::pulling out my soap-box yet again::
I've refrained from commenting on the Israeli-Lebanese "crisis" so far because I realize that emotions run high with some people on this very volatile situation. But because of the shootings in Seattle today, I've got to make some comment and not just let it pass by itself. I wish that the Israeli military was more precise with their bombings, more careful in who they hit. I will not say all the things that I wish that Hezbollah would do... like die quickly... I wish that Syria would stay the hell out of it. They all use the Palestinians as pawns in this game. If the Middle Eastern world really wanted to calm the situation and treat the Palestinian people like equals in the faith, instead of sitting back, bidding their time and just watching where the chips fall, they would give Palestinians a chunk of land somewhere over there for themselves. I realize that this wouldn't appease the extremists, but then, nothing will, short of the wholesale destruction of the State of Israel, so I won't hold my breath for that.
I would like to point out that "Palestine" is the Anglicization of the Latinization of "Land of the Philistines" and the Romans gave the province that name after the Second Jewish War to punish and shame the Jewish people in their defeat... by giving the region the name of one of their most powerful historic enemies... So if the Latinized "Palestinians" hold to that name and so would indeed be "Philistines," their ancestral land would not be all of the present State of Israel, but rather would only be Gaza. The same present-day borders of Gaza were the borders of the Philistines' land in ancient times before they began their conquest into the rest of Canaan in the times of the Judges and it's what they had after the Davidic Monarchy finally defeated them... I kid you not... Personally, I'm all for letting them have their original ancestral lands back - Gaza - if they'd stop all this... But as I said before there are those who would not be appeased.
But the answer is clearly not to just go into a JCC and start shooting random people like this 31-year-old, Muslim son of a bitch did in Seattle. Six women shot, one dead, 5 critical and one had been pregnant. All they'd been doing was hanging out and being their normal groovy selves at a JCC... It's things like this that make me wish that we'd institute a Wergeld in this country. Because not only would they eventually fry that asshole - and he will fry for it and rightly so - but he would be liable to pay monetary damages to the state and to the families of these women, and if he couldn't pay it, then his family would be liable for it - not just his immediate family either, but his uncles, cousins, etc. as well up to the third degree relations, I think it was... And they'd *have* to pay it. They'd be forced to... They'd have to sell their house, cars, anything of value to raise the cash, and if they couldn't, then their wages would be garnered until the debt was paid off. The alternative in Viking times would have been for the family members to disown the guilty party and then the families of the victims would have been allowed to hunt the bastard down and kill him in whatever creative way they saw fit. But since we live in an ostensibly civilized society, that probably wouldn't be allowed in our hypothetical Wergeld laws. The Vikings also would allow the selling of family members or the guilty party into slavery to raise the funds, but obviously, that's wrong for our society and unconstitutional. Personally, I think that if we brought back some of this "familial honor" thing that we've lost due to our emphasis on individuality, where one's bad actions not only reflect poorly on them and have consequences for them, but also for their entire families, I think we'd have a lot less random crime. Sure, there's an element of insanity on the part of the perpetrator in cases like this, and as my mom said when I suggested this to her, people who commit random crimes usually don't have all that much money, but... they'd still have to pay for it. And I think that the strong familial ties that such a system engenders would probably cut the crime rate all by itself, which can be nothing but a good thing.
::putting soap-box away now::