Interested in your thoughtsSubmitted by michaelmacfee on Tue, 09/27/2011 - 13:25
I woke up this morning and checked out facebook as I usually do. A few of my friends had pasted a circulating status about cancer. I'm really not sure why but I decided to write a note about it and vent on two other issues. I just started typing and this is what I came up with. I'd love to hear other opinions on the topics...
A lot of people are updating their status about cancer awareness with November only a few days away. I'm very happy to see them because cancer is a terrible, unfortunate condition which now inflicts 1 in 3 women over their lifetime and 1 in 2 men. Cancer is devastating and deadly, but I have to comment on two subjects that are also devastating and deadly and for which the cures are well-known and readily available.
There are 40,000 deaths per year in the USA alone by suicide. The main cause of suicide in people under the age of 20 is bullying. And while some may feel that 40,000 is somewhat low, that is the 40,000 who are so greatly affected that they actually end their lives. This doesn't include the millions who are hospitalized for trying or who become mentally crippled or any of that. There's a kid named Jamey Rodemeyer who ended his life last week after battling through bullying throughout his middle and short high school life. As a homosexual, he was told by classmates to kill himself, called a faggot by those classmates, and ridiculed daily. When his sister made it back to school there was a small procession to remember jamey, and a few classmates told his sister, "we're glad that fat faggot is gone" and "he should be dead" (unimportant side note: he wasn't even overweight). Cancer is a disease that is hard to predict or identify before development, bullying however is not. It is a simple question of character and conscience. The bullies are the ones who should be dropping like flies, not the kid who came out of the closet only to help out others dealing with depression and bullying. Sure, the image of a man porking another man grosses me out to a near gag, but it's no excuse to abuse a homosexual person who was literally born that way (it has nothing at all to do with choice). It is unacceptable, it is unbelievable to think that we have people in the world as cruel as this. These bullies are murderers, yet this morning they are sitting in their school class looking for a new victim now that Jamey is dead. You have every right to free speech and no law can or should take that away under any circumstances, but you also have a responsibility to not be so brutal that your free speech literally kills people.
When I was 12, we had been in Afghanistan for a couple years, and we announced the invasion of Iraq to wrestle away Iraqs dangerous nuclear weapons. From 2001-2010, I paid no attention at all to what was happening overseas. I was told we were doing the right thing. I was told we were getting the bad guys, helping out the people of Iraq and doing wonderful things. I figured the terrorists were being killed and civilians were living more like the people of the USA. It didn't cross my mind in the slightest that civilians may be dieing, it didn't cross my mind that they may not want us there. It didn't cross my mind that we were invading Afghanistan and Pakistan in retaliation for 9/11, yet 15 of the 19 terrorist hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. I figured Osama Bin Laden was pure evil who wanted to destroy America because of our freedom and prosperity (he is evil, but that's not why he wanted to destroy America). I thought the soldiers wanted to be over there as humanitarians and soldiers of freedom. It didn't cross my mind that OBL might've done interviews with American news organizations, and written letters, both warning of a 9/11 type of event if we did remove our military bases from their Holy Land and did not stop killing their men, women, and children. It did not occur to me that there were actual people who lived in Iraq. It didn't cross my mind that the soldiers coming home from Iraq did not want to go back not out of fear, but because they knew how wrong and illegal our actions were in a country that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda prior to our invasion and occupation. It didn't dawn on me that just a few years before 9.11, we paid Osama Bin Laden and trained the Taliban to fight off the Soviets, and paid them massive amounts of money and weapons. I was told they (they being almost anyone in the middle east) hated us because of our freedom and prosperity, and i believed it because I didn't understand and I frankly didn't care to find out or learn. I was too busy getting ready for a high school football game to care about people being murdered and killed and bombed and losing limbs and bleeding out to death, I cared about a girl and sports.
But now is the year 2011, more than 10 years after 9/11, and I've bothered to take a look at what is actually happening over there. 3000 US civilians died on 9/11/2001. Since then: 7000 coalition troops have perished, including 4,475 US troops. There is no official Iraqi civilian count, but estimates range from hundreds of thousands (at the lowest) to justforeignpolicy.org's tally of 1,455,590. 1,455,590 innocent Iraqi civilians dead. real people, dead solely because of Americas occupation. So you justify it, say it's unfortunate but a necessary evil on the path to making everyone of the world safer and happier in the long run. But if this is true, why did we not go to war with Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers where from and where the oppresion is still at the point where women cannot vote, drive a car, show their face in public, or leave the house without male supervision? If we're defeating terrorism, why are there more suicide bombings per month now than there were total in every month leading up to 9/11 ever. Why are there more suicide bombings per month post 9/11 and war than there were total from the year 0 a.d. through 2001? If we were bombing Libya to help their good people overtake a dispicable dictator, why are millions of dollars worth of surface to air missiles now missing and why has Al Qaeda (who were never near Libya under Ghadafi's rule) now spread to Libya? If America is doing the right things, why are so many American citizens plotting against their own home nation? Why are so many American civilians flying to Somalia to join Al Shabob and Al Qaeda? (the confirmed number hasn't quite hit triple digits, but that doesn't include those not confirmed) Why were so many of these hate groups and terrorist groups formed after 9/11? Why are America and Israel the only two countries who oppose a Palestinian state, while the rest of the world understands that they deserve one? Why was Pat Tillman killed by members of his own batallion, and why did Army generals and officials as high up as Donald Rumsfeld KNOWINGLY lie to his family about how he was killed? Why did they feel the need to push the Tillman family to put on a huge military funeral which was nationally televised? If we went into Iraq to help the Iraqi people decide things for themselves, why did we build a US embassy in the capitol of Kabul that costs 1 billion dollars? Why do we have an embassy with the largest pool in the world and literally it's own school system for families of embassy workers, if we plan to let the people be free to decide? Why does Ron Paul, who's position is to immediate withdrawal troops, receive more campaign contributions from active duty military than the rest of the presidential candidates combined?
I haven't turned into a hippie and I haven't gone completely crazy. The cancer status is great because it brings awareness to a devastating disease that effects so many people and can be often so painful. But right now cancer is relatively unavoidable and our technology these days makes many cases devastating but not fatal (of course there are still many cases that are). Cancer is difficult to avoid, and we currently are doing everything we can to work towards prevention and better treatments which is all we can really do. Bullying is not unavoidable. Perpetual, unconstitutional, illegal war and empire building and killing 1.4 million Iraqi civilians is not unavoidable.
Thank you so much for just hearing me out. I think that regardless of your opinion on any one of many issues, it's important to at least know about them or hear about them to be able to make any kind of educated decision in all facets of your life. You don't have to agree with me, but I appreciate you listening to my view as I would to yours. Things will never, ever get better if we don't even admit that they happen and they're real.