"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
I suppose to many...
It's easy to see the guy with the gun as the bad guy. But for those of us with guns that may not be so clear.
And to some...
It's easy to see the person in the uniform as the bad guy. They represent the force of the state to obey ...or else.
I used to be one of those that wore the uniform. And I can tell you, I knew those who held the guns and those that wore the uniform and it's not always so clear. To this day I consider nearly all of those I served with to be my brothers in an experience that fewer and fewer have the courage, patience and discipline to confront. And it is courage, patience and discipline that these individuals display when they present themselves to this system to be, potentially, ground up into nothing. So I would suggest people take the time give them the benefit of the doubt or at least try to understand. After all... they do have guns.
Just like the people we find around us, people have many reasons for doing what they do. And as we look around we can see many stupid things going on. Obviously, there's some ignorance. In a great deal of cases there's a great deal.
Update: Our interview on V-Radio (Why we need the military...)on October 5th 2011 (2 hrs)
A rather unique experience happened to me recently when my mother presented me with a box of letters I had written while a young man in the US Army. Reading through them... I saw the naive ignorance that a 17-20 year old has... but I was also encourage by the fact that I wasn't completely oblivious to everything. I noticed the tyranny and the ignorance... I just couldn't explain it.
If you've seen the movie "Under Fire", Ed Harris plays a small role as a character that is a Mercenary in Latin America during the late 70's. He is the ideal bad guy that everyone would believes represents the government servant these days. He kills and tortures ...just because... to him... it's what has to be done.
"Under Fire" Ed Harris as the mercenary (@2:00)
However, the truth is... very few soldiers fall into the category of this type of mercenary. Most are just trying to get along and justify their existence as useful to the one's they love. They may believe in the beginning that the cause is noble... or they rationalize their actions as what is necessary for the overall good... or they just believe it's what they have to do to collect a paycheck to feed their family and keep the bills paid. I would say I believe that probably 95% just don't understand or can't explain why things are the way they are. And quite honestly, they're no different from most of the rest of us. We all have some learning to do.
I had a bit of a epiphany myself when in the Army... looking for something to do I found a video of the movie Gandhi... and not having anything better to do... I watched it. One thing that stood out immediately in my eyes was the courage and discipline he displayed. Individuals in the military may be a great deal of things but most do recognize courage and discipline. And I would encourage all individuals to be courageous and find their ability for self-discipline. But it's not always so clear what to be looking for, one person's eyes don't always see what another sees... So if we're the ones advocating for a change, we have to be the one's to demonstrate the right example.
Gandhi's South African Non-Violence Speech
"If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." Malcolm X
Gandhi's first "protest"
India's moment of freedom - the Salt Works
What becomes very clear looking into what Gandhi, or Martin Luther King or some of the other successful non-violent advocates have shown us is... if we are unhappy or critical of others actions, the first person we must train is ourselves. Anger only begets more anger. Violence only begets more violence. An eye for an eye eventually leaves the whole world blind.
The whole thing boils down to... So, how do I regain my liberty? It's simple... I know what works. First I have to learn to discipline myself. First, to listen to others for what is meaningful to them and what "works" for them. Second, start a dialog with those topics in mind... until I understand them. Then and only then deliver my message of a possible solution related in their terms.
We have great examples of those who put themselves in the cross fire to identify the problem. And it is an effective approach when all else fails and attention needs to be directed to a problem that just can't continue.
But that doesn't mean it's the only approach to resolving a problem. We can help each other in many ways and sometimes it doesn't have to be so dramatic.
This is one of my favorites... a man who didn't let fear get the best of him defeats violence and terrorism.
I think this story serves as a reminder that how one individual can help another see the light through not allowing fear to get the best of him, using humor to show the ignorance and most importantly, not giving up on one's fellow man. In this example, the KKK wanted the Reverend to do as they wanted. They attempted to use fear and intimidation, to terrorize him into submission. But luckily the Reverend didn't waiver and indeed, through his example changed the people who were his worst enemies.