Pow! Pow! Pow!
I remember Saturday morning as a little boy, and a word I took with me for the rest of the day... "Pow!" With my impressionable open mind and wide eyes I looked over my pile of cinnamon toast and a hot cup of cocoa, and mimicked what I saw on the screen. Lash La Rue, Solders of Fortune, Roy Rogers, Sky King, and they all had one thing in common, they used a gun to settle an argument. Yea, they were the good guys... Pow, Pow, Pow! And in the orange-gold of late afternoon, under the umbrella of our Rain Tree and the sounds of locusts, I pretended to shoot my friends with my Red Rider BB gun.
I learned quickly in the inner city of New Orleans that they were teaching me true reality, real life. On the wall in my living room was a rifle my father had brought back from Japan after WW2, and I remember every part of that gun from the little compartment at the very end of the stock, that held a paper written in Japanese, to the razor sharp bayonet on the other. I fantasized myself in war holding it, and as it only held three shots, I saw myself using that bayonet in close combat. Pow, pow, pow, three shots, and after that stabbing your enemy in a charge. It was too heavy to pick up back then, but I saw myself as a man, with big strong arms.
I look around me sixty years later and I see a lot more than Pow, Pow, Pow, and it is from every direction. Little is left to the imagination. The other day I was flipping channels and something called "Kill Bill" came on, and there I watched a samurai woman cut off the arms and legs of about three hundred men. I could tell they were the bad guys because they were dressed in black, but I wonder just where I was taught that? What kind of person would want, or have the need to watch such a movie? Well, guys like me. Men who were primed to get an adrenalin rush when looking at violence, and I yell out , "Yea!" as they slaughter one after another point blank.
Ever wonder where the insensitivity and lack of empathy comes from? It is from that black box sitting in your living room. It teaches us just what to think, convincingly illustrates to us what to do or not do, stimulates motivations so subtle we don't even notice, even thinking, perhaps, that these feelings we have are innate, a human characteristic, an original thought.
I carry concealed when I travel to New Orleans, and I was taught that survival technique from the silver screen to boot camp. I survived the mean-spirited, ignorant racists of New Orleans, because I learned my lessons well. I fear no man, no matter how big, or how bad he tries to project himself to be. Actually, I'm more afraid of my own ability, my ability to react, than any kind of adversary, and I try with all of my might to think clearly, and react with my intellect. Not every man raised on pow, pow, pow can do this, and I think the primary reason is that they are not in control of their life, or have a semblance of responsibility for their actions. Anger gets the best of them, and they will spend twenty years in a cell paying for it. How many times in my life has a picture of my wife and child flashed in my mind in the middle of a potential situation, and they saved me and them.
We have a front row seat on the internet. With the press of a button that says "enter," we can watch everything in real time, from running with the bulls in Spain, deep sea fishing in the Caribbean, to a rover exploring Mars. The technology for this is truly amazing, and can be uplifting to the human spirit, but there is a flip side to this newly developed phenomena, and it is opening up our minds to a new reality of evil and horror not only hard to deny, but so heart-wrenching we can with just a glance, be irrevocably changed. We can watch children actually burn a puppy to death with gasoline, a screaming cow being squeezed through a giant meat auger, or a cat being skinned alive in the back of an oriental restaurant in China, but the horrors do not stop there... no, there is far more,and if you have the stomach for it, with the help of a key word, Google can quickly bring you to what human beings around the world are doing to each other... We can watch a child die still attached to its placenta on a cold metal table after an abortion, the jaws of death opening the door to a decapitated man on a highway just a few blocks away. They will even photograph a child's shoe, or a Louie Vuitton purse in the middle of the road, for effect... and tell you the last words they were texting... And the news is designed to have you sit through three five minute clusters of advertizing, ads of virility and sleeping pill drugs, with ticklers along the way, for the really significant news...
On the history channel we can watch burning men run out of holes in some far away jungle war, or watch an African child take his last breath in 120 degree heat from starvation... while a buzzard waits in the background just a few feet away, with the photographer...But the effects of our own military campaigns around the world are not shown on our televisions. For that, you have to go on line. You can see both panoramic and HD close ups before the dust has actually settled from a mortar or rocket that has an American flag on its side... and gaze into the eyes of a screaming mother as she pulls the mangled and burned body of her child from a pile of rubble that was once his school. And there is a reason that is not put on television: it hits too close to home. We want to believe we are the good guys, and that what someone else is doing in our name is for the good of us all, but on RT, Russia's news, you see another side not found on our black box, and that omission is louder than the screams of that woman. They know that if you saw what was really going on, in your name, you might do something. Yes, you have the potential to do something.
How can you, till the day you die, ever forget a naked Christian woman being burned alive slowly over an open fire, as others, so called Muslims, laugh and beat her with sticks... and much more I can't write about here, even for men who were primed from before they could talk to say "Pow!" And I have seen, with my own eyes, how people can change from a loving father and mother, with hope for the future, to what can only be described as monsters. They have lost everything, and the only thing they can now produce is revenge. And they want to kill you. Yes, your black box will hold this back...
We can try to stay detached from these things, quickly turning it off perhaps... because we know that if you see too much, even the sound of it may linger to replay in our heads like an old song. And try as you may, by thinking of happier thoughts, it will sit on a dusty shelf in your mind until you are too tired to hold it at bay, and it will return to haunt you in the middle of the night. And after the years pile on, one on top of the other, you realize that some things are indelibly fixed in your mind, forever, forever, forever... and in spite of it all, you want to be a good and honest person, a loving and caring person, a sensitive and insightful person ............................... in spite the horror you know exists all around you, and the fears that grip your very soul.
And sometimes, as you try to reason out what can only be described as insanity, a heart wrenching revelation hits you right between the eyes. And in a moment of clarity you see beyond the horror, to the element of cause, a cause that stimulated the effect, and in that instant of illumination, you see that you are indirectly and inadvertently responsible for a lot of it. Yes, we are responsible for this world and everything in it whether we want to believe it or not, even though we have been designed over cinnamon toast and hot cocoa to be insensitive to Pow! And as this knowledge kicks in, as we sit back in our little microcosm, we suddenly start to question ourselves, and the world around us...
Sitting in the blue-light envelope of that black box illuminating our minds to a reality based on an agenda formulated in its deep recesses by men looking for a black bottom line, they can finally be seen, so cleverly hidden behind curtains. And your mind and spirit, your creativity, your emotions, your dreams, the love you hold in check, belong to them, and you think, for just a moment, that you want them back. Pow!