May 13, 2002

Memorial Day Remembered

There was a time when it bothered me to see their smiling faces and hear the laughter. Could they not see this was an insult to the memory of those who had faced the horror that was war and sacrificed all so that America might enjoy freedom? Could they not hear the echoes of my grief, when with a blink of an eye, I could see my fallen comrades and once again feel their pain?

Mankind soon forgets the atrocities of the past, unaware that it is this inate lapse of memory that invariably leads to the atrocities yet to come. Words of advice to those of you who understand and have yet failed to riddle the enigma... humanity itself is an undeniable paradox based on denial of it's base instincts toward excess in all things. The cruelty called war is simply the physical extension of one among many of the forces that drive and mould our inner selves and our special destiny.

We cannot deny that which is us, yet we can seek to find, and yes, even celebrate any small redeeming virtue our minds can sieze upon to justify our continued existence. We perceive hope for our children's children in the courage shown by those lost in battle, while ignoring the shattered lives of those who knew them best. Inhumanity is the best as well as the worst of teachers; from it we see what we really are, and know what we must become to conquer the beast within and survive.

And so, with the commemoration of this day, it seems we celebrate the lives of those who are destined to die in future wars until the "war to end all wars" truly comes to pass. Those who have come to grip with the reality of why we need a Memorial Day will, in the waning hours of twilight, remember and mourn those who have already answered the call and paid the ultimate price.

It bothers me less with every passing year. Age may bring wisdom - but more benevolently bestows forgetfullness. As time goes on, I forget the lessons learned, thus allowing the new generation to make the same mistakes.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:13 PM

September 28, 2001

Devil Worship

I'd feel left out if I didn't get my two cents worth in on the massacre in Columbine. It seems the concensus of local opinion is it's all Marilyn Manson's fault. It's his sick, sadistic, twisted, etc., etc. devil music that perverted the minds of those who would have otherwise grown to be spears of righteousness sitting on the right hand of all that is holy.

Yeah, right ...

OK, I'll admit some of what Marilyn has to say in his music is not in the best of taste and may be just a tad bit offensive to "normal" people. My opinion? His music sucks! However, I have to go with the gun lobby people on this one, and fall back on the Constitutional privileges that would be negated if we were to somehow prohibit him from expressing himself. A stretch, it's true, but I would think we're talking freedom of speech here. Imagine the pendulum swinging the other way, and the devil's own preaching against the good Christians who are currently denouncing Manson. It's an even bet that wouldn't fly too well at all.

The media on the other hand are more than likely looking into building a shrine to the culprits. After all, it was a slow news week. Where's Albania, anyway? The body count wasn't high enough to keep our interest, and you can only have so many human interest stories before people start to get restless trigger fingers and pick up the remote. These guys know an opportunity when it presents itself, and within hours had flooded into Colorado to give John Q hourly and sometimes minutely updates on anything and everything remotely connected to the tragedy. As usual, they pretty much analyzed the damn thing to death. They showed their usual contempt for the victims and their families, jamming microphones in their faces in their hour of grief and demanding a blow by blow description of how much blood they actually saw.

Whose can we blame for the shootings? I took the liberty of compiling a short list presented on the six o'clock news:

1. The Gun Lobby. Guns kill. Guns must go. The only good Gun is a dead Gun. And so on.

2. Marilyn Manson. Already been there.

3. The Schools. They should have figured out there was a problem and done something to stop it.

4. The Other Students. They didn't try hard enough to mainstream obvious outsiders, and failed to report their concerns to the proper authorities.

5. The Internet. Too much information, pounding in my brain, too much information, driving me insane (my apologies to Sting). All the crazies meet there and exchange hints and ideas on destroying society.

The point most fail to grasp seems the hardest to ignore. We as parents have failed. One would think building bombs and stockpiling guns and ammunition for what is estimated at over a year would be hard to miss. Yet the parents of the gunners profess a total ignorance of what was to be and were somehow as surprised as the rest of the world. The key word here is accountability. Where were they when their children were piling up weapons, surfing the kill zones of cyberspace, and hanging with the local elite group of sickos? Who is really to blame here? Well adjusted kids who were raised in an environment that teaches social skills and conscience would not be capable of doing such things. Our children's failures are our failures - the buck has to stop with the part time parent who just doesn't get it. Raising a child is a lifetime commitment and a fulltime job. Don't expect to juggle in an hour or so of family life and succeed in raising a productive and well-adjusted member of society - it ain't gonna happen.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:04 PM

June 28, 2001

Veni Vinci (Voops!)

Must we fight? As Yoda of Star Wars fame might have said if the Dark Side would have won in his personal battle, "Fight we must.".

Having now achieved Empire Status ourselves, we find ourselves in the awkward position of having to lead, and quite frankly, it ain't happening. The last great democracy that tried it went down in flames as Nero fiddled. Our problem seems to be one of concensus - we have almost a quarter of a billion fiddlers, none of whom seem to have read the music. It's difficult at best to achieve a particular goal even assuming proper planning. Having to somehow homogonize the myriad goals of the multitudes that compromise our nation is obviously undoable.

A Primer in Modern American Warfare

Let's face it - we as a people are pretty lousy at picking targets. As long as we played follow the leader, we were unstoppable. Our role in both the great World Wars was cleanup. We allowed others to define our goals and even let them soften up the enemy first. What looked like a losing cause with dire potential for our own personal survival provided the proper impetus for a complete, no-holds-barred national commitment. We successfully set aside our differences and with everyone pulling together made it look easy. It was during this period that we achieved our finest moment and rightly recieved the praise and adulation of our allies.

Unfortunately, we let it all go to our heads. Now the self-appointed policeman of the world, we went from a protectionist philosophy to actively seeking out places to flex our new-found powers. Our strategic military accomplishments since adapting this attitude have been, shall we say, less than glorious. We have built a mighty machine for destruction and pacification, and left it in the hands of the debating team. Not having a clear-cut objective, we wander aimlessly across the face of the planet in the hopes of finding a cause worthy of our full and undivided interest. In the meantime, the home front becomes increasingly factionalized, in effect, increasing the difficulty level of ever coming together in any cohesive nature to support whatever just goal the world offers.

Proper motivation is an awesome thing to behold. With it you can overcome insurmountable odds. Without it, the best trained and equipped troops will invariably go down to defeat. I think we can assume most are familiar with the mechanics of both the Korean and VietNam Wars (or police actions, if you prefer). I also think we can assume that most would agree these actions were failures, in that they failed to achieve their original goals. The Debating Team records both as arguable victories. It should be interesting to see how history remembers these events a century from now, when the current crop of spin doctors that write the textbooks are no longer here to defend their warped view.

(If it's OK with you, I won't event mention Panama and Granada ...)

The Gulf War, simply put, was a creation of the overlords at the Pentagon who felt they were losing the important battle - the continued unquestioned funding of their military machine. They needed a proving ground for all the as yet untested toys developed during and since VietNam. A pacifist Congress facing imminent bankrupcy saw no need to provide the same level of support necessary to capitalize an active war. We no longer had the Evil Empire lurking in the dark corners of the world to justify our paranoia. The obvious solution was to create a war to justify the means. The decision to stop short of Bagdad paid off in the long run - our failure to close out this episode in history will serve to keep the budgets flowing freely for now as we convince ourselves of the need to be ever vigilant for future outbreaks of hostility in the Middle East. You have to admire the devious foresight involved in setting up this situation. Even if by some chance the Iraqis rise up in revolt and eliminate SoDamn Insane, we can depend on the friction created by this event to fuel hate and discontent among the Arab peoples long into the new Millenium.

** Somewhat related is our mishandling of the Israeli crisis. How a "crisis" can last for going on 50 years is beyond me. How anyone can believe the continued "crisis" is not the direct result of the same sort of backward thinking that lead to the Iraqi "crisis" is unbelievable in itself. I don't fault the Israeli's for their role in this game - they have an obvious need to keep their nation well armed and alert. Would that need continue to exist if we were to stop meddling in the background? This generation will never know ...

As for the Crisis in Kosovo, let me think about that one for a while. I'll get back to you ...

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:42 PM

July 10, 1999

Welcome to the Darkside

Civilization as we know it didn't happen overnight, nor was it truly spontaneous. Thru the course of history, many convoluted twists and turns have added up to the whole that is now. Conscious decisions were made that steer us on our present course. One school of thought suggests that we are where we need to be to get where we need to go. The optimist looks around and sees the current levels of comfort and technological marvels and praises the progress made. That optimists tend to be weathier and better situated to reap the marvels of this progress is evident.

Those society has forgotten or misplaced tend toward a more pessimistic view, and point out the obvious failures that can be attributed to the same so-called progress. The envy displayed by the many for those few who reap the rewards could be a powerful catalyst for change if there were any truth to the widespread rumor called democracy. If the unwashed masses were to successfully revolt, they would simply become the new elite, and punish their predecessors for delaying their ascent to prominence. Contrary to popular belief, Man is not a social animal. The root of that falsehood lies in the distant past when we were forced to cooperate to defeat our natural enemies. Having won those battles, we now face the last truly worthy opponent , ourselves, and the thin varnish of civilization is swiftly vanishing.

Every decision made in the course of our evolution has had it's accumulated effect; the end result is what you see around you. Some may call me a pessimist. I describe myself as a realist. I discount divine intervention, and lay any blame directly on what we have made ourselves to be. (On the other hand, we are simply biological constructs reacting at random to external influences, and can't really be held accountable for our actions. Take your pick.) We are in fact creatures of habit, and our DNA is coded by the law of the jungle to bring out the worst humanity has to offer. Survival of the fittest drives the holiest of the holy, though you won't get them to admit it. The alpha male has replaced his claws and sharp teeth with a checkbook and a pet congressman or two. When not occupied with buying a military machine to protect their own self interests, they buy respect by doling out a few crumbs to those who have less and can be reasonably expected to appreciate it. Never will the multimillionaire philanthropist sacrifice all their wealth to feed the starving masses. Those who give simply have more than they can reasonably spend as a rule. Charity buys social points and prestiege - take those away, and the flow stops.

The dawn of the Industrial Age served as a turning point, but shouldn't be blamed entirely for what just may be the last gasps of human evolution. The Nuclear Age is simply one of the last required nails in the coffin. Humanity has always had a mean streak, as far back as the Stone Ages. We need no gods to smite us - we now possess the power of Armageddon and can't reasonably be expected to resist the urge to destroy all just because we can. All science really proves is that we are programmed to fail, removing any restraints we might have felt if only we felt we had a chance to make it work. I have admitted the hopelessness of the situation to myself, and do not intend to express hope or seek a better way in these pages.I merely wish to point out some of the disturbing trends upon which I base this belief.

There are some who would say we should have never come down from the trees - I would think our first mistake was crawling from the primordial oceans. What I will attempt to do is describe and document my personal opinion that our best recourse may be to step aside and let the monkeys or the cockroaches have a go at it.

LIFE is a sucking, swirling eddy of dispair

Filled with bright, small moments of false hope

In an ever blackening universe ...

( AUTHOR UNKNOWN )

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:40 PM