Arms’ Length

Let’s not stop killing. Let’s just do it from a distance.

Sometimes I wonder about the first hominid who intentionally killed another hominid. (And I’d bet my life it was a man.) Was he horrified at what he had done? Or did he look at it the same way he looked at hunting animals for food?

Here’s where it gets weird for me. If he was horrified, shouldn’t the natural instinct have been to say, “Right. That was scary and gross. Let’s try not to do that ever again.”              

Instead (and I find this very telling), Man went in a completely different direction as a result of that horror. What they actually seem to have thought was, “Right. That was scary and gross. Let’s try to come up with some way that we can do that without having to actually watch the light go out of their eyes as we get spattered with gore.”

In other words, let’s not stop killing. Let’s just do it from a greater distance.

And then, as everyone jumped on that bandwagon, the main goal was to come up with weapons that had a longer range than the other guys’, so you could win. And on it went, throughout history, to the point where today some kid in a uniform in a trailer in Nevada can take out a caravan of Afghani women and children without even having to break a sweat. And the guilt factor from that remove must be akin to knocking out your best friend’s Pokemon. Yay us.

The first murder was probably done with a stone or a tree branch. You could feel the vibration of the impact go down your arm. You could smell the copper in their blood. That was still the case when we progressed to swords and axes and maces. Now you just look at a computer screen, and go, “Oops. Well, they looked like bad guys…”

Children today don’t have to worry about sticks and stones breaking their bones. They have to worry about some nutjob with an AK-47 semi-automatic that can fire 40 rounds per minute as far as 380 yards. They’re not taught how to play musical chairs anymore. They’re taught to duck and cover. And, for what it’s worth, anyone who thinks this is the cross we all should bear so that they can maintain their 2nd Amendment rights is f***ed up beyond recognition.

Think about this. A blowpipe had a range of 60 feet. An atlatl could throw a spear 60-300 feet, but its accuracy rapidly diminished. An English Longbow could send a heavy arrow 819 feet, and light arrow as far as 1077 feet. Interestingly enough, a Brown Bess Musket, such as those that would have been used in the Revolutionary War, had an effective firing range of 900 feet. So our founding fathers hadn’t progressed much beyond the longbow, and probably assumed our progress would continue to be that slow. Such was the world when the second amendment was written.

Now, a light machine gun can go 3000 feet. A heavy one can go twice as far, which means, if you’re keeping track, that at this point we could kill each other from more than a mile away. And if you get ahold of an anti-tank missile, your range is 12,303 feet. Whereas an MLRS rocket artillery system has a range of 137,280 feet. That means you can kill someone 26 miles away, sit down to Sunday dinner, and say grace without even having to allow yourself a hint of irony. Can I get an Amen?

And we Americans invented the predator drones, which you can fire via a satellite uplink from the other side of the world. These drones are longer than a 3 story building is tall, and they can cruise around up there, like sharks searching for wounded fish, for 24 hours or more. One could be flying over you this very minute, and you’d never know. Nothing scary or gross about that, right?

Make no mistake: Humans are the most terrifying animals of all.

Now is the perfect time to stay at home and read a good book. Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

6 thoughts on “Arms’ Length”

  1. As a species, we’re gifted with the greatest potential to succeed if we could just control our fears. Even Leonardo Da Vinci, with his ability to create such moving works of beauty, contributed to the advancement of war machines. Amazing how many humans casually accept wars, violence and the weapons used to perpetrate such inhumane acts, as necessary, yet are offended, to the point of threating violence, by mere words… Sad we even have to have a banned books week, but grateful we’re still allowed to. What worries me now, is that censorship on social media, in an effort to control misinformation, is haphazard and sometimes silences the wrong voices and/or adds to the division. You have to examine a problem from all perspectives if you want to solve it. Can’t do that if your information is 90% redacted. So let’s pickup a banned book, with it’s knowledge being our only weapon, as we battle the fears that ignorance feeds and thank your local librarian for their service.

  2. So it’s still available if you want to see it but not allowed on here. Reading in 2022 with Levar Burton | The Daily Show … proving my point about sometimes silencing the wrong voices.

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