May 22, 2011

The heads keep rollin”€™, rollin”€™, rollin”€™ all over the world. So far in May:

• A Mexican deputy prison governor’s decapitated body was among eight headless corpses dumped in the state of Durango as part of Mexico’s escalating drug wars.

Twenty-nine headless bodies were discovered in Guatemala. The Los Zetas drug cartel is suspected.

• A woman’s head was found in a Guatemala City phone booth. Her murder was thought to be a response to recent police crackdowns on gang extortion rackets.

• A 32-year-old Houston man was charged with murder after his friend’s headless body was found in a backyard. He reportedly told a neighbor that this is what happens when people steal from him.

• A British tourist in Tenerife was beheaded in a public supermarket by a man who reportedly then walked through the streets in trumph holding her head aloft.

• A 29-year-old Christian in northern Iraq was tortured, beheaded, and dumped like trash after negotiations broke down with his Muslim kidnappers.

Of late, beheadings have become routinely associated with Mexican drug wars and Islamic terrorism, and not without reason. Of the 25,000-40,000 murder victims of Mexico’s drug violence, an estimated thousand or more were also decapitated. The heads are often prominently displayed in public places as a stern warning to snitches and rivals. In what was perhaps the most audacious display of drug-gang arrogance, masked gunmen burst into a dance club in Michoacán in September, 2006, and rolled five heads onto the dance floor. Ritual beheading of enemies was also a hallmark of ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures.

“€œThere’s no need to remove their heads; there’s nothing in there, anyway.”€

Although translations differ, the mildest English version of Koran 47:4 we”€™ve seen advises Muslims to “€œsmite the necks”€ of nonbelievers they encounter in war; a more vibrant rendering counsels Muslims to “€œchop off their heads.”€ In 2009, a Muslim businessman who was trying to launch a TV channel preaching tolerance toward Islam beheaded his wife after she filed for divorce. Most readers should be familiar with the spate of Islamic terrorist beheading videos of Americans such as Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl. In Saudi Arabia, public beheading is still legal, although they perform it a touch more compassionately, with trained swordsmen who lop off the head in one swing rather than the painful, slow, jagged-knife method preferred by the renegade YouTube terrorists. From 2002-2006, the Saudis legally and publicly chopped off the heads of 265 accused malefactors.

But it would be shortsighted to blame ritual decapitation strictly on Muslims and mestizos, because the practice has a long historical pedigree throughout the world. Decapitation appears in Egyptian and Hindu lore. In the Bible, Goliath and John the Baptist lost their heads, and according to legend, so did the apostles Paul and James. King Richard I of England allegedly oversaw the ritual beheading of 2,700 or so Muslim prisoners in the Battle of Acre during the late 1100s. Two hundred years later, the British were routinely displaying the severed heads of political enemies impaled on stakes up on London Bridge. The French routinely guillotined thousands in the Revolution’s aftermath, and Nazis reputedly decapitated 16,500 victims from 1933 to 1945.

Decapitation is typically accompanied with a deliberate public display in which the severed head is presented as a trophy. The symbolism is deeply disquieting to any thinking person”€”by removing the head, one is forcing the victim’s thoughts to drain out like so much blood. Their brain”€”or, for the more quaint-minded, their “€œsoul”€ or “€œspirit”€”€”is disregarded and discarded. Their entire existence is erased, and it often serves as a warning for any heretics or infidels who would dare to think the same sort of forbidden thoughts.

Fortunately for the powers that be, most humble human sheep require no such desperate measures. They”€™ve already received the message, and they”€™re already obedient. Somewhere in a tower high, someone looks with pleasure out over the vast plains of humans who know who Kim Kardashian is but can”€™t spell her name. There’s no need to remove their heads; there’s nothing in there, anyway.



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