This I Believe

Julianne - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: war
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I’ve been to hospitals many times, and I’ve witnessed disease and death overcome patients and their families. Patients fight against their own bodies and the struggle is often lost. People die every day by the thousands due to disease — betrayed by their own bodies. Then you have war. Thousands die every year – murdered by their own kind for reasons unknown to even the people participating in this manslaughter. The struggle does not come from within their body but from the outside world – thousands dead every year – betrayed by their own human brothers. War picks people off one by one without reason or motive. I believe war is a killer, a murderer, ten times worse than any cancer.

One day a lonely teenager decided to take his own life, but not before he took the lives of many other innocent people. He wrote a suicide note saying how he wanted to be famous, and the next morning he was plastered on every news channel in the area. The anchor said “Disturbed teen kills eight people before turning the gun on himself.” I knew this kid. He sits next to me in every class, he asks for a pencil when he doesn’t have one, he will follow me to my college campus and he will be there in the mall when I go Christmas shopping. I also knew the killer in the next news clip. This time the anchor reads “Iraq war claims the lives of six more soldiers today.” At first I thought nothing of it. They were two entirely different situations. Then I realized that just like the teenager, no reason or motive was offered to the now grieving families of the dead soldiers. Both families were forced to prepare a quickie funeral and pick up the pieces after the death of their loved ones. When the war is over, it will then turn the gun on itself, and disappear, leaving its mark in history books and news articles. But not before it leaving countless families distraught and heartbroken, just like the disturbed teenage killer.

I don’t know anyone who has had a first-hand experience with war, and the closest I’ve ever to a battle field was in the comfort of my own home watching Saving Private Ryan and Flags of our Fathers. But I don’t need my finger on the trigger of an AK -47 or hand grenade to understand the destruction that follows in the wake of a war. It has swept the world, like plague, disease, and depressed teenagers. I believe war is a killer.