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Confronting our inhumanity

I regard death from disease, storms, earthquakes, accidents, and misadventures as an integral part of the natural order. Certainly sad for kith and kin, especially if life is cut short. But dying is integral to the process of birth and renewal. I have far fewer years ahead of me than I have lived and the inevitability of my demise holds no terrors.

Death from a policeman’s brutal boot deliberately placed on a helpless neck shakes me to the core. It destroys not just a particular life but savages what we value about living, what we believe makes humans and human civilization special.

And how could this happen in Minnesota, the bluest of blue states, renowned for its neighborliness and generosity to strangers near and far? Montgomery maybe. But Minneapolis?

But then I remember: today’s kindly Minnesotans descend from settlers who massacred Native American tribes, who in turn did not flinch from scalping enemies. I think of the brutality of Buddhist monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Christian wars of religion and burnings at the stake, Hindu pogroms, ISIS cleansings ….

Perhaps our humanity is really only a flimsy facade. Perhaps, perish the horrifying thought, humans are worse than animals who kill for food.

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