"Free Willy" is the word around our house, or in this case "Free Tili" the serial killer whale Tilikum, who has racked up a body count of three after the tragic death of his trainer Dawn Brancheau.
The Orca, more commonly called the killer whale, is a kind of giant predator dolphin who has earned the nickname by its ruthless method of hunting sea lions. Tilikum is a captive wild creature whose territory is the vast ocean and who naturally lives in a communal pod with other Orcas. Like Louie Psihoyos, director of "The Cove," a documentary on captive marine animals, and Tippi Hedren, founder of a wildlife rescue organization in California, my own family member's sentiments seem to be that keeping Tilikum isolated in a hundred foot tank at Sea World is paramount to abuse. One asked me, "What would Guru Har Rai do? He loved animals. Wouldn't he want this whale to be released into its natural environment?"
The issue raises questions. Can a wild creature be held accountable for its actions when it acts on instinct?
Pondering the situation, my personal thoughts have turned the corner to comparing Tilikum with another serial killer, the Taliban.
Tilikum is a mammal who seemingly gets a thrill from killing.
The Taliban are also mammals and ruthless killers who seem to rejoice in their deeds such as the beheading of Jaspal Singh.
Like Tilikum who terminates anyone who ventures within killing range of his tank, the Taliban seem unwilling to share their territory and demand absolute domination over anyone within it.
Tilikum has victimized three unsuspecting people including his trainer.
The Taliban victimizes indiscriminately, murdering not only Sikhs and Christians, but terrorizing their own people. The vast majority of the Taliban's targets are fellow Muslims.
The serial killings of both Tilikum and the Taliban and what to do about them, involves ethics and tough choices. I can't say what Guru Har Rai would do, but I personally believe that releasing him from captivity and returning him to the ocean is the right thing to do for the 'sea-real' killer whale, Tilikum.
The tougher question is what to do about the Taliban? I respect people who live by their principles but intolerance, subjection and murder cross the line.
When he stood up for the rights of Hindus being forcibly converted to Islam, Guru Teg Bahadar was beheaded by the Taliban's predecessors. When peaceable means failed, Guru Teg Bahadar's son, Guru Gobind Singh, took up the sword and created the order of Khalsa, solider saints who stand up for the oppressed against terror and tyrants.
To me the sword represents the cutting away of excessive ego and its manifest monstrosities of evil.
As a religion, Islam has the greatest numbers of people, the vast majority of whom are peace loving and tolerant. Rather than wage further war between religions and its peoples, I'd like to request a peaceful delegation of the world's Muslims to denounce terror and demand Taliban leaders to turn over its thugs or be prepared for the consequences which Islam itself will deliver.