Field of Science

Barbarians and their enablers

You give a kid a BB gun, and sooner or later he'll shoot it at some windows. It's a given of human nature. You give rebels, terrorists, or even some other type of militia under limited central control some big boom-booms, and sooner or later they'll shoot at something they shouldn't have.  And of course giving an implement of destruction to anybody who is more likely to shoot than to think makes you partly responsible for the outcome. This means you really have to think about what kind of weapons you give to trigger happy groups.  In this case Russian-backed separatists in the Ukraine were apparently given a big boom-boom, one capable of shooting down a high-flying passenger jet, so Vlad, some of the responsibility falls upon the person who gave them the boom-boom.  And the world is quite right to be both angry and seek some redress because these irresponsible actions, both providing the weapon and hitting the launch button, allowed this local conflict to transition into an international problem in a single act of violence against non-combatants. Such acts are those of pure barbarians, those who destroy for the simple act of destroying. So what do you do with such barbarians?  That's not so easy.

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