Recently, well two days ago I finally got around to reading a comic called The Dead Hand. (The graphic novel doesn’t come out until Oct. But if you are into history and comics. I can’t suggest this enough. It is well worth the preorder.) The Dead Hand tells a fictional story that takes place during the Cold War. A time where the United States, the world really didn’t know what was going to happen. I am going to do my best to say what I have to say without giving away much of the story.
The genesis of the idea behind this story is the idea that Russia made an A.I. system that could detect an American threat. Once the threat was received the system was programmed to retaliate without hesitation, without thought. Being a comic of course it is filled with exciting things, not plausible things, fiction, but the odd thing was the fiction wasn’t the unbelievable part of the story. The fiction actually made more sense than the truth of the matter. I believe that is why it has stuck with me for the past two days.
See it wasn’t that Russia developed a complex A.I. system or the fact that they developed it before the 90’s. Before the fall of the U.S.S.R. they were somehow able to develop a system more advanced than what we have even today. That wasn’t mind-blowing to me, at all. No, it was the thought behind its creation that seems so out of this world, so fictional. The truth in all of this is that during the Cold War. The United States and Russia were more than ready to destroy the world. Not one another. That would make sense. That would be easy to process, but instead they were ready to destroy the world. The selfishness of the situation seems unreal. Then I have to stop. I have to look around and that’s when I realize. It is right on point for who we are as humans.
I find myself questioning what it means to be American often. I want to jump to the conclusion that we are everything everyone says we are, but I also like to believe that we are not. The reality is that it has nothing to do with where you are from. Any nation, any thing under a microscope will reveal things we did know where there. Things we may not have wanted to know. It is easy to point At the United States or Russia and say they are evil. They have done evil things. Evil intentions. In actually as fucked up as the Cold War was and it was pretty fucked up. It gave us more than we could have known. It gave us this among other things. The internet, which we use everyday. Both good and bad. Some of us use it for what it was intended to be used for and some use it to hurt others. That isn’t nation based. That is human. As much as I want to say that so and so is the enemy to the human race. The reality is that we are the enemy of the human race. We do this to each other. For no reason at all.
Last night there was a shooting a street down from where I live. It was a drive by. Bullets ripped through steel, through flesh and blood, and now two people lay in the hospital. The shooting was drug related as these things seem to be as of late. Probably fighting over territory. For shit that was never really there’s to begin with and as I snatch my daughter from the couch. Press her body to the floor and I try to figure what the fuck is even happening. As I lay over her body to protect her I think what is this really all for? Hours later I am left with the same feeling. I wait for what I know is going to come. More shots echo outside of my home. The thing is there are always retaliation shots. No one gets shot, shot at and thinks, “Where did I fuck up?”
Despite putting over twenty rounds into the strangers down the street so far they have lived. I couldn’t be more upset at the fact. I shouldn’t feel that way. I should be happy. Feel as though every life is precious, but instead I am left feeling like a monster. Of course there will be retaliation. There will be retribution. It won’t be tonight or tomorrow, but it will come. How long until someone else is left feeling like me as they hold their child in fear or worse? Because that is how we are. A nuclear apocalypse or a bullet. What’s the difference? A nation or a person what is the difference? To be human at times is fucking sick.
(The title is from a German band known as Rammstein from their song Engel. It says, “We are afraid and alone.” Or at least that is what Google told me.)