These days I’m kinda rootin’ for AIDS, you know?
First, I mean, if we need a ‘die off’, if we need a major decrease in the human population, in order for the planet (the human species included) to survive, well then AIDS gets my vote.
War would do it. But, whether biochemical or nuclear, it would also destroy a lot of the environment. Which kind of defeats the purpose. Furthermore, a lot of innocent people tend to die in wars.
And that’s the problem with major environmental catastrophe, another contender. Sure, a lot more earthquakes or droughts would do it–droughts are especially effective because they can cause mega-famines–but again, lots of innocent people would die.
There are other diseases which, in epidemic proportions, would do the trick. Tuberculosis and the Bubonic Plague, for instance. But see, here’s where the beauty of AIDS comes in: those other diseases can be caught quite accidentally, because they’re airborne or spread by very casual contact; but to get AIDS, you have to do something pretty definite, pretty intentional. Except for in utero transmission, blood transfusion, or rape, getting AIDS can never be called an accident; getting AIDS is always voluntary.
And, well, that makes for a pretty neat self-selection thing: I mean, if you’re the kind of person who’s stupid enough not to know that having sex can cause AIDS (or even stupider, to think that having sex is worth dying for), or if you’re the kind of person who shoots up with any old needle, then frankly, you’re the kind of person the human species can do without.
Second, AIDS is the best thing that’s happened to women in a long time: it can make rape the equivalent of murder. And the significance of this lies in the law regarding self-defence law: typically, killing in self-defence as long as you think your life might be at stake and you believe, on reasonable grounds, that you have no other way of protecting yourself.
Well, how do I know my rapist-wannabe isn’t HIV-positive? It’s reasonable to assume he has a sexual history of multiple partners and rough sex. And it’s reasonable to assume he’s not reaching for a condom. So it’s reasonable to assume that any rape could turn out to be murder–consider it death by lethal injection. So, thanks to AIDS, I now have legal licence to kill the sonuvabitch.