Shades of gray
By PZ MYERS - PHARYNGULA
Added: Sun, 03 Apr 2011 20:16:58 UTC
Sometimes, issues demand nuance. This is a complicated world and there are a great many subjects that simply aren't reducible to binaries — we do a disservice to the subtleties when we discard them in favor of absolutes. And often I can agree that we need depth and breadth of understanding if we're to navigate a difficult situation.
But sometimes the issues are black and white. Sometimes the answers are clear and absolute. And in those cases, attempts to bring out the watercolors and soften the story by blurring the edges do a disservice to reality. There are places where there are no ambiguities, and the only appropriate response is flat condemnation. And we witness them every day.
All around the world, people are killing and being killed; they are crossing the clearest, least arbitrary border we have. You don't come back from death, and you can't atone for extinguishing another life. There are no excuses. Life is not a video game, where your targets are smears of pixels with no history and no awareness. In the real world, those bodies are people, with 20 years or 30 years or 50 years or 70 years of stories and connections behind them, part of a web of humanity, and their every action tugs on the people around them. Dehumanizing them, as we often do, dehumanizes us. You are the killer, but you are also the killed.
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