Friday, November 20, 2009

Re-thinking Fort Hood (and UC Berkeley): Why war is NEVER a good idea

I have been getting a lot of negative feedback lately regarding an essay I wrote about Major Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter. I had suggested that Hasan might have gone postal because he was under the influence of antidepressants. "That's a conspiracy theory," one person wrote. "Antidepressants have done a lot of good for a lot of people," wrote another. But the one comment that really got to me was, "It doesn't matter if Hasan was on anti-depressants or not! He has ruined a lot of lives and hurt a lot of people."

And so I am re-thinking my position on the Fort Hood slayings. It was wrong of me to even hint that the use of antidepressants might even possibly have justified this horrendous crime. Nothing justifies taking another human life. Nothing.

The guys in the Pentagon need to get that through their heads. And "terrorists" need to get that through their heads too. Even death penalty advocates need to re-think their position. And criminal minds definitely do. "Thou shalt not kill." Period.

If the human race is ever going to evolve out of the muck and mud of primordial existence, then this all-too-commonly accepted practice of killing other people -- for whatever reason -- has just got to stop.

But what does the Fort Hood tragedy have to do with the University of California at Berkeley? Hmmm. If all those jerks in Washington hadn't started those stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we wouldn't have spent approximately a trillion dollars (so far) on these useless, stupid wars -- and we might have used that money to educate our children instead.

Here's a video of me up at the UC Berkeley campus protests, watching possible future Einsteins fighting for their right to afford an education here in this beautiful country of ours.

And here's another video of protesters outside the sit-in at UC's Wheeler Hall. I am here to tell you that Cal students are really pissed off about this enormous fee hike -- whether they go to the protest or not. These students are much more pissed off than any teabagger ever dreamed of being. These students' education, job opportunities and future lives are being completely endangered by these cuts. As the cream of our society is being shunted away from higher education by these nasty cuts, America is heading even further downhill.

But spending money on useless wars instead of on useful education isn't the only issue here in Berkeley right now. "Why should the government raise our fees by 32%," one student asked, "and yet give Wall Street bankers hundreds of billions of dollars in bonuses?" Why indeed.

PS: These photos are of the UC demonstration, and of my family at the Monterey Bay Aquarium -- including my granddaughter who may never be able to to to Cal when she grows up. The photo with the cop car is courtesy of Bob Patterson and