you can see i'm in the early stages of sorting...

11 US Soldiers died this weekend in Iraq. Without hearing the news, it looked like there must have been a bomb because several of them were from the same company and on the same day.

Coincidently, yesterday, the husband needed gas and had to go to three stations to find it--they were all out of high-octane, which our tuned out cars need. It was also over 3.25/gal. (I know, Conduit, I know.)

I wrote a rough synopsis for the screenplay and found myself influenced by several such coalescing ideas. In this scenario, the war against terror had spread well beyond Iraq and Afghanistan and the US had reinstated the draft. It made US soil ripe for rebellious take-over, what with all our healthy 18-25 year old males off to war. I have an idea of a social group which I hesitate to name but already could be trained well enough for rebellion and terrorism. They certainly could be organized quickly around a single leader and in my experience there's a bitterness against society at large which could be useful motivation. Respect among these men (and some women) is gained on a battlefield of sorts; in fact, their leaders are chosen by such battles. I think it could be a fun concept to play with.

I'm guessing for the screenplay things will be simplified immensely. It's short; we need a manageable antag. However, as I wrote, I realized I had enough story for a futuristic novel that might speak to some current issues. Last night I got to thinking more about the war and the Holy Land and just why it's so holy.

In a favorite Robin Hood episode, Robin says, "What you did caused the war to continue."

Guy responds, "Men always fight wars. We should fight for our own country rather than the Pope."

He's talking about the Crusades, of course, but has God really been disenfranchised from the Alter of Oil? No. God was a means-to-an-end back then, just as it is now, but it doesn't negate the spiritual aspects. We can be as fervant in our Faith as we are about eating and living a good, safe life. When you forget to look at it that way, it can mix up until you forget what you're fighting for. But I've always had the problem of never quite making out the line drawn between opposing factions or ideas. I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks of Allah and God as different names for the same deity or remembers that many Muslims are as disinterested in Allah as Christians are in God.

Plenty of people in the States think we're fighting for another people, maybe even defending another religion, and that we can no longer afford to do so for a variety of reasons. Of course, plenty of other people think we can't afford not to. Honestly, I'm not sure which camp I'm in. Islam obviously needs a "reasonable" presence and influence. Any thinking person can't agree with the way they treat women, and the Iraqis hung Sadam, for crissake. But, is the US the right one to exert such an influence? I doubt it.

But really, as a story goes, most interesting to me is the concept of America as a target for internal rebellion. We are so soft that we make up things to worry about. I live in a newish, fairly affluent neighborhood in which the abduction rate is zero; in fact, the crime rate is close to that. Most of us have never heard gunshots in the night. Most of us wouldn't know an enemy combatant if he slapped us on the backside. And yet, we worry over our children like they walk to school in a war zone.

And then comes the emotion behind it all. The politicos, the rebels, our heroes, our religious fanatics, and our warriors have their own grey areas which complicate the issues. This, of course, makes for interesting characters and complicated plots and fun stuff like lawsuits if it brings to light something they don't like to admit. It also brings me back to that line I can't see.

I recently read something about the gun control debate and why people in that debate are so adamant: each side is blind to the emotional bedrock on which the other side's position is built. I have the opposite problem. Remember the way you learned groups and subgroups in math, with the overlapping circles? I've never been in an argument where I didn't see such an overlap--and a lot of times it's emotional. It's like a grey aura that encloses everyone, yet reaches out to others if we're paying attention. I call it the curse of empathy, and it curses my fiction, as well.

Of course, the other common ground is Ignorance, which is an aura of another color (though people are like to admit it about as frequently as overlapping viewpoints or emotions). Here's a fun trick. The next time you're in an argument, stop and say, "Whoa, now we're way out of my range." Profess ignorance. Of course, they'll try to fill you up with their own views, too, but it kills most of their fun.

But, then, I digress.

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