… no matter what Rand Paul may tell you

This headline on thestate.com just cracked me up:

Don’t be alarmed by the helicopters, National Guard says

You really need to look at the picture with it.

I couldn’t help thinking of all the people who would not be reassured by those words. Starting with all those folks who thought Rand Paul’s filibuster about drone attacks in the U.S. was the greatest thing since Daniel Webster.

I’m further reminded of summer maneuvers that were conducted up in the Pee Dee one summer when I was a kid, and staying with my grandparents in Bennettsville. I guess I was 8 or 9. Everywhere you went, there were military convoys and soldiers bivouacking in farm fields. I seem to recall the sounds of the titanic struggle between the Red and Blue armies out on the edge of town — artillery, small arms fire — but that may be my memory making it seem more exciting than it was.

Of course, we kids were inspired to play war, too. One day, I was lying in wait in a ditch just off Jordan Street, ready for an ambush, when an open jeep with a couple of soldiers pulled up at the stop sign not six feet from me. The guy in the passenger seat looked down at me in the ditch, with my helmet and toy gun, formed his thumb and forefinger into a mock pistol, pointed and me and went, “Bang.”

He got me. I guess I should have found better cover.

I suppose I knew I was being condescended to, but being a kid, I was sort of flattered to have been included in the adults’ game, however fleetingly…

8 thoughts on “… no matter what Rand Paul may tell you

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, and before some of my friends cite this as further proof of my warmongering tendencies — I was a kid. In the early ’60s. All boys played war in those days, when we weren’t playing cowboy.

    Both games, by the way, involved shooting each other with toy guns, followed by endless arguments about whether we were “dead” or not.

  2. Norm Ivey

    We graduated from plastic guns to crude (very crude) bows and arrows which had a range of about 20 feet. The arrows were small dowels tipped with spent .22 cartridges. Most had no stabilizers.

    Shortly after we moved to SC in 1980, three very large military helicopters flew over my folks’ place in Sandy Run. They were low enough that the tops of the pine trees (and I) trembled in their passing. They both startled and thrilled me–here were these wonderfully powerful and potentially destructive beasts of the air so close I could feel it. It was comforting to know they were on my side.

    Or were they?

    1. Silence

      One time I was driving my truck around on one of the dirt roads out at Fort Jackson. I noticed an AH-64 Apache hovering across a clearing, the 30mm M240 chain gun tracking my vehicle. It is a little disconcerting being a human target, but unfortunately it wouldn’t be the last time…

  3. Burl Burlingame

    Oddly, part of my draft experience after being sworn in and phyisical’d was two weeks boot time in the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Schofield Barracks, and it was EXACTLY like playing war, except with real (mostly unloaded) weapons.

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