By Abigail L. McCann
“It was never easy growing up,” Eric remarked. “Especially with a single mom and no guidance,” he continued. In 2007, with a hot war in Afghanistan and the Iraqi war deteriorating into civil war, Eric, age nineteen, joined the Marines. He remained in the Corps until 2014. “While you are in the Marine Corp, you have to have this warrior mindset. You have to have that in case the guy on your left and the guy on your right should die. A warrior in war can justify killing. That’s what the Corp. instilled in me, which was totally beneficial when war is your lifestyle.” This fall is Eric’s first semester back in school. Intrigued by an announcement in his Philosophy Class, Eric decided to join the SBCC initiated, now global, 2020 A year Without War movement! Here is my interview Eric on his joining 2020 A Year Without War.
AYWW: What led you to join 2020 AYWW?
Eric: “What really led me to join was decompressing after getting out of the military in December 2014. My wife and I went on a backing- packing trip through Europe. That trip totally got me away from everything, disconnecting me from everything that was my warrior life. There was time for a lot of self-reflection and just thinking about things… Typically, after leaving the military, you would want to go back because it’s all you know or you might get into law enforcement…But I couldn’t see myself doing any of that. After being relieved from all the stress of being in the military, I just couldn’t go back to that lifestyle, so now I’m back in school. But being a veteran and being in this 2020 AYWW program is very unique. It gives you a very different perspective. While I’ve never been shot at, I know some warriors who have and these veterans are in 2020 AYWW. Me: What stood out to you about this 2020 AYWW?
Eric: They’re not biased , not-political, not–religious, not a Peace Movement, not anti- military. It interesting and I actually think this can be done. The possibilities are endless. Just look at what we are doing to ourselves. We are only hurting ourselves. Whether you are the guy doing the shooting or the guy getting shot at, no one is winning here. It’s a lose/lose situation.
AYWW: Not only are we losing money, but are we losing ourselves?
Eric: I did some posting of 2020 AYWW on Facebook… and had mixed feedback because some of my friends support the war and some don’t support the war and some are still in the military and some have left the military. I challenged my Facebook friends, “Why limit ourselves, so this can never happen?” Most of my Facebook comments were simple denials: “This would never happen!” 2020 AYWW is just more complicated than “This would never happen!” It gets us started to go somewhere. If you limit yourself, you limit all of us by just saying this would never happen. It always starts with an idea! And you can’t build a masterpiece, without having an idea first. I would have to say war a mind set that can be changed. To quote Professor Joe White, “This is the only world we have! As human beings we are constantly killing each other! Now our entire planet is in trouble in so many ways.
The last, extreme resort should be “offing” somebody. Conflict is inevitable but war is always chosen. Let’s not choose it for one year.”