Jimmy Kimmel, Las Vegas, and How the Wars Come Home

I just finished watching Jimmy Kimmel’s video where he addresses the recent shooting in Las Vegas. It’s easy to see that shootings across the country have affected him dearly and even myself, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Jimmy went on to talk about other shootings, debates on gun issues, and made some really significant points. But Jimmy missed one point that he’ll probably never talk about on the show, how our wars abroad eventually come home.

Here’s Jimmy Kimmel’s video on the Las Vegas shootings:

While watching Jimmy hold his tears back while addressing shootings in America I could not stop thinking about the current wars we are in, the military air shows held around the country, and American’s fetish of war and militarism. The Jimmy Kimmel show is taped in Los Angeles, but just an hour drive south to San Diego is the worlds largest military air show called the Miramar Air Show. Somewhere between half a million to 700,000 people attend the show every year. Many of them are families who put their kids behind Squad Automatic Machine guns, take photos of their kids in military vehicles, and even play on computer screens that simulate a military drone strike. Military air shows like this happen across the country. What kind of behavior do you expect from a population that fetishes over killing others. People certainly won’t grow up to be peace lovers. After decades of being exposed to playing with weapons, people just want to kill, dominate, and destroy. Even if that means killing ourselves.

I guess some people think it’s okay to kill people overseas but when it happens to our own, we freak out. Did you think we could have the largest military budget in the history of humans and have a peaceful society at the same time? Did you think we could drop 26, 172 bombs in just one year (2016), killing mostly innocent civilians, and those bombs not come home in one form or another? Why doesn’t Jimmy have tears for the children of Iraq who suffer from shootings and bombing everyday? How about the millions of children dying from famine in Yemen? How about the over 65 million refugees that have been forcefully removed from their homes and is considered the largest refugee crisis since WW2? All paid for by Americans. Yet, Jimmy never mentioned the wars abroad (or militarism) when addressing gun issues at home.

Photo: Disneyland of War by Chris Smiley

Do we not condition our kids, and our whole population, to obsess on the different kinds of weapons to kill one another? Americans grow up playing cowboys and indians, playing video games featuring the latest military technology, and simultaneously demonize the entire world, especially people who don’t have the lightest skin color. Americans grow up with guns, wars, and we’re constantly fixated on militarism as a solution to all problems. For the Soviets, it was militarism. For the terrorists, it was militarism. For protecting our freedoms, it was militarism.

On YouTube, there are channels dedicated to displaying the latest military technologies. The sole purpose of these channels is to glorify weapons which are made to ultimately kill people. And they get way too much attention and views. Here’s just a few:

ArmedForcesUpdate: 529,352 Subscribers. 342,083,530 views

Daily Military Defense & Archive: Unknown Subscribers. 307,806,048 views.

Aiirsource Military: 411,468 Subscribers. 264,359,295 views.

Lockheed Martin Videos: 99,097 Subscribers. 52,640,762 views.

Even the Army has turned to YouTube for recruiting. The YouTube channel, ARCHIEzzle, features an Army recruiter who has over 45K subscribers and over 17 million views. Archie vlogs about life in the military and clearly sets forth an appeal to our younger people that life in the military can be enjoyable, pleasant, and lovely. But Archie never talks about the deaths caused by American weapons or the morality of war. In addition, other active duty soldiers have their own channels where they just speak about their own personal views, ultimately glorifying militarism even more. There are even active duty YouTubers who are recommending other active duty YouTubers on YouTube.

Domestic shootings are just one way the wars overseas ultimately come home to our doorstep. The ideology of militarism, the weapons of death, and the obsession of war all come home eventually. Whether it is militarized police forces, larger military budgets, or YouTubers who promote killing (probably without even knowing it), the wars always come home. We cannot not be violent to the world and expect us to be peaceful at home.

For a more in-depth look at how the military is using YouTube as a recruitment tool, I highly recommend reading Pat Elder’s article: http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/the-army-turns-to-youtube-for-recruiting