Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mission Death Messages

"If I die before I wake"… Mission Death Messages

     I see these martial-artsy memes with ninja art or samurai art freely talking about dying for the day, the makeshift mission at hand, the ... cause, etc. That death/warrior message thing. Usually posted by people who have never faced death or “near death.” It ain’t like “near beer.” Then I have heard some military guys, but not many, say much the same at times. "If I die today," "I am prepared to die today," “The mission...." "Good day to die," "I will die today, and it is okay,” etc.

     Every time I see that sort of death message? It irks me somehow. I mean, I kinda get it. I kinda see what they are trying to say. But I just don't buy it. I was a cop for two decades. I was in Korea when they sounded the war sirens in the 70s. I know the potentials. The risks when I signed on. The sacrifices. Sure. Sure. But for the generic, quick message of “warrior, mission death,” I like Patton's version best.

     I broadcasted this message, and tons of agreements followed. But one said:

    "Doesn't really explain the dead from WW1, WW2, etc. Is this saying their deaths were meaningless? Yeah, you win by generally killing more of the enemy than they kill of you, I get that."

     Deaths … meaningless? Meaningless? Of course not. Many men died under Patton. War is such hell. They did die for an ov
erall cause. War and crime are always a question of numbers and percentages … and breathtaking loss.

     The message is – no day is a good day to die. No “warrior” should be ever so esoterically dedicated, pleased, proud, and willing to die like these martial arts posters suggest. Just … no. The Patton message is a smarter strategy and simple semantics. A subtle message to outsmart, to out-think. To survive to win as a goal, not die as a warrior. 

     Others talked about their friends taking care of all their paperwork and family business before leaving for war or hot areas. The military will make you do that. They claim their friends said they were "good." And "ready." "Everything in order." Having your “life business” in order before you march off to war is not worshiping death, like in the posters, which is my point. It’s just smart and cautious and realistic to prepare. I am talking about “worshiping death as some glorious benchmark." Instead, worshiping survival is the benchmark.

     Yeah, you might die today as a cop or a soldier. Yeah. Does that mean we are willing to die? Willing? I guess, to some extent? Just don’t be so damned pleased and proud about it. Time and history are fickle. One hundred years of passing time kills off the history of most individual sacrifices. The public is ignorant. Most don’t even know what the "4th of July" means. Or any historical event in any country for that matter. 

     These are the questions that often plague real soldiers and cops who have survived and suffer. Violence can be quite a negative experience. It can hurt the mind and the wallet. But it brews and churns in the blood of 17- to 30-year-olds (thus these posters?). But at some point, ya gotta grow up and face these negative facts. Worry and fight to survive it; don't worship it.

     People will always be interested in crime and war and gear. I am, probably to an unhealthy fault. Maybe like an addict? I don't know. But we do all this to fight the bad guys, whoever they are. It's a necessity. People pour over this stuff and study it to create the better, smarter tactics so that you can "make the other dumb bastard die" for his cause or country. Doing this is not worshiping violence. It's trying to end it.

     There is a lot of psychology here to knock around, essays full, but this blog isn't really so deep. Not at all. It's just about a simple choice between two posters. The Ninja poster glorifying your death or the Patton poster putting off your death for as long as possible with smarter tactics. I think that the folks with these martial arts posters (17- to 30-year-olds?) might eventually close the reality detachment gap as they get older and wiser. 

        That death in combat. There is a lot of talk about partying in Valhalla, all that ale-drinking and maiden-chasing or meeting up with all those vestal virgins. Or the citizenship in the heavens. I hope all that works out for you. 

     If you have to die, die fighting. Sure. Still, no day is a good day to die.
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