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Reality Check

by Jeremy Baillie

there must be days when God looks down upon his creation and says to himself, "Where did I go wrong with those humans?" We are without a doubt capable of amazing feats of kindness, compassion, and charity. Unfortunately, we all know too that we are equally as capable of unimaginable acts of cruelty, barbarism, and inhumanity.

It seems everywhere we turn these days, whether it is to our televisions or our newspapers, the discussion centers around two issues: the war in Kosovo and the violence in our culture. Society needs a real reality check on both issues.

First the war in Kosovo, we call it a war yet we protest against NATO bombings that inadvertently kill civilians. Well, regardless of advances in technology it is difficult to conduct a war without a few innocent bystanders getting killed. I grieve and lament the loss of innocence lives as much as anyone and I am not condoning nor condemning NATO's actions, but I am being realistic. In the middle of a war, unfortunately innocent people are going to get killed. Innocent people get killed every day by diseases, drunk-drivers and numerous other types of criminals yet we do not show the same outrage at their deaths as we do people caught in the middle of a war zone.

It seems we want to see the Kosovars free of fear for their very lives, but we do not want to see anyone get hurt in the process. Wars are a bloody business, this is why they should be a last resort, if a resort at all. This is the reality we need to wake up to. Perhaps, because of the way the Gulf War was sanitized for us by the television media, we now think its possible to have a war we're only the wrong-doers get killed. It is not a reality. I dare anyone to ask, the World War II veterans in France this past June if it is possible to have a war where innocent people do not get killed is possible. I will guarantee you they will say it is not.

we are perhaps the only species in which the parents are capable of killing their children and children are equally as capable of killing their parents.

The other reality we need to see is the violence that pervades our society. Suddenly, if we believe the so-called experts, our society has gotten violent. This means that until recently we were enjoying a Golden Age of non-violence. I somehow doubt that. Children today grew up seeing just as much violence as I did when growing up. Only their violence is not Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny around with a shotgun. Our culture has always been violent and to act like it is a new phenomenon means will never find a way to make it less violent. We are perhaps the only species in which will kill its own young. Plenty of species will kill the young within their own species, but we are perhaps the only species in which the parents are capable of killing their children and children are equally as capable of killing their parents.

We are addicted to violence and we have been all throughout our existence. The Middle Ages saw bloody wars for territory during which war was seen as something noble. The Greeks and the Romans used to kill boring Sunday afternoons at the Coliseums watching the Gladiators, or the Christians and lions doing their act. Of course, they would be able to do this when they were not off conquering some nasty bunch of barbarians.

We need to see our addiction. Every treatment program for an addiction says you need to recognize you have a problem before you can solve it. We need to recognize that we are and always have a violent culture then perhaps we can bring about a change in the violence that pervades our society. Until we realize that yesterday and today represent two steps towards tomorrow we will not be able to make the change.

Jeremy Baillie is an Elementary Education major and a regular contributor to canadian content.
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