By Dave Patterson, San Diego Veterans for Peace
How can we talk with our school children about the irrationality of violence when we happily take them to gun shows, military air shows and military museums where indiscriminate killing is portrayed as a fun activity for all?
Since the last school shooting, our educators are racing to prevent more violence by implementing depression screenings and Rachel’s Challenge non-violence program, while at the same time we promote our violent American culture. Now some are talking about banning sales of guns to those younger than 21, so wouldn’t it be logical to assign an NC-17 rating to the institutions that promote violence?
At the core of all this violence is the way we promote it in American culture. Selling someone an assault weapon that’s designed for killing people is clearly the promotion of violence against other people. In San Diego, we bus our school kids to the USS Midway where the ship was used to bomb Vietnam and helped kill 2 to 3 million people there. Yet everyone gets a thrill looking at the cool planes that deliver bombs on whomever.
Then once a year we flock to the Miramar Air Show where undiscerning killing is portrayed as fun. At the 2017 Miramar Air Show, the MVFA-225 attack squadron mocked death and destruction by displaying a “Death Dealers” hearse and casket manned by skeletons parked next to one of their planes. They can claim that the people they kill while bombing are bad guys, but innocent civilians pay the highest price and mocking their deaths sends a clear message to our children that violence is OK, even if untold innocent civilians die at the same time.
In the movie theaters, NC-17 is defined as no children under 17 admitted, because people younger than 17 cannot properly deal with violent and perverse information. This begs the question: At what age is it acceptable to indoctrinate our children in the ways of using violence? Our elementary schoolchildren are being bused to visit the USS Midway and Miramar Air Show, some as young as 4, and the effect on their minds regarding the use of violence cannot be measured.
To purchase cigarettes or vote one must be 18. The earliest age of consent to join the military is 17. So, why do we allow our school children to be indoctrinated into the methodology of killing? While the proud history of the USS Midway and the heroism of its sailors are touted everyone can agree that such warship had only one purpose — and that is to kill people and disrupt others’ lives. I’ll bet our children get that.
We don’t let our children watch movies where people are dismembered and burned, but we take our children to revel in the technology that does just that, with no age restrictions. And why are children allowed into gun shows to play with assault weapons designed only to kill people? Do we want our kids to think that it’s fun to kill people?
We at The San Diego Veterans For Peace have previously argued that the Miramar Air Show is designed to influence children toward the coolness of committing violence on others as a recruiting tool. In my mind, gun shows and the USS Midway have the same negative effect. Let’s rethink why Americans promote violence to our children and then attempt to re-educate them away from it with programs like Rachel’s Challenge. It’s time for age restrictions on our American culture, rating the USS Midway, gun shows and the Miramar Air Show as NC-17. Don’t take the kids.
Dave Patterson is Past President of San Diego Veterans For Peace, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org