How Much is One Human Life Worth?

Sitting in the middle of the year 2020, I am realizing that so much of the conflict and struggle surrounding me and across the world, but most specifically in the United States, revolves around the value of human life. Whether it’s the Covid-19 Pandemic with over 200k human lives lost, or the Black Lives Matter protests over violence against colored people, there is a tremendous disparity between what a human life is worth to different people. So I ask you;

What is One Human Live Worth? Stop reading and really ask yourself that question.

What factors into your decision? There is different criteria for everyone and it seems to really affect how we treat each other.

  • Does the color of their skin change that value?
  • Does their age affect that value? Unborn? Newborn? Middle Aged? Senior Citizen?
  • Does their contribution (or “lack” thereof) make them worth more or less?
  • Does their political affiliation make them expendable?

There are lives being lost due to the Coronavirus, but there are many people who are unwilling to wear a mask to help slow the transmission of this illness. Who has to die, or how many have to die before it is worth it to wear a mask? Would you change your stance if you had a loved one at risk? Even if you don’t believe it helps, if there were the slightest chance that it did, wouldn’t it be worth it? Similarly, spending time in gatherings of people without social distancing, is it worth it to get a beer with friends tonight and would your stance change if you knew that someone may die from that event?

But it’s not just illness that’s killing people. There was a recent protest in Wisconsin and a teenager, armed with an assault rifle, decided to fire on looters. He killed 2 people and permanently disfigured a third. These 2 lives lost and one life dramatically shattered was done simply for the protection of property. How much were those lives worth? What was the dollar value of the damage that he prevented? What was the dollar value of the goods that may have been stolen? Why was it HIS job to make that decision and why is he now defended for his decision to kill people of property (which he didn’t even own) and what are the consequences of that action?

In July, George Floyd was killed by police while he was helpless on the ground. He was black and had a criminal record, but he hadn’t done anything that put a life in danger, yet he was slowly smothered for no apparent good reason. Was he worth less because he was black? Was he worth less because he had a criminal record?

These examples are a drop in the bucket, you can look at every life lost this year and wonder if they had earned it, if something about their situation or condition made them expendable. Unfortunately the trend is to politicize each death and remove the honest observation of that person and their value. If it were your family member, your loved one who was pinned to the ground and held there for 8 minutes until they perished, would you be more understanding for those crying out? If it were your child who was mistakenly looting and killed by a vigilante, would you say “well, they deserved it for stealing” or would you cry out that a teenager with an assault rifle shouldn’t be put in the position to make that decision? If your parents were infected with the Coronavirus because you refused to social distance or wear a mask, would you just say “well at least they were old” or would you be distraught that they died by something that was preventable.

The differences between each of us is not a curse, it’s a blessing. Every human life is valuable, born or unborn. We’re being manipulated by media and political sources who want you to think that some lives are worth losing if it supports their cause. My request is that you stop every time you hear that someone died and ask yourself, was their death “worth it” and consider what that worth was. I’m not saying you need to rage over each death. You don’t need to protest in the streets or riot because someone died, but at least consider why someone else may be doing so. Use your imagination and sense of empathy to try and put yourself in their shoes, the shoes of their loved ones and consider that while All Lives Matter is true, some lives are seeming to Matter less and those fighting are trying to make that be heard.

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