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Heads Will Roll

The war continues. The Muslims decapitated their hostage Paul Johnson on Friday.

If I had to choose the method by which I’d be murdered, I wouldn’t choose having my head sawed off with a big Muslim butcher knife. Yet, as killings go, it’s probably not so painful as a gunshot to the heart or a less-than-perfect hanging.

The guillotine was invented by a doctor who wanted to provide a humane way to execute people during the communist revolution in France 1789-93. The headsman’s axe was notoriously unreliable. A bad stroke could be really unpleasant. But beheading was the uptown way to go in those days; the lower classes were burned at the stake, hanged slowly, or crushed on “the wheel.” The French Revolution wanted everybody to be equal, don’t you see? So heads were rolling in Paris to the tune of about 100 per month–rather paltry for a communist revolution, but we must allow for the fact that this was their first one and they were still perfecting their idea that you have to murder millions to make a paradise.

Some doctors dispute the guillotine’s humane quality, claiming that it could take up to thirty seconds for the decapitated to lose consciousness. Seems unlikely.

Even if it’s humane, decapitation is gruesome. The Muslims would get less propaganda mileage if they used a firing squad. But the target is just as dead either way.

Somebody else who is just as dead as Johnson is Abdulaziz al-Moqrin, the head of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia. Saudi security forces done him in shortly after Johnson’s body was dumped. They whacked four others at the same time. Them: 1, Us: 5. Not a bad score.

Johnson was a noncombatant, one of millions of westerners who work in Saudi Arabia. For what it’s worth, he worked on Apache helicopters. Where is the enemy supposed to draw the line? They’re trying to defeat us.

They kill us; we kill them. If we retreat, the headchoppers will take over and, eventually, will come after us “infidels.” The choice is not between peace and war, it’s between fighting and “submitting.” (The word “islam” means “submission.” It’s supposed to mean submission to Allah; but the funny thing is, that always winds up meaning submission some sandal-shod bedsheet with a face like an armpit.)

The modern philosopher Rodney King posed the question “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer is no, and it would be nice if American pacifists learned that. They won’t, which is one more example of the fact that we can’t all just “get along.” Somebody’s going to be in charge and somebody else isn’t going to like it.

This world is messed up. The Kingdom of God will be a time of universal peace. We aren’t there this week, so the fight continues.

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