The other night I shocked a room full of people by casually commenting that it is very easy to kill someone.
They all seemed to think I meant something very different than I did. I was referring to the act, not the decision to take the action, and actually had Beaner Hisey in mind at the time I made the comment. He was a classmate of mine throughout elementary and high school as a child, and was always known as a hothead. He killed a fellow in a bar fight shortly after high school, but I have little suspicion that he meant to kill the man he did, in fact, kill. It just happened. At least partly because it is so much easier to do than most of us think.
Beaner probably did it mostly by accident. Sure, he meant him ill, but he probably didn’t actually mean to kill him. He probably was as surprised as anyone when the potential opponent didn’t get up for more. But killing someone by accident is really pretty easy.
I am always impressed by how little our popular media seems to regard the fragility of life and the ease of inflicting serious injury. The fights you see on television and in the movies are ridiculous. No one gets up after being hit in the face by a pool cue, let alone the butt of a pistol. The governor, in the Walking Dead T.V. series, gives a public speech within an hour or two of having an eye gouged out with a shard of glass, for god’s sake. Few real fights last longer than the first blow. Which is largely why I’ve always, as an adult, tried to avoid them.
I first learned of the fragility of life when, as a judoka at San Jose State College in about 1962, I was choked out by a visiting black belt from Japan. That was a kind of initiation that all judokas were expected to undergo at the time. Even at that time it was regarded as a somewhat dangerous extravagance, for judokas are painfully aware of the fragility of life and considerable amount of time is spent on how to revive a victim of an overly zealous fighter.
On the other hand, consciously deciding to kill someone on purpose, for most of us, despite occasional temptation brought on usually by listening to someone of a different political persuasion, is anathema. And that’s a good thing.
When I was young, advocating revolution went thru a kind of fashionability. Advocating a political position to that level of devotion is almost always indicative of ignorance of that which one is advocating. It seems we all tend to think hurt doesn’t really hurt. Bullshit.