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In Full Metal Jacket, the doorgunner, responding to the question of how someone could kill a child, says that it’s easy. “You just don’t lead them as much.” Perhaps black comedy is emblematic of the debacle that was Vietnam, but the line for me has always shown such a callous disregard for the life of children that it’s a movie I will never watch again. Once was more than enough. Killing children should never be the point of any joke.
After I got out of the Army, I became a respiratory therapist. In that role, I got to meet the Grim Reaper on a daily basis. When I heard “Code Blue,” I ran to wherever that loss of cardiopulmonary activity was reported and did my best to wrest back that life from the great beyond. We were successful about 30% of the time. When God calls, no one gets to put Him on hold.