Challenge #02442-F252: Free Will
When humans went to war in the past, they created weapons that can kill their enemies quickly and painlessly. As such they banned weapons and ammunition like hollow point bullets, flamethrowers, and any weapons that don’t kill humans as quickly as possible. -- Anon Guest
They say war never changes. They lie. What actually never changes is the depths to which combattants will sink to in order to gain a victory -any kind of victory- over the other side. Germ warfare is as old as the ability to fling a corpse over some fortified walls, or to leave one upstream of the besieged city's water supply. Murdering the innocent and unarmed is even older than that.
In war, more civilians die than any number of soldiers. They remain uncounted because they are civilians. They aren't important to the movers and shakers who create the wars in the first place. In war, there are terms of combat and the main battle is in seeing which side decides to ignore those first. Or which side can create a supremely vile weapon which wasn't discussed in the original terms of combat. New and more disgusting or horrifying ways to end the opposing forces.
First, of course, was germ warfare. Predating even the germ theory of disease dispersal. Next, came an assortment of attacks on supply chains. Burning the fields, diverting the water, or addicting the populace to debilitating drugs. Following that came mass poison. Adulterating the water supply has always been popular, but when they discovered how to adulterate the air. Gas attacks became the new terror. From there, things could only escalate.
Mustard gas. Nerve gas. Aerosolized pathogens. Humanity, especially, goes out of its way to kill the populace but leave the infrastructure intact. It's not about killing quickly, any more, to make certain that the other soldier doesn't get up to kill you or your friend. It's about spreading fear.
Terror has been weaponised. Ignorance and misinformation work hand in hand to spread ideas like a plague. Falsehoods like The Great Replacement, or the idea that the Other is also a terrorist, or the fear of the Thug who is not like a proper, upstanding citizen like yourself. Of course you're a proper, upstanding citizen. You're not one of Them. In order to prove that you're not one of Them, nor sympathise with Them, you repeat the horrible untruths to all your friends, lest they get infected with Themness.
So an ideology may spread, and suddenly perfectly nice people think it's okay to massacre everyone in a primary school, a place of worship, a gathering of the devout, a shopping mall... all because there were too many of Them going there. As for the innocent bystanders? Well... they can't have been that innocent, as they were tolerating the presence of Them.
With war sinking to the level of memetically-propagated hatred, it is harder and harder to end. Radicalisation of the citizenry leads to the destruction of historical monuments when people aren't available to slaughter. Without a past, the radicals can make the future into anything they like.
Hatred is the true poison. Not just in the air, but in the words we speak. In the ideas we believe. We don't even have a way to detect it, nor to erase its presence once it's got in. Hatred is the toxin without a decent cure, without a recovery rate... without a hope.
Hatred erases rationality. Hatred makes excuses. Hatred deceives the hater into believing that they are strong, that they are right, that they are fighting for their very way of life when, in fact, little such threat exists.
Fight it if you can. Choose peace. Choose to help your neighbour. Choose to assist. Choose the light.
Despite what hatred tells you, there is always a choice.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Paul_Cowan]
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