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$5400

One of the terrorist-murderers captured in Moscow claimed that he was paid the equivalent of US$5400 to kill innocent people. In his native Tajikstan that is no doubt a lot of money. His willingness to kill for money is not new, the mercenary trade is one steeped in romance but also be despised. Usually depending on any given historical perspective. Though these men were murderers. Spree killers, motivated by the ideology of terror and money.

While other spree killers the world over may do their terrible deed with a vicious thrill these men are now heroes to some, because the crime is conflated with politics and has become an act of terror. Somehow terrorism transcends criminality, to the point that all the great terrorists end up becoming political parties or even governments. Terrorists making statesmen and generals, should they survive their trade long enough.

For at least one of the captured murderers it was a money job. The lives he took insignificant to his need to get paid. While what he did was visceral, vulgar, he at the very least stood there and pulled the trigger while the innocent fell before him. He heard the screams, saw the blood and smelt the smouldering of his weapons barrel. In a nihilistic age where the only true god is money, many work jobs where the outcome is as vile, the indirect damage done in a far away land, distance between their office and their victims. They are paid more, without the screams, the smell and the kick of the rifle into the shoulder. The corporate and government barrier legitimises whatever terror they may participate in, its legal not criminal. Not murder, just business. Not terrorism, simply policy. That’s how 140 dead can become several thousand, or even a million. Pay enough people and your genocide comes but with paperwork.

For some $5400 is a lot of money. Then again, I’m pretty sure drone operators get paid more. The innocent, they remain dead. Murdered by the deranged killer who did his sick deed not out of compulsion or because he was mentally broken. He did it because he was paid and maybe because of a violent ideological belief. Both of which are we have come to accept as normal, If he was a pilot in a fighter-bomber dropping bombs or a drone operator firing a missile, then to many he would be a professional. Return home a hero with battle ribbons. The dead maybe collateral or deserving, Russia is after all at war.

What’s the value of a life? To the many killers out there, the terrorists, mercenaries and professionals alike it can vary but apparently those innocent lives were worth $5400 to one man. To others, they would have done it for free. Remember that next time you kiss a loved one.

March, 2024

Published inAll Articles and EssaysPhilosophy, Society and LibertyWar, History and Foreign Policy