To the Editor:
On the price of a life: We all know the value of a life, our own, any way. There is no number in any currency, legal tender, or bushels of diamonds that any of us would accept as the value of our life. But how would we value the lives of others? The stranger in the passing car, a refugee from a foreign revolution — perfect strangers? Very much? Not so much, probably. How about a grandmother living in a distant state, the one you’ve never seen but who sends a ﬁve dollar bill wrapped in a pair of socks on your birthday? Maybe a little more. But what about sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles? The mind rebels. Your mother? Your father? Your wife? Your husband? Your little boy? Your little girl? Your classmates? Shock displaces thought! The price? Your own life. Nothing less.
But, on the scales of our moral values, can there be parity of a life with any material thing, any activity, any privilege, any right, any honor, any ofﬁce? Not if we truly believe as we so proudly profess, in the sanctity of life — life as the ﬁrst gift of our Creator. Not if we believe in love as the greatest of Christ’s gifts. Not if we believe in "freedom and justice for all."
Where is the parity, then, between a human life and the "right" to own, to fondle, to caress, to shoot off a device designed to take multiple lives instantly, or with greater premeditation, multitudes of lives? And to do so with complete impunity? The owners of these devices call themselves responsible, but when there occurs yet another episode of the waste of the lives of innocent, defenseless men, women and children, all they offer is trite, commonplace, insincere platitudes of sympathy.
There is no parity when human lives are placed on the scales to be weighed against so heinous a privilege! If the owners of the privilege wish to be responsible, then let them them offer tangible evidence and let it be in the form of monetary compensation to the survivors of the victims. The money could come from the diversion of NRA funds currently used to buy votes, from the exorbitant proﬁts of the manufacturers of the devices, and from the responsible members themselves.
It is no more than just that there be a tribute to the victims and that the survivors be compensated by those who enjoy the privilege.
Our loyalty to our American values demands it.
Fred H. Dippel