Senseless Killing

turtle 1 crOver the past few months our nation has witnessed several tragedies as one deranged person after another engaged in senseless killing. The murder of innocent people in Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, New York and other states has left many shocked and grieved, wondering what has become of the human race. Why would anyone think another person’s life was dispensable? Why would anyone kill just to be killing?

coyote 153I was reminded a couple of days ago that senseless killing goes beyond humans murdering one another. While in Tennessee visiting friends I noticed an article in the Nashville paper that told the story of a Clemson University student who was doing research on the shrinking number of box turtles. This student purchased a realistic looking plastic replica of a turtle and placed it in the middle of a two-lane highway. He then hid and watched for a number of hours. What he saw was driver after driver intentionally swerve so that they might run over the turtle. This same university student went to a school and asked a class how many of them had ever purposely run over a turtle or been with someone who had. A large percentage of the class raised their hands.

The senseless killing of turtles is not an isolated incident. Our country has a long history of reckless behavior toward animals. At one time the West had millions of bison roaming the land. This majestic species was almost elminated because people shot them just for the fun of it. Wolves, coyotes, grizzly bears, and numerous other creatures have, likewise, been victims of senseless killing. Once again I have to ask, why would anyone kill just to be killing?

bear 6I believe that the Bible teaches that all life is precious. I would even say all life is sacred since it comes from God. It is obvious that we live in a time when life is not held sacred by all. For far too many people life is cheap–human and otherwise. This is not the way it is supposed to be. This is not what God intended. I realize that the Scriptures say “There is a time to kill and a time to heal.” (Ecclesiastes. 3:3) Perhaps in battles against evil lives must be sacrificed and I realize that animals must also be killed for food, but even in such circumstances the sacredness of all life should be maintained. Life is not cheap; it is a priceless gift of God.

Because of sin and evil there will likely continue to be far too much senseless killing. There is a lot of discussion right now about how we can stop the madness. One step in the right direction is the affirmation of the sacredness of life, something taught by all the major religions of the world. When it comes to seeing Creation–all of it–we must learn to acknowledge both its inherent goodness and its divine right to exist. This is not the message that is being conveyed by most forms of media today. In light of what we see happening all around us, let us pray that soon changes. In the meantime, it will be up to people like you and me to spread the word. Life is sacred and senseless killing must stop!


(I photographed the box turtle in Kentucky, the coyote in Wyoming, and the grizzly bear in  Alaska.)