The dreadful sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area are but the latest tragic reminder that all too few people appreciate the value of human life.
Whether the work of a couple of madmen or the careful plotting of a terrorist setting out to spread fear among millions of people by shooting an unknown man, woman or child every couple of days, the sniper is a product of an age where morality is an old-fashioned concept, not worthy of a modern age.
And as long as there are those who believe killing is an effective means to a worthy end, the gruesome and evil slaughter of the innocent will continue.
There are suicide bombers maiming and killing in Israel. There are terrorists blowing up 200 civilians in a Bali night club. There are executioners operating under al-Qaida blasting apart a ship in Yemen. There are dark places where plots are hatched to attack U.S. embassies and military bases abroad.
But these evil acts are not limited to foreign soil or foreign waters, as proven by last year's Sept. 11 attacks and by ... (the) District of Columbia killings.
Sadly, the low regard for the sanctity of life extends throughout American society. Young people carry death to classrooms in what seems almost like monthly occurrences. Tragedies such as that in Michigan a few days ago, when a mother drowned her two young daughters in a bathtub and then shot herself to death, seem part of our daily diet of nightly television news.
Life -- all human life -- should be precious to every man and woman of every race and every nation.
It is not, however, among many in the United States, in Indonesia, in the West Bank, in Kenya, in Kuwait, in Germany, in Italy and other places where morality has been overridden by anger, where decency and respect have been brushed aside, and where simple goodness has been rejected and evil has been adopted as an acceptable way of dealing with others.
Those who hijack airliners and kill thousands, those who strap bombs on themselves to kill dozens, those who would kill one-by-one with rifle shots from ambush, those would drown babies all share one characteristic.
Life, to them, is not precious. Life is not God-given. Life is meaningless if it stands in the way of their personal aims or personal lifestyles.
And until morality once again is instilled throughout society, here and elsewhere in the world, there will be no end to the slaughter of the innocents.
-- Voice of the (Anchorage) Times
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