Defending the defenseless

The other night a rare thing happened — a social topic got me very angry. Like, stupid angry.

In fact, the constant coverage of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s “disciplining” of his four-year-old son got me so disturbed, I couldn’t sleep.

I just rolled around in bed, thinking about that kid, who is the same age as my niece, taking a lashing from the 6-1 217-pound football player.

You probably know the story by now, the father said he was simple giving his child the old southern “switching” and honestly, that’s not the part that bothered me. Heck, if they started arresting people for giving kids a switch, my grandma might very well be on death row.

No, what bothered me wasn’t Peterson’s form of disciple, but that it was so over the top, it left cuts and bruises on the boy for at least a week, as evidenced by the photos.

What bothered me was that this child, not even old enough for public school, had no one there to help him, no one to stand in his defense.

I don’t normally like to be angry, but I felt this anger was justified. I think there’s no greater calling for us as humans than to come to the defense of those who can’t defend themselves, and gauging by social media, plenty of folks agree.

But then I noticed something else and it started to bother me and push me from very angry to furious.

I started to notice other posts on social media and other comments, not in defense of the innocent, but in what felt like support of their harm.

I started to pay attention to how many of the same people, either in the media or just on social media, were outraged by Peterson’s abuse, but yet were in favor of abortion.

It was a seemingly massive contradiction of which I just couldn’t make sense.

How could the same people who were screaming for the head of the man who just hindered his child’s life by abusing him be OK with, or even celebrating, other people completely halting the lives of their children?

I mean, Peterson’s son was 4, he had least at the ability to run away (granted he probably wouldn’t get real far from the running back), but this other group children doesn’t have even a slight chance of escaping those attempting to hold them back from life.

In a sense, they are the very most defenseless group of all, and yet we as humans are somehow divided over whether or not to give a crap about them.

It’s something I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around even though I constantly try to listen to and understand the arguments of those opposing this groups’ defense.

I’ve heard the argument that no person, much less a man, has the right to tell a lady what to do with her body, especially when it comes to such medical issues.

I’ll be honest, on the surface this always comes across as extremely selfish to me, but then the more I think about it, it just seems like a down right dumb argument.

Don’t all laws or rules or guidelines tell people what they can and can’t do with their bodies? I mean, I’m not allowed to use my hands to steal or harm people. I’m not allowed to use my foot to accelerate my car beyond a certain speed. And even when it comes to medical issues, there are medicines and medical procedures, which could very well help me, that I’m not allowed to have. Hence, athletes heading to Europe for surgeries these days.

No, this argument just doesn’t make sense to me considering how many other laws we have specifically preventing us from using our bodies in a negative manner against other humans.

Of course, then there’s the argument that a fetus is not actually a human and there for it, and whatever potential for life it contains, has no rights.

Listen, we could sit around all day and debate which point in this whole process life actually begins. Is it conception? Is it the first sign of a heartbeat? It is when the fingers so up?

Maybe you’re a doctor, but I’m not, and so honestly, I have no idea at which point to declare that a fertilize egg becomes a tiny person.

But I do know this, once conception happens, barring something tragic, life will result.

That is, unless someone steps in and prevents it.

Even if you don’t want to consider them humans and defend them as such, doesn’t life in general deserve to be defended?

I think so, and no matter what the exact situation is, I think that life deserves the opportunity to make the best of it.  To purposefully step in and prevent that, to steal away that chance at life, just doesn’t seem just.

But perhaps this is simply me attempting to push my religious views and my sense of justice onto people who do not maintain similar thoughts.

I mean, I 100 percent believe everyone has the right, and the responsibility, to take on his or her own belief system and use it as a guide through life.

But is defending those who can’t defend themselves really a Christian issue? Is taking up for those who can’t help themselves really even a religious matter?

No, defending the defenseless shouldn’t be a matter of religion, race, country, or creed. It should simply be a matter of human beings protecting each other and protecting life.

Life is the most treasured commodity for all people groups and once it’s taken away, there’s nothing we can do to bring it back. It’s forever gone.

We take steps each day to preserve that commodity, to ensure our lives and the lives of others have the opportunity to see out their full potential.

Sometimes we do it out of love, but often we simply do it out of a responsibility to each other as fellow humans.

Yet somehow in this situation we’ve allowed ourselves to check out on this responsibility. Somehow we’ve let ourselves become OK with failing to defend the potential for life in those who can’t defend it for themselves.

While I watch the world get all up in arms, and rightly so, over an NFL player abusing the tiny life that’s been entrusted to him, the idea that at the same time we as a culture are causally standing by and watching other lives ended before they even see the light of day, is just something I can’t seem to comprehend.

Of course these are just my thoughts, and like everything, I’m not going to tell you what to think. Only you have to live with your conscience.

But for me, as long as one of my top priorities as a human being is defending the defenseless, nothing about ending an innocent child’s potential for life will ever cause anything but fury.

–@TravisKWilliams

 

 

 

 

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About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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3 Responses to Defending the defenseless

  1. No, what bothered me wasn’t Peterson’s form of disciple, but that it was so over the top, it left cuts and bruises on the boy for at least a week, as evidenced by the photos.

    So only in measured doses is physical abuse against people who are weaker than you okay then? What sort of justification are you putting forward here?

    How much violence against one’s person do you think facilitates learning?

    I started to pay attention to how many of the same people, either in the media or just on social media, were outraged by Peterson’s abuse, but yet were in favor of abortion.

    It was a seemingly massive contradiction of which I just couldn’t make sense.

    Well let see, children are semi-autonomous entities that exist outside the body of their mother. Mr.fetus, not so much. Contradiction resolved.

    or even celebrating, other people completely halting the lives of their children?

    Because fertilized egg is not equivalent to child, no matter how convenient it is to gloss over that particular fact.

    Do you believe that an acorn is an oak tree and should be treated as such? That omelette for breakfast actually a chicken? Hmmm…I see a small problem with the argument from potential.

    I’ll be honest, on the surface this always comes across as extremely selfish to me, but then the more I think about it, it just seems like a down right dumb argument.

    Yes of course because your important man-feels trump women’s right to control what goes on in their bodies. The dumb argument you are arguing against is the one where women – who get pregnant and thus endure the possible fatal experience (let’s not forget all the side effects, both temporary and permanent) – should be beholden to your opinions on *their* pregnancy.

    how many other laws we have specifically preventing us from using our bodies in a negative manner against other humans.

    Ah, so women deciding what is best for their bodies and reproductive futures is negative manner. Fascinating.

    But I do know this, once conception happens, barring something tragic, life will result.

    That is, unless someone steps in and prevents it.

    Consider that the rate of implantation is far from perfect, your understanding of pregnancy may be more limited that you think.

    But perhaps this is simply me attempting to push my religious views and my sense of justice onto people who do not maintain similar thoughts.

    Religion used to oppress women? I’m shocked. It’s almost like patriarchy and religion reinforce and feed off each other.

    It should simply be a matter of human beings protecting each other and protecting life.

    And denuding women of their bodily autonomy is first step in this noble crusade…

    Only you have to live with your conscience.

    And you with yours denying women access to abortion and reproductive care harms women. Sacrificing women’s autonomy is never the correct way to protect life, unless the ends justifies the means – then that sounds like a ethical problem for a different post.

    ending an innocent child’s potential for life will ever cause anything but fury.

    And equal number strive to protect women and their rights from your fetus-fetish. Thus the battle wages on.

  2. travman44 says:

    Geez. You went all out, which I respect, so let’s take these one by one.

    “So only in measured doses is physical abuse against people who are weaker than you okay then?”

    There’s a fine line between spanking a kid and beating them until they bleed. Personally, I’m not a spanker, but I was spanked and honestly, I benefited from it.

    “Well let see, children are semi-autonomous entities that exist outside the body of their mother. Mr.fetus, not so much. Contradiction resolved. ”

    So being in or out of the mother determines a life’s worth? So is a child nothing more than a growth until birth? Weird.

    “Do you believe that an acorn is an oak tree and should be treated as such? That omelette for breakfast actually a chicken? Hmmm…I see a small problem with the argument from potential. ”

    Acorns aren’t planted and eggs that you cooked aren’t fertilized. Also, we’re talking about people here, not trees or chickens.

    “Yes of course because your important man-feels trump women’s right to control what goes on in their bodies. The dumb argument you are arguing against is the one where women – who get pregnant and thus endure the possible fatal experience (let’s not forget all the side effects, both temporary and permanent) – should be beholden to your opinions on *their* pregnancy.”

    So basically you’re arguing that because a pregnancy might be hard on a woman, a life should be stopped? One person should die so another can live well? Again, how does that not seem selfish?

    “Ah, so women deciding what is best for their bodies and reproductive futures is negative manner. Fascinating. ”

    Again, let’s end one human’s assistance for the sake of another. Not buying it.

    “Consider that the rate of implantation is far from perfect, your understanding of pregnancy may be more limited that you think.”

    Potential. That’s the key word. And implantation takes place around 10 days after ovulation, courtesy my Google search, so I’m guessing most abortions take place after that.

    “Religion used to oppress women? I’m shocked. It’s almost like patriarchy and religion reinforce and feed off each other.”

    Honestly, how is standing up for a life oppressing a woman? I mean, that life might very well be a female, so the whole man vs. woman thing here is kind of ridiculous.

    “And denuding women of their bodily autonomy is first step in this noble crusade…”

    And ending lives before they start is somehow just? Seriously?

    “And you with yours denying women access to abortion and reproductive care harms women. Sacrificing women’s autonomy is never the correct way to protect life, unless the ends justifies the means – then that sounds like a ethical problem for a different post.”

    The assumption here, and with the majority of your responses, is that every abortion occurs to save some woman’s life. Be real for second, you know that’s not the truth. Even it were, that’s such a hard line to walk. You’re talking about the potential for a person who could do great things in our world. A person who could live and love and enjoy this whole human experience we both have had the pleasure to enjoy. Halting that, even to save autonomy, seems wrong.

    “And equal number strive to protect women and their rights from your fetus-fetish. Thus the battle wages on.”

    This isn’t about women’s rights for me. Again, a good number of these children could be women. This is about the right to life for all.

    OK, those are my responses. Thanks for reading and thanks for responding. If nothing else, I think talking about such tough issues is a positive thing.

    –@TravisKWilliams

    • There’s a fine line between spanking a kid and beating them until they bleed. Personally, I’m not a spanker, but I was spanked and honestly, I benefited from it.

      The lesson being transmitted to the child is because the parent in a position of power, people with power have the right to use physical violence on your person.

      We live in a hierarchical society, I understand that – but modelling violent coercion for children goes against what most parents are trying to teach their children; mutual respect, caring and compassion, for instance.

      I’m happy that you were not seriously damaged by the exercise of violent coercive force (and the lessons it teaches).

      So being in or out of the mother determines a life’s worth?

      It is important to properly identify the various stages of human development and acknowledge the differences between the stages.

      Many arguments from the anti-choice side centre on blurring the idea that there are general stages of development (that possess differing characteristics) into one – child – in order to generate emotional resonance in hopes of making said argumentation persuasive.

      So is a child nothing more than a growth until birth? Weird.

      I have trouble with the nomenclature you chose as we usually associate the world child with a born entity. Socially speaking, do we ever celebrate ‘conception days’? To the best of my knowledge we do not. We celebrate birthdays – when we come into the world as separate and independent entities.

      Acorns aren’t planted and eggs that you cooked aren’t fertilized. Also, we’re talking about people here, not trees or chickens.

      Agreed, but they are analogues for the idea that we should value things as their potential end product as opposed to what they currently are. Again, assigning traits and characteristics to an object that does not possess those traits (but absolutely has the potential too) is not particularly good argumentation.

      Consider that the potentiality argument is also works in reverse – see the catholic view of contraception and of course this.

      So basically you’re arguing that because a pregnancy might be hard on a woman, a life should be stopped?

      Roughly 275,000 women die every year from childbirth. Should their lives be stopped?

      Might be hard? To avoid posting walls of text, please look at all the things that can happen to a woman during pregnancy. I would categorize pregnancy slightly more that a “hard” task – a potentially life threatening and most definitely life altering experience is where I would be begin to categorize the experience.

      One person should die so another can live well? Again, how does that not seem selfish?

      And there is another one of those terms often used to obfuscate arguments in the debate. Do you sincerely believe that the fetus is a person? This sort of false equivalence lies at the heart of so much of the anti-choice platform.

      But, let us grant you that equivalence (as erroneous as it may be) and imagine that said fetus has the exact same rights as the woman in which it resides.

      1. Does any person have the right to impose its needs on another, even in the case of life or death?

      If the answer is yes, then people with kidney and liver disease have the right to one of your kidneys and parts of your liver because we are all about preserving life. What you wish have to happen to your body is superseded by the necessity of not taking another life.

      Sounds somewhat totalitarian side to me.

      If the answer is no, then you agree that people have bodily autonomy and have the right to decide how their body is being used.

      A woman must consent to allowing the fetus to use the resources of her body (at great physical, mental cost). If she, possessing the rights to her body, deems that this is not a state she wishes to continue exist in, for any reason, then as a human being with full human rights, her will must be respected.

      Potential. That’s the key word. And implantation takes place around 10 days after ovulation, courtesy my Google search, so I’m guessing most abortions take place after that.

      I’m sorry I was not clear. The rate of successful implantation is substantially less than 100%. (fun fact: Making “choose your entity in the sky” the most prolific abortionist out there).

      Honestly, how is standing up for a life oppressing a woman? I mean, that life might very well be a female, so the whole man vs. woman thing here is kind of ridiculous.

      Anti-choice activists close down reproductive health care clinics or they picket and harass the women that go there. If you are poor working class woman and have an unwanted pregnancy it is a most keen form of oppression that you are denied the ability to plan your reproductive future precisely because of the toll pregnancy takes on a woman’s body and of course the responsibilities that go along with raising children etc.

      Patriarchy ridiculous? Is that easy to hand-wave away hundreds of years of oppression? So hard to see that women have been regarded as sub human and not worthy of the rights accorded to men until recent history? The systemic disempowerment of half the population just isn’t a thing? And certainly not a religious thing given the fair treatment that women get in the bible starting with Eve?

      Your premise would be a most fascinating historical thesis. I look forward to reading about how historically, women have been treated fairly by religion.

      The assumption here, and with the majority of your responses, is that every abortion occurs to save some woman’s life.

      I apologize if I gave that impression. Let me be clear – A woman, who possesses bodily autonomy, has the right at anytime to procure an abortion, for whatever reason. I trust women to do what is best for themselves and their families as they are the ones that must deal with the consequences of whichever choice they make.

      You’re talking about the potential for a person who could do great things in our world. A person who could live and love and enjoy this whole human experience we both have had the pleasure to enjoy. Halting that, even to save autonomy, seems wrong.

      I need your kidney to live. Hand it over. It seems wrong to halt the potential interruption of my human experience. Seem unreasonable? – Then why are you arguing for women to do this very thing, even against their will – because “life”?

      Women are much more than mere incubators, as it would seem in your view, whose rights are beholden to others that seem to have a much greater claim to human rights and freedom that they do.

      This isn’t about women’s rights for me. Again, a good number of these children could be women. This is about the right to life for all.

      This isn’t about women’s rights? That confuses me because in the time it takes to read your post some 41 children have died. Roughlytwenty-nine thousand children per day of mostly preventable causes. The death of children on a massive scale occurs every day and yet here you are discussing how dismantling the status of women as fully human beings(bodily autonomy etc) is going to be awesome because we’re saving innocent lives.

      Tell me again how your stance should not be construed as anti-choice and thus anti-woman?

      Thank you for hosting for the forum for this important discussion.

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