Black thin gown with cardboard hat I stood a pale skinned boy with nowhere to go. Graduation day and the war drums pounded. Soon I was dressed in drab green and someone slapped an M14 in my hands and said, “This is your weapon,” grabbing my cock they snapped, “This is your gun.” I thought it funny, they did not. “This is for shooting and this is for fun.” I had no fun. The weapon was one of mental destruction. “Kill!” The drill sergeant ordered. “Kill,” the boys’ chorus repeated. “Kill!”
I watched as friends rode supine on gurneys with hot chopper blade wind blowing their corpses. Their deep fried bodies smelled of bacon and spoiled hamburger. I cried but crying didn’t end it. I cried in a vacuum chamber called America where the rich stayed home while the poor ate bullets for lunch and maybe dinner in a can. Vietnam was no place for boys or girls to play. The Tet Offensive claimed the very best of men, the very best of children and their mommas.
Why do we kill? Who decides to kill? Is it the virgin boy with a cardboard hat and nowhere to go? Eighteen year olds should be out working, drinking, learning, and fucking…not holding a weapon of mass deception, the penis of war. The smell of war, the smell of rose blossoms on fire and the eggs of gray cranes scrambled. Insane you say? Insane it is and always will be. The very definition of killing sits in the weeds disguised as a water snake slivering near the swamp’s surface seeking out its slow and dumb prey.
Humans kill with a reason other than hunger. The bear doesn’t kill its fresh salmon because he thinks the world would be a better place without the salmon living in it. He kills because his empty stomach tells him he must. The empty stomach of a child tells him that someone greater than him has dropped the ball of moral integrity. The lack of moral integrity is the driving force that kills mankind. The blinders of hubris and arrogance kill those sitting outside of their tunnel of illogical thinking. It is man. Man is the driving force that will bring down the heavens and mountains of peace built once by a more logical and kind man. By virtue of his own arrogance man has removed the word hope from even the highest towers of thought.
I suppose one could dance to the idea that morality exists in the hallowed temples and religious places of worship, but that’s a dance that whistles through hollow reeds. The man sitting in a temple, meditating, or praying to his god is simply a man. His voice shouts out halleluiah yet an hour after his departure from his concrete holy land he visits his wife with a mental or physical fist, degrades his children, and turns on his television to watch modern gladiators head butt their lives away. Moral degradation is pandemic and to say otherwise is akin to wearing rose-colored glasses to a funeral.
A young boy in Somalia named Butrus cries over his mother’s corpse. While walking down a dirt road carrying food to her children Aziza came face to face with a jeep full of armed militia. Despite the guttural catcalls and sexist ranting Aziza held her head high and turned her face away. She was less than a kilometer away from home when the jeep full of vile soldiers stopped. The young woman found herself immediately on the ground and six men roughly ripping at her clothing. Each of the six men body slammed her against the hard earth and each of the six men raped her, not once, but several times until spent.
Aziz’s vagina had been damaged and blood poured between her legs as the soldiers stared at her with disgust. They laughed and sneered until the man with the longest beard aimed his pistol at the beautiful Aziza and pulled the trigger. The band of vagrant militants hastily jumped back into the jeep and rushed away blowing dirt and rocks onto the body of their victim to further debase the body for which just moments before, they hungered.
Butrus heard the shot of a gun and saw in the distance an upheaval of dust. He feared for his mother and his two sisters, but ran towards the ruckus in spite of danger. He found her. There before him was his life, his future, and his only security. His mother’s corpse covered with dirt and blood stared vacantly into a vacant universe. Such is life at the hands of hate. Butrus’s story is over. His sisters’ story is over with the cynical smile of starvation bearing down on the small children with each day that passed.
Stories, you say they’re only stories and such a thing cannot happen in the faux security of your own home. Perhaps not, yet the greed for power never stops. Like a freight train with no brakes the human desire for control cannot be controlled. “Give us all a gun and let us kill those who would kill us.” A treatise for fools that begs to be buried by men and women of peace, it is an answer but the wrong answer to the wrong question. It is like flooding your home in order to quench your thirst. Quite often the angry man dances to beatitudes of love, incongruent and contradictory. Killing is incongruent and inconsistent with the ways of the mind. No god can offer the answer. Only the thinking mind can solve the riddle of murder. After all, brass gods, concrete gods, and golden cows do not speak for themselves. Only man can give them voice. Man chooses the answer and blames it on his god. “Not uncommon, a statement of the obvious,” you say. Yes but also a statement of the human mind, the human mind which for thousands of years permanently contains the genetic code of violence built within their gray matter. Men are bulls waiting to stud the innocent.
It’s that simple, no meditation needed, no religious explanation required. The human, the emotional carnivore unleashed.