Atanu Dey On India's Development

Gun Shy

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I was reminded of Gun Shy one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers, Natalie Merchant — lead singer and songwriter of the band “10,000 Maniacs.” It’s from the album “In My Tribe.” What I find moving about the song is in its lyrics. Have a listen.

Natalie Merchant’s accent is slightly difficult to follow if you are not familiar with it. Here are the lyrics:

I always knew that you would take yourself far from home as soon as, and as far as you could go. By the 1/4 inch cut of your hair and the Army issue green, for the past eight weeks I can tell where you’ve been. For I knew, I could see, it was all cut and dried to me there was soldier’s blue blood streaming inside your veins. There is a world outside of this room and when you meet it promise me that you won’t meet it with your gun.

So now you are one of the brave few, and it’s awful sad we need boys like you. I hope the day never comes for “Here’s your live round son. Stock and barrel, safety, trigger, here’s your gun.” Well I knew, I could see, it was all cut and dried to me there was soldiers’ blue blood streaming inside your veins. There is a world outside of this room and when you meet it promise me that you won’t meet it with your gun taking aim.

For I don’t mean to argue, they’ve made a decent boy of you and I don’t mean to spoil your homecoming, but baby brother you should expect me to. “Stock and barrel, safety, trigger, here’s your gun.”

So now does your heart pitter-pat with a patriotic song when you see the stripes of Old Glory waving? Well I knew, I could see, it was all cut and dried to me there was soldiers’ blue blood streaming inside your veins. There is a world outside of this room and when you meet it promise me you won’t meet it with your gun taking aim. I don’t mean to argue, they’ve made a decent boy of you and I don’t mean to spoil your homecoming my baby brother Jude and I don’t mean to hurt you by saying this again, they’re so good at making soldiers but they’re not as good at making men.

I have highlighted the bits that speak to me. We need soldiers, and that the army has to be good at making them. But it’s awful sad that it is so. It is also awful sad that we sometimes need people of questionable morals and motivations to take our money to fund social welfare schemes which should have been properly funded by a competent government of a compassionate society. While writing the last post, I was reminded of this song.