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'Making War for Fun'

September 04, 1986

When I first glanced at the newspaper on Sunday morning (Aug. 24) I thought I was seeing pictures of actual happenings in Central America.

I am responding to Dennis McClellan's article, "Making War for Fun: It's a Direct Hit."

Since when has "killing" become a game? According to McClellan's article, killing games have become the "sport of the '80s."

What kind of insane world am I living in, anyway?

When we line up our children on Sunday afternoon and let them watch Mommy and Daddy "kill" the other guy, with paint guns or whatever, what is the message we are giving them? We are telling them that it's OK to kill. We are telling them that killing is a natural part of their lives.

We are not teaching them that killing takes away life. The real meaning of killing is obscured for them. It's all fun and games. We are not teaching them that meaningful life for everyone is something to strive for and to hold dear.

Killing. If we say it often enough we get used to the word so that its real meaning doesn't quite penetrate our inner consciousness. We become numb to the reality of killing.

I can't believe we have reached this level of numbness.

But we are numb. We must be. That would explain why we can profit from war and pay only lip service to peace. (Peace is boring, unnewsworthy, and unprofitable).

We are numb to the meaning of death, which is the cessation of life. We are numb to the methods of destruction being used throughout the world today and to the numbers of innocent people being killed daily in isolated wars.

We are numb. That's why we can go about our daily business giving little or no thought to the fact that we are on the brink of nuclear annihilation and that our planet is dying because of our carelessness.

We are numb. That's why we can continue to vote for individuals who OK $100 million for the contras , so that they can continue their killing of innocent people in Nicaragua.

We are numb. That's why our handgun laws are so lax that 14 people were blown away in a post office in Oklahoma.

We are numb. That's why we can "play" at killing fellow employees while our children watch us and cheer at our bravery.

It is difficult to articulate just how very frightening I find all of this. I have a vision now of driving down the highway someday soon, and instead of seeing cows grazing, I will see people just like me, dressed in combat gear aiming guns at one another. How heartwarming. How scenic. How American!

Instead of bowling on Monday evenings, or basketball, or baseball, we now have weekend war games. How long do you think it will take to become bored with mere paint guns? How long do you think it will take before they want to use non-lethal, but more "hurtful" weapons? Or more frighteningly, how long before we start turning loose convicts destined for Death Row, into the "game areas," so that the people can experience "real" killing? How long before we break ground for our Colosseum?


Pacific Palisades

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