A New Genre: Reality from fantasy


pretendI was sitting in the James Cook University library each morning before class reading the newspapers, waiting for it to happen.  I unfortunately remember having that feeling of ‘Ooo, I can’t wait.’

Each day it got closer and closer.

It was inevitable.  It was a no-brainer.  They had them and they were a threat to not only their regional neighbours but also to every country in the world.

The photos were presented to convince me.  They did.  They were as clear as day.  It was all true.  Well, that was how it read anyway.

History has shown us that Saddam did not have the dreaded weapons of mass destruction or WMD’s, which in hindsight sounds more like a gaming acronym rather that a real life military threat.  In truth, the whole premise for the war has been shown to be as fanciful as the most realistic World of Warcraft scenario!

Eyes closed.

From the fanciful beginnings emerged a reality.  Shock and Awe was the descriptor given to the initial pounding of Bagdad, and it would be fair to say that ten years on the world is in shock and awe at what happened back in March of 2003.

It was the most tremendous ride, but it had an all too familiar ending.  We all know that feeling when you wake up baffled after the gritty realness of the dream.  It’s thrilling, until you wake up and realise it was, yep, just a dream.  It wasn’t true.  The reality is that this dreamtime ‘reality’ is composed of images, chemical surges and the odd bit of life-half-truth that takes on the form of real life.

A lie?  No, it is real.  It is a real dream

But how stupid is the person who wakes up and continues on as though their dream was reality and that real life was impacted by the make-believe?

Eyes opened.

Duped.

And like any sick practical joke the pranksters swagger off and the poor ol’ fool is left to clean themselves up – the humiliation of defeat, the grotty slimed face, lying on the floor wondering why those guys joined in and why everyone else just sat around and watched it happen.

Now the fantasy turned reality is starting to be retold.

Last night I was watching the RT News channel and I watched a small documentary on the dramatic rise in incidences in birth defects in Fallujah, Iraq.  The pictures were horrendous!  The hospital administrator who was documenting the incidences linked the defects to the phosphorous bombs that were dropped by the US.

Then today, I saw a letter written by a US servicemen who posted a scathing online letter regarding the fanciful dream.  He states:

“You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans – my fellow veterans – whose future you stole.”

The ‘you’ in the letter is referring to the then president of the United States, George W Bush.

So what do you do with the most powerful man in the world who at best made a mistake, or at worst lied in order to begin a war that ended up killing up to 190 000 people, 70% of who were civilians?

No fantasy of mine every had that costly a reality, but then again, I was never a Prime Minister or President.

Today we see the roles reversing.  We read about the fantasies of the North Koreans and how they are targeting the US nation on the basis of these realities.  Would we agree that the basis for their war waging is preposterous?  Of course, but we should slow a little to also acknowledge that their idea is no more preposterous than the one that we were all sold some ten years ago.

And so we return to the poor ol’ Iraqis.

A fitting end would be to finish where we started – pretending.  Let’s pretend that it is over and nothing ever happened.

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10 Days to Christmas… a killing


chrisyThis weekend we have been reminded that evil cares little for our festive season.

When we read that 20 odd children have been gunned down in cold blood we stop and wonder.  We wonder about many things, including what could have been.  This was Obama’s point.  These kids will not get to enjoy growing up and enjoying the best of life.  Their families will forever wonder about what could have been.

We also wonder how someone can be so evil and carry out such a heinous crime?

How can we not wonder how such a developed country can have such an undeveloped sense of duty to their own people?

rightsWhile their kids are being slain in their classrooms the world watches and shakes it head at a nation that is too proud to rewrite history.  It cannot bring itself to change its God-given right to carry arms; even for the sake of the most innocent and vulnerable people in their country – children.

Some might say that this is not the time for such a discussion but clearly it is.  Is there are a better time to deal with this issue than now?  We are supposed to be celebrating the time-honoured notion of peace on earth and goodwill to all men (people?), but instead it is being shot down around us.

Like last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and, well, you get the picture, we pray for the families that are left to deal with the horror that has happened.

A merry christmas is not likely for many.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I didn’t kill you it was the gun…


Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Don’t be fooled.  It sounds clever and witty and even smart, but find a moment and think about it.  For those who use this line as a knock-down argument for opposing stricter gun control please humour me and read on.

Cigarettes kill.  Bombs kill.  Drugs kill.  Speeding kills.

No, cigarettes don’t kill, people kill themselves.  No, bombs don’t kill people, people kill people.  Drugs don’t kill people, people kill people.  Speeding doesn’t kill people, people kill people.  Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?

You see, the not so witty play on words might fool some people into thinking that guns are not the issue here, only bad people, but for the rest of us we see past the pithy line. It’s a patronising catch cry, which is at best naive and at worst, well, look around.

Clever word plays aside we all know that cigarettes kill, and not only the one smoking the Winnie Blue but those who also inhale the toxic fumes that the smoker exhales.  Cigarettes kill the smoker (a person) and also the passive smoker (a person).  So we could say that cigarettes kill people (plural).

Now, even though the cigarette is not a sentient being that wills the death of the would be inhaler one is linguistically within their right to say that cigarettes killed the man.  He died from lung cancer aged 63.  Yes, it was the lung cancer that actually killed him, but we understand that the cigarettes that he smoked for 34 years are what caused the death.

[I can’t believe I am explaining this]

Similarly, even though the gun has not morphed into a sentient being that wilfully engages in the destruction of, say, 12 lives, on the semantic grounds given above, when someone uses a gun to kill a person or people, one is fair to say that guns kill people.  If you are struggling with this then a question might help: how did they die?  Answer: People.  Wrong!  A fatal gunshot wound.

Cigarettes kill, bombs kill, drugs kill, and guns kill.  So what do we do?

Well, one very basic thing to do is to look at the thing that is causing the deaths and weigh up whether the deaths are worth the value that the thing adds.  Generally, in the developed world we reject things that have the dubious distinction of bringing good and death simultaneously.  For example, when it comes to new drugs that come on the market, just because it might relieve some kind of ailment, if it has adverse affects, I don’t know, say it kills you, then the drug will no doubt be shelved.   It will be shelved for much less than killing someone too.

Let’s be less dramatic and look at cars.  Car deaths attributed to speed or whatever are a horrible thing.  But we don’t just say, ‘Carry on,’  we put measures after measures in place in an effort to stop silly people doing stupid things with their cars because speeding kills.  Do we care more for speed thrills and getting to a place fast or people living?  We choose lives!

The gun control issue is not about (not so) witty word games, but about three things, at least: lives (as in whether people live or die), recreation, and rights.  Guns kill people.  Guns are valued and are a treasured part of a given countries recreation culture.  Guns are an indelibly inked right.  These three things are fact.

One of the mistakes of this discussion is the blinkered attitude that many enter the discussion with, that is, that gun control is just about recreation and rights.  No, the recent and not so recent events are showing us that guns are affecting more than just a Saturday morning’s shooting trip – they are ruining families, futures and lives.

Is the right question then to ask what do we value the most: lives (as in whether people live or die), recreation or my rights?  Well, as a question it must be getting close.  If it doesn’t give the answer it surely exposes one’s real attitude towards the debate, like what I found on Twitter today.  It’s a doozy:

Original post: Of what use to private citizens are automatic/semi-automatic rifles? Hunting? Self-defense? Alpha male posturing? Mass murder? NRA says what?

  • Comment 1:  The Second Amendment. I don’t need a reason but what if I said I like them? I don’t need a reason.
  • Comment 2: for fun and sport u idiot (sic)

There you have it, all three in a nutshell.  The person railing against the high profile lobby group in favour (I imagine) of tighter guns laws; the person reverting to their inalienable rights; and the third person loving the lifestyle.  Each person shows their priorities in these statements.

So what gives?  Well, clearly nothing!  This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing if the state of play is ideal, however, I humbly put forward that two killing rampages in the last two weeks, and a track record to boot of such shootings is not ideal.

Where to start?  Thinking and talking about how evil people are and how much they need Jesus won’t help.  Further, the idea that (some?) people are evil should sound the alarm bells that action is desperately needed.  I agree the people are evil and need Jesus, but this view does not stop someone from finding what they need to kill the next 12 people.

I don’t know the answer, but a good place to start would be to value life (as in whether people live or die) over recreation activities, and one’s own individual rights.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but clearly there is a vast percentage of the population that don’t value life (as in whether people live or die) over their recreation and/or individual rights.

In the meantime, we weep and mourn and pray for the families that have lost loved ones, while clinging to our hunting trips and our God given right to bear arms.