Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Society plays a role in devaluing human dignity

It has been four weeks since the tragic events at the LA Fitness center in Collier ("Four Dead in Fitness Center Shooting," Aug. 5), and I haven't read a good explanation to answer Connie Moneck's question (Connie is a sister of Heidi Overmier, one of the women killed) on "why someone would do this to perfectly innocent people." I'm not foolish enough to believe my reasoning will do that, but I believe the explanations as to why George Sodini thought his actions were justifiable are deeper than easy access to guns or lack of a physical relationship with women.

Why would he violate a moral precept that is inherent in every human being no matter what their cultural, political or religious background? That precept is: that it is always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. The only way this precept can be violated is if the human being who is being killed is not seen as a person and thus relegated to the status of a sub-personal object.

The widespread acceptance of pornography, sexual relations outside of marriage and artificial contraception corresponds directly to a devaluation of the dignity of sexual relations between people and leads to the objectification, for the most part, of women and children. Mr. Sodini mistakenly saw women as objects causing his unhappiness, so it was acceptable to him to eliminate them.

I agree we can't rely on the government to legislate morality, but a government needs moral citizens to function properly. The problem is that, when a government passes laws that violate the dignity of a person (abortion, destructive embryonic research, physician-assisted suicide), it weakens the ability of communities that produce moral citizens (families, church and civic groups) to accomplish that task. These laws also teach society at large that it is acceptable to treat certain human beings, as Mr. Sodini did that horrible night, as sub-personal objects.

Upper St. Clair

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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