The terrifying and senseless murder of a good man, Sir David Amess, made me think long and hard about this blog. Is it appropriate? You will judge for yourself. My conclusion will be that conflict is the norm, not an anomaly, and that this has always been the case in the history of Humanity. Man’s inhumanity to man.
An anomaly is something that deviates not only from the normal but also from what is expected. I have had a ridiculously cosseted life, far away from conflict and warfare. In this cocoon of privilege, I grew to feel entitled to an easy life, and would rage about the tiniest of inconveniences – such as finding fuel.
This week, my paradigm – my view of what should be ‘expected’ – has shifted again. I had the amazing Dave on my new Radio Show. He saw active service as a Fighter Pilot, flying Harrier Jump Jets and F-18s. In peacetime, he had a high-altitude collision and had to eject over the Qatar desert. The force of the ejection broke his back, and wreckage shrapnel nearly cost him his eye. But Dave is determined and resilient. He has recently won the Swanage Marathon for people in his age group. Before my show, he’d been sea swimming, and had cycled over from Bournemouth. He’s quite a guy.
But he’s a warrior, and he’s the kind of guy that had made my comfortable (if unaware) life possible. I believe it would serve many of us better to have a bit more of a warrior spirit like Dave’s, and a lot more of an awareness that we are unwise to expect the World to be a safe place. If we recognise the truth, we can be better prepared.
That’s not the big shift for me, though. The big shift was the attitude towards trouble. In conflict, like many fighter pilots, Dave was excited. When all seems to be against him and he is ‘hopelessly’ outnumbered he prefers to see the scenario as a ‘target-rich environment’. In other words, Dave relishes the struggle and heads towards it. ‘Target-rich’ seems wholly inappropriate given this recent murder, but I am meaning the use of it as a call to courage – courage to face our challenges – our targets - with the spirit of boldness. Sir David invested his life in doing this. His targets were the injustices he recognised – especially in animal welfare. Our world needs help; our world needs champions and warriors as well as diplomats.
You and I are born into a world full of troubles. To recognise this, and then to face the challenge with some vigour is a brave choice. It is time for me to leave my naivety and unrealistic expectations behind. I think this is a choice that will enhance mental health.
A Moodscope member.