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Collateral Damage


noun: something pledged as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of a default.

adjective:  additional, but subordinate; secondary.

The military mind has long been revered by its own. Structured according to the authoritarian hierarchy, each level of power is clearly delineated. Regardless of rank, all members know precisely the parameters of behavioral expectation. There is order, adherence to which is strict.

Not only is order the rule of the day, when military action is taken each arm of power follows a command.

Compartmentalization rules. All actions are calculated. Strategy and tactic are governed as such. Nobody speaks, or moves, without full awareness of the scope of responsibility and potential outcome. All this seems, on its face, to be a predictable way of life which allows each person the security of knowing his or her choices at any given time.

But, there is an unacknowledged factor.

Because of the strict structure, whenever a command to deploy troops or strike a target is handed down, all those subordinate to the commander must carry out the order according to instructions. If a casual observer, or random figure, or even a trooper enters the frame of established action the value of that person’s life is of no consequence. Such an individual has already been factored in as collateral, calculated as a potential casualty.

In short, if you are not part of the team and happen to be downwind or within sightline of a military action, God be with you. Nobody cares. You’re dead.

Lately, the military industrial complex and the business model have welded themselves together. The implications of this cannot be overstated.

As corporations become conglomerates, and these form monopolies, the value of individual contributions is fast becoming a collateral calculation. No longer is a single, creative contributor protected by anyone, unless tapped by a player in the hierarchy. And, if the commander deigns to take an action, one better have a contingency plan in place.

Don’t let yourself be branded as collateral.

Preserve your worth.

You are no one’s insurance policy. You are not a pledge, to be forfeited by default. Escape now; take solace within your own mind, before you find yourself bleeding by the side of the road.


Ruth Scanzillo

Ruth Ann Scanzillo is a free-lance professional cellist/pianist, early-retired public school K-12 music teacher, visual artist, and avocational whistleblower.

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