May 25 2015

Memorial Day, and the Price of Killing

DSCN3363I hate pigeons. Most people who live in cities hate pigeons. The only thing we hate more than pigeons? People who feed pigeons.

I just ran over a pigeon. It was in the street, I assumed it would fly away as I got closer. And it tried, but it was already maimed. It lurched one direction, then the other. I wasn’t sure which way to swerve to avoid it, the damn thing couldn’t make up it’s mind, which way to go. I swerved a little to the left. With an oncoming car, I couldn’t go too crazy on the swerve — and that’s when the pigeon made it’s fatal, and final, lurch.In the same direction I swerved.

I felt sick. I felt horrible. Much as I hate pigeons, I felt guilty. I thought of the people who hunt, who deliberately kill magnificent creatures — cougars, gazelles, lions — that no one hates. Animals in their own habitat yet, not polluting ours with their droppings and their mere unsightly presence, spreading disease. These hunted animals are minding their own business, raising their young, on their own turf. And people come in and take pleasure in hunting them with state of the art equipment. Hardly a fair fight. They call it “sport,” though I always thought “sport” meant facing an evenly-matched competitor. But what the hell do I know? And then to mount that animals head in your home, because… it belongs there, not on it’s own body, in it’s natural habitat, protecting and feeding its offspring? I’ll never understand.

cheetah4It’s Memorial Day. My mind wanders to those young men and women we send to foreign lands, and whose job it now is to kill in the name of America. Of Freedom. Our Freedom. Sometimes they kill people who are about as much a threat to our freedom as that pigeon I ran over. Maybe that killing is as joyful and empowering to them as shooting the cougar is to the hunter. I hope not. But if killing another human being, a civilian, is even half as upsetting to them as running over that stupid pigeon was for me, then I truly fear for the mental state of our soldiers. More and more of them are coming home with serious psychological issues. I assume killing innocent people is only a part of what haunts them, what leads them down a black psychological abyss from which there’s rarely a full escape. Many don’t come home. That’s where life ended for them, somewhere in that abyss.

So soldiers — those who died fighting, who have fought,  or are still fighting —  thank you for what you do. I mean that, I truly do. And I’m sorry for what you’re asked to do. For America. For Freedom. Our Freedom. I wish you could all be free –we could all be free. But then, freedom is never what it appears. Ask those animals in the wild.


Feb 8 2010

Chapter 8: Even Pups Need To Reach Out For Help Sometimes

After going through an unsettling ordeal, Nameless has difficulty returning to everyday life. But with Gray at his side for support, he gets the help he needs to put the experience behind him and move on.