Monday, September 12, 2011

"Look at those dead bastards"

"Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards" says a crewman aboard a U.S. Army Apache attack helicopter that just left almost a dozen bodies littering the street, pierced by 30mm cannon fire.

They happened to be non-combatants.

I was about to go eat a sandwich today when my life changed course a bit.

I was talking to someone about the incident in Iraq, released to the general public about a year ago via Wikileaks. I was wondering if I had all my facts straight, so I went back to look. I saw this video, and read the story.

Warning: It's about as graphic as it gets. But I think it should be seen.

I lost my appetite. I got physically sick to my stomach. Ho-ly smokes. There was a photographer among the killed. He was carrying a telephoto lens. I though immediately of my brother, puttering around town with his camera and calm demeanor , ready to capture something cool...And that telephoto lens he usually uses.

There's all sorts of political implications of this post, this video, and Wikileaks itself. But my stomach doesn't realize that, and it is sick.

The point was made that it was like a real life video game. "Oops, I think I just ran over a body" says a guy driving a fighting vehicle on the ground. What does he think this is, Call of Duty?

I called my mom to ask her something else, and I started talking about this. Barely holding back the tears, I choked out the words "Mom, and my whole goal in life is to be a stupid entertainer. What's the point of that?"

I sat in the woods yesterday as quietly as I could, but my mind was racing with the thoughts of the day, and how people could slam jetliners full of people into towers full of other people. Again, there were my brothers in the picture. I imagined that their company had hit the big time, and they had an office on the 92nd floor of the North Tower...They were so proud of it. I snapped back to reality, and the woods gently moving in the fall breeze. Thank goodness that it was just imagination.

And all I wanted to be was an entertainer. How stupid is that.

So, I'm sort of lost. Those three circles I referenced in a previous post about finding the core of what we do - they sit empty again. I can't see them being filled with songs of peace and cooperation. I can't see them just filled with Comrade shirts and clever logos.

The world is broken, and I don't know how to put it back together. I'm old enough to realize that I can't, and young and strong enough to cut myself in the struggle against the shackles of reality. Somebody wise told me the other day that maybe it's about accepting the darkness as part of the light. I think I'll think on that.

And I think I'll try to figure out what in the world I should be doing as a musician - and a person. The circles are empty. I don't know what should fill them. But I plan to figure it out.

- Josh

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