Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Flight Of Fancy
As a Flight Surgeon in Vietnam, I was required to fly a certain number of hours per month, on what were, by military definition, combat missions. I chose to avoid bombing operations; rather, I mostly flew in a spy/electronic warfare plane (EC-47), which was, I admit, fun. Because, since they were boring flights for the pilots, who had to, for hours, fly vectors ordered by the spooks in the back of the plane, they let me do the flying (“Roger, left oh-two-oh. Rollout…”)
On my final flight before DEROS (vets know it), the squadron commander asked who landed the plane. Complimented it. “It was the Doc,” the guys said. Humbly, I accepted the accolade.
I flew some refueling flights, too, during which I got to operate the boom that delivered the gas. Lying on my belly, facing backwards, looking out a small window in the tail of a converted 737 (KC 135) as F-4s appeared, joined up behind the tanker, close enough to see the pilots’ faces. Using a joystick, I directed the hose into an opening on the fighter-bomber’s front. At which point one pilot held up a photo that could be taken as a metaphor. Is all I have to say about that.
One flight took me very close to Hanoi. When the pilot announced “bandits” coming onto our “six,” I reached for my parachute and survival vest. Stupid, really, since we were in a gas tank with wings. Not hard to imagine what would happen, were we hit.
My point, here, is that survival vest. It included several interesting items: a hacksaw blade enclosed in a rubber sleeve so it could be inserted in a less-than-sunny location, if you get the drift. Maps. Minimal rations. Flashlight. A beautiful silk cloth bearing an American flag and several Asian languages stating that my government would reward the finders if they kept me safe. Not super reassuring.
And a .38 pistol, containing six rounds of ammo, two of which were tracers. Fighter pilots found that number wholly inadequate, and added bandoliers with a couple hundred rounds. Me? I figured if I found myself on the ground, in a jungle full of hostiles, armed only with a six-shot pistol, in a situation demanding firing off hundreds, all I really needed was one. Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a Green Beret.
Reading about the burgeoning market for war-training camps for civilians, brings us to my ultimate point. Militia types, learning urban warfare, are readying to take on libs in a battle to the death. And a Trumpopatriot who, at a recent conservative symposium, asked “When do we get to use the guns.” When, he demanded, can we start killing “those people” who stole the election. The audience cheered.
The flames are fully fanned, by people lacking any positive ideas, who know they can only win by creating murderous outrage; fueled by which those propagandized patriots, already armed beyond measure, are now practicing for civil war. Our pal Tucker Carlson, for example, is using his latest abomination of a movie, “Patriot Purge,” for no other purpose than that. Creating the America he wants. With his millions, no doubt he’s sure he’ll be safely tuckered away from the rabble, sipping champagne and touching himself.
In these horrifying times, knowing those people are everywhere now, thanks to believing Trump’s and Tucker’s and Sean’s and Alex’s and so many more’s lies (CRT!! In schools!!!), I think back to circling over Hanoi in that tanker. Reaching for a flimsy, survival-style flak vest, bearing a six-shooter. And today, seriously wondering if is this the time when I ought to arm myself, too. Go out there like a stupefied survivalist, load up with anti-personnel mines, booby traps, full-body armor, ARs and .50 cals, thousands of rounds of ammo, fill a shelter with freeze-dried food. Generators. Water filtration.
I have two deeply adorable grandchildren – I’m sure the only ones more adorable are yours – and, like any loving grandparent, I’d do anything to protect them. Die for them, if it came to that.
But then, would I want to live in a country where mind-controlled militias, itching to kill libs like me, roam the streets? Free to do it because their Congressional and judicial enablers, fearing them, provided the means, despite representing the minority of American citizens. Enraged, brainwashed, believing every lie they’re being told. They’re nearly in charge already, threatening poll workers and school officials, obliterating democracy. Making America exceptionally deplorable.
Fueling that F-4 over Hanoi, looking into its pilot’s eyes, a few seconds after reaching toward that vest, I drew my hand back, empty.
Words from Imam Feisal Rauf, just now, in Bahrain : "Bahrain is already a bridge but we need to put more traffic on it," he told a...
It's not as if there isn't substrate. Daily, many times over, in every medium, there are noteworthy items which range from amusing t...
Joe’s running. It’s not his age that’s of concern; it’s concern about his age, the perfect distraction from what’s important. President Bi...
It’s a serious question, the answer to which is of consequential importance to our country: Is the Republican Party past the point of no ret...
The Biden documents thing is maddening, disappointing, frustrating. The obverse is that, for people as-yet unacquainted with the hypocrisy o...