We see footage of the tragedy in Ukraine. Or the miles and miles of film documenting World War II with its hell from the skies bombings. Bomb after bomb after bomb. I recently wrote of how tragic this is in the light of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. Just a few days before that, the New York Times ran an interest piece on how bombs are made. Now, there’s no excusing it, but boys seem to like explosions. Although I’m a pacifist, I was fascinated by how long the process is and how specialized the work, to make a bomb (technically a shell, but the result’s the same). And then we see the footage and realize all this time, money, and technology are going into objects to be shot at other human beings. Rise and kill.
It is an indictment of our species that we spend so terribly much on destroying others of our own kind. Some of this is evolution, surely, but some of it is consciousness gone awry. Nobody wants to be the victim of somebody else’s bombs. At the same time, there are different political philosophies in the world and our history has made us distrust, and maybe even hate, one another. I think of Putin and his hatred of the west. And then I think how close we are. From mainland to mainland, Russia and Alaska are only 55 miles apart. If you include the islands, that figure drops to 3 or 4 miles. And an entire ideological world. This is such a strange fiction we’ve created.
Some experts tell us that our systems of allowing strong men to rise to the top (and note, female belligerent national leaders are quite rare) will inevitably lead to war. Of the making of bombs there is no end. These guys in the news story require bomb making to take home paychecks to support their families. Even now there are war zones throughout the world where it’s not safe to wander because of ordinance. Some of them are even here in the United States. On a visit to a friend in West Virginia we went to Dolly Sods Wilderness area. It’s rugged and wild and beautiful. Once used as an area for military training, unexploded ordinance still exists there. Visitors are warned of this, of course. But there are other mined and fought-over areas where the innocent are still killed long after the war has ended. As an adult boy I’ve become less impressed with explosions. If you live long enough, ideally, you should begin to understand life is a gift, and not something to be thrown away. Or taken by someone else’s bombs.