Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thoughts on Technology & Humanity

When we moved from the sword to the gun, did we lose some of our humanity? Is gun use less personal? And are those using guns less skilled and ethical then earlier warriors who used the sword or bow?
In order to answer this question, one must define humanity.  Humanity can be defined as: the quality or state of being humane; the quality or state of being human; the branches of learning that investigate human constructs and concerns; the human race; whereas humane is defined as: kind or gentle to people or animals (Miriam-Webster 2014).  In that sense I would say that no, we did not lose some of our humanity; in some sense you could even go so far as to say that guns became more humane.  Many sword injuries do not result in an instant death or even a quick one, unless through beheading, which usually was not accomplished in one fell swoop.  Killing is still killing regardless of what weapon is being wielded. 
I honestly think that that a weapon being more or less personal has more to do with each individual and their values and beliefs, as well as their cultural and societal values and beliefs.  As a society death has become less personal and valuable.  We may have more humane ways of killing death row inmates with lethal injections, but that involves someone in another room pushing the buttons to activate the series of injections for a quick and low pain type of death.  If we are to take a look at earlier methods such as a firing squad, one could argue the humanity, but one could not argue the fact that it was much more personal to line up and look someone in the eyes and shoot them; whether or not the shooter knew which bullet was the one to deal the killing blow.  I do not see how this is less personable than a sniper.  Never having been a sniper myself, I can attest to those around me in the personal way in which they have felt and relived each and every death that has come as a result of their weapon being fired.  They watch many of these shots and aftermaths for kill assessment through a scope, but they image and those memories never leave them.  The same can be said for Drones, just because they may be classified as a “game” environment, does not mean that if it less personal.  Many people are now being classified as having PTSD from the images on those screens, in a drone situation you are there to watch and get a BDA (battle damage assessment), you can be made to watch helplessly if any bombs go astray or if your own people are being shot and killed by the enemy.  Again, skills and ethics have to do with the individual wielding a weapon, not the actual weapon itself. 

Miriam-Webster. (2014).

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