A "letter to the editor" in a Georgia newspaper reminded me of the joy, sadness and bewilderment I experienced while reading the thoughts of readers during my tenure as editor of a small newspaper.
Often, the letters were from prisoners saying they were innocent and needed someone to look into their unfair situation. I never got a letter from a prisoner saying he deserved to be locked up.
A lot of letters were from readers who were offended by a perceived editorial jab at something they cherished -- religion, political party, sports team, recipe.
One serial letter writer was an older man who claimed my columns were homosexual. I printed that one and, thanks to his children, never got another one.
A letter in today's online edition of The Savannah Morning News took me back in time. The headline of the letter reveals the plan of one Clyde Phillips, who, in an earlier century, may have given Vlad the Impaler a run for his money.
Clyde, a pure-blooded capitalist who may be in need of a kidney transplant, wants the U.S. to "Capture the terrorists; harvest their organs" according to the headline.
Here's Clyde's prose:
"There are currently more than 120,000 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S. Of these, more than 100,000 await kidney transplants.
"Twelve people die every day because there is no kidney available.
"There are thousands of terrorists killing innocent people. Why not capture them and use their organs for non-terrorist Americans?
"I’ll tell you why: The bleeding heart liberals would be outraged by this proposal — the same liberals who look the other way while innocent American babies are being butchered by Planned Parenthood for their organs."
Notice that at no point did Clyde suggest KILLING terrorists. I assume he simply wants to cage the humans and take spare parts from them like an old Pinto at the salvage yard.
Is battlefield organ harvesting economically feasible?
I've read it costs the U.S. about $200,000 to kill an ISIS fighter , and the U.S. has killed about 20,000 of them since 2014 but ISIS is still the same size.
Not to go all Adam Smith on you, but there seems to be an opportunity for profit here.
Currently, however, there are no U.S. soldier/organ harvesters on the ground in Syria or Iraq -- all the aforementioned terrorist killing has been conducted via air strikes.
I assume ground troops would be more expensive and slice away the profit.
But, what if the "Clyde Plan of Enemy Organ Harvesting" allowed for taking of both terrorist kidneys? Now that's a profit margin every CEO would love.
A cheaper and less barbarous plan might be to allow hospitals to allow kidney donations. I'm sure someone out there would sell a kidney for $250,000.
And what about death row inmates? Surely they have a body part they can spare.
One condemned killer wants to donate his organs, but the law doesn't allow for final acts of charity.
The U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network opposes the harvesting of organs from prisoners (and I assume enemy combatants), saying the "number of potential organs recovered from condemned prisoners would be small" and the practice might lead to an "increased numbers of death sentences."
Fortunately, U.S. scientists have recently created the first "test tube organs."
Kidneys and other body parts are being cloned from cow ears and scientists think they can clone human parts in a few years using just skin cells.
Ethically, that sounds a lot less messy than using the good parts of bad people.