It’s not about being normal…it’s about being human

[UPDATE 8/21/12: Dyrewulf kindly pointed out to me the discrepancies between the story shared by WikiLeaks and the full video that was edited short to tell the story, so many thanks 🙂 I would like to say I don’t want to watch either video anymore than I already have and that the initial picture I received is what I am expounding on in this post. This is a short blurb explaining that the video is misleading and defaming and that with the power of manipulation and the human lack of precision it’s hard to ever be sure of information shared on any platform. If interested in the clarification regarding weapons or cameras or both the full video is here: and Julian Assange’s statement is here:]

I’m very slow and behind the times and never looked into WikiLeaks, but my friend Rich recently showed me a video of military men shooting at harmless photographers.

This video did several things to my perception of people and myself.

1) It made me realize that going to shoot alligators or any animal for that matter is not cool (I had previously expressed interest in visiting Florida where alligator shooting is legal up to a 2 gator limit per year per person). It is essentially the same action that a soldier would be taking in shooting a non-threatening, defenseless individual. Now, if the creature/ person poses a real, immediate threat then you need to either get away or then resort to violence.
2) The difference between a friend or a foe is meeting under different circumstances. The same type of person you love, respect, admire, or protect could be the one you intend to harm, solely due to association, misinformation, location, and slight preference. Outside of the self, everyone (technically, not actually) has the chance to be important to you. If we all took the time to see the vulnerability, the pain, the circumstances then maybe we could have the compassion to accept people. It’s luck of the draw, I could have been born in the poor provinces of a war-riddled country, or spoiled in a palace in a different time.
3) [It’s not about being “normal,” it’s about being human.] I thought about it with both Fernando and Richard and intelligence isn’t that important. Looks? Who cares. A real heart, feelings, an attempt at unity/ harmony with the rest of the world? Those things matter. I would rather be alone, a thousand times over, than become someone I don’t want to be.
That first phrase in brackets inspired a vision for me last night, hopefully something I can draw or paint to represent what I mean in a beautiful way.
4) I also realized that I would not mind being a vegetarian at all. To ingest a being who had no say, who did no harm, who died for no reason and who might have a lot more experiential ability than we understand.

NOTE: I did not finish the video. I only got to the part where the van arrives because I could not take anymore. I would be interested to receive comments regarding the effect this footage had on others.




  1. Daan

    Interesting post, but do you think compassion is a positive, a real feeling? If I see a homeless guy and pity him, is it because I’m sorry for him or happy for myself, not being such a person?

    1. Melisa

      Hi Daan! That’s a very interesting take on compassion. I can’t see how pity with happiness can be confused as compassion. I can’t answer how you see the world because we all perceive it differently and take from it different lessons and experiences. Personally, my experience of compassion entails empathy. Feeling the hurt of being in their position, seeing beyond the individual at that moment and visualizing the loneliness, the struggles, the anxiety they must suffer (assuming their homelessness was thrust upon them and wasn’t a choice). You can pity him, or be happy you aren’t him, but I don’t define compassion in either of those ways.

  2. Dyrewulf

    The ‘harmless photographers’ meme was debunked – they’re carrying an RPG, not a camera. Google it, the Reuter’s story is at the top.

      1. Dyrewulf

        No problem – this was a case of a massive charge by a lot of media outlets, but when it fell through, the story just stopped instead of being reversed.

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