Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve edited this…
I had to kill a rooster about an hour ago. He’d been attacking people, including me. We all agreed that, while he was a prize-winning-beautiful bird, we had too many roosters and this taloned terrorist had to go. So I finished my workday, and put on some gloves and safety glasses. My youngest son Hark locked the dogs inside to avoid undue excitement (you don’t want your dogs to develop a taste for your chickens), and he also put on gloves and safety glasses.
Yeah, the rooster was mean and could jump high. His spurs are sharp and his beak drew blood too. A few weeks ago, Hark accidentally blinded the rooster’s right eye while fighting him off, but that only made the rooster even more fearful and aggressive.
I think he knew what was coming, as Hark and I started across the field toward the free-ranging flock. Maybe the saddest part for me was when he ran behind his favorite hen; the one whose back he’d plucked completely bare. The cocky bully turned chicken in his final moments, and my heart sank. I almost called the whole thing off. Maybe I should have.
I don’t know.
Anyway, while my son and I both chased him down, I got the short straw as the one able to grab the rooster first. I scooped up the squawking chainsaw of beak, feathers and two-inch spurs, and swiftly broke his neck.
I suppose it was as quick a death as possible, but man, I hated doing that. I took a life that was fighting for life. He wanted to live, and I killed him.
Since moving to the farm, I’ve had to kill many animals, for many perfectly understandable reasons, but I’ve never gotten used to it. My hands shake and my spirit is heavy for a long time after shooting or twisting the life out of even the most vicious creature. If anything, it’s getting harder every time.
Do not take me for a saint. When I was very young, I had little trouble extinguishing the life of bugs, frogs, squirrels, or whatever else was on the wrong end of my shoe, slingshot, bow or gun.
But a more mature perspective has revealed to me the preciousness of life, and the horror of stealing life. I don’t kill from childish fear or flippancy. While I don’t at all begrudge hunters their sport, killing is never a sport to me. It’s just something that sometimes has to be done in the real world.
Yes, this is about politics. Damn it all, this is most definitely about politics.
What is politics, after all, but the delegation of reality to somebody else? Politics is about taking somebody else’s money for our convenience and comforts. It’s about risking somebody else’s life for our sense of security. It’s about blaming somebody else for our choices and making somebody else pay for our mistakes. Mostly, it seems these days, it’s about getting other people to do your violence for you.
Why else would we put up with it?
We citizens are supposed to take account for our own violence/killing…personally. We are still (the laws of the land haven’t been altered) to be citizen soldiers, trained in the use and accountability of deadly force. We are to consider what it means to look into another person’s eyes before snuffing out all his or her opportunities. We are to think long and hard before entering another person’s nation to serve some political whimsey. We are, in point of fact and fact of the point, to be responsible adults who treat others as we’d like to be treated.
Of course, how could the cronies who own and operate our politicians arrange their profitable wars if our 40 to 50-year-old adults had to leave their homes and careers to kill strangers on their own soil? Would the wise and arthritic vote for entanglements by which they, personally, would have to risk their lives?
It’s by no accident that we’ve laid most of the personal risks of war upon our young and ill-informed. We know the human brain’s ability to assess risk and benefit is undeveloped and fragile in today’s soldiering age-range of teens to thirty. It’s too easy to whip up the young into a Hatfield v McCoy, or Colts versus Bears tribalism. They are too brave, too fearless, too free of adult restraint, to be the anti-violent force that freedom requires.
And as for our “adults…” Shame, shame, shame on us all for being so racked with fear of ever-present and ever-changing hobgoblins that we’re willing to send our own children away to die to assuage our trembling nerves.
It’s too easy for the fearful, selfish, greedy and foolish among us to direct these young bucks to do our evil for us in the name of patriotic duty, and that embarrassing rationalization of Fear Aggression Syndrome – “security.” We’re no better than the ancient savages, sacrificing children to the gods. Worse, perhaps, in that this is a global game of Whack-a-Mole by remote control. We kill from our easy chairs and call it a “necessary evil.”
Maybe this is a long way to come to my core point, but I didn’t want to just come out and directly state that I abhor that “…thank a soldier” mentality.
I have great respect for soldiers. I’ve seen the service do great things for people who serve. I’ve met few rotten soldiers and plenty whom I admire. Pretty much everybody in my family forever has been in the military at some point; at least a couple earned military career retirement. My dad was a decorated war pilot and POW.
But exactly who is it that ever takes away liberty? Who is able to oppress, enslave and steal on a large scale? Was it Stalin or Mao themselves who killed so many millions of their own citizens?
…Or did they have professional help?
Isn’t it obvious from even the most brief examination of humanity’s historical record that the permanent, professional standing armies that our founders warned us against are still our greatest threat? Isn’t it only government…your own government…that actually threatens your liberty?
Yes, it’s a bloody horrible thing to take a life with your own hands. We should hate it. We should avoid it as though it’s a stain upon our soul. It is a taste of hell.
But it is a far worse, insane and wicked thing to delegate our killing to others and act as though it is some hallmark of civility.
Horrible, evil things happen. Horrible, evil things must be opposed; sometimes by force. Deadly force is very rarely necessary, but it does happen that it is necessary to kill.
But shouldn’t we bring that force into the light and make it both accountable, and personal?
Yes, taking life is ugly. It is hellish horrid. We really should own up to that. We should personally weigh that evil against the comforts we claim from it.
It is a shame that’d make our founders shudder that we have turned this abhorrent thing into a career for so many, for so long.
Andrew Horning, Candidate for Indiana US Senate
December 12, 2011
Freedom, IN: There’s been some noise about this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The December 5 Forbes.com published the ominous-sounding article, “The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face.”
Oh hogwash. The Act is just a bunch of words. Granted, a big bunch of words at 926 pages for S.1867 alone – that’s many, many times the number of words in the entire constitution as amended…plus the Declaration of Independence…plus some historical commentary…plus my local phone book. It’s another 908 pages for H.R. 1540.
These words are not law. These words are, in fact, illegal. Null and void at best, the Act is clearly unconstitutional:
- The United States of America hasn’t constitutionally declared a war since WWII, so the authorization bill, an annual crime for the past 48 years, could constitutionally authorize only the maintenance of navies (we’ve never amended the constitution to allow for the maintenance of anything else outside state militias).
- The Act could be legal only as far as the limits of the US Constitution’s authority grant (see Amendment 10 for clarification on this).
Americans do face threats to their civil liberties, but only those they’ve voted for themselves. We can at any time choose to leash our unrestrained politicians; I’m running on that hope, in fact. I aim to govern our government to what’s clearly written for all to read.
It’s all here (http://lpin.org/files/2011/12/THE-UNITED-STATES-CONSTITUTION-1211.pdf); we only need to choose it. It will be on the ballot for 2012 under the name, Andrew Horning (L).
Today was Step #1. I think it’d be great to do pretty much the same thing again on Constitution Day, Saturday, September 17. We had a good band of patriots in attendance today, but hopefully, Constitution Day will be much, much better.
Here’s pretty much what I’d said today:
Eleven score and fifteen years ago, our founding fathers waged war against their own government.
Yet it seems that to many Americans today, Independence Day is about flags, fireworks, and a day off work.
Let us humbly recognize that because of our founders’ sacrifices, We The People have what We The People have chosen. Our votes and our daily actions leave us nobody else to blame for any of the injustice, corruption and violence around us.
Indeed if the so-called “Arab Spring” of uprisings in the middle east teaches us anything, it’s that ALL government, even the most oppressive, is by consent of the governed.
Here in the USA, we can simply choose how we’d like to live; and we can do it in safe, air-conditioned, button-pushing comfort.
After generations of choices, it’s obvious that the life we have chosen is not at all what our founders sacrificed, fought and died to bequeath us.
Out of the 27 specific complaints listed in the Declaration of Independence, there is only one, rather minor mention of taxation. Obviously there were no complaints about healthcare or Social Security. The colonists weren’t mad about working conditions or Daylight Saving Time. They weren’t asking for anything special or even new.
Our nation’s founders’ first and underlying complaint was that they’d been denied what was due all English people: They were denied English Law.
The very first-listed complaint against the king was that “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
That’s important; let me repeat that. “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
Now, to those who don’t know anything about Libertarians, it may seem odd that I would stress that our libertarian founders wanted laws.
But what we have instead of laws today is an endless stream of contradictory words, spit out like machine gun bullets by bureaucrats, judges, lawmakers and executives that produce the effect of power without authority; politics without any restraint …ungoverned government. Rules change daily, corruption is everywhere, and the violence is incessant.
This lawless, politicized anarchy is just not working.
It’s a basic human need that we must know the rules by which we must live. It’s the most basic justice that these rules should be applied in a way that’s fair, or at least predictable.
So here’s what we’re asking for:
We want rules that are few enough that everybody can know them; simple enough that everyone can understand them, and important enough that every one of them is to be obeyed by everybody without exception, all the time. We want these rules to stay put for long enough to plan a business or a retirement; or better yet, to raise a child to see that law and order is a thing to be desired, and chosen.
OK, so we’ve all had reasons to oppose such simple order and justice. Maybe our fear of foreigners, our political tribal loyalties and hatreds, the past sins of slavery or our greed and ignorance made us use the constitutions as tug-of-war ropes. We’d grab onto our favorite rights to yank away somebody else’s.
But those of us here today have learned our lesson. We will sacrifice our pet violations, or even the degree of freedom we think the constitutions deny us, in order to gain some measure of liberty and justice, for all.
We want to know the rules. And we’re all fine with what is already the proven, signed and once-revered Law of the Land.
Bottom line: We want our constitutions, state and federal, as written, back.