Sunday, November 12, 2006

People have not yet gotten the relationship between the existence of automatic weapons and bravery.

So you bravely charge into the automatic weapon group and get cut down. So?

So you wield an automatic weapon and mow people down. So?

In World War I, the existence of automatic weapons gave defense a huge advantage. The generals of the time, called in one book about them "the donkeys" didn't want to know and didn't know.

They kept wanting to think that some other form of sending brave acting men out of the trenches into automatic weapon fire would have a different outcome.

Thousands of men, a generation of Europe acted brave in those charges and were supported in those charges by various offensive ideas and died anyway.

A young man in the street kills someone with an automatic weapons, maybe several people. So?

I don't think ideas of manhood have gotten the memo so men, women and children keep dying.

The lesson was available in the US Civil War. Picket's Charge, Battle of Gettysburg, the Southern guys took the fight to the Northern guys' territory. They bravely marched up a long hill into withering automatic weapon fire. So their bravery did what? Caused them to die.

But European military thinkers weren't into taking the US Civil War seriously. Famous military thinker Clausowitz said that war was mobs roaming the countryside occasionally facing each other. At first, it was. The first part of "A Red Badge of Courage" seems just like that. The Northern mob bolts to the rear in a scared mob way.

But later it wasn't like that. It was more like World War II. We the generals tell you the young guys to advance into automatic weapons fire. So?

Someone with a little less invested in old fashioned ideas of bravery needs to somehow think and speak about this in a way that can be communicated to young men.

Joe Marshall of the San Francisco Boys and Girls Clubs is having a conference on Urban Violence in Birmingham. He wants youth alive and free. Yes.