Beacon 23

This is the thing about being a hero: It’s all about when you get your picture taken.

Imagine having the guilt of killing a million people at the press of a button lying squarely on your shoulders. At the apex, it was you that was asked if you wanted the war to end? Would you kill a million in a flash? Or would you care to be responsible for the deaths of a billion over a longer period of time? How would you choose?

I think this book touches on the guilt left in the souls of people who make these decision in closed rooms, sitting in their cushy chairs surrounded by “advisers” who don’t falter for a minute giving kill-orders for millions of people even in today’s day and age.

Do the deaths of people actually weigh on us? Or do we separate the images of these people from our idea of living breathing humans. The way we do with the chicken. How many of us see a chicken running around in a field and connect it to the block of meat we eat almost everyday? We probably wouldn’t be able to swallow even if we saw the meat as the animal.

Is it that wars are easy now because the decision makers don’t actually know what it’s like to pull the trigger? I think these people should be at the forefront of the wars. Not just watching on screen as drones drop bombs. These people should be made to kill another human being, in real life, just so they know what it feels like to take just one life. Just so they can realize the value of it. It is so easy for them to condemn all of mankind to hell, just at a flick on the button.

Back to the book. The story was a bit slow for my liking. But as with most Hugh Howey books, it takes time to get to the core. Even though the book wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be and it was creeping along at a pace too slow for my liking, the premise kept me going. I wasn’t too disappointed. Sometimes flaws in books are forgivable if the conclusion is strong enough. Or if the book makes you think. Or if it brings to your attention something you hadn’t thought of. The book was bland, true, but it was funny. I’ll give it that. At some points it cracked me up.  And it did make me think. So it redeemed itself in my eyes.

A lot of people would say it was downright boring. The connections from one chapter or one part of the book to the next were flimsy and didn’t make any sense. I guess maybe that’s what real life is like. We look for an overall theme to our life, whereas, our lives are actually just a collection of memories with no ties to each other.

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