Saturday, April 26, 2008
What was the tipping point?
Michael Stokely, 23, killed in 2000 a few miles south of Baghdad. Read the comments on The 48th goes to war.
What makes a man prepared to kill?
I remember a conversation with a young man. A devout Christian and youth leader, he lived a responsible life. He wanted to take a year “off” after leaving school to work with street kids in another city through his music. His parents expected him to go to university and continue to live at home.
He was passionate about planes; he wanted to fly or to be a doctor, but he is colour blind. He thought about being a paramedic, being flown in to rescue injured in the mountains. His career options were always to serve others.
Finances were tight at home. Family expectations were for a university degree. The armed forces would provide a salary as well as a degree. He joined the army as an officer cadet. He was 18. He reached a point where he had to face the question about whether he was prepared to kill another human being, or order his men to kill.
Another student who wanted to fly looked to the air force to get a degree, to have some adventure, to be with his mates. He was told that he would not be able to fly a particular plane because the length of his leg from his hip to his knee was too long. He would lose his legs if he had to eject. He thought a bit more.
He paid his own way through university.
Neither choice was “right” or “wrong”. But I wonder, when a self-declared Christian and pacifist who wanted to help street kids through music signs that he is prepared to kill, what happened along the way?
Does a culture of peace start with an equitable distribution of wealth? Or does it start when love and respect over-rides ambition?
Kay de Lautour Scott