Why do we treat our fellow humans so horribly?
That’s a question that’s on my mind as I work on a new novel, Designing America, which should be out next summer (It’s prequel, Maiden America is already available on Amazon.com). The story is historical fiction centered around the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia in 1781, a military maneuver that determined the American Revolution.
As with Maiden America, I did copious amounts of research before starting Designing America. Three months’ worth, actually. And some of the facts I discovered were extremely disturbing, including the two cases where pregnant women were mutilated and murdered with the blatantly stated intent of preventing any more “rebels” from entering the world.
Those were supposedly civilized men from the supposedly civilized world who stooped to such disgusting levels of barbarity. Sure, it was 234 years ago, but I’m pretty sure our daily crime reports show we haven’t changed at all in those centuries. We’re still capable of utter depravity.
I got a call from my brother last night after he watched a documentary about the rape epidemic on American college campuses. It was disturbing enough that he started crying at one point, and we ended up discussing the reasons behind it.
Regardless of how many reported rapes are real and how many are falsified, the source of the problem is the same: an absolute disrespect for human life. The same applies to ripping open pregnant women, incidentally.
In the case of British crimes against Americans way back when, they were conditioned to believe colonists’ lives didn’t matter. They had always been taught how superior they were and, when given the power to exercise that idea, some of them went mad with it.
In the case of rape, young men these days are conditioned to believe they don’t matter more than their sexual conquests. It’s all about sex, which means if they’re not getting sex, it’s all about nothing. That’s a pretty serious motivator to get sex then, right? Because nobody wants to feel like they’re nothing. They want value, and they’ll do whatever they can to achieve it, even debase themselves and others.
In the case of women who experience morning-after regrets and then cry rape, they’re conditioned to believe they don’t matter more than their level of desirability. If men find them sexy, they’re worth something. If men don’t, then they’re not. And since they can’t always be sexy – since they’re actually going to lose all sex appeal someday – they’re ultimately worthless.
Society today might not promote one group’s value over another like the Brits did to the Americans in the 18th century. What it does instead is tell everyone they’re worthless, and then step back and gape when they act it.
But it’s not going to change until we start accepting the value of human life.