Harker: Where's the respect for human life?

August 23, 2017

There is no remedy for the loss of a human life, especially one that was taken too soon, and unexpectedly. 
This is a hard lesson, one that not all of us must experience, and one that will stick with anyone who does for the entirety of their lives. 



This is a lesson I recently had to learn, with the sudden passing of a friend of mine. Though we weren’t that close, having only known her because she was the best friend of one of my roommates, the shock was still something I never expected to feel. 


She was just here the other day, she was only 19, and the world simply couldn’t be that unfair. Yet it was. 
For anyone who has never attended the open casket funeral of someone so young, I don’t recommend it. 


My pain in this situation was nothing compared to that of my roommate, who suddenly lost one of her best friends, and nothing compared to the suffering her family must be feeling during this time. 


Thinking about all of this as I walked through the line to her casket that stretched out the door, and took over two hours to get through was almost unbearable. 


So, the other day, when the events in Charlottesville came out on the news and I learned of the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was protesting peacefully against the white supremacist rally, the same thoughts came rushing back. 


Not only was this woman’s life taken too early and too suddenly, but her death was a caused by hatred. What must her mother be thinking and feeling? I don’t think anyone who is not in that position could ever understand. 


When various news outlets began to break more in-depth pieces about Heather and the kind of person she was, I couldn’t help but feel a strong connection with her. She was described as strong and outspoken, and many of her friends who were interviewed described her as dying while fighting for what she believed in. 


During a memorial service, Heather’s mother gave a powerful speech in which she denounced the people who attempted to silence her daughter. 


"They tried to kill my child, to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” Susan Bro, Heather’s mother, said. “I’d rather have my child, but, by golly, if I got to give her up, we’re going to make it count.” 


Watching the video of this mother broken by the loss of her child, putting out a call to action for something her daughter believed so strongly in, I couldn’t help but think of my own mother, and how if something like this would happen to me, a very similar speech would come from her. 


It’s chilling. 


The more I thought, the more the problem seems to be that as a county we have simply lost our perception of the value of human life. 


There is no ideology, no material possession, nor any land or thought or feeling that could ever justify the taking of a human life. Especially one that has not even begun. 


This issue goes beyond party lines, and beyond even national borders. This is an issue of humankind. 


During a press conference on Aug. 11, President Donald Trump stated that military action on multiple fronts is an increasing possibility. These fronts included North Korea, Venezuela and a continued fight in Afghanistan. 


While Trump condemned the war in Afghanistan for being the longest American war, which he deemed “unacceptable,” he also expressed a continued possibility of military action for North Korea. He did, however, refuse to directly answer the question as to whether war was a possibility, stating, “I think you know the answer to that.” 


When asked if he had anything he wanted to say to the people of the United States who are worried over his back-and-forth rhetoric with the North Koreans, the President responded simply with “hopefully, it’ll all work out.” 


Not only that, but an unprompted Trump declared that, when it comes to Venezuela, which is “a mess,” the U.S. has many options, including a military option, and listing no other alternatives.


I strongly believe that in the name of saving human lives, such as with the escalating threat of nuclear terror against Guam, military action should be taken. But only to save human life, not to end it. 


The threat of war, made as a not thought out threat, a side comment by someone who currently has so much political power, is truly terrifying. Not for me as a Democrat, a feminist or even as an American, but for me as a human being. 
Because with just a few words so much death can occur because this man can back them up. When the weight of things you say is so heavy, it is dangerous to use them so flippantly.


How many mothers are going to be broken by the loss of their children if the president decides that Venezuela isn’t complying enough with our desires? 


I think that war is a dangerous and painful necessity. But one that should be used with the utmost caution and only as a last resort. And when we make the choice, as to whether to go to war or invade or attack a nation, the only question we should consider is how does this protect human life? 


Any other motivation is nothing compared to that, and can never justify the cause of thousands of weeping mothers who know they will never be able to see their children again.

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