war, truth, cartoon, Marzieh Kanizadeh

A cartoon by Iranian artist Marzieh Kanizadeh portrays the basic human truth in every war.

War is one of the oldest and most consistent things human beings do, and also one of the weirdest. It's horrible, hellish, tragic, traumatic—and yes, weird.

In the most basic analysis, war makes no sense. Killing one another over being born on opposite sides of imaginary lines makes no sense. Fighting for land under which we will all be buried eventually makes no sense. Sending people to fight to the death because men in charge can't get along makes no sense. (Seriously, why don't leaders just duke it out in a boxing ring themselves? That would actually make more sense.) Destroying the places you're trying to conquer, thereby requiring enormous resources to build them back up again makes no sense.

And the fact that we actually make rules for war is even weirder. You can use these weapons of death and destruction, but not those ones. You can bomb these kinds of places, but not those ones. You can kill this group of people, but not that one. It's all so stupid and senseless and futile and weird.

And then there's the psychology of it all. When tanks start rolling and bombs start falling somewhere in the world, it's far too easy for us to lose our sense of humanity. War compels us to choose a side, and choosing a side makes it easy to demonize the other. Even when we are 100% certain the side we've chosen to support is the right one, we still have to remember that human beings are on the other. The fact that we forget this every time is why humanity hasn't broken its habit of making war over and over and over again.

A powerful cartoon by Iranian artist Marzieh Khanizadeh illustrates this point beautifully. The cartoon was shared on Twitter by Prashasti Chanchal with the words, "One person's medals are another one's children."

This is the fundamental truth we must remember about war, no matter where or when it's taking place. One side's glory is the other side's tragedy, and in the end we're all just one big, human family trying to make our way on this rock hurtling through space. The second we start to dehumanize one side's people, forgetting that ordinary people don't choose to go to war and are always the primary victims of it, we create the very conditions that lead to war in the first place.

Prejudice, hatred and dehumanization are both primary causes and primary outcomes of war. If we don't disrupt those tendencies within us prior to war, we have to disrupt them during. Otherwise we will continue to repeat the same pattern we've seen throughout human history.

By all means, support freedom, support democracy and support nations that are being invaded without justification. But don't glorify killing and don't dehumanize the people themselves on any side of any war. Killing in defense may be necessary in war, but in the end there's no true glory in any of it. It's all tragic.

"One person's medals are another one's children," indeed. If every one of us keeps that truth front and center, maybe we can finally get to a future where war is just a terrible, weird thing humans used to do.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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