Fanatic Falacy


Recently I came upon the story of a man from Australia. As a young man he joined the army school and trained as a plumber. He was posted to Vietnam where he witnessed some horrific action. One instance left a deep scar on him. He was in a boat along with his commander when they came up on a family on the shore. His commander ordered him to open fire. Given the way the Vietnamese had been using innocence as a weapon in the war, the young man complied with his superior’s orders. But what came next shocked him. His commander ordered him to wade through the water up to where the bodies were lying and to return with any jewellry they were wearing. The young man refused this order. The captain then took the boat close to the bodies, and proceeded to cut off their ring fingers so he could get the gold.

After the war, the man returned to Australia and tried to pick up his life. He found that he was unable to pursue a profession as a plumber since he found that the dark undersides of houses, in to which he often had to crawl, took him back to his times in Vietnam. He quit the profession and went back to school. Then went on to make a career as a teacher. He was very successful here. So much so that he was soon made principal of a school.

While things seemed to be going well, tragedy was waiting for him around the corner.

One day a lady teacher walks up to him and says, “I hear you were in Vietnam. How does it feel to end up on the losing side? I marched against bastards like you.”

This incident snapped something inside his head and he found he could no longer move in company. He began to breakdown frequently. This was definitely not good for someone who was principal of a school full of boys. So he quit his job and retreated into himself.

Today he is seeing a shrink and confines himself to his home.

Why is there so much hate? Such hate that prevents a person from realizing that she hadn’t marched against this poor man, but the government that sent him there. He was as much a victim as the thousands of Vietnamese that died.

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