealt out by their friends or their family or their companions. And that rarely happens.

If you aren't a human, when you encounter a human you enter a "free-fire zone". Death, injury or imprisonment can occur at any time and there is little or no appeal, no justice, no fairness, no retribution, no nothing.

Do we want human to human interaction to be that way? Take away all the societal constraints and rules and prohibitions and let it be anything goes that you can get away with? No punishments, no consequences, no restraints. What would human society be like? I don't really want to find out but It would be like it is for all non-human animals. An almost unimaginable nightmare.

One of the things that is an ongoing and evolving process for me post-vegan is that I look at many news events from the perspective of living vegan...of minimizing my harm to all Earthlings that are sentient.

Mr. Martin, unless he was vegan, was responsible for the deaths of many Earthlings. His killer was already a killer, unless he was vegan, he already had a history of harming others.  That doesn't excuse what happened, but it does make it look rather different to me than if I didn't "think" vegan.

A life is a life and that life belongs to the being living it...and no one else has any business unnecessarily interfering with or harming or ending the life of another. Period. What happened to Mr. Martin happens all the time...to those that are not members of our species. They are at risk of unprovoked and random violence and death. And the violence inflicted on them by human animals is a tragedy and a horror, just like what was done to Mr. Martin.

We must get off this treadmill of death and destruction. Go vegan. Behave toward others like you want to be treated...give others the same consideration and respect and freedom you want for yourself...even if they don't look, or sound, or act like you. Living vegan reduces the pain in the world, reduces the harm and increases the joy...why would you not live this way?


Bea Elliott said...

You're absolutely right. The killer and Martin were already killers. Socially sanctioned killers. It is our whole species isn't it? One group always thinking they have the latitude to take "less worthy" life.

Our whole human species gets away with murder all the time and if we vegans speak out against it we're deemed the threat.

On the same note I recently saw a report about a child who was (accidentally) killed by a bullet that was fired into the air during a July 4th celebration. The commentator said something like "There's so many other ways to celebrate - Like barbecuing ribs"... Obviously he totally missed the inherent violence in that too. They always miss their contribution to the violence.

I remain increasingly disgusted at it all. :(

joan.kyler said...

I've been calling and writing legislators to try to help stop the opening of horse slaughter plants in this country, something that stopped several years ago when the government cut money for inspections. I don't think cows and chickens and pigs are any more 'suitable' for slaughter, but if we don't kill horses now, can we please not start killing them?

I try to make the point that we wonder why we're such a violent country, but all you have to do is look at the socially accepted everyday violence of the slaughter and abuse of millions of animals for our plates.

Veganism for ethical reasons does change the way you see the world. Always question, always ask why.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea and Joan.

Bea: I hope I manage to continue to be deemed a "threat". :-)

Blindness seems to be something on area where we are "superior"

Ry Cooder (the musician) said he'd heard that even Pete Seeger had lost hope for us...that's scarey.

Joan: I don't wonder why we're so violent anymore, I am pretty sure I know. And...we certainly have no "need" to begin systematic murder of more beings.

We really don't.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post!
Violence against fellow humans and animals everywhere.
And how the prison complex confines humans and the factory farming complex confines animals.
I was thinking today that all these things interconnect. Restorative justice might just look like a vegetable garden...

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. Isn't it interesting how we, "the intelligent species", seem to be oblivious to the fact that doing harmful and destructive behaviors is what it is. Somehow we apparently believe if we change the victims it changes the nature of the behavior. A much more appropriate label for us would be "the self-deceptive species".

Veggie garden? I like it! :-)

Have Gone Vegan said...

D.E.M.'s comment reminded me of a documentary I watched (on PBS I think?) a while ago discussing incarceration and the "war on drugs" in the United States, and they made the comment that perhaps so many people are in jail because it's profitable. It provides a lot of folk with work (building prisons, guarding, etc.) and has become an industrial complex that is now probably hard to dismantle. I thought it was quite fascinating.

Love your term "the self-deceptive species" as it appears that that is something we truly excel in.