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One Law to Rule Them All: Thou Shall Not Kill

Routine mayhem in America is the “new normal?” Not only is it not “normal” it is not “new.” The soul searching and despairing cries of “Why?” echo again across the nation. The blood of one group of victims is not even dry before the next massacre occurs. How to account for it?

The calls go out for new laws, new law enforcers, new punishments, increasing use of the “death penalty.” None has worked in the past, but no matter, the devolution into insanity proceeds apace on all sides of the debate, at least as defined by Albert Einstein, if apocryphally: “doing the same things over again and expecting a different result.”

I have a radical suggestion: try something different. Once, long ago, the evolution of humanity threw up a supreme law, one that ought to rule all laws, if the heaving mass of animalistic proto-humans were to rise to human being. Thou shall not kill.

That is and must be the first law. It must rule all other law. All other law must be subordinate to it, and must be interpreted and applied consistent with it, or all law fails its task of approaching justice. Why?

If killing is not repudiated, it invites more killing. Revenge cycles abound. Killing, ironically, is pregnant, not with life, but with more killing. Pregnant with death. Once killing is embraced as justice, there is no end to killing but in the silence of the universal graveyard. This was the ancient wisdom revealed in this one law to rule them all: start with no killing and the rest of justice may follow.

America’s cries of confusion amid the bloodletting, the desperate chest pounding, hair tearing grief and accusations arising on all sides, pointing one at another, resound yet again. But the answer is clear, it stares us in the face, as a nation, as a people, we have abandoned the one law to rule them all.

Americans embrace killing both at home and abroad. It is our law that authorizes it. It is our armed forces that stand athwart the world daily killing. It is our allies we empower and enable to commit genocide. It is Americans who espouse mercenary armies to make killing our nation’s business. It is our arsenals of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons armed and triggered in constant readiness that threaten the death daily of all humanity. Our laws drip with blood, death penalties, police shootings without accountability, and mass incarceration of our fellow citizens to spirit killing prisons, destroying lives, families and communities, a living death.

Has god turned his face from America? Or has America turned its face from god? It matters little which, or, if both, are true. The only thing that matters is that America awakens to the ancient truth for every person everywhere: one law must rule them all—thou shall not kill.

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Kary Love is a Michigan attorney.

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