Return to Pacifism

I have 7 books on my bedside table right now. The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman, The Essential Gandhi, by Gandhi, The Complete Wood Finishing Book by Jeff Hewitt, Altars of Unhewn Stone by Wes Jackson, Electoral Guerrilla Theatre by L.M. Bogad, , A Testament of Hope, the essential writings and speeches of Martin Luther King, and Pacifism as Pathology by (discredited professor) Ward Churchill.

All of these books are in various states of read.

As you can tell, quite a few of them are about pacifism. Obviously, i'm interested in the subject. Only problem is, although i've got all these half read books around, i'm still not any more prepared to sum up my post from the other day than...well, than i was the other day. Maybe i'll be able to get there today, but first, lemme tell you a couple more stories:

Story # 1: (reader beware! both of the following stories are violently graphic) Back when i was living at the craft center--where there wasn't much to do and the isolation made us all weird and stuff--I remember Steve B. once telling me that he'd seen, on the internet, a picture of a guy takin' a poop off the side of a cliff. (keep in mind this was 7 years ago and we all still thought what you could find on the internet was pretty cool). He explained that the man evidently had the squirts and the poop was coming out in a spiral pattern. Well, this was just too much for me. A spiral pattern? Really? Off a cliff? Do humans poop in a spiral pattern? I had to go look for myself.

And that's how i found rotten.com. For a few weeks i was entranced at pictures of gunshot wounds, roadkill, splattered intestines, and on and on. There in my cabin, alone at night, I would look, and then look away in horror at this parade of gore. One fateful night, though--and i've talked to other people that have seen this picture--i saw a guy on a hospital gurney, conscious and propping himself up on his own elbows, with the entire bottom half of his face gone. One eye had gone kind of askew. His tongue hung down like a necktie because he had no bottom jaw to hold it up. As if that weren't enough, someone had obviously photoshopped the color a little bit to make all the blood just a little redder and a little stickier and shinier than it already was.

And that was it. I never looked at the website again. I learned later that this guy was probably a soldier involved in explosives in some way. Evidently, those guys will be working quickly and will place the small detonator charges in their teeth. If they happen to bite down too hard--through accident or concentration--the thing explodes and off comes the lower half of their face. I decided over those two weeks i had seen all i wanted to of gore and i never really needed to see anymore.

Story # 2: One day, when Alison and i were leaving our house there on Lischey, we saw a couple of kids--maybe 15 years old--get into a fistfight over at that same crackhouse from Pacifism post #1. They were punching and hitting and had kindof ended up out in the street. As we waited for this to end we heard several little *pop* sounds. And the two kids seperated. One started walking away quickly and the other slowly. The second slow guy started to slump over and eventually fell into the street (not having put the "pops" together at the time, i remember thinking gleefully that one of the guys had totally cold-cocked the other one.) When slow guy finally collapsed on the pavement, guy number one came back, pointed a gun at his head and pulled the trigger. As he did it, i remember he kinda did the movie thing and held the gun sideways. After he'd pulled the trigger, he held the gun real loosely at about eye level, casually letting the gun remain trained on his victim and backed away. It looked just like Hollywood--exactly the place where this little boy had learn to kill things.

Anyway, i was almost too startled to move. I got out of the car as shooter kid and his miniature henchmen disappeared off up the street. I ran to check on the guy on the ground. Of course, what was i gonna be able to do, you know? Neighbors and their children stood in doorways looking at me. They'd seen it all before. I called 911 and stood over the kid who wasn't moving much at all. As i tried to tell the operator what was going on, the kid, lying there on his face, started blowing frothy, bloody bubbles out of a hole in his neck. A pool of blood spread from where his head lay on the pavement and a pool of pee spread from between his legs. The woman on the phone told me to place a towel under his head. I remember telling her i was afraid to touch him--and i know now that what i meant by this was that i was sickened by him. He was pulsing blood and bubbles, breathing jackhammer breaths, and if i had touched him...well, i don't really know. I just knew, as i stood over him, what it would feel like to touch his dry, boyish head, and the warm life oozing out of him. And i didn't want to feel that...


I'm still thinking about it, y'all.


Quiche said...

As for books on Pacifism, and in particular, Gandhi, I would recommend, "Mohandas K. Gandhi Autobiography- The Story of My Experiments with Truth" -I have the Dover edition, which nicely complements the movie, which is well worth seeing again.

I wish you much wisdom and insight.

Sarah said...

Ooooog, my stomach. Thanks for the heads up for the graphically sensitive. I don't need to pass out at work.

Syd said...

There's so many degrees of rottenness in this world. Some may not be as graphic as what you've experienced but more insidious. But then there are those golden moments that remind me of how great it is to just be alive on this day.

Pamela said...

you lived on Lischey?

we almost moved there....before I got accepted to Tech's nursing school.