Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 96

Drones john sweeder When I was twelve years old, I enjoyed playing board games like Risk. In Risk, I tried to conquer the world – and so did my friend, Dwayne, who I used to compete against as we sat on the white concrete driveway behind our red brick row homes. Like military drones we hovered over a primary-colored, two-dimensional world that lay beneath us at ground-level. Dwayne and I took over countries one at a time by rolling sets of dice. Every outcome depended on chance. Whoever was lucky enough to roll the higher number conquered territories with make-believe armies. Whoever was unlucky got territories taken over. Continents fell to the victor. The game ended. No one was incinerated. No one was blown up. No one lost a son. No one lost a daughter. No one lost a loved one, like when I was twenty-one and thought I had to go to Viet Nam but didn’t because I received a medical deferment. But Dwayne went to Viet Nam. He fought and died there. He had skin in the game. Today, alone, seated comfortably in a cushioned chair with tablet computer on my lap, I watch YouTube videos of drones playing Risk overseas in the Middle East. But I don’t have fun like I did when I watched the outcome of the dice in my drive- way with Dwayne. Too many people have skin in the game, often young dark skin. Drones have no skin. 96