I at least began early on with this: "Warning: If you have blood pressure problems, it might be wise to stop here and go read another article." But I see now that I should have added: "And if you don't have blood pressure problems, this article will probably you a few!"
First, I appreciated the responses and getting to hear people's thoughts, on what seems to me like a sort of blatant contradiction: An alleged Christian society waging war around the planet, creating untold grief, misery and havoc, not to mention abandoning the principles our nation was founded on.
[But even regarding the founding of this nation, I would like to re-echo a comment I added to Eileen Fleming's diary the other day, which I titled, "Fly in the ointment":
I like the Declaration of Human Rights, and referred to it myself not long ago in a positive light, and basically I still like it. But there is a tiny little fly in the ointment that I spotted recently. Here it is:
"Now it's my understanding that in the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, there is no mention of the Western Hemisphere whatsoever-not the least hint. How could they miss a whole continent? ....
They [white men] said, Let's make us a law here: we'll call it the law of discovery. The first Christian nation that discovers this land will be able to secure it and the other Christian nations will respect that. What does that do to the original people, whose land of course they are talking about? We just weren't included. They established a process that eliminated the aboriginal people from title to their own land. They set the rules at the time and we were not subjects, we were objects, and we have been up to this point.
That's why indigenous people are not included in the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. We are still objects in the common law."
--Oren Lyons, seventy-six year old wisdom carrier and faithkeeper of the Onondaga Tribe, in an interview with Barry Lopez, Orion Magazine, January/February, 2007.
I quote Oren Lyons because I believe his astute observations go the very roots of many of the problems we face today.]
But I digress. Two comments to my original article came in the form of email direct to me, and I asked permission to post them here, anonymously. Permission was granted, and I now post those comments, interspersed with some of my own dialogue.
"How foolish your writing sounds living in a world of violence. Have you ever wondered how long people like you would live if all the good guys dropped their guns & left you easy prey to the bad guys? I'm not talking just our military personnel. Because even our local police would fall into the uniformed killers you're ranting about.
A good example would be all those people in Africa being raped & murdered by the bad guy element. Yes, it would only be a matter of time before one of them shot you or cut off your head for the power rush scum like that gets from real murder of the innocent.
I often wonder why people like you have the right to enjoy freedom others are willing to die to protect, even though you spit in their face & call them names.
I would recommend your next vacation be spent in a few small villages in Africa where all the random killing takes place daily. I suggest you purchase a good weapon & some ammunition with the thought, I Shall Not Kill. Then when one of those black bucks comes at you with a machete & set to cut your head off. Don't pick up the weapon. Tell him how despicable you think he is to even think about killing a nice guy like yourself. I'm sure he would hang his head in shame & let you live."
And the very next email was this:
"Thank you so much for finally saying what so many people, I'm sure, think, but in this charged atmosphere of enforced patriotism, few are willing to say: 'I do not support the troops.' You have, indeed, rare courage and exemplary honesty. Perhaps all that you have suffered (your bio was very enlightening) has made you more unafraid than ever. I was appalled at what appears to have happened to you in the course of your teaching career. I can only hope that those times are behind you and that you write more, and say more, of the things that need to be said. There needs to be that one person who shouts: 'But the Emperor has no clothes!'
Thank you most earnestly for your unflinching voice. I hope it continues to ring out so clearly always.
I know you must be very busy, but anytime you'd like to write to a fan, you will be a most welcome correspondent."
Wow! Can both parties be right? That was the very question I was hoping to get some resolution on in the original article.
I replied to the first email:
"Many good points here, [name omitted].
I confess I went to a bit of an extreme to see how Christians reconcile the commandment mentioned, with the killing that goes on all over the world. I
also wanted to encourage young men and women considering the service to really consider if that's their calling. I intend to ponder the many
comments and do another article, as time permits.
With your permission, I would like to post your comment, presumably anonymous, since you sent it direct to me. But I do want people to see the
diversity of thinking on this subject.
With best wishes,
Daniel Geery P.S. and FYI: My father won a purple heart in WWII and saw many of his buddies blown away; a person who totally altered the course of my life was a military chaplan: I was valedictorian at a military college (for one year, anyway); and if someone attacks me or my family, I'd rip their nuts off and stuff them up their nostrils--or some such thing."
And back came this:
"You got it [permission to print his comment]:
But know this. I'm a Nam Vet who is against war and killing. Negotiation is always the best way for intelligent men to settle their differences. But a smart man will bring his gun to this peaceful discussion.
12 years ago the gun I carried daily saved my life when I encountered two unintelligent black men with intentions of robbing & possibly shooting me. Needless to say, I believe in landing the first blow in a fight. The one that didn't have a gun distracted the one carrying the gun just long enough to bring mine out spitting lead. Yes, I shot both of them & walked away. One more Victory in the streets of Los Angeles.
There is a time to fight & we should never let ourselves be unprepared or intimidated. This war could have & should have been avoided. There were far greater threats to our country than piss ant Saddam. Now those threats have become strong enough to back us down.
When the negotiation won't work against a threat. Take it out fast & declare a Victory. Then get on with living. Don't drag it out for profit for the puppeteers pulling the strings on our Govt.
Our Police Officers deal with such threats daily. May God Bless all our uniformed protectors. Without them. Life would be a blood bath all over the world.
Sorry for getting carried away. But the greed of some intelligent people really upsets me. If we could take the greed out of man. We could all live in peace as it should be."
Regarding the second comment, I replied:
"Hi [name omitted],
I was just about to email one of my former students and got your email. Much appreciated.
FYI, I'm taking the liberty of posting what I wrote to this student recently, and her response. I had her is sixth grade, she is now in [high school]. She came from Afghanistan direct to my class, and was probably my best ever student. She's fluent in at least three languages, even though she seems to type in a hurry. We've communicated a bit over the years, but I want to talk to her now about doing an article regarding some of our former correspondence. I believe my email and then hers are self-explanatory. Thanks again!
[Part of that email to my former student] I have been thinking about you a lot lately, like for several weeks or months now, particularly as I read the insane news every day and write comments about it on one of my favorite "left-wing" websites. So much utter nonsense in the mideast, and such a lunatic we have for a so-called president! I think of you every time I hear the word "Afghanistan," which you can imagine is quite a bit.
Interestingly, I don't even know if you're a Suuni or a Shiite, or something else, and I don't really give a hoot. You are a beautiful human being, one of the finest I've ever met, and that's what matters to me (and warms my 19 year old heart!)." [I had a heart transplant a year ago Aug. 17, and this student was deeply concerned and upset by that.]
And finally, I quote the reply from my former student, which should be enough for us all to ponder for some time to come--and quite frankly, eliminates the need for me to say any more on the subject:
"good to hear from u good to hear u r doing great and u r in best of health
i would love to meet but nowadays are really busy but if there was a day free i might come and visit u ..
yeah well the news are crazy but i just stopped reading them or listening to them ..it's really crazy ..everywhere people are just dieing...but to some the lives of these innocent people seem like trash.....to them their precious victory is alot more important than the lives of the beautiful human ...i just wish they would see the tears in the eyes of the innocent and starved to death kids whose shelter and peace they have taken away i wish they could see the broken hearts of those women whose husband they have took and left them to deal with their troubled life and pay for something they didn't deserve..wish they could just see how hard they work to support their little kids knowing how hard it is for women to work in Afghanistan..i am Sunni ....but that doesn't matter because those 2 goups have lived with each other for centuries and there was no trouble but now they are down to finishing one another..thanks for standing by us ...
but anwyas i am in school now and the bell rung so i gotta go i will write u again"