Violence is no laughing matter

Leah Mcgregor and Leah Mcgregor

As many of you know, the movie “Troy” was featured Sept. 15, 17, and 19 at the Union theater.

I just returned from viewing the film, and I am writing because I am both disgusted and saddened by the behavior of a number of students in the audience. The movie is violent and bloody and not one for those with weak stomachs.

Nor is it a comedy.

As a history major with a focus on the twentieth century, particularly World War II, I have read and heard enough accounts of war and death to understand that there is nothing glorious about it.

Men do not die quietly and painlessly as people like to believe. They suffer sheer agony, such agony as only victims can understand. Veterans could tell you how inglorious it is.

What upset me at the movie was the laughter I heard at various times throughout the film.

I understand that it’s a movie, but I found no humor in watching men die, a young man falter when faced with death; a man say goodbye to his wife and infant son for the last time, or a father beg to give his son a proper burial.

I’m pretty certain that most of the individuals in the audience wouldn’t want to trade places with a prince who had never fought a man and now faced a much larger, battle-hardened warrior.

The fact that our countrymen and women are at this moment subject to similar perils thousands of miles from their homes and families, has not been lost on me.

I am not a pacifist and this is not a war protest.

I fully understand that war is a necessary evil sometimes. I’ve signed my commitment papers and I’ll be serving my country, and yours, beginning the day after I graduate.

Movies, video games, even the news have desensitized society to the realities of the world. Wars continue.

As Achilles says in the film, “[the killing] never ends.”

And while the means of fighting wars may have become “cleaner” (more precise).

Death, pain and loss have not become less gruesome, more dignified or more glorious.

A number of times I wanted to walk out of the theater; other times I just wanted to vomit.

I’ve never gotten used to watching humans kill each other, and to hear people laugh while I envisioned soldiers of the past and my friends on battle fields today was almost too much.

In the future, I may be called upon to take lives, and I’ll do so in the name of justice, but I will never relish it.

I will consciously be aware of the destruction I cause and the power I wield.

I hope that people will not allow themselves to be desensitized to war and death, for therein lies the danger to our humanity.

Compassion and mercy are also acts of courage and such actions are just as honorable as laying down one’s life for his friend, country or cause.