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Kids play war - it's just a natural event in growing up.  Usually the simulation is in some totally safe form that hides everything that kids should know about the reality, and they just have a lot of fun without being made to think about anything: Video games, nerf guns, water balloons, etc.  Well, one time when I was playing war as a little kid (I don't remember exactly how old), we stepped it up a notch: Instead of nerf darts or dodge balls or something that's almost as fun to get hit with as to avoid, we started throwing rocks at each other while hiding behind walls, trees, and cement pillars.  The very first time I peeked my head out from behind a wall and something substantially whizzed right by head too fast to see, and I jerked the hell back afraid to look out again, I knew intuitively exactly what all the corny fake-war depictions I'd seen on TV were really about.  I was getting a taste of war - but I got that in real war that rock would have killed me, and a thousand more would have followed it, and turned the wall I'd hidden behind into swiss-cheese.  Suddenly I got it, and I was not having fun anymore.

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The fact that I had a big pile of my own rocks sitting beside me that I could throw myself didn't change anything.  It didn't take away one iota of the danger of the rocks being thrown by the other team, but instead made me acutely aware that if I was to keep playing this game, I might end up contributing to the anxiety and fear of people who were my friends, or cause them nontrivial pain if they got hit.  It was a moment of clarity you don't find too often in children playing a war game, but it hit me: What we were doing was bad, and what's more, a mere facsimile of something far worse.  But that was just thoughts on war.

As it pertains to the weapons themselves, I'm reminded of the experience between we were all equally armed and protected, but I didn't feel the least bit more secure.  In some ways, I felt less secure - as if the ability to defend myself made me a target, and also impose onerous moral and ethical obligations I wouldn't necessarily be able to appreciate in the heat of the moment.  Basically, combat is a state of chaos, both within and within the mind of the person making decisions, and people who behave as if some magic takes places where being armed makes one automatically safe don't know wha
t they're talking about.

The only way out of that game, if it were - if there were a dozen guys hiding in holes and ditches and bind walls to throw rocks at interlopers - the only way to deal with that situation peacefully and constructively would be bilateral disarmement of all parties involved.    Dump the on the ground in an open area where everyone can see them, and then bury them.  I guess the core point is that arming yourself does not necessarily empower yourself - that is an illusion.  You are simply buying a share of chaos without the tools and means to mitigate chaos.  The man crouching behind a wall ducking enemy gunfire and periodically scrounging the nerve peek up and return fire does not feel safe or empowered, he's stuck in a chaotic shithole.  Guns are not the answers.  They do not make places safer.  Their only purpose is to be kept far away from people, and then brought in only as a contiency when chaos is preferable to specific atctivity - rare though such occurrences are.

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