Aimless fire-A A +A
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
"THE fact remains: soldiers killed an unarmed pregnant mother and her children, the military simply has to own up and make amends because any way you look at it that is plain and simple massacre." (Friday's Sun.Star Davao editorial).
Massacre? Careless and indiscriminate killing, more like.
By most accounts, the troops arrived at a country village on the lookout for a known bandit. Coming under fire, they responded killing a woman and two children who were sheltering inside their house, a non-bulletproof house, a traditional country dwelling made of wood, bamboo and woven amacan sheets. Given the Army's own rules of engagement, how could this possibly happen?
Watch the opening credits to ABS-CBN's early evening news. One of the clips is of heavily armed soldiers advancing through a coconut plantation, a clip taken from a news feature many months old demonstrating the prowess of our army in the field.
The soldiers creep along ditches, hide in bushes, shelter behind coconut palms until, at the word, they leap out and with rifles on full automatic spray the plantation ahead with bullets.
When I first saw this news item my mouth fell open; is this how the military do their soldiering? Emptying their magazines into the yonder at full bore? Hosing down the area with a torrent of bullets? It's easy to imagine how that woman and her children, invisible in their hut, met their end -- the victims of literally aimless fire.
On the other hand, most of last week the early evening news was featuring footage of bullet-riddled buildings in the small community of Calabcab in Compostela Valley. The concrete buildings, a barangay hall and day-care center previously occupied by troops, looked like something from a WW2 war movie, blasted to bits. The NPA attackers had stood up and let loose with their weapons on full automatic.
Easy to see, isn't it, where the bad guys learnt their tactics. Change of topic and on Saturday there was an exasperated Reader's Letter pointing out the media's frequent use of the phrase 'container van' when no such beast exists.
Container, shipping container, tin box but sorry no container van.
You're wasting ink and effort reader. Remember those signs we used to see at road works -- stockfile instead of stockpile? It took twenty years to sort that one out and I've spent a similar amount of time attempting to educate people on the correct use of the geographical terms watershed and catchment area - the former being the physical division between two or more of the latter -- and no progress so far.
Container van, dear reader, is here to stay.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 31, 2012.