Holiday season cycles around again, and my book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, could be a healing gift for anyone you know experiencing loss or grief. The book, of mostly personal columns reflecting on the miracle and comedy of life, has been reduced in price through the end of the year. A purchase also helps me keep the column afloat. More info below.
“The Lakotah had no language for insulting other orders of existence: pest, waste, weed . . .”
But what about “bugsplat”?
That’s the word for the cop at UC Davis, walking up and down the line of students sitting with their arms locked, zapping them in the eyes with pepper spray. It’s the word for the Tunisian police and bureaucrats who humiliated Mohamed Bouazizi and destroyed his livelihood as a street vendor. It’s the word for anyone whose power exceeds his humanity.
And, according to a 2003 Washington Post story, it’s the name of a Defense Department computer program for calculating collateral damage; it’s also, apparently, casual terminology among Pentagon operation planners and the like to refer to the collateral damage itself . . . you know, the dead civilians. CIA drone operators talk about bugsplat. The British organization Reprieve calls its effort to track the number of people killed by U.S. drone strikes — in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen — Project Bugsplat.