During my training last week, I was disgusted after viewing raw video footage of a student being struck by a bullet in the Middle East. Through the whole ordeal, the cameraman on the scene found it exciting to capture the student falling to the ground. With multiple angles, he cold heartedly shoved his camera into the students face as he laid there dying, screaming in pain. As a shooter who has worked in hostile environments, I was sad to see a fellow photog being blinded by his own lens. It inspired me to write the short journal entry below:
When I was younger, my dream was to one day film in war zones. At night, I'd read extensively about the Vietnam war, about the men and women of Alpha company landing in hot LZ's (landing zones), and how friends and foes would shed their blood, take a life, lose life. But in the midst of it all were the photographers capturing images that gave meaning to life, the living and the dead. It brought the war closer to home--made it real, and forever changed the perception on the price of freedom. So as a child of war, I wanted to become one of them--the men with the lens, the dashingly-cool bunch of guys that pointed glass at the enemy, those who saw the world by frames per second.
In retrospect, my dream has come true. I've lived that dream—stared fear in the face of danger, saw beauty in darkness, solace and grace, and witnessed the world unfolding in an utterly profound, yet definitive state. I've seen horror through a lens, felt the ground beneath me drown in pools of blood and even held the frigid hands of a dying marine I've never met. In war, I found myself. I found the man in me that I dreamt of as a child. In war, I realized that I am more a man not because of my bravery or how I find lust with light, but because in the midst of chaos, I am able to still see eye to eye with those who stare at my lens. I see life, not headlines. I see fear and pain. I hear prayers.
I have hope. Hope in humanity, in dignity, and in all who are stewards of the bounty around us.