This is me right before I graduated Marine Corps Boot Camp in 1994 at Parris Island, SC.
Lately on social media I have noticed a lot of comparisons between people and sheep. Often when I open up my Facebook or Twitter people post articles or videos which state: “Wake Up” in the header. Not to mention you can click on any number of websites, blogs or channels and hear people ranting and raving about conspiracies. Now more than ever people can share massive amounts of information while on the other hand other people are finding it harder to cover up and hide other information. Never the less there are still people who don’t want to see what is right in front of their own eyes. Maybe the truth scares them. Maybe they are afraid of what this information could mean to their everyday comfortable lives.
As I previously stated there are many sources of information that challenge the world view of your average everyday American Citizen. Most choose to ignore it and follow the pack. This is where the term sheep comes into play. Let’s break it down into two sides: A) the “informed**” and B) the “Sheep.” Much arguing occurs when these two sides debate including fact throwing, name calling and/or ignoring of the other person all together. The only thing accomplished here is building an even larger divide between the two sides. This often results in throwing around labels such as “crazy” “stupid” or even worse.
This is no way to open a persons eyes. I propose if you really want to open someones eyes you have to challenge yourself. You must do something that the “informed” person normally wouldn’t do or even talk about. Go back to the time in your life when you were part of the flock of sheep. A time when you believed everything you saw in the news. A time that if you traveled back to in a time machine even your former self would think you were crazy. This is the only way to gain true perspective on how the so called “sheep” thinks, feels, perceives events, and reacts to fear.
In my own experience I looked back on a few key events that lead to my awakening. The first event that sticks out in my memory was the first Gulf War. I was in High School. I remember marking down on a dry erase calender all the events which lead up to the war and the war itself. I was only a freshman but i was totally enthralled. As far back as I could remember I had always been fascinated by US History and war. From the Revolutionary to the Civil War, from WWI,WWII to Vietnam. I watched movies, read books and talked to anyone I could about these subjects. I remember thinking back on the Revolutionary War and wishing I could be there to fight. As a matter of fact I imagined myself fighting all the wars in our past on the side of freedom and liberty.
So not surprisingly when my time came I joined the military. I chose the Marine Corps because of the honor, tradition and reputation as being the toughest to become a member. I chose the area of Aircraft Maintenance so I would have something to do when or if I chose to leave. This is where the second event that really sticks out in my head occurred.
It was a normal day just like any other in the Adriatic Sea on the flight deck of the Aircraft Carrier USS America. I was up on deck waiting for the planes to come back. For weeks the routine was: we would send planes up. We would go back to our shop maybe eat lunch. We would get the call hours later, head back up to the flight deck and the planes would land. Well this time was different. I had no idea what I was about to witness and it really seemed insignificant at the time. It took years to really process what had happened. This time when the planes landed i noticed something strange about the F-18s. The bombs on the wings were gone and all i could see was hanging wires.
Now as anyone in the military could attest unless you have a top secret clearance and a “need to know,” they don’t tell you anything. So we all looked at each other and were like:”well i guess we are bombing someone!” There was an excitement aboard the ship. We really felt like we were making a difference in the world, doing the work of the good guys!! Whoever we were bombing surely deserved it or it was necessary to stop some sort of “evil” in the world… right?
The weeks turned into months, and every time the ship went into port our squadron flew to Aviano Air Force Base in northern Italy. What a beautiful place!! We were just happy to see land and even though we had to keep up with our flight schedule we still found time to enjoy the town. The reason our squadron and planes were so different was because our planes jammed enemy radar. So even though the Carrier was in port, missions were still being flown from the Airforce base, and our planes needed to jam the radar for the bombers and fighters.
EA-6B Prowler Taking off from an Aircraft Carrier
Strangely enough it was another simple event, simple words spoken by a normal person that made it all click. Just like before however, I knew that I was experiencing an understanding, it just didn’t fully comprehend the meaning of the words til years later. So there I was on the ship, down below on the mess decks(place where we eat). I was sitting with friends. I cannot remember who. One of them was an ordinance man whose job was to load the bombs on the planes. Just then a group of other ordinance guys from the ship were wheeling some bombs past us on crates. The guy I was with was all excited and said:”Those are the new Laser Guided bombs!!” I said:”When do we start using those?” and he said:”We can’t use the new bombs until we use all the old ones.”
Marine Corps General Smedly Butler. Winner of Two Congressional Medals of Honor and turned down a Third. Reflecting back on his career which spanned from 1898-1931 he said this:”I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
That conversation always stuck in my head. I thought it was kinda funny. I often repeated it in a joking manner to my friends back home when I was on leave. As the years passed and my eyes opened I realized what a true statement that was. How that statement represents one of the main ingredients for most recent wars and further digging shows that it goes back even further than I thought. That ingredient being the need for war to support our economy. In order to drop the new bombs we had to “get rid of” the old ones. We had to create a demand for a supply that needed to be replenished constantly.
So in conclusion I Look back to those days. Re-live them to feel the emotions I felt when I believed this country actually went to war for just purposes. I try to see what exactly lead me to feel that way. The patriotism I felt when I wore the uniform. When I was younger the fear and hate I felt for the so called enemy. The enemy, people who are just like me and you, but were born on the other side of the planet so I was taught to hate them. Because fear and hate are used for control.
When I regain these old feelings along with that state of mind I have a better understanding of how the “sheep” thinks, feels, reacts. I realize that shouting facts at them and sending them multiple videos thru social media isn’t gonna change that person or how they feel. However talking to them rationally, finding out what they believe and why they believe it. Finding common ground to built a foundation for the truths that they might not want to see today, but may see in the future. We have to make time our ally in this fight against fear, hate and ignorance.
**(Now it is important to state that there is also an abundance of information that is partially true. It starts off with a truth and then is twisted to meet the demands of the twister. This is why it is imperative to educate yourself and do your own research!! I cannot stress this enough because much hate and bigotry can and has arose from these situations.)