Sunday, August 2, 2015

Excessive and Unsafe: Armed civilians stand guard outside military recruitment centers

Surprise, I didn't hear back from the New York Times [click here for backstory]. I didn't expect to at all, so I'm not disappointed in any way. Insert the cliche line about the biggest journey beginning with a small step or something. Sending it in was that small step.

So, I went with the backup plan of sending it everywhere else. I sent the article to over 20 newspapers in West Virginia and Ohio. I heard from one in Romney, WV that said they would print it. Not sure when. I haven't heard back from any other newspapers and I really don't expect to. They tend to just print these things and not talk to you.

I imagine some won't print it. Some (the local ones) know who I am and just don't seem to care for me. Others may not want to deal with the political ramifications of printing something that they - or their advertisers - may not agree with. Honestly, I think the biggest issue in not getting printed in some of these newspapers will be the length of the article. It's 841 words and most like outside contributors to be shorter and more concise. But sometimes you can't be concise. That's why the hashtag "Long Reads" exists.

We'll see who prints it and who doesn't. In the meantime, I have posted it over at the site Medium. It's a great site, in theory. It's an online collaborative writing project. You post something, everybody sees it, and we all learn something. It's a nice, easy-to-use, pleasant-to-look-at interface. I've used Medium before to mixed results, but I'm giving it another shot.

Here is the link:

https://medium.com/@chris_slater/excessive-unsafe-armed-civilians-stand-guard-outside-of-local-military-recruitment-centers-d2845f3739bc

Check it out if you would like. I think it brings up some good points about these men standing outside of their local recruitment centers with guns. I bring up the positive and negative. It just so happens that I see a lot more negative that can come out of this.

Here's a little preview. I talked to both of the men there and recapped my conversations: 
One man, when questioning my motives to speak with him, after I said “You can trust me,” referenced the first Gulf War he served in and replied “Do you know how many Iraqis told me I could trust them, then I had to turn around the next day and kill them?” I knew it was rhetorical, but I was so shocked by that statement I meekly said, “I don’t know, how many?”
It's already gotten some positive feedback on Facebook. A friend was texting me and asked why the people who were originally bashing me due to my original Facebook post weren't commenting this time. I thought about that for a second and realized why: I'm using facts and logic and they can't really argue with it. Before, it was a crude and insensitive joke and people could say "Fuck you Chris, you're wrong about this!" Now, they look at it and go "Yeah, there are some safety issues with this and what are they really accomplishing, aside from what Chris said they're accomplishing?"

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