I must admit that I loved playing with toy soldiers as a kid – especially when I blew them up with firecrackers and shot them with bee bee guns. But some time around adolescence I stopped playing army.
But just outside Mobile, Alabama the RV Bunny and I stumbled across a bunch of grown men who were still playing army. They had graduated from toy soldiers to real tanks and machine guns. I guess some men love the feeling of power they get from having their own tank or shooting a machine gun firing 1,800 rounds a minute.
I’m not sure what the permitting or licensing requirements are, but these “hobbyists” own their own private army. They gather all around the USA. We found them gathered at the memorial site of the WWII Battleship Alabama just outside Mobile. I’ll bet they spend lots of time watching the “Military Channel” on cable TV.
Their kids can buy toy machine guns and grenades at the battleship memorial store. I’d imagine they have infant rattles that are shaped like German grenades too. It’s never too early to start bonding with weapons.
The US now spends more on “defense” than the rest of the world combined. Just who are all these weapons intended for use upon? Or is it mostly about feeding the “Industrial Military Complex”, which retired four star general Dwight D Eisenhower referred to in his farewell speech as President of the US in 1961? For a full transcript of this speech, click here.
Top 15 nations as ranked by military spending in billions of dollars
(Data from the CIA’s “World Factbook 2003″)
During the past ten years US military expenditures have exploded from just over 350 billing in 1998 to almost 650 billion as of 2008.
Our fascination with military toys is immature and deadly. Perhaps we should befriend the world rather than live in fear of it?
Next Stop – Oliver’s Oyster House in Mobile