As I watched on TV as the Russian helicopter got hit by the Ukrainian Stinger missile, I did so in fascination when the rocket came in from the right side of the screen, hit the helicopter in a ball of light , disintegrating it into pieces, with the bulk of what was left of the helicopter falling to the ground in black smoky flames.
The news channel kept playing the video over and over again and it seemed like my eyes were eagerly searching for any detail I might have missed on the previous viewing each time it aired.
And I noted, deep down, watching my thoughts, that I was happy that the Russian enemy aggressor had been knocked out of the sky.
Then it hit me. I didn’t watch a movie. This scene was not created in anyone’s imagination.
It was real. And what I was watching wasn’t just a helicopter crash. I saw people being killed.
I don’t know how many people were incinerated in the helicopter. It didn’t matter. Living, breathing human beings have left their mortal envelope. Their dreams and hopes turned to ashes.
Yes, it was Russians who came to kill Ukrainians, civilians and soldiers too. But still, they had families, a life before and like me, loved, laughed and cried.
Then the full impact of this terrible war also hit me. Every time the media played a clip of a building hit by a missile, in the middle of those explosions, people died.
Watching safely from the comfort of my home is one thing. Putting myself in their place, in these buildings, I felt the terror of war and killings.
These scenes of devastation are real. The buildings turned into debris are real. The people who live and die there are real. This is not an HBO special.
I thought of my family, the people I know here in Sedona, my friends and my fellow Americans and saw clearly in my imagination that we too were being shattered by an enemy bent on destroying us.
What would we do? What could we do if a force came to our shores bringing the child of death and destruction that Ukraine is going through?
Yes. We would fight. And pay a price.
Who would believe that in today’s modern, supposedly civilized world, this kind of murder takes place?
Perhaps the impact on our psyche of this war is stronger than past wars because iPhones capture what has not been captured before.
This war is up close and personal.
Maybe it’s because we’re not talking about Iraq or Afghanistan here. The people killed in Ukraine look like us. They dress like us. They are not a foreign culture from the Middle East. They are not a bunch of militant Arab rag-tag AK47s clinging to cars while firing guns in the air.
The Ukrainians could be us.
I don’t want to watch the bombings anymore. — news fodder for the networks replaying these scenes over and over again.
Many of us sit in front of our media devices looking for bad news news and graphic images of death and annihilation.
I just want to close my eyes and use my will and my imagination to plan a ceasefire, an immediate end to the killing. Humanity has had enough.
The past two years have been terrible for many of us. So many people I knew and loved are dead. Death is so final. So true. And now we have what is happening in Ukraine. Millions displaced. Thousands of dead. Entire towns are systematically razed by increasingly powerful munitions.
We are tired of seeing desperate mothers fleeing with their children, women losing their husbands in war. Human beings are shattered on both sides of the fence.
Finish that. Now! Purveyors of war for profit must stop gorging themselves. Their thirst for blood money must surely have been quenched.