‘Murder here, murder there, blue bloody murder everywhere!’ – Pussy Willow, said sometime before being hung for crimes against humanity.
Google says the definition of murder is : the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. As I see it the term ‘unlawful’ is open to interpretation and isn’t always the most constant yardstick with which to justify murder for so often the law is found to be an ass or compromised or biased or unjust in its lawfulness. What the headhunters of Papua New Guinea deem a good and lawful death would most likely end up on an episode of CSI:Bougainville.
For such a simple act, the loss of life, we have a myriad of terms and words to describe such an act depending on who the off-ended party is: regicide, patricide, infanticide, matricide, assassination, friendly fire. And then don’t forget manslaughter, death by misadventure, crimes of passion and justifiable homicide which of course takes us back to the original problem: legality.
Under Apartheid and Deep South rule the life/death of a coloured friend was a trivial affair more akin to the loss of livestock, which is nothing abnormal if you consider the history of humanity where there’s always one tribe trying to impose it’s will on another lesser tribe, where the laws of nature deem death a suitable side-effect of conquering arable lands and fertile women. Sometimes if one could be bothered the poor wretches lined up for death would be spared and given into slavery which was often a fate worse than involuntary expiration depending on who had the whip hand.
Murder can be excused depending on the contents of your wallet, the colour of your skin, the sex in your knickers or the holy book in your back pocket. Oh, and before I forget, most victims of murder are murdered by a close acquaintance or family member. That’ll help you sleep at night.
Let’s go right back to the beginning of the life cycle; men give the seed to the women, women then incubate the seed and give birth to life, depending on the maleness of the infant and it’s parentage the child may survive or become a victim of infanticide/abortion. Both types of murder.
However for our purposes let’s go even further back in time, back to the dawn of man and murder: the myth of Cain and Abel.
There’s a horrible piece of gossip doing the rounds which would suggest that young Cain was sired by a fallen angel who’s identity has yet to be ascertained as there were bound to be unpaid child support payments due. Now, apparently Cain represents the sacred race of Homo sapiens who were in the ascendant during the early days of the bible where as Abel, whose parentage is not doubted, was the mascot apparent of the Neanderthals. The ability to form metal and plough the land was a higher ability attributed to Homo Sapien culture and thus Cain would be seen to embody the future of an industriously agrarian mankind. Abel on the other bloodied hand was a hunter-gatherer type who lived by his wits as he roamed the land looking for organic goji berries and verdant fields of fair trade quinoa and thus represented the primitive Neanderthal, a truly savage but noble beast.
Rumour has it that the brothers fell out over a woman and not just any woman but their sister! She was apparently a twin to boot so there would have been all sorts of shenanigans going on in their yurts when Adam and Eve weren’t looking. Cain got the better of Abel and struck him down thus ending his mortal coil and committing his sanguinous insides to the dirt of Mother Nature below and providing cheap novelists with more fodder than you can shake a burning quill at. This can be interpreted as the Homo sapiens clearing the land of the sub human Neanderthals who would be competing for valuable resources and comely women folk. And here we have anthropology’s finest moment.
So, Cain gets the threesome with his twin sisters, all the land he can plough before sundown and a nasty mark that won’t wash off for his troubles. Everywhere he goes people shout at him ‘ hey, killer of Abel! Listen up ‘cos Yahweh says we can’t expedite your pathway to heaven so no need to give up that awful smoking habit.’ ‘But,’ replies Cain, ‘I’ve done the world a favour by metaphorically destroying the neanderthals and advancing humankind to the bronze age and the safety of grain stores, roast chicken dinners and door knocking Jehovah’s Witnesses. God told me too! I’m sure he did.’
And there we have another problem with lawful murder, the old ‘God told me to’ excuse. This petard of an excuse is still used today and is probably the most widespread reasoning for digging another race into the dirt so as to become fertiliser for future fields of proverbial civilization. It’s just as despicable as the other favourite excuse of murders; get orf my land/porch/stoop!
If ever you wanted a handbook of murder and the mighty act of smighting you could do worse than read the Bible for it’s full to the brim of blood in the Old Testament before slacking off a tad in the New Testament. Even the death of Jesus was unlawful and most probably due to bad PR on his part and a biased crowd baying for their Friday night jollies. They were a thirsty mob in those days and I would counter that they are still a thirsty mob given the right circumstances.
Let’s get back to Cain who escaped the death penalty only to be tattooed for ever and a day lest he or anybody else forget what a great service he performed for Homo sapiens and the future of the human race. Surely a life of torment and ridicule is a fitting punishment for murder where the felon actually understands the philosophy behind his sentence?
Let’s move on to that other legally sanctioned form of murder; war. Whereby one bunch of united people seek to destroy another bunch of similarly united people all for the sake of some land or a perceived Royal slur. We all know that ol’ hoary chestnut of an excuse ‘might is right’ which seems to overrule any opposition to death and effectively justifies murder and reclassifies it as ‘collateral damage’.
The CIA coined a great term some time ago when they decided that a certain enemy of America’s overseas interests should be ‘terminated with extreme prejudice’. What wordsmithery I say! Don Watson would call them ‘weasel words’. I reckon they could have settled for ‘bust a few caps in his ass’ but then that would have tipped the hat to the ugly side of America where murder is punishable by an indefinite spell on death row and endless reality TV reruns.
Murder is all the rage. Every day in every country the press’ front pages are full of tales of death and misery. We love to read about it, watch TV shows about it and in some countries you can go see it live at the town square, for free no less.
In some countries it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy due to rape or abuse with rape or terminal deformity but it’s legal to execute somebody for pointing out the true nature of the Emperor’s new clothes. It is against the law for me to murder myself or to ask somebody else to help me do it yet somewhere in a brightly lit room in a clandestine army base there are teenagers guiding drones to their death targets. There are corporations producing food which effectively murders the consumer or renders them incapable of discerning the difference between nutrition and poison.
It all gets a bit confusing to be honest. The current trend is that property is more valuable than human life. If you trespass on my property I can kill you. If you steal my property I can kill you. If you look like you might want to interrupt my business model I can kill you or I might enrol the police to do it for me.
It is perfectly acceptable in this climate to wage war, kill dissent, ethnically cleanse and deprive people of their liberty Monday to Friday and then on Saturday attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela and snap a few selfies. Such hypocrisy! Such bare faced cheek of the murderous Mugabe to show his uncracked face. But there we have it, writ large on the big screen with the complicity of the World’s Media.
Now, here’s an interesting if not controversial topic; what if those Neanderthals from the days of Cain and Abel were still around today? Would we subjugate them to a life of slavery and laboratory toxicology tests? Would we cherish them as our ancient ancestors without whom there would be no us? Would we treat them like wild savages and excommunicate them to the toxic wilderness? Would we keep them as amusing house pets, mere trinkets and pets of amusement? Or would they all be rounded up, boxed up and stored in that gargantuan warehouse of The Smithsonian Institute like all of Indiana Jones’s great anthropological discoveries.
Truth is we all know what would happen and I daren’t not write their fate down lest I tempt it’s precosious nature.
Oh, and while I’m at it what would the religious loons have to say about our extant cousins? I dread to think of the measures they would take considering their past history of punishments among their own kind.
At the end of the clichéd day we are but animals fossicking around on a rock that is supported by four sacred panda bears balancing on top of a white elephant which is in turn precariously placed atop a spinning crystal plate under the command of a bipolar monkey with itchy palms and acute attention deficit disorder and all circled by a pod of smiling benevolent dolphins being ridden by internet savvy felines.
Our existence is accidental in the great scheme of things but we justify it as divinely intentioned, eternal and worthy of great adulation before starting to tear down the bricks of this beautiful house that Mother Nature and Father Time accidentally created for us. We are murdering the hand that feeds us and in the end it will be that very same hand that puts us in our place, that buries us in the soil that spawned Adam.
The truth is that we are overpopulating this planet, murdering all the wild animals that don’t taste good in a cheese burger who will eventually rise up and murder us back in return. They will ‘exterminate us in our billions with extreme prejudice’ but no malice or forethought because that is just the way that nature works and it’s also the best defence for murder too.