Read these in order if you don't mind...
This was just another guy who got caught up in this whole war. He was probably just a guy who figured that he would give something back to his country for all it has given him, only to have that same country take everything from him, up to and including his life. Understand this, in my opinion Douglas Barber did not commit suicide. He was murdered. Murdered by a system that chews us up and spits us out. Murdered by the apathy and bureaucracy of a government that can't be bothered with those whose minds they have so completely destroyed. Murdered by the complete lack of essential services that a returning service member requires after the most traumatic event of his or her young life. Murdered by the apathy of the citizen zombies who would rather spend their lives drinking Starbuck's coffee and shopping for the latest lead laced toy that costs 75 cents at Wal-Mart than pay attention to a war that only effects those of us who have to fight it.
Like hundreds of thousands of others I am heading off into the meat grinder that is the war. I can only pray that somewhere along the line God allows me to come out the other end with my mind intact. Make no mistake, and have no illusions, the very thought of what I am about to endure terrifies me in ways that I could never verbalize. But who knows, maybe I am being over dramatic. Could be, I have a tendency to do that. But the fact remains that this war, like so many others before it is chewing up an entire generation of poor people and turning them into nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet that government bureaucrats use every year to justify their budgets.
Wouldn't it be nice if someday the people of this country stood up and demanded an end to all the slaughter? Wouldn't it be nice if they decided that they would no longer support a war run by profiteering gluttons with absolutely no regard for the human cost or the suffering of those tasked with fighting? Wouldn't it be nice if someday the people started caring more about their fellow man than about their pocketbooks and the price of a gallon of gas? Wouldn't it be nice if someday the paper patriots were actually made to feel the cost of war?
In any event, Americans will always find a way to insulate themselves from the real world around them. Maybe they'll buy a new car, or some jewelry. Remember ole' Bushy boy saying that shit...spend some money, otherwise the terrorists win. Or maybe they'll slap a yellow ribbon on their cars that reads, "I support our troops" Well I say, ask them to donate some time to working at a veterans home and helping those veterans who weren't lucky enough to die. Or maybe they'll go to a parade and sing "Proud to be an American" even though there won't be too many veterans in the crowd because for the most part they are terrified of crowds, you know too much input for the hyper-vigilant.
Either way, you can go back to sleep America. This war is being fought by those of us who are most easily forgotten. It'll all be over soon, and when it is you can feel comfortable in the fact that you did your yellow ribbon part.
Or maybe you could do one better. Remember Douglas Barber and what happened to him.
Rest In Peace Brother. I never knew you, but I will never forget you.
...My sincerest apologies to all of you, that was just a tad bit preachy. But do me a favor and email this to as many people as you can. It would be fitting that Douglas Barber be remembered...