Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Justified Homocide"...huh?

So, I had an interesting experience today.

Dropped off some work to be done at a sub-contractor's today, and popped into the office to drop off a purchase order with the secretary. On her desk was a copy of The Kite Runner, a wonderful book a friend of mine recommended I read while both of our boyfriend's were deployed to Afghanistan.

And I commented to that affect. To which she responded: "Is he back?"

"Yep!" (Me, elated.)

She, slightly coldly: "Thank goodness, he's lucky he made is back alive."

(Me, slightly puzzled, since well, Afghanistan is not as dangerous a mission as, say, Iraq. It's getting there, certainly, but it's not that bad. And secondly, it's kind of a weird comment. Like he had to escape from there.)

She continues: I don't support "all that."

I ask: Do you know anyone in the military?

She: No.

Me: Oh...(interested, but not quite wanting to bite the head off of one of our subcontractors.)

She: Yeah, I just don't support "justified homicide."

Me: (wanting to laugh spitefully, but I restrained myself.)

Things I could have said, but didn’t:

Yeah, I was appalled by 9-11 too.
Yep, Taliban and al-Qaida were/are a dirty bunch.
Oh, so you believe in “unjustified homicide?” Or just what kind of homicide do you believe in? Or would you never believe that anything is worth dying for/killing for?

But instead I just decided to grin and bear it. I felt bad for not saying anything.

I recounted the story to my boyfriend, and he just laughed at the absurdity of what she said. But I still feel like I should have stood up and said something.

How does one act in such a situation?

12 Comments:

Blogger Sarah said...

I asked this exact question before here: http://tryingtogrok.mu.nu/archives/049282.html

I don't know what the right answer is, but I always think about what Carl Sagan said in The Demon-Haunted World:

Imagine that you enter a big-city taxicab and the moment you get settled in, the driver begins a harangue about the supposed inequities and inferiorities of another ethnic group. Is your best course to keep quiet, bearing in mind that silence conveys assent? Or is it your moral responsibility to argue with him, to express outrage, even to leave the cab -- because you know that every silent assent will encourage him next time, and every vigorous dissent will cause him next time to think twice?

3:12 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I always have a hard time with that question too. Part of me wants to make some sarcastic comment about the person being a sheep and understanding only what the newsmedia feeds them. But I usually judge the situation and most times, am less vocal than I wish I could be.

Of course, I find in Canada it's even more common to find people who truly don't understand what's going on in Afghanistan, even if we are doing some amazing things there.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Stacy Kaye said...

Amen on the in Canada part! I don't know where you are Sue, but I am totally with you there. It is difficult to explain it to people.

As for the comment, it's a tough one because you could try to say something, but first of all you are in a working relationship with this person and second of all, you know that she probably doesn't want to hear what you have to say anyway...she has already made up her mind.

I don't know! I would be tempted to say something, as I often am here and then get into arguements with people, but I hate ignorance!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

I guess great minds think alike LOL! My fiance is currently deployed and I bought the book for the both of us to read while he's there. He's finished, I've got like 40 pages to go. Great book!

As for feeling that you should have said something... you probably did the right thing, because an immediate reaction without thinking about how the situation REALLY made you feel, probably would have been hurtful.

I feel like I have been in these types of situations alot... with that "doh!" feeling, like I really should have responded. I usually just end up thinking of all things I should have said... but I make sure to decide on one answer for the next time that situation occurs. That way, I've thought about it and I'm prepared.

"I just don't support 'justified homicide.'"... chuckle.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Found the perfect article today.

http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2006/11/why-canadians-dont-know-trivia-thats.html

Perfect for this conversation..although Canadian-based, it's a great comment on what is truly happening.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Yeah...I fail to understand why people feel the need to say inflammatory things like that, knowing what they know...You had just told her that your boyfriend served in Afghanistan and she still chose to say that...people confuse me. What ever happened to, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Hmm...

11:18 PM  
Blogger KC said...

I had a similar experience last year, when a classmate of mine found out that my (former) boy was in the military.

Him: Oh, so he just spends his time killing people?

Me: No, actually he's Medevac. He picks up injured soldiers. His helicopter doesn't even have guns on it, actually. But, the other people who do a thousand other things for the military don't just "spend their time killing people", either.

Him: Oh, so he just goes and picks up people so they can be fixed and go out and kill people again.

Me: -blank stare-

I just got up and left.

Some people are ignorant, which wouldn't bug me except that they are not only content about their ignorance, but talk with an aire of arrogance about things they know nothing about. In situations like that, I remind myself that there are men and women out there who will fight to defend that person's right to disrespect them like he does. Then, I realize that I'd much rather spend my time with the latter, than the former.

Nothing I'm going to say in a few minutes will change ignorance like that.

Wow, that got me all riled up. I'm sorry you had to deal with someone like that. How rude and disrespectful. Some people.

1:19 AM  
Blogger MQ said...

I don't think I could have held back. Sorry, but what bitch. And to know that our soldiers take bullets for those ingrates.

I'm preaching to the choir. I'm too few months of the deployment to give a rational, well-thought out answer. :)

4:53 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

I love the things you thought of saying! I always think of those much too late and then kick myself for not being quick enough on my feet.

Yes, I can totally relate. I love the blank stare I get when I tell them he re-enlisted while he was over there! :) They are so confused and don't know how to respond.

It is a totally different culture, isn't it?

7:13 PM  
Blogger Homefront Six said...

I don't know what the appropriate response would have been but I'm pretty sure MY reponse would have contained foul language and references to her ignorance.


I hate people sometimes. Ugh.

2:26 AM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

I think my response would probably have been closer to HF6's. Not surprised... :)

I did once throw off something about "Lenin's Useful Idiots" in response to one of those people, but they had no idea what I was talking about. It totally didn't have the desired effect.

Next time I should probably try to quote a Jessica Simpson song.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Mik said...

There are always those people that you cannot convince no matter what. Trying to change their (teeny-tiny) minds or telling them off is just a waste of oxygen, and they waste enough of that as it is. SO...

Just let it go. I am glad that he made it back. What part of A'stan was he in? I got back in May from a extended stay at the Farah Afghanistan Medium Security Institute for Wayward Boys (aka PRT Farah).

12:01 AM  

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