I was driving down a street in Lombard, Illinois when suddenly a squirrel appeared. I halted my car, watched the animal which apparently was doing some thinking, and within a few seconds dashed away. Later, returning front he library my car found itself in the same street, and lo and behold, the squirrel made another appearance. It halted, I halted, it reflected, and then dashed away. I went to a coffee shop and thought about the squirrel. A squirrel traces its ancestry back a few million years. It was not until about one hundred years ago that a squirrel found itself confronted by a new enemy–the automobile. Within a relatively short period of time, the squirrel adjusted its behavior to take into account cars. In other words, this tiny brained animal was able to revolutionize its behavior within a few decades in order to survive.
I live with animals that possess much more developed brains. These human animals have been living with the arrival of weapons that could completely destroy human life on the planet. But, have these human animals altered their behavior? Of course not. They hate, they kill, they murder despite evidence such behavior is dangerous to human survival. Isn’t it about time we invited some squirrels to help us alter behavior?
It now appears that Oscar Pistorious will spend time in jail for “negligent and unreasonable” behavior. According to Judge Mesipe “I am not persuaded that as reasonable person would have fired four shots into a toilet cubicle. I am of the view that the accused acted hastily.” A fair point. If a person who kills another person without premeditation does that mean this individual is not guilty of murder? This concept raises many questions concerning the act of murder. Can one argue that most murders are examples of “unreasonable behavior?. For example, could one argue that being raised in poverty produces people who behave unreasonably when confronted with potential violence to them?
Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri was raised in a culture that believed black skinned teenagers were potential threats, and thus his behavior in shooting was an example of “unreasonable behavior?” Frankly, the vast majority of murders could fit into her definition of murder. What then?