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Taking a Life

Updated on February 19, 2012

Taking a Life

By Tony DeLorger © 2011

Is it wrong to take a life? We of course answer yes; it is part of the moral and ethical fibre of our religious teachings and the laws which govern our society. But given the circumstance anyone is capable of taking a life. What if the only way to save your child from death was to kill an assailant; would you hesitate? I think not. I think most people would do anything to protect their loved ones, including taking a life.

It’s all about perspective, and how we see one value against another. Most of us would not indiscriminately harm or kill anyone, the action is wrong on many levels. But when pushed those levels become less clear and we can only act with the best intentions considering all the circumstances.

Is it then wrong to protect your family? Is it wrong to protect your homeland in times of war? Is it wrong to protect yourself from someone intending to hurt you? All these scenarios are individual and can be justified one way or another. In the end, if someone looses their life, how is that viewed, not by religion, not by law but by you for having taken a life?

Most of us grow up with a moral compass, religious based or not, and have a broad understanding of right and wrong, good and bad. Taking another life, regardless of circumstance has to be considered the ultimate sin or most negative act. Some people who haven’t had the benefit of a normal upbringing, never learn or experience empathy or compassion and to value life, and therefore see violence in a different light. These people given the right circumstance can take a life without qualm and therefore can commit heinous acts simply to get their own way. This sociopathic behaviour is far from normal, but to these people they see no wrong and suffer no guilt over their actions.

To normal moral people, these acts are despicable and are misunderstood. Yet, given the circumstance we are all capable of taking a life. The question is, if we did, how would we deal with it?

This life we so often take for granted, is surely a gift, and to have that gift taken from you before your time would be a tragedy. If it happened to me, I’d be upset to say the least; there’s so much I want to achieve in life. So how would you feel having cut short a life, for whatever justifiable reason? I guess it gets down to your conditioning, what you believe about what is right and wrong and how far your actions can take you without self-loathing.

People die everyday right: fall under a bus, have a heart attack, die of cancer, so how much of the blame can we place on ourselves for taking a life, regardless of circumstance. Can we accept absolution on any level, or are we bound to be guilt ridded for eternity?

If you are a fatalist, then you would probably accept justification of taking a life easier, putting it down to ‘that was their fate, I was simply the arbiter of justice’. Or perhaps if you were defending your loved one you’d justify it by feeling malice toward that person’s intent, which somehow cancels your responsibility from a perspective of balance. Perhaps you would see taking a life without justification at all, and relive the event for the rest of your life.

You see we are all products of our conditioning and beliefs, adhering to a measure of value and ethical actions governed by our religious and moral teachings. How we then respond to a circumstance of committing violence is purely individual, and in the end, something we’d have to face ourselves when the situation arose.

I feel if it were for protection, I could justify taking a life, but my emotional response and recovery from that action would not be so easy. It’s an interesting question, is it not?


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