We don’t really have a good word for the victims of abuse. I’ve always bristled at the phrase “innocent victims,” because it implies that some victims are either not innocent or deserving of punishment. Which, in my book, takes them out of the category of victim entirely. Recipients of retribution aren’t victims.
Still, lots of innocent and inoffensive folk are abused and victimized, but that’s another mischaracterization of what’s going on because these adjectives take the onus off agency. They fix our gaze on the results and leave the perpetrators and deprivators off the hook. Which means, in the short term, that the agents get a pass and, in the long term, that retribution is misplaced. Because, eventually, the abused do take their revenge OUT OF THE HIDE OF SOME OTHER INNOCENT. As a result, abuse takes on the semblance of a random event which there is nothing to be done to prevent.
But, in fact, if we recognize abuse for what it is, we can nip it in the bud. Indeed, that’s, ideally, what we set up agents of government to do — to be on the watch for abusive behavior and call a halt. Of course, that’s not going to happen, if the abuse of humans has been legalized. Which is actually worse than having it rationalized in religion, because secular powers operate in the here and now. Hell fire is easier to escape than the billy club.
Perhaps the reason we get focused on humans killing humans is because death is easy to see — easy for those who depend on superficial optics to perceive. Abuse, whether as assault or deprivation, has to be felt and is almost impossible for the insensate to perceive. So, they pass it off as a rumor of a lesser, included offense that can be overlooked, until, when it turns into death, it can no longer be ignored. Insensitive people. They’re a problem, but only because, if we take our cue from the insensate, calling a halt to the mayhem comes too late.
“Mayhem” is probably a good word, especially if one thinks of it as a contraction of “may happen.” The dictionary definition is actually more specific, referring to “wanton destruction” or “crippling.” But, like “abuse,” it still doesn’t specify the agent. When we come to aggression against our own kind, there’s typically reference to the action and to the result, but the aggressor gets left out. “Aggressors” and “deprivators”: one word that’s fallen out of favor and another that’s in no dictionary I can find. Perhaps the first has fallen out of favor as humans have discovered that deprivation, denying their own kind the necessities of life, is a more effective tool of subjugation than raw aggression ever was.
Of course, deprivation only works, if all the earth’s resources have been restricted to exclusive use. And that can only be done via the granting and enforcement of property rights. Ownership. That’s the ticket towards assuring that humans do what they are told, if they expect to eat. “Live free or die” has been amended to “Obey or starve.”
That would explain why, despite the fact that global food production is almost twice what the current human population needs to thrive, billions are starving or malnourished. People are starving because they are not sufficiently obedient. Or, as the late-departed Breitbart decried, the don’t “behave.” People can’t have, if they don’t behave.
However, we ignore at our peril that those who survive the aggression and the deprivation will, in all likelihood, take their revenge out on someone else–much as Palestinians are now paying for what Germans have done. The books are never balanced in one generation.