A while back I was thinking (something I do accidentally on occasion) and I realized just how bad it would suck to be in a warzone. I am not a fan of violence outside of violence for fun. Sparring with other people is delightful and fun and I highly recommend it to anyone with the body to do so. Heck even if you don’t just take up something like casual boxing. It’s incredibly refreshing.
But darn it I’m digressing!
(I Googled tomato. Here’s a pony.)
But for me I’m entirely not invested in combat. I’m not invested in nationalism or patriotism. For me each person is important and vital and when they are killed or commit a crime I feel like they’ve been failed. Some world that should exist did not exist and they were punished for it. For me the thought of being knee deep in a firefight in Afghanistan is terribly disgusting and I imagine how horrible it would be to find myself staring at a gun held by the opposition.
Because for me I have no investment (as stated). They are not my enemy and frankly if we had a checker board I would be alright with a few rounds. We could laugh about relationships and drink Hansen’s Root Beer. They do not see me though. I am no longer a person in this situation. I am a symbol.
I represent their sadness, their fear, the antithesis to their paradise.
Naturally I took this thought and I expanded it to life in general. When people walk into a retail store they don’t see a bunch of people in outfits. They see representatives of that corporate entity waiting to serve them. Retail workers are seen as automatons who are the literal mouthpiece of the business. Not just mouthpieces but literal direct connections to the mother brain.
(Buy the protection plan. Buy the protection plan. Buy the protection plan. Destroy all humans. Buy the protection plan. )
You’ll read about this all over the internet and you’ve heard it in your own family (maybe even you). People talking about how they really stuck it to that asshole working at Best Buy because he wouldn’t give them a discount on the 42’’ plasma that they’ve been dreaming about.
Imagine the horror of being a police officer dressed during a violent riot in a city? While it is true there is a dramatically poor environment in police stations (which gets worse yearly because of reasons I can discuss sometime) it still doesn’t negate the fact that a lot of police officers are people.
They aren’t the embodiment of their position or their precinct, they are people who needed a job. Our clothes are another entity entirely. This is what I’m trying to get at. This is why I hate interviewing. People expect you to walk in wearing the person they want to hire. Dress shirt, tie, fancy pants, and nice shoes. They aren’t here for you they are here for that symbol.
When a cop is killed two separate entities are murdered. The target – the cops outfit – and the likely innocent person wearing it. When a soldier is torturing another soldier they are torturing two entities. The representation of the nation they are at war with and a completely innocent person wearing those clothes.
All that terror, all that pain, its all meant for a thing that never feels it. In the end all that happens is a person is failed.
I remember when I was in college the floor I lived on talked about the “green shirts” as this dark and dirty sect of sub humans that hunted down innocent party going college kids and ruined their lives. It amused me then when I became a green shirt (I needed money) that they would still say it but say “Except for you, you are a great guy.”
They had met me before I put on the suit and so they knew about the person within the suit. This I think is vitally important I think. Being able to see both entities. The symbol and the person within. So many deaths, so much hate, and so many wrongs are likely sourced to this blindness.
As I stated in the intro. The way I conceptualize it best is putting myself in that position. Imagining myself as the cop, or the retail worker, or the soldier. Imagining the terror I would feel, the sadness, the anger, or whatever else. Once I am inside that situation I can better remind myself that these aren’t merely symbols or set pieces to some fanciful live action roleplaying game. These are people with their one and only run.