Monday, November 17, 2008

Schools and patriotism; guns and kids

Here's a good letter to the editor published in the Austin American-Statesman today (11-17-08). The letter was written in response to a large photograph published on the front page of the metro section of the AAS on Nov. 8 that showed a veteran in uniform, carrying a gun and ammunition belt, speaking to an assembly at Metz Elementary School in Austin as part of a "bring a vet to school" program.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Culture of violence

Re: Nov. 8 photo "Vets show and tell."

Metz Elementary School's decision to invite an armed representative of the military into the school is, unfortunately, illustrative of the culture of militarism that permeates our society. This culture embraces violence, so long as it is associated with a uniform and a flag.

If we are ever to live in a society that values humanity, and places human needs above those of domination and conquest, we must reject the notion that government-sponsored killing is acceptable. If we are ever to live in a peaceful world, the insidious indoctrination of our children into the military culture must end.

Veterans can, I think, contribute significantly to building this peaceful world. They should be encouraged to leave their guns at home and tell the truth about war.

Frances Hanlon

1 comment:

JimReal said...

RE: The “Culture of violence” letter of Nov. 17, 2008,
The lady who wrote that letter seems to just wish that everyone would “play nice.” She’s probably a very good person. If the rest of the world contained only such people, then surely there would be no more war.
Unfortunately, history shows that the world continues to be populated with terrorists, outlaws, aggressive dictators, and nations bent on conquest. Examples include Somalia pirates, Osama Bin Laden, Ho Chi Minh in Viet Nam, Hitler and Stalin in Europe, and Hirohito in the Far East. So, what are we to do when our nation or its ships/people are threatened and attacked? Surrender, and be enslaved or killed? Or fight, and try to retain our freedom? And who will do the fighting? If there is no trained and equipped military, then no effective defense is possible. Nations that cannot or will not defend themselves generally do not survive.
The truth about war, as I and many others have learned first hand, is this. War is so horrendous, bloody, painful, and expensive that it should be avoided whenever reasonably possible. But when diplomacy fails and war cannot be avoided without dire consequences, then we must defend ourselves and help protect our friends.
Strange as it may seem to this nice lady, if we did not fight in such situations, we would NOT be valuing human life and freedom. Rather, we would be capriciously throwing it away. Our society and our military have long placed high value on human life. We owe a great debt to the many men in uniform who have made great sacrifices for their comrades in arms and for their nation. Ours is not a nation of unfettered military violence, but rather we have a military that first serves as a deterrent to attacks, and protects us when threats/attacks do materialize. Since man has had no success at bringing lasting peace on earth throughout history, we would be derelict in our duty to our children if we did not have a military force and give those in it due respect. And yet, like the lady above, I also hope for peace.