Wars and revolutions have been considered over the years as the most destructive choice that many nations have pushed through for the sake of fighting for their ideologies and interests. Just like the most aggressive natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, wars can end the lives of millions of innocent people in just a snap. All those ruthless bombing, deafening shootouts, and inhumane treatments among fighting nations are killing the world in such worse ways than natural disasters.
This makes war as one of the most hated, resented, and feared concepts. However, it has also become one of the most tackled topics and themes in literature, allowing those who never experienced it to see a glimpse of its nature and reality. In James William Gibson’s article, Warrior Dreams, he talks about the feeling of being “unnamed” by a war that never became victorious. In the face of challenges and obstacles, this man who has been weakened by the fight seems to have formed illusions of invincible warrior heroes like Rambo, Dirty Harry and Jack Ryan (Gibson 625).
An average and normal man would understand completely that the reality of being unmanned can be compared to a distressing situation in a man’s life where his greatest natural ability and strength are taken away: “Feeling unmanned by a war lost and by the rewriting of gender codes in the wake of the sexual revolution, millions of American men […] began to dream, to fantasize about the powers and features of another kind of man who could retake and reorder the world” (Gibson 625).
This would most certainly leave that person weak in his own awareness and belief; therefore, he will need something or someone—even an imaginary hero—from whom he can gain strength and an inspiration of invincibility. This, Gibson notes, can be one of the most potent roots of ruthless violence and inhumanity. Like many literary artists and sociologists who explored wars and revolutions in their works, Gibson admits that wars are practically naturally occurring events.
He even claims that wars have divine histories as well — that during the ancient societies, even gods used wars as a way to set up the deified order of things: “These cosmogonic, or creation, myths posit a violent conflict between the good forces of order and the evil forces dedicated to the perpetuation of the primordial chaos. After the war in which the gods defeat the evil ones, they establish the ‘sacred order’” (Gibson 633).
This claim, together with most of the academic claims about wars, implies that generally, wars are something which is innate in the tendencies of human beings and that war and violence appears to be never-ending exhibition of power by the humans—a power that they think they own. There are a lot of current issues and happenings that can be related to Gibson’s perspective on war and violence.
Aside from the seemingly unending wars and violent acts rooted in religious conflicts and ideological clashes, Gibson’s discussion on the nature and reality of war and violence can also be exemplified in the case of a ruthless shooting in school done by mere adolescent boys rattled the entire nation — a nightmare that they never imagined to ever occur. It was a perfect spring morning in the fields of the Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado. As the investigation revealed, the deaths of 13 innocent people were indeed done by two boys by the name of Eric Harris, 18 years of age and Dylan Klebold, 17 (Bradley).
The two started packing their rigging weapons and bombs in their duffel bags on the morn of April 20, 1999. After preparing their weapons and god-knows-what, they headed to Columbine High School. It was past 11 in the morning when the first set of gunshots were heard by the students from the cafeteria and they immediately scooted under the table to protect themselves from what they cannot deny as danger. What followed next was a series of pointless, cold-blooded shooting and bombing by the two young gunmen.
The police were immediately present in the area; however, they were not able to protect the lives of 13 innocent people who fell dead. After the shootings and bombing, when the police and the SWAT were finally ready to enter the campus, the gunmen, Harris and Klebold, ended their own lives. This was just one of the most gruesome and distressing violent acts the whole of America has witnessed over the years. However, what disturbed most Americans about this incident was the involvement of two young people as the gunmen themselves.
After the incident, a lot of harsh critics passed the blame onto the media industry for their irresponsible broadcasting and insufficient monitoring and control with the messages and content they convey. A lot of parents not just grieved but also blamed every possible medium which they think has contributed to the growth of violent materials in the mass media industry and consequently affected the behavior of children. However, even to this date, no one can be really certain about what went on in Harris and Klebold’s minds to do such a thing.
But considering Gibson’s discussion on the nature and reality of wars and violence, one could infer that these two boys just had an urge of power exhibition in false knowing and understanding that they can control and change the order of the world.
Bradley, Ed. “What Really Happened At Columbine? ” CBS News. 17 April 2001. 9 July 2009. <http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2001/04/17/60II/main286144. shtml>. Gibson, James Wilson. “Warrior Dreams. ” Title of the Book. Ed. First Name Last Name. Location: Publisher, Year. 625–633.
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