Man’s Inhumanity to Man

As I’ve been watching Into the West, a TV mini-series about the American West, or anything about that time perioud, it always strikes me how incomprehensible the Native American plight is. How is it that we could slaughter and displace these people so easily?

I suppose most modern stories have a very sympathetic bent towards the Native Americans, and it would help the grasp the perspective of the white man. Communication was a problem and with ignorance came fear. Misunderstandings result in shots firing, and it’s easier and safer to sort it out after the smoke clears. As much as I try to understand that, it still baffles me.

But what’s really sad is that the incomprehensible behavior of humanity in the 1800s is repeated today.

There are just as many stories in places like Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere that would sound familiar to the stories of the American West. Different peoples come together in conflict, and rather than peaceably sort things out, blood is shed. Sometimes that’s the only way, but so many other times it’s not the only. It’s only the easiest way.

A misunderstood people are seen as a threat, and so they’re held at gun point and wary soldiers choose to shoot first and ask questions later. It happened on the American frontier and it happens in Iraq. And it’s probably happened in every armed conflict in history.

I’m not suggesting there’s a right way or a wrong way. I’m not smart enough to propose such a path. I’m just recognizing that it’s a sad story that’s repeated time and time again in our history.

Can’t we all just get along? No, it seems we cannot.

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