The Most Dangerous Game
David Holthouse, in Alternet, reports on the twice yearly Machine Gun Shoot in West Point, Kentucky, where he found lots of Nazi t-shirts and books and anti-Muslim paraphernalia for sale, along with, of course, deadly weapons. This “family-friendly” event is said to have a “split personality”:
The rent-a-machine-gun portion of the event is family-oriented. Fathers pay 80 bucks for their young sons to churn up the water of a holler pond with 60 rounds from a Heckler & Koch MP-5. Meanwhile, under the pavilion awning a short walk away, vendors hawk Joseph Goebbels propaganda and SS lightning bolt sweatshirts.
Is it my lack of testosterone, or does renting machine guns for kids seem a little iffy in the first place? Just exactly what are you playing at, sirs? Some kind of slaughter, n’est-ce pas? And who was better at slaughtering than the Nazis? But heck. Maybe the Nazi stuff is just incidental. Maybe I just don’t understand this ritual. Maybe these men just want to introduce their sons to the joys of machine-gunning the dickens out of scummy ponds and rusting piles of metal in their spare time: That’s their right. The junk-killers actually offer up a prayer against getting hit by shrapnel before opening fire. God bless y’all.
Meanwhile, in England, their Ministry of Defence is pondering the ethics of using armed robots (or “unmanned aircraft”) in combat. The Guardian quotes an MoD internal memo as saying “‘It is essential that before unmanned systems become ubiquitous (if it is not already too late) … we ensure that, by removing some of the horror, or at least keeping it at a distance, we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely.” The unmanned aircraft in question is called the General Atomics Reaper and is—yes!— actually made in the United States! Score one for American manufacturing?
These technology-of-doom stories, while separately disenheartening, taken together gave me a fantastic idea. How ’bout our machine-gun enthusiasts, instead of pumping away at defenseless hunks of metal, go at it with sinister “hunter-killer” military ‘bots?! Men who want to kill machines: meet machines that want to kill men! Yes! Announcing the first ever Man Vs. Reaper Kill-Off! “Protect us from the laser-guided bombs, Lord. Are we clear?”
(sounds of hell)
Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.