Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thou shalt not kill

The title is Exodus 20:13 in the King James Version of the Bible. The Today’s English Version states, “Do not commit murder.” What’s the difference?

The current Wikipedia definition of Murder is given at the beginning of the entry at .

“Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such as manslaughter). As the loss of a human being inflicts enormous grief upon the individuals close to the victim, as well as the fact that the commission of a murder is highly detrimental to the good order within society, most societies both present and in antiquity have considered it a most serious crime worthy of the harshest of punishment. In most countries, a person convicted of murder is typically given a long prison sentence, possibly a life sentence where permitted, and in some countries, the death penalty may be imposed for such an act — though this practice is becoming less common.[1] In most countries, there is no statute of limitations for murder (no time limit for prosecuting someone for murder). A person who commits murder is called a murderer .[2]”

When I read it, the entry contained the following discussion:

“William Blackstone (citing Edward Coke), in his Commentaries on the Laws of England set out the common law definition of murder, which by this definition occurs when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully kills any reasonable creature in being and under the king's peace, with malice aforethought, either express or implied.[3]

“The elements of common law murder are:

1. Unlawful
2. killing
3. of a human
4. by another human
5. with malice aforethought.[4]

“The Unlawful—This distinguishes murder from killings that are done within the boundaries of law, such as an execution or the killing of enemy soldiers during a war.

“Killing—At common law life ended with cardiopulmonary arrest[4]—the total and permanent cessation of blood circulation and respiration.[4] With advances in medical technology courts have adopted irreversible cessation of all brain function as marking the end of life.[4]

“of a human—This element presents the issue of when life begins. At common law a foetus was not a human being. Life began when the foetus passed through the birth canal and took its first breath.[4]

“by another human—at early common law suicide was considered murder.[4] The requirement that the person killed be someone other than the perpetrator excluded suicide from the definition of murder.

“with malice aforethought—originally malice aforethought carried its everyday meaning—a deliberate and premeditated killing of another motivated by ill will. Murder necessarily required that an appreciable time pass between the formation and execution of the intent to kill. The courts broadened the scope of murder by eliminating the requirement of actual premeditation and deliberation as well as true malice. All that was required for malice aforethought to exist is that the perpetrator act with one of the four states of mind that constitutes ‘malice.’ …”

The article is very good for my purpose. In my reading of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, I have always understood Exodus 20:13 to be a prohibition of the “killing of a human by another human ‘with malice aforethought’” with the original meaning of “with malice aforethought” given above.

“Thou shalt not kill’ prohibits homicide. It involves no legal definitions. If we take the “Do not commit murder” interpretation, murder is the only unlawful homicide prohibited. I think the stone tablet really said the equivalent of “Do not commit unlawful homicide.”

My first job was as an analyst with the Marine Corps Operations Analysis Group (MCOAG) of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) of the University of Rochester. I was the group’s expert on Amphibious Doctrine and did a study of Vietnam version of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

[See . History has validated my conclusion that the only acceptable promising near term approach to reducing casualties was the explosive detecting dogs. Moving the ground forces to Laos and Cambodia, going everywhere by helicopter, and withdrawing all ground forces from South East Asia were considered unacceptable solutions to the Mine and Booby Trap problem in South Vietnam.]

One of MCOAG’s employees was a small, dark-haired, brown-eyed, young lady who drove a Mini Cooper. She tried to convert my office mate who was a Major who had recently served as the commander of the Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Company or Battalion into a non-killer. I would prefer that we do not need trained killers but as long as we do, I prefer the Marines as they are trained.

I started this article because of the recent controversy over an “inappropriate flag” in a 2010 photo of a (US) Marine Sniper Unit. “Inappropriate” is in the “eyes of the beholder”.

“Tell that to the Marines.” “Jarhead.” “Leatherneck.” Which, if any, of these is negative or insulting to the members of the US Marine Corps?

The last Director of MCOAG when I was there did not know that he shouldn’t use the first above. [When I checked today, “Leatherneck” was said to be a military slang term for a member of the United States Marine Corps. It was also said to be synonymous with marine “by Webster”.

Nazi flags are viewable at . I was disappointed that the lightning bolt part of the flag in the marine picture looks identical to that on the lightning bolts on Nazi flags which contain the symbol.

Until the Secretary of Defense (currently, Leon Panetta) can tell the Marines “Thou shalt not kill,” perhaps he should accept the fact that it is unfair to expect trained killers to act “normal” in other parts of their lives.

I remember the last part of World War II. The current Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, is a 42 year veteran of the Marine Corps. He was born on November 12, 1946. General Amos cannot remember WW II. Most of the 202,000 marines were born after 1973. World War II is as remote to many of them as the Civil War is to me.

The Wikipedia entry on Murder contains a banner near the top which includes:

This article may be too technical for most readers to understand.

The difference between King James Version and Today’s English Version is that the mission of the US Marine Scout Sniper Unit violates the King James Version but does not violate the Today’s English Version.

The Marines did have the US Flag above the other flag.

The Flag Code is available at . This specifies the rules for displaying THE US Flag. The President is responsible for enforcing the Flag Code in the District of Columbia and Federal Government installations.

Every time we see a political speaker on TV these days and the speaker is backed by more than one US Flag the US Flag protocol is being violated. Which flag is THE US Flag? There should be only one. I think I counted eight (8) during one of President Obama’s speeches a few months ago.

For violations of the US Flag Code in the news see .

I am offended when anyone violates the US Flag Code on TV or in my presence. Most of our citizens including politicians are not aware of proper US Flag etiquette. We should teach them proper US Flag etiquette before we undertake teaching them all the other things about standards, flags, and pennants.

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