Some days I scratch my head. Why did no one tell me the truth? Why does no one admit things are really way more complicated than they appear? Why is everything whitewashed? Why are little boys allowed to play with guns and soldiers? Soldiers and guns and bombs and tanks and planes kill people. Bullets rip through flesh and fathers fall to their knees, gasping for air. Bombs rip through ceilings, sending shrapnel, concrete, and flames onto unsuspecting families.
Is it in the name of democracy? Is it in the name of justice? Is it in the name of freedom? Freedom rings hollow if it is gained by the shedding of innocent blood. Perhaps there is a time and place for all things, but we have become all too familiar with bloodshed. All too efficient.
We are too comfortable with violence. We like to watch explosions and rifle fire on the television screen, where the good guys and bad guys are so easily identified. But it doesn’t work like that in reality. The “good” guy has a month old daughter and a wife at home. So does the “bad” guy.
Some days I wonder what it would be like if war broke out on American soil. I’m no historian, but I don’t think it’s happened since the Civil War–with the exception of Pearl Harbor. I wonder if the terror, the violence, and the bloodshed would be enough to bring us back to our senses. When soldiers fight in our very own streets and we realize they’re not our well-trained killing machines, they’re our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. When bullets crack our windows and a smart bomb turns our house and our family into collateral damage, then perhaps we’ll realize what an ugly thing war is.
Maybe then we won’t give our children toy guns and toy soldiers. Maybe then we won’t let them play death. Maybe then we’ll have a greater understanding of peace and brotherhood. Maybe then we can let the hatred melt away, let the stereotypes fall, let our own selfishness and self-righteousness disappear. We are a broken people. We always have been–it’s just we’ve never known it.