Three years ago archeologists in Peru came across evidence of the largest child sacrifice site to date: 140 children along with 200 llamas. Scientists place the deaths from the 1400s and attribute them to the practices of the Chimú civilization.
“A mass sacrifice of children and camelids at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas site, Moche Valley, Peru,” according to the research paper. In several of the children, there were “cuts transecting the sternum. This, in conjunction with field observations of displaced ribs, suggested that the chest had been cut open, perhaps to extract the heart.”
Child (and infant) sacrifice was once all the rage among ancient cultures. Why? As the paper points out, “The motivations for human sacrifice and the choice of sacrificial victims varied among ancient societies, but anthropologists have noted that children’s bodies frequently are considered as hybrid entities and thus may have been viewed as particularly appropriate as messengers or gifts to the gods.”
As to the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas mass sacrifice, although not conclusive, there is some evidence that the murders were “associated with a climatic event (heavy rainfall and flooding) that could have impacted the economic, political, and ideological stability of one of the most powerful states in the New World during the fifteenth century A.D. … that the mass offering of children and camelids may have been an attempt to appease the gods and mitigate the effects of a major ENSO [El Niño-Southern Oscillation] event that occurred around 1400–1450 A.D.”
Dispatching kids and virgin girls to please some make-believe gods (aren’t they all?) seems cruel and archaic. We have progressed, perhaps even evolved, beyond committing those senseless and horrific acts, right? Well, I thought so until Sandy Hook in 2012 and now the mass shooting in Texas last week, and more than I can list in this essay.
Our American civilization sacrifices our young people, too, not to the weather gods or some other deity, but to the companies for which the National Rifle Association lobbies. That includes gun manufacturers like Georgia’s own weapons manufacturer Daniel Defense, proud seller of the murder weapon used by the 18-year-old killer in last week’s slaughter of 19 elementary children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
Why do I say “proud?” Because on the shooter’s 18th birthday, the very day he legally purchased his Daniel Defense rifle for $1,870, the Georgia company posted an ad featuring a child cradling an assault weapon in his lap.
The boy, wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt with the word “rascal” on it, is looking down at the weapon, which seems almost as big as his small body. Next to the boy is an ammo clip. The caption reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This quote harkens nicely back to appeasing the Gods in the 1400s. You see, that particular bromide is from Proverbs 22:6. Guns and God. God and Guns. America 2022.
That boy in the ad is around the age of the children sacrificed at Sandy Hook and at Uvalde. One wonders if Daniel Defense’s objective is to groom the next school shooter because in the wake of so much carnage it sure looks that way.
As Republican legislators once again predictably deflect any sensible gun reform measures, and as disgraced ex-President Donald Trump gleefully dances on stage at the NRA convention before reading the names of the Texas mass shooting with all the sensitivity of reading from a menu, and as the blood money from the increased sales of assault weapons line the greedy pockets of Daniel Defense, the mutilated corpses of our precious offspring continue to pile up like cordwood at the altar of the Second Amendment.
Making Sense of It
I wonder, if centuries from now, archeologists sorting through the layers of discarded cell phones, reams of bubble wrap, spent bullet casings, and the other detritus of our modern culture will stumble across the tiny bones of our murdered children. Will they be able to connect the dots, to truly understand why we felt it necessary to sacrifice future generations in the name of profit, politics, and pettiness?
My prediction is that those archeologists studying the remains of our kids will not be able to make sense of all this unnecessary carnage. They might ask, why did the United States not protect its most vulnerable citizens? Why did politicians think that the answer to increased school shootings — every six days so far in 2022 — was more guns? (As if the answer to drunk driving is more drinking.)
This presumes that we haven’t blown ourselves to smithereens with our ultimate big-boy weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear bomb. Heck, by then it might be legal to own one in Texas, no permit or background check necessary.
Thank god we’ve evolved.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.