Some will think this arrant nonsense, but it is my rubbish, based upon my own experience, not someone else’s regurgitated. I have been blessed, and it is a blessing, with a very vivid visual imagination. From childhood I have never seen the pages or the script of a book, when reading I have been at the cinema, visualising the scenes and the action in detail, and where there was not enough detail my mind supplied the rest. Hanging, the electric chair, decapitation and all the rest, were vivid in my mind and horrifying, and even now to a jaded mind, they are vivid and unpleasant.
These thoughts, at 4 in the morning, were spawned by trying to find a solution for two serious problems of today, both random and mindless, terrorism and unprovoked, vicious attack. Since I was 17 years of age I have envisaged my demise, many times, in circumstances of war, in its broadest sense, and the most horrific was the training I had at 17 in hand to hand bayonet fighting. That experience was so graphic, so personal, so savage, I have never really got over it, and I used to think of the poor troopers in WW1, of the Desert Rats, in North Africa and Italy, and the combatants on the German retreat from Moscow. I can’t speak for others, but I believe, people in war avoid discussing their reactions, most of which they subdue to a low level, as there is no alternative. I have had to face the possibility of imminent death only twice, in an air raid, and on convoy. In one case I was so concerned for the welfare of another, and in the other, my own welfare; the incidents were over before I had time to be petrified. Killing remotely, that is, dropping depth charges, shooting with any weapon, even being a dedicated and committed suicide bomber, is impersonal. Being shot, torpedoed, bombed, or even attacked, unless you see it coming, is unanticipated and therefore the reaction is post firing or explosion. Being a possible target and aware of the fact is something one can accept equably, as it is part of the job and taken into account, not a constant source of anticipation.
I have said before, aggressive action is accompanied with a rise in adrenaline levels, which provides the incentive, the fearlessness, and the excitement. Excitement, in my limited experience, was the goal of most of my early wartime escapades, such as wandering around during air raids looking for the action. In joining up there is a level of that too, entering a world one has read about in jingoistic prose, and possibly spurred on by publicity and rhetoric – a push from the rear.
Currently on TV there is a level of aggression in films and cartoons for all ages, that is well over the top, beyond reason, and excessive. To the critical mind, mindless aggression is being substituted for story content and quality of production. The question is, ‘is it influencing the unimaginative, and being replicated in life?’
To condense this, it takes boredom, a desire for excitement, possibly a chip on the shoulder, an aim, spurious or valid, an applied incentive from an outside source, be it a theory, a strong individual in the group, or someone with a motive, to create a fertile environment for aggression, and even more dangerously, action. The training and the rhetoric will provide the excitement, indoctrination coupled with a dedicated leader, real believer or feigned, will take the sheep to the slaughter. The basis for the training and the ultimate action will come from a party which has an agenda of its own, the ability to subvert intellectually, a persuasive tongue, and enough reason and valid elements to fool all but the cynical.
I therefore believe, while it is necessary to watch for the bombers, it is the lines of communication and the prime movers, who need to be identified and removed by any means, nothing barred; we have to go down into the slime to find them and in the slime we must deal with them. They are randomly killing innocents for their own reasons, which probably are unrelated to the rhetoric. Taking the history of the Basque separatists, the killing of the innocents will achieve nothing.