My sister is in the United States Navy. She was stationed in Naples, Italy for four or five years where she worked at a naval hospital. Their hospital was a secondary to the primary hospital in Germany for soldiers injured in this noble, if not hopeless and ill-concieved, war in Iraq. Last year she took the opportunity to return to the States. Last week she told me how the military sent her to a shooting range. Now she just returned from a week long "survival camp" training, where they practiced procedures like "protect the convoy." She has served in the military for ten years. She has been a reliable cog in our apparatus of war. We agreed these "trainings" were a bad indicator. She is much more interested in taking her kids to those "spaces" I talked about earlier than say.... being incinerated by a roads-side bomb. She's working on that.
During the week-long camp, she said she was kept company by a military "chaplain," who was there to offer moral support for people of faith. She said he was really friendly but she had a strange feeling about him. Maybe because he was from Kentucky, or because he was very conservative, or because he could only think of things to praise about our current president.
Then she asked him about his "XXX" tattoo. Oh, nothing big. He used to be into straight edge and what not. When she told me that, I laughed. "Whoa. I'm not going to say the guy is crazy but you may want to keep your distance." She said he did give her grief when she said she enjoyed a hotdog and a beer at a baseball game. The straight edge touting of "no sex, no drugs, no tolerance" probably breeds hypocracy more than anything else but followers seem to treat it with seriousness when it's convenient. Straight edgers often push for veganism as well, which is good for some, but sketchy as far as applying it to an entire society. I agree we could all eat less red meat but something about the way vegetarians buy IMITATION meat? I think your body is trying to tell you something. It would be nice to have a balance of life so killing for food could be avoided, but that is not the design of our world. I'm sure there's something about that in the Bible if you want to look it up.
As a lost relative of the KKK, straight edgers seem to build off that hatred for those who are different; specific differences growled at many historical rallies, such as "I hate them because they breathe, because they exist." I, too, would have a chip on my shoulder if someone were to do that around me. But this is the "Dark Side" George Lucas tries to warn against. Imagine a malnourished, anemic Darth Vader, just without the costume, cyber limbs or supernatural powers; Him and ten of his buddies are trying to take you down like a scene from Gulliver's Travels. They probably mostly need an outlet for all those repressed feelings, but I'm sure somewhere in there, they are hoping you can be "reasoned with." I, personally, make all efforts to avoid people who habitually adhere to wacky doctrines that tend to override what should be "their own better judgement." I try to avoid them but it sure isn't easy.
Anyone exxxtreme enough to get a "XXX" tattoo on their body (whether they are into punk, clean-living, porn or Vin Diesel) is simply not worth interacting with. The ignorance is a hundred times more terrifying than the violence. Please feel free to use that as your motto if you are into that kind of thing.
Anyway, George W. Bush may find this young man perfect as a chaplain (these are people with conviction and resolve, after all) and I wish him the best in where he is going. To my sister on the other hand, my thoughts are: Run, for god's sake, run! Away from wars and thugs and collect on the freedom you served a decade of your life to sustain.