The arms of war

They consist in running  bits of metal through the flesh of men — large, small, pointed, square, round splintered —  that tear and kill.  It is not metal in its natural state, but metal fashioned by the intelligence of man.

For some bullet, just one is enough to kill a man.  The first time I saw an  M-16  bullet I almost cried.  There is no need to fire a burst at him, because it moves at the speed of sound and its trajectory is always nearly off balance.  So that when it arrives, it doesn’t stop inside the flesh like an ordinary bullet.  It doesn’t go through an arm or leg either.  It twists, turns, tears and cuts; and in a few minutes, it empties all the blood out of you.

Let’s look at a bullet that is really well made.  Who invented it?  Man did.

One day, that man was just there with his patience, knowledge, imagination and technology.  He calculated the form, weight, powder, velocity, trajectory, and moment of impact.   After all these calculations, he drew a plan and offered it to a businessman who examined it with great interest.  The businessman called his technicians and told them to make a test bullet (but very secretly so that no one would steal the idea from him).  His technicians did it proudly, the businessman looked at it as if it were an emerald or sapphire and asked to see how it works.

There was a test and a bullet was fired.  At whom? At what? A dog, a cat, a piece of steel?  Certainly not a man.  Instead, why not the inventor or the businessman, or both!

While both were left unhurt, the businessman called his board of directors and showed them the bullet.  He suggested patenting it and producing millions of bullets for the army, to be used in every war or fights for an ally.

The board of directors approved of his suggestion.  Now, look at the factory full of workers making bullets, the kind proletariat Marx defended and trade unions protect, the nice workers who are never guilty. (The guilt is in the businessman, that’s all).  The workers only carry out orders, the poor innocents, they’ve got to earn a living and keep their families and pay for their upkeep, haven’t they? Have they the time or means to ask themselves moral questions?

So they make bullets laboriously, carefully throwing out any defective ones. Because if a bullet is imperfect, it doesn’t tear, cut or empty all the blood out of the little yellow man who gets its when he’s 20 years old, defending a hill and a flag in Saigon.  Or out of the little white man in Iran or the big black man in Afghanistan.  Now, they get  a string of bullets in a butchery inside a movie house, malls, school rooms, even freeways.

There are bullets as well in Moscow, Peking, and its isn’t a businessman who orders them.  It is the state, which has exactly the same results, and the workers are exactly the same, maybe even more diligent and obedient.

One day, I’d like to visit a bullet factory in Kiev, Chicago or Shanghai. I’d like to look them all in the face — workers, directors, businessmen.

And finally, I’d like to look the inventor in the eyes.


E-mail Mylah at [email protected]

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2024 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.