I’m working on a Missing Point video currently, a bit of an experiment, something that I have been hammering away at for more than a month now. But the events of the past month have got me feeling like we’re on a downward spiral to who knows where. Orlando. Istanbul. Dhaka. Baghdad. Baton Rouge. Falcon Heights. Dallas... So many tragic stories. So many questionable narratives. One thing I am not hearing: we train people to kill.
We reinforce these lessons with honor, nobility, and heroism narratives, not to mention the promise of monetary reward for a job well done. When these individuals do what they have been trained to do, we hold them individually responsible for their actions (or not responsible at all), scrambling to define what dark motivations they may have been harboring all along. Politicians tell us we need to make sure that guns don’t get into the wrong hands. Clearly it is much more than this.
Teaching that killing is not only acceptable, but necessary; empowering the powerless with a sense of purpose that revolves around the domination and control of others, with the power to decide who lives and who dies, is it really surprising that this course of action leads to undesirable outcomes?
Several years back I saw a film called Jarhead. It got me thinking about what happens when we take young men searching for a sense of purpose, and provide them with a task to perform to establish a sense of self/self worth. If killing, and doing a good job of it, is at the core of this sense of self/self worth, what happens when they come home? When we train young men (and women) to expect conflict and resolve it through force, and reward them for this, why does it surprise us when this pattern becomes the norm?
Related posts on The Missing Point:
Are we courageous enough to face the why?
PAYING FOR WAR
AFTER THE MARCH