I was browsing FB the other day and saw a post by a friend of mine who was describing a terrible and scary incident in which he awoke to find an intruder in his home. The man grabbed a couple things and left. No one was hurt, my friend was able to replace the missing items with fairly little trauma. It wasn't a pleasant experience but neither was it scarring. What I found more interesting (here translated "disturbing") was the responses of some of his friends. Several posted in response that he should have shot and killed the guy. And that was usually followed by "that would have taught him".
I have to admit, I find this response shocking and upsetting for so many reasons. The first is simply the obvious one: once you're dead, there are no more lessons to be learned, folk. Killing somebody doesn't actually teach them anything.
But beyond that, why do we feel that we should react to unpleasant things by escalating the violence? This is a mind-set that seems to have taken over the U.S. at this point in time. We seem to greet every slight and every affront with an incredibly disproportionate response of revenge and increased harm. This must be a long time human flaw. In the Hebrew scriptures, we are told "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." This was a law put in place to limit the amount of damage that could be returned in response to an injury of any kind. It was necessary to make those statements at that time because people DID tend to escalate the problems. "An eye for an eye" meant that you could only return in equal amount what was done to you. So in this case, you could take something from the other person in response to their taking something of yours (NOT their life, by the way. That's NOT what you could take in response to their stealing an item. That is not an equal response.). The Christian scriptures take it much further. (Mt. 5:38-42): "