A "Pain Ray"?

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I found this little item on Rachel Maddow's website via Twitter...you know, doing the social media scoping and snooping (hereby known as SMS&S, only on this blog) and I promptly forgot about the story I was originally looking for. This was far more diabolical, provocative, so...Star War-ish, that I had to check it out. Yes, I wrote "Star War-ish", with a nod to comedian Jaime Foxx's stand up routine. Come on now, if you watched the video you have to admit, there are similarities--think of a miniaturized, non-lethal Death Star, or those energy bolts streaming from Emperor Palpatine's hands that tortured poor Luke Skywalker. The difference is that the rays are invisible (Isn't it a shame that CG effects don't work in real life?), and as far as I know, they do not kill. At least for now they don't, although I suspect that someone is working feverishly to produce a terminating option for a very generous price. Obviously, someone in the research and development department of that company spent even more time than I did watching the Star Wars trilogy.

A pain ray? Are they serious?

Yes, to the tune of the Pentagon's 40 million dollars to a private company (whose name I couldn't catch when I watched the video)to develop this "crowd control" dispenser of agony. I don't know about you, but I don't like being hit with scalding hot water. According to Rachel Maddow, that's what the "pain ray" feels like. No, thank you. Years ago,I accidentally toppled a large pot of boiling water and pasta on myself, and all reasonable thought immediately left my brain. And my mouth emitted sounds that could only be described as lupine in origin. After twenty years, I still have visible scars from that burn lacing across my belly.

So, the Pentagon wanted to get its money's worth of use from this new toy, and off it went to Afghanistan. Supposedly, the purpose of the pain ray's deployment was to help clear out crowds who have the temerity to gather around U.S. troops while they perform their appointed duty of routing out the Taliban and Al Qaeda. However, the Pentagon must have been surprised that the military brass promptly sent the devil ray back to America. They didn't want it or need it. Think about that. In a war torn, violence-riddled country like Afghanistan, where there are snipers and insurgents hiding on nearly every block, the generals of the armed forces DID NOT WANT this device! Makes you wonder why, doesn't it?

However, did you think the Pentagon was going to let that 40 million hard-working taxpayers' dollars go to waste? No, no, no...the combined intelligentsia in the Pentagon live by the code of "where there's a will, there's a way." These highly trained, extremely smart people created a miniature version of the original (it's a mere 7 feet tall, versus the Humvee-sized prototype), and offered this "crowd control" device to the Los Angeles County criminal justice system. For free, that is. The caveat, I suppose, is they can use the pain ray on recalcitrant prisoners for free, if the jail administrators provide them with a full report regarding the efficacy of the pain ray generator. As you can imagine, L.A. county didn't hesitate to accept this brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-box toy. They are more than happy to test the instrument on the prison inmates.

Hmmm. I don't want to go into a long diatribe about this. There are plenty of blogs that relish doing that sort of thing. I used to do that too, not very long ago. But what I have to say blanches comparatively to what‘Abdu’l-Bahá says in Some Answered Questions:

Question.—Should a criminal be punished, or forgiven and his crime overlooked?

Answer.—There are two sorts of retributory punishments. One is vengeance, the other, chastisement. Man has not the right to take vengeance, but the community has the right to punish the criminal; and this punishment is intended to warn and to prevent so that no other person will dare to commit a like crime. This punishment is for the protection of man’s rights, but it is not vengeance; vengeance appeases the anger of the heart by opposing one evil to another. This is not allowable, for man has not the right to take vengeance. But if criminals were entirely forgiven, the order of the world would be upset. So punishment is one of the essential necessities for the safety of communities, but he who is oppressed by a transgressor has not the right to take vengeance. On the contrary, he should forgive and pardon, for this is worthy of the world of man.

The communities must punish the oppressor, the murderer, the malefactor, so as to warn and restrain others from committing like crimes. But the most essential thing is that the people must be educated in such a way that no crimes will be committed; for it is possible to educate the masses so effectively that they will avoid and shrink from perpetrating crimes, so that the crime itself will appear to them as the greatest chastisement, the utmost condemnation and torment. Therefore, no crimes which require punishment will be committed.


I encourage the reader to click on the hyperlink above the quoted text to read the rest of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's answer to the question of how we should treat criminals. O was particularly intrigued by this statement:

Thus when Christ said: “Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the left one also,” 1 it was for the purpose of teaching men not to take personal revenge. He did not mean that, if a wolf should fall upon a flock of sheep and wish to destroy it, the wolf should be encouraged to do so. No, if Christ had known that a wolf had entered the fold and was about to destroy the sheep, most certainly He would have prevented it.

As forgiveness is one of the attributes of the Merciful One, so also justice is one of the attributes of the Lord. The tent of existence is upheld upon the pillar of justice and not upon forgiveness. The continuance of mankind depends upon justice and not upon forgiveness. So if, at present, the law of pardon were practiced in all countries, in a short time the world would be disordered, and the foundations of human life would crumble. For example, if the governments of Europe had not withstood the notorious Attila, he would not have left a single living man.


Please read the entire selection. Let me know what you think.
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