Saturday, January 07, 2012

Drones

The other night I spoke with an 18-year-old University of California student and was shocked to learn that she didn't know what a drone was. An A student having just finished her first semester in college, she certainly had not stayed up on the news. What upset me wasn't that she didn't know about drones, but that her not knowing is indicative of MILLIONS of young American adults not knowing.

She didn't know that our government is deploying drones in several countries, that a third of the people killed by drones are innocent bystanders, that Obama has ordered more drone strikes than Bush ever dreamed of, or that the drones are operated by normal suburban military personnel who work in comfortable command-and-control rooms at a military base outside Las Vegas, killing people 8,000 miles away, then flying their drones back around to see clear video of the carnage they have just wreaked, including little kids missing legs or heads, a bride and groom accidentally blown away, a grandmother face down in a pool of blood. I told her how after a hard day of work, one of these drone controllers might stop at a 7-11 to buy a gallon of milk or make it just in time to watch his child play in a Little League baseball game.

She was receptive to my criticism. She realizes that in a few months she'll be voting to decide who our next president will be. I told her that it was a simple matter to go on line and read the main international, national, and local stories of the day, and that if she would do this every day, not only would she know what was going on in her world, but it would all start to make a lot more sense to her.

After our conversation about drones, I put this little photo essay together and e-mailed it to her. I wrote: "3 pictures worth a million words."