What The Taliban have allegedly* done to a fourteen-year old school girl defying their edict that girls not attend school.. is terrible, and morally groundless. However, I encourage all who care about true freedom and dignity, a superior morality and intelligence, human rights and decency, to realize that though it is natural to make a special distinction in this case because the victim is a child, it is this paradigm of distinctions that allows us to justify cruelty “across the board”, as it were. For why (and the suggestion is, by this distinction) is it that it would it be “okay” to target with less egregious culpability, someone who is male, and/or over the ages of say, 18 or 21; because we engage in horrific forms of violence ourselves?
We must voraciously and without exception BAN ALL FORMS OF JUSTIFIED VIOLENCE, even against tyrants, if we are to stop this kind of thing. When we arrest the perpetrators of such violence, the way we treat them directly and unequivocally goes hand-in-hand with this kind of barbarism.
Either you are for violence or against it. THIS is the only way to stop all of it, eventually. For if violence is justified in one culture, and in one particular situation, it will be justified in another, in other situations–in ways abhorrent to outsiders, but justifiable to its perpetrators and their sense of society and survival. However, it is still violence in all forms. Until we are honest enough, “man” enough, courageous enough, and serious enough to admit this, and we are ready to condemn violence everywhere, we can stop it only here and there, and thus not at all.
Finally, I will say that the only time it is understandable to use violence is in a situation of clear, present, and direct threat to oneself and one’s people nearby; no pre-emptive violence can be justified, otherwise, The Taliban will justify killing a fourteen-year-old girl just as we justify drone strikes, shock and awe cluster-bombs, grenades, napalm, and atomic weapons doing the exact same thing (and of course, we absolutley have).
* I question this only because I know my government and other governments use conspiracy and lies, covert action and atrocity, when it deems necessary.