Friday, June 6, 2014

Side Effects and Collateral Damage

by Bert Carson
When a group of people chooses to attack another group of people, the damage inflicted often includes more than the group the action was directed toward.  The innocent people killed or injured along with their destroyed property are lumped together and referred to as "collateral damage."  The term, originally used only in war, is now part of our every-day language.

"Side Effects," is a term originally used by the pharmaceutical industry to warn potential customers of the possible harmful consequences of taking their products. The term "Side Effects" once heard only in the medical industry is now part of our every-day language.

Once a phrase is part of our every-day language the act or consequence it symbolizes begins to fade from our reality... in other words, it becomes acceptable.  School children killed by a drone aren't real.  They are simply collateral damage.  Thousands killed or maimed by the medical industry aren't real people, they are simply side effect statistics.

Only when the drone "accidentally" drops a bomb on our neighborhood school or one of the individuals in the group we've labeled "victims of side effects" turns out to be a friend or relative do we remember the reality hidden behind the benign terms "collateral damage" and "side effects."

This week, two friends of mine stepped out of the faceless side effects group and in so doing reminded me of the reality behind the phrase.

Isn't it time to look beyond the phrases "collateral damage" and "side effects" and remember we are all human beings sharing this thing we call life?

No one signed up to be collateral damage or a side effect statistic and no one should be.  We've allowed this to happen.  We can change it.

Bert Carson