When I was in the Army, they woke me up at three in the morning to search my barracks room for drugs. The barracks were not the type you see in movies, where there are lines of bunks with wall lockers and bare floors. We had a three-man room, with three bunks and three wall lockers. The carpet was thin and stained, but we did have heat and air conditioning. We were allowed one poster, and mine was a calendar marking off the days before I had served my time.
But at three in the morning, I was told not to move, hands where they could see them, don’t get up, and a squad of men in uniform with two German Shepherds came to see what we were hiding. I was making four hundred dollars a month. I’m not sure what sort of drug habit I could afford, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t going to go much worse than sniffing Elmer’s glue. One of the dog’s keyed on one of my roomie’s wall locker. The let me get up and unlock my wall locker, as did my two roomies, and we were told to get dressed. This meant in uniform, and it also meant right now. We were led out into the common area of the barracks, and there we waited, one by one, as they led each of us in, went through our lockers, and questions us about the drug habits of our roommates. After they discovered the dog was wrong, we were told to go back into our rooms and wait. There were a lot of MPs and a lot of dogs, and they searched our entire company for drugs. They busted three guys, all for enough pot for a couple of decent joints, but they also found a guy who had a .38 pistol in his locker.
The irony of the Army discharging someone for having a gun was not lost on most of us.
Some of the guys bitched about the raid, but I remembered signing away my life when I joined up. I had whatever rights the Army decided I had. And that’s the way it has to be, too. A military protects Democracy but cannot afford to practice it. Once you put on that uniform, and until you take it off, you swore you’d put up with a lot of crap, and even shoot people you aren’t mad at or even know. Or get shot. I signed up knowing this, accepted it, did my time, and got out.
You have rights because men and women in uniform keep the peace. They have fewer rights than you, but here’s the thing, and it’s what I’m getting to with all of this: The people in uniform, they have fewer rights, and they have fewer responsibilities. They don’t worry about food or housing, or medical care, as a general rule. They don’t decide where they will live, what country or what state, and they signed up for this. They accept it because they believe service is worth it.
Americans have freedoms but they seem to have forgotten responsibility goes with that power. They seem to think that having individual rights means it all one person getting as much as they can, regardless of what it costs anyone else. The irony of the selfless surrendering everything to serve the selfish who refuses to give anything seems lost on a lot of Americans these days.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit. Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.