photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, July 1, 2010

There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

Their eyes pierce straight into our hearts and chill us to the bone.

Images on the screen of armed recruits being trained for wars far away make us uneasy, upset, dismayed and disturbed because the bodies housing the steely eyes and grasping the automatic weapons are tiny. Child Warriors.

Ripped from their homes by force, or given up in despair by parents who have nothing to feed them and no hope of anything later today, or tomorrow, or next week, or ever, the pint-sized soldiers try to find their way in a world that is very dangerous, unbelievably hard, hellishly unforgiving.

And we wonder how something like that could happen- how could an entire society turn its back on its young people, allow- even encourage them- to become pawns of war.

How can they not protect them, do something that would allow families to stay together and be strong, live well, not just survive, but thrive and become instruments of true honor and strength and hope.

And all the while the training of child troops continues- the boys becoming sometimes quickly, sometimes inch by inch, immune to pain and fear and that little voice inside that says "STOP! Killing is wrong".

And after a while they pull the trigger without thinking,

without pausing,

without feeling a thing.

Luckily, we are very far removed from that sort of de-humanization. We live in the lap of luxury, the land of the free, the home of the brave, by the Grace of God, Amen.

That sort of horror could never happen here- we're too smart, too blessed, too wealthy, too in tune with our family values.

So we tuck in our children at night- our children who will not be torn from our arms violently, who we will not abandon due to lack of food, or water, or shelter.

Our children, most of them, will go every day to either day care or school- safe places where they "do their work" while we do ours for many hours each day until we pick them up and go home- after the extracurricular activities are finished and errands are run.

Our children, most of them, have more worldly possessions than most adults the world over- thanks to us and our culture of consumerism, and after dinner and after homework they wrap themselves in their solitary rooms surrounded by tv's and computers and playstations and cell phones.

And we sit in the living room, or in front of our own computer screens- staring mutely and with horror at the babies overseas who are being blatantly trained to kill without thought, without fear, without regret.

while our children sprawl in their rooms filled with technological wonders, and they plug in the latest video game and face virtual foes and monsters, some imaginary and some human and the graphics are amazing, the images indistinguishable from "real life". The first few minutes are spent acclimatizing to the scenery and the creatures and the rules of the game.

But after a while they pull the trigger without thinking,

without pausing,

without feeling a thing.

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