Stab Vests, Jesus Guns and Eating Human Hearts
There was a bunch of stuff I wanted to blog about tonight, lots of goings on in the world since I lost a blog earlier this week due to a glitch in our admin system. First, I wanted to write about these “stab vests” that a British company is marketing for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. The company, Protektorvest, said there’s a high demand for the vest—which looks kind of like a slimmer bulletproof vest, or perhaps a more fashionable one since you can customize a logo on the front of it—apparently citing the murder figures in South Africa, which are pretty staggering on its face. Last year there were 18,148 murders in the country, with a little more than half of those coming from knife or puncture wounds. The South African government, however, is confident in their ability to keep the World Cup games secure.
The other thing I wanted to write about was brought to my attention by a fellow Berkeley graduate named Joe Rogers. He pointed out this article on ABC News about an American weapons contractor whose been putting Bible passages on the rifle sights they’ve shipped to the U.S. military in Iraq—clearly a violation of church and state, as well as against the U.S.’s own policy. Trijicon is a Michigan based company has claimed they’ve “always” put hidden Bible passages on their ACOG rifle sights, much in the same way a company like In-n-Out Burger puts Bible passages on their french fry packs and on the underside of their cups. Though military spokespeople claim they’ve never heard of the references until now, this is clearly not the case: military commanders have reportedly referred to the guns “the spiritually armed firearms of Jesus Christ.”
Today, Trijicon said it would “voluntarily offer to” stop putting the Bible references on the rifle sights, and U.S. General David Petraeus was quoted as saying, “”I hope you can sense … this is of serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan because it can indeed create a perception that is absolutely contrary to what it is that we have sought to do.” This is clearly a dangerous perception for the U.S. military since it gives an excellent argument that the U.S. is waging a holy war in the Middle East, which already plenty of Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Iranians, and Evangelical Christians already believe anyway. The Muslim Public Affairs Council correctly stated the references “feed into the violent extremists’ narrative that the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are a ‘crusade against Islam.'” Anyway, I’m sure guys like Pat Robertson and Evangelical leaders will find a way to blame this on Obama’s Satanic Socialist rebellion.
All of this really went out the window when I saw this. I’ve been a fan of VICE’s reporting for a while now, even though they’re like the “Hipster Bible” and probably responsible for a lot of really shitty trends (well, not directly, it’s more about the assholes who embrace the trends), the journalism that they do is really some of the most interesting out there. I’d read about VICE’s team-up with CNN this week and I think it was a smart move by both parties. This time they’re in Liberia, which is one of the most incredibly violent, corrupt, and poorest places in the world. I could go on and on about VICE’s journalistic work, but really it’s much better suited to just watching. I’ll say this though, in the first 30 seconds of the video there’s a guy holding a human heart and he’s about to eat it. These VICE guys have some real balls. I’m going to look up the next episodes on VICE’s site VBS.com