While intelligence agencies are wondering where the next terrorist attack may come from, might it be shipping cargo containers, nuclear power plants, subway systems, or contaminated reservoirs, little thought I am sure has been given to peanut butter. Yet, right there in the heart of the country red, right there in Blakely, Georgia was hatched a plan more insidious than even bin Laden himself could have conceived.
The more I read about this fellow, Stewart Parnell, and his alleged plot to turn ice cream, cookies, and peanut butter sandwiches into weapons of mass destruction, all in the name of profit, the more I am convinced that greed is as equally destructive as fundamentalist religious ideology. Quite simply, GREED KILLS.
If this man is truly guilty of what has been alleged, if he knowingly gave the order to ship contaminated products because the inconvenience of inspection ultimately affected his company's bottom line, then how is this man anything short of a mass murderer? How is it that such a profound lack of morality or ethics can either go undetected or be promoted?
The repulsive nature of this crime, if in fact it is proven in a court of law, should give us all cause to stop and reflect upon our individual culpability in the excesses of conspicuous consumption that is currently manifesting itself writ large in our economic crisis. In our seemingly inexhaustible quest to live beyond our means we are all responsible for the tragedy that is currently afflicting millions of people both here at home and abroad.
It is our individual and collective consumption-driven activities that fuel our addiction to oil, both foreign and domestic, with devastating consequences for the climate and mankind. It is our over consumption of food that allows for a nation to struggle with increasing obesity while millions die of starvation and malnutrition. And in the cruelest twist, it allows for a nation to grow food to use as fuel and to have the government subsidize farmers with taxpayer monies to do such.
If we are to learn anything from the current crisis it should be to both reflect upon our ways and live within our means. Just as we know when we are abusing credit to finance things we cannot afford, so must Mr. Parnell have known that the potential costs were not worth the benefits.
But the true war on terror must be focused inward. A culture of greed, fueled by over consumption is a danger to us all. The sinister actions of this peanut butter terrorist must be viewed as exactly what they are: namely, acts of murder. Similarly, we must be responsible as a society for our complicity in global climate destruction. GREED KILLS.
Our responsibility to act responsibly is long overdue. Because of globalization, each day our world becomes smaller. We are increasingly bound together by a common thread: survival. Terrorism threatens to undermine that binding through fear; greed is a form of economic terrorism that erodes from the foundation upwards. Consumption feeds greed. And unfortunately, you may need to look no further than your peanut butter jar.