Peace for Paris

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Wargaming is a violent hobby. Our goal is to kill aliens, humans, and orcs alike. We are not violent people. But, the inherent conflict in our universes and games drives us as artists, modellers, and gamers in hobbies we love. When I write about Warhammer, theses aspects of conflict are always on my mind. But, the deaths of my tiny plastic men are a fantasy. That violence doesn’t feel real.

It does today.

I was going to post an article about starting out in Horus Heresy gaming. I was, until I heard about what happened in Paris. Two dear friends of mine were there (both safe), and it shook me. Life can be so beautiful. And then, just as quickly, so ugly and sad. I can’t bring myself to write that article right now. Right now, I want to hug my kids and kiss my wife. I want to tell all of you how wonderful you are. I want to drink wine, watch Shark Tank, and get my mind off of all the hate in this world. And I want all of you to do the same.

“Life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory”

Leonard Nimoy

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  • Sin Synn

    Hug the fam, Joe.

    Yeah, these things are always very harsh, and because France is sorta my ancestral homeland, I’m a lil’ freaked out too.

    Normally I try to like, not blame the whole Muslim thing, but honestly, I’m getting real tired of excuses and explanations. These murderers are someone’s brother, cousin, friend. People close to them knew this was gonna happen, and they let it happen. These attacks were coordinated. A lot of people were involved…but somehow, not one rat?
    I’m pissed off and maybe I’m typing angry…I dunno…but there’s so much wrong here I can’t help but get angry.
    ‘You don’t believe what I believe. I have to kill you for that.’
    I so loathe this mentality. I really do.

    And hello, House. Hope all is well.

    • Von

      ‘You don’t believe what I believe. I have to kill you for that.’
      I so loathe this mentality. I really do.

      “Fuck any cause that ends in murder and children crying.”
      — Iain M. Banks.

    • Thuloid

      Sin, you’d know things are well if you’d visit more often 😉

      But in an odd way, I think wargames are helpful here. It’s very easy to react to something like this and assume the enemy is just filled with “hatred”, which might even be true in an emotional sense, but it neglects that they have specific objectives. Body count is a means to an end for them. They aren’t actually insane. And that means there’s a way to beat them.

    • Hey Sin

      Paris is a city I’ve spent a lot of time in and love dearly its also very close if I jump it my car at 9 am I can be in Paris for lunch in fact I’ve just decided I’m gonna go there before Christmas show some support spend some money and not be cowed by terrorism

    • It’s good to see you man. Sad that it’s something like this that brings us all out.

      I know what you’re saying about the rats. I’m starting to wonder where the rich middle eastern countries stand in all this. I mean we have China and Russia there now, not to mention our soldiers fighting for decades, but are those mega-rich UAE countries helping out? They’re right next door. Do they even have armies? Or are they neutral? I realise this sounds dangerously like G.W. Bush/Jesus, but I feel like it’s getting to the point where if you’re a legitimate nation on the international stage and you’re not standing up against this stuff, where exactly are you standing?

      Gah, I try not to talk about this sort of thing these days. I avoided the news for as long as I could. I feel sad for the victims and angry at the perpetrators but most of all I feel helpless. And I do not like that.

      • Cedric Ballbusch

        Based on my experience, for what it’s worth.

        The basic political structure of the various wealthy, semi-friendly Middle Eastern states is an at least partly Westernized, well educated, secular hereditary elite ruling over a large, ignorant, fanatical, restive population.

        The governments are often sympathetic, but they’re also utterly terrified of their populations. This creates the downward spiral of placating or buying off radical elements in the hopes that they’ll put ‘overthrow the decadent, sinful sultan’ lower on their list of things to do.

        It’s an impossible situation. I’d say that they’re playing for time, but it doesn’t seem to be much on their side. That do, generally, have armies of some sort, but an army is a reflection of the nation that created it. Officers are generally professional and loyal, and rank and file can be suspect. Look what happened to the Shah.

        Throughout the ’60 and 70’s the Middle East looked set to modernize along with the rest of the third world. Something somewhere went horribly wrong. An awful situation all round.

        • Maybe they should hire Mamelukes again? Have a mercenary foreign military.

          • Cedric Ballbusch

            Mercenaries are underrated and have an undeserved negative reputation. There is a lot to be said for disinterested professionals who know their business.

            Perfectly serious.

  • I fully understand not being in the mindset to write about wargames after something like this.

    But honestly, I’ve never connected /war/games with /war/. Is that a desensitization? I don’t think so. I find news like this shocking. A story my cousin told of his time I still find intense and there wasn’t even any fighting in that one. I read about atrocities and get angry. But I can sling dice with friends while throwing back some beers or laugh it up at the local FLGS without a second thought of the actual conflict we’re depicting. It feels more like a board game. Hell, I was just playing some Legacy of the Void and that got my adrenaline going more than wargaming does.

    This all follows Remembrance Day and I got into a conversation with someone about the significance of war and how media will allow kids to learn about it better today – to which I disagreed. They were correct that WW1 and 2 were significant because they were the first wars where in todays world of mass media, stories could be properly recorded and told. Except, we’re still there, wars are taking place on the other side of the world and people (en mass) don’t care despite today’s instant communication.

    What made the WW’s special was that the entire world was involved. They left a stain on humanity’s collective soul that would be remembered for generations. But generations have passed and humanity forgets. We’re entering a time where kids are hearing these stories passed on through generations of people instead of from families directly impacted and the wars will mean as much to a kid as the old independence and civil wars do. We probably (hopefully) won’t see another WW, just because I’m not sure the world would survive it. Instead, we’ll have incidents like this one. Like 911. Kids still probably won’t understand the full significance of what’s happening because unlike a WW, these acts of terror don’t directly impact them. But they do remind the rest of us that there’s this ugly world out there, and while we all try to be cool about being politically correct, I can’t help but feel some of SinSynn’s frustration.

    Which, don’t get me wrong, kids not being exposed to the ugly is a fantastic thing. I don’t want kids, or anyone for that matter, to have to witness wars, especially anything WW scale. It just seems unfortunate to have this major part of our recent history slowly slipping away. Even now, speaking to people around my age, “My dad grew up in East Berlin.” doesn’t register as significant. You can make kids watch all kinds of documentaries or ingrain it in them with exhibits like the Hiroshima Peace Museum, but I feel like there’ll still be a disconnect. Like learning about wars involving early tanks/flight and trench warfare will be just like learning about battles that involve horses and black powder.

    I dunno.. uhhh.. sidetracked? Maybe gaming does trivialize war. Not by itself, but as part of some collective desensitization that’s going on. But then again, I play wargames / video games and still feel the significance of events like tonight.

  • The Warlock

    My heart is with France tonight and I so dearly wish that so many countries didn’t have to experience these terror attacks. It saddens me to see that people take advantage of generosity and compassion to perform these acts of sickening violence. We humans are supposed to be better than this, and it does show that we are when most of the world offers thoughts, aid and prayers to the countries affected.

    I sincerely and fervently hope that one day, perhaps by the end of the decade, we’ll see the senseless killings cease. Gamers and non-gamers of France alike, my thoughts are with you.

    • Unfortunately I don’t think we will see peace this decade or even in my lifetime. The western world is now reaping what we sowed with our cold war foreign policy and even going back to colonial times.

      There isn’t currently the political will to take this fight back to where it comes from so incidents like this are going to be part of our future for a while

  • Nice post Joe. Thank you.