“Let me give you a definition of ethics:  it is good to maintain life and further life; it is bad to destroy and damage life.”

So writes Dr. Albert Schweitzer in his 1933 autobiography “Out of My Life and Thought.”  The recipient of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Schweitzer offers other thoughts that came to mind this morning when I learned that one of our Barefoot School teachers was shot in the foot last night.

“The fundamental fact of human awareness is this:  I am life that wants to live in the midst of other life that wants to live.  A thinking man feels compelled to approach all life with the same reverence he has for his own.”

“A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”

“… we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature… and we ought all of us to feel what a horrible things it is to cause suffering and death out of mere thoughtlessness.”

“The course of history demands that not only individuals become ethical personalities, but that nations do so as well.”

Yes, it has happened again… our computer science teacher, Thomas was shot in the foot last night.  The slug was removed by a local doctor in the Citè Soleil community.  I’ve elected not to share the short video of the wound being attended to.

When Justin told me it was a local doctor, I commented that the doctor must be very busy.  “Yes.  Very busy,” Justin replied, “He help the gang and the civilians too.”

“He’s like Jesus,” I offered.  “Jesus helps everyone.”

“It’s true,” Justin agreed.

Based on Dr. Schweitzer’s definition, the doctor is an ethical man; he apparently ‘devotes himself to all life that is in need of help.’  Conversely, the gangs are not ethical… ‘it is bad to destroy and damage life.’

Later in this morning’s conversation, Justin said that he had talked with Alvin’s father [Alvin is our student who was shot in the stomach Friday night].  “He ask me to help [with medical expenses].  Like tablets and antibiotics,” Justin explained.

“We will help,” I replied, “Tell me what you need.”

Our resources are limited, but Justin will visit Alvin and his family tomorrow, and I will have a better understanding of how we can help.

In the meantime, “Devote yourself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”

Mitakuye Oyasin

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