Episode 132: A Gamer/Nerd’s Take on Veteran’s Day

Today is Veteran’s Day and I’d like to take a moment to show my appreciation to all men and women in uniform who serve, not just for the US armed forces but for pretty much everyone.  While I’d much prefer a world in which no armies where necessary, the reality is that nations need soldiers for the terrifying “just in case scenarios” where they are necessary. To paraphrase the old Vietnam protests said, “I’m not against the soldiers, I’m against the war” reflects a lot of my own personal ideology towards how pacifism is an ideal that should be sought, though never expected. Some countries have partial military service for all people for a temporal quota of a few years, some are completely voluntary, and some have an everyone is in the army until you are old scenario. Still, if you have gone through the discipline and hardship of everything that entails the army/navy/air force/marines/national guard/coast guard you have my respect.

As a gamer/nerd I find it fascinating that often times we the least prepared to battle romanticize the concept of combat. Be it through Kung Fu flicks, D&D swords and sorcery, LARPing, or pretty much and first person shooter game out there fighting is seen as something cool which can net you glory and honor. Those who head into basic training with the hopes of being a real live Call of Duty game gets a harsh wake up call in like the first twenty minutes. I have no real idea what happens once you join besides the army scene of Forrest Gump and Full Metal Jacket but shooting stuff seems like something that you do almost none of the time. To be fair, once the shooting starts happening lots of bad stuff follows immediately so, you know…

Action in conflict in almost every facet of popular culture is viewed in a way that is either gruesome or awesome. If we have empathy towards the shooter then its cool but once you are on the other emotional side of the barrel the concept of fear and the permanence of death becomes clearer. This spectrum of action hero to horror victim shifts in focus swiftly and people’s perception of soldiers and thus veterans falls into this field of vision pretty quickly. It’s not necessarily entertaining but people need to see that these stories are only a glimpse of the full picture of what this life is like. For all my aspirations of being a paladin/jedi/whatever, a soldier’s discipline is a part of that and I may not enlist any time soon but I gotta give credit where it’s due. So for those still out there, those who made it back, and those who didn’t return, I salute you.

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