The members of the Intergalactic Federation Recruitment Council were in a meeting. The fate of a world was to be decided. "So what's the verdict?" asked the leader. "Destruction," was the unanimous answer. "Have all the factors been considered and all curative measures taken?" "Yes." "The decision we are about to make is a very serious one, so for the record, let us review it all over once again," the leader paused. "What do we know about this world?" "It has a wide variety of life forms but only one of them is sentient." "What do we know about the sentient life form?" "They are belligerent, conceited, with a tendency towards violence in spite of being cowardly. Sometimes there is among them a flash of brilliance, a flame of love, a yearning for excellence. But these occurrences are extremely rare, and quickly extinguished." "What is the destructive potentiality of these sentients?" "Extremely high." "Any redeeming features?" "They had some teachers among them who tried to guide them to greatness." "What happened?" "The teachers were invariably killed." "What now? Is there no alternative except destruction?" "None." "Are they really that dangerous for the universe?" "Yes." There was silence in the Council. Once again, it was the leader who broke the silence. "Have you thought over the method of destruction that shall be adapted?" "Yes," the rest of the Council answered. "Of course, you are all aware of the Federation regulations in cases like this." "Yes. We cannot destroy them directly. All we are required to do is to place the means of their destruction in their hands. Then let their natures do what is to be done." "Very good." The leader then turned to one of the council members. "Council member Sorno, you are well- known for devising really ingenuous means of destruction. Have you devised one for this world?" Council member Sorno nodded.
* * *Eight year old Jack Ennis sat in his room watching the TV. One of the walls of the room was decorated with a gigantic cut-out of the latest world wrestling champion. On the opposite wall was a poster which read "Gratuitous Violence Rules OK". Jack Ennis held a toy gun in his hand. Jack's mother peered in, gave one look at the gory scene being shown on the TV, and hastily backed out. "Our son seems to be obsessed with violence," she said to her husband. "Those gory TV shows he watches. And those gory comic books he reads. Do you think it is healthy?" Her husband shrugged. "Well, the psychiatrist said it was quite normal for the boys of his age, and that in fact it was kind of healthy. Catharsis, that's what he said." "Well, we were not obsessed with violence when we were young, were we?" "Ah! No. But these are different times." Inside the boy's room, the show had ended. The announcer was on the screen, announcing the coming attractions. Jack raised his toy gun, aimed at the announcer's head and pressed the trigger. The laws of time and space suddenly bent out of shape as a red blotch appeared in the middle of the announcer's face, and he toppled over. The television transmission ceased for a few seconds, then a new, slightly worried face came on the screen and said: "Dear viewers! Due to a technical difficulty we are forced to shut down our transmissions for a while. We apologize for this inconvenience, but don't go away. We will be back with you shortly." And the screen turned blank. Jack picked up the remote control panel of the TV and pressed the button to change the channel. The screen lighted up once again. A movie was being shown. Jack watched for a few minutes, then bored, he once again picked up the toy gun, pointed it at the hero and pressed the trigger. The hero fell down dead. He turned his gun on the heroine and pressed the trigger. She too fell down dead. Hey, this was fun! Jack changed the channel once again. On this channel, they were showing a documentary about life in Australia. The screen showed a couple of horses on a cattle farm. The sun blazed overhead. Jack picked up his gun and let go at the horses. One. Two. Both the horses fell down dead. Jack searched for other targets on the screen. Not finding any, he pointed his gun at the sun and pulled the trigger.
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