In northern Iraq a 17 year old girl got hers. In love for the first time, she made the same mistake nearly all girls do….she liked a boy her Dad didn’t. A few calls were made and uncles joined her brothers and Dad as they dragged her outside. It took thirty minutes for eight or nine men, in front of a crowd,to throw enough stones at her head before she died.
Killing a person has not always been easy. Killing a LOT of people can be downright hard to do.
Prior to the 13th century if you wanted to off a political opponent, a neighbor, or your daughter’s prepubescent crush you had to get close enough to smell the falafel on his breath. Think Brutus and Cassius.
The sword became differentiated from the dagger during the Bronze Age (c. 3000 BC). It took approximately 4000 years to move from the sword to the longbow; another 550 years to create the repeating rifle, and 100 more years would pass before the miniaturization of nuclear technology would be available.
“Don’t hit your brother!” was one of the first concepts I remember not understanding well enough that I spent a considerable amount of time sitting in a closet thinking about what I did. Most of us stop hitting our siblings and stop wanting to use our cars as extensions of our fists during rush hour traffic at an appropriate age.
There are notable exceptions: The troubled: Columbine. The famished: Jeffery Dahmer. The astrological: The Zodiac Killer.
We tend to think of these incidents and people as societal aberrations. It is so difficult to understand these monstrous acts that our rejection and revulsion serve to reinforce our humanity.
Dua Kalil was the young girl that was stoned to death. Her murderers never saw justice. The police that watched her die then walked away still work today. This was not a Muslim, Christian, or Hindu incident. It was a cultural one. When society accepts that there is no value to an innocent daughter killed by family, no value to life, Humanity has died. When Humanity dies, we all, in measure, die too.
While in centuries past access to a long bow, cannon, or repeating rifle and today a vial of small pox virus, has proven difficult, Dua Kalil’s family issues serves to illustrate that even as our technology to accelerate our extinction improves exponentially we match that improvement not only with human capacity but with fatal commitment.
Humanity is not very human. It’s probably very good that there was only a pile of rocks.