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A VINDICATED SLAYER

A VINDICATED SLAYER: A CLOSER LOOK AT GEORGE ORWELL'S "SHOOTING AN ELEPHANT"

The impact of removing an animal from its natural habitat by destruction seems demoralizing to some people. Nevertheless there are times when this course of action is required due to aggressive behavior from the animal. In George Orwell's story "Shooting an Elephant", he was assigned as a police officer in a small Burmese village in 1950. He had been called upon to take action against a belligerent elephant, whose uncontrollable rage also led to an excruciating and painful death of a defenseless villager. The protagonist was justified in his position in destroying the elephant based upon these facts. In order to validate that Orwell's action were legal and justified one mustfirst understand the responsibilities of a police officer, the uncontrolled state of the elephant, and the impact the elephant's death had on the villagers. Officers of the law are not above scrutiny in their job, but duty is above conscience.

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It is the responsibility of a law enforcement officer to uphold the law, regardless of how insignificant or inhumane an incident might appear. It is not the local citizens who decide what is right and wrong, but rather the laws that are in place to not only protect it's citizens, but to provide the governing forces a baseline of guidance. The moral obligation of an officer of the law is to uphold these laws. In the following passages, Orwell explains that his actions were legal. The look on the face of the mauled villager looked like "… and expression of unendurable agony" (Orwell 6). It was evident that mauled villager had suffered a horrific death. The death of any human being is punishable under applicable laws of the country where they take place. It does not matter whether the taking of a human life was committed by an animal or another human being. It was apparent that the villagers…

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