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Is it ever OK to wish for someone’s death?

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As if the year couldn’t get any more insane, the U.S. president now has COVID-19. It brings up the question: Is it ever OK to wish for someone’s death?

Some might say that wishing for death brings us down to his level or sullies the energy of kindness and empathy progressives champion. We seek a world where all life is cared for and cherished, even his. We can’t betray that.

But others would say that his policies and way of being bring about turmoil and suffering. His actions have led directly to thousands upon thousands of deaths, and continue to do so. Wishing for his health will inevitably bring about the death and suffering of countless others. We can’t betray them.

Personally, I do not wish him suffering. But in my heart of hearts, I do hope this virus ends his time on this planet – for the greater good of humankind and so that his obviously tortured soul might finally get some rest. But I also question myself in this.

What do you think?

Discuss in the community


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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

5 comments

    1. Peter Schulte

      Thanks for reading Kevin. Let me clarify a few things:

      • I didn’t intend this post to imply that I think it’s morally right that I feel this way, or that you and others should feel this way. I was just trying to surface what I am feeling right now – right or wrong – as a way to generate discussion on a topic that’s difficult to talk about.
      • I do strive to be kind wherever possible. I am also human and am sometimes not kind. I am committed to sharing my whole self, even the ugly parts.
      • I do feel this topic is more complicated than you are giving it credit. When I check in on myself on this, I am not coming from a place of hatred, cruelty, or vindictiveness around Trump. I see him as someone who did not get what he needed as a child and has likely spent his life suffering because of it. What I am feeling is all the death and suffering he causes, and all that would be alleviated if he were to die. It’s hard for me to navigate what’s right in this case because of that. On one hand: 1) I do want to be kind and wish everyone well and 2) I know that some people being well enables them to do harm to others.
      1. heather

        Your eloquent address to this topic has opened my heart. Im sure the same thought has come into thousands of minds the world over. Where was he when the song “We are the World ” was released? He did have a neglected , uncompassionate upbringing which has led to this demise which needs a drastic overhaul. I applaud your bravery for opening this discussion up.

  1. J

    I had a dream prior to Covid. That a monster came knocking on my window. I flick him off. And the dream directed me to a hospital where everyone was sick a nurse try to put a vaccine and I pushed her away. The next thing happen this monster came through the hospital taking everyone nurses and doctors had guns but that did not work. I manage to escape with the help of a military team and locked the beast inside the hospital. But yes, the ones you stayed inside never came out. When I went out I saw spaceships millions hovering taking the souls back. And people outside where shooting one another. And the dream ended. It did continue but on a different night.

  2. Mike S.

    I try to follow Stoic principles. Marcus Aurelius opens Book Two of “The Meditations” with the following passage:

    Begin the morning by saying to yourself, I shall meet with the busybody, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them because of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen that the nature of the good is beautiful, and that the bad is ugly, and that the nature of he who has done wrong is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him. For we are made for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature and it is acting against one another to become frustrated and to turn away.

    Our president is a man with many flaws. Our response remind us to employ our best human qualities – among them sympathy and forgiveness. We must always remember our shared humanity – in this way, we can gently lead those who have strayed back onto the correct path.

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