Just think about that scene for a minute. I wonder how many people just stood there and watched it. How many little kids.
How numb can we get?
I learned of the crime and punishment of Robert-François Damiens
on another board recently, and this incident recalled it to me.
Fetched from his prison cell on the morning of 28 March 1757, Damiens allegedly said "La journée sera rude" ("The day will be hard"). He was tortured first with red-hot pincers; his hand, holding the knife used in the attempted assassination, was burned using sulphur; molten wax, molten lead, and boiling oil were poured into his wounds. He was then remanded to the royal executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, who harnessed horses to his arms and legs to be dismembered. But Damiens' limbs did not separate easily: the officiants ordered Sanson to cut Damiens' joints with an axe. Once Damiens was dismembered to the applause of the crowd, his reportedly still-living torso was burnt at the stake.
Not the part about the boiling oil so much, but when he was dismembered to the applause of the crowd. At the time, I was depressed at the reminder that we as a species and culture are not so far removed from this brutality being dispensed with billing as justice, and that fellow humans would choose to witness the event, let alone cheer. However, in the context of this thread, maybe it is a positive. How can Apocalypse be on our doorstep now, when it wasn't in 1757, or during the Inquisition, etc.?
I truly am hopeful for the day when mob psychology consistently stops folks from harming each other. I don't know if science would back homo sapiens
in this instance.