Thursday, March 24, 2016

Kill 'Em All

On Tuesday, there was a horrible attack in Brussels.  At least 30 people have been killed, and hundreds injured.  It's a tragedy and an outrage.
Carl Court / Getty Images
After shocking events like this, the phrase "Kill 'Em All" is frequently uttered.  We should kill them all.  Those terrorists.  Frequently, the phrase is directed towards a larger social group the terrorists sprang from, whether it's Arabs, Muslims, Latinos, homosexuals, neocons, "liberals" or whatever the scapegoat du jour.

That's natural, right?  That we should want to kill them all.  To be sure we get all the ones who hate and are trying to hurt us.  Because they're terrorists, and they have it coming, and if some people who are actually completely innocent are killed in the process, oh, well.  At least we'll get the terrorists.

On 22 July, 1209, every human in Béziers was slaughtered.  It was claimed that the Abbot of Cîteaux, when ordering the attack, said, “Kill them all! God will know his own!”  Whether he said it or not, all of the townsfolk were slaughtered, all 20,000 of them.

When people say, "Kill 'em all, let God sort them out," they mean they are willing to kill innocent people, so long as the target is eliminated, as well.  Declaring an intent to wage war on a group that includes an innocent population meets the US definition of terrorism.  People saying this are declaring their own willingness to be terrorists.  They are declaring themselves my enemy.

So, consider adjusting your rhetoric to be sure your theoretical "fire on target" is on the actual bad guys, and that you are not, in fact, declaring yourself to be a terrorist.  I don't like terrorists.  I really want to kill them all.

Albigensian Crusade
Cathar Wars
Kill Them All