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Winning people's hearts and minds through ideas is one way to affect change, but it's a very, very slow process. Most would consider it "impractical." For those who want to implement change quicker, coercion is typically the preferred method. Coercion is the status quo for most things in society.

There are some who are trying really hard to change that. They want big, permanent changes. Their number is hard to determine as they are disorganized individuals fighting against a highly organized government who has guns and isn't afraid to use them. That would appear to be a recipe for disaster. But, no matter how disorganized they are, it's clear they all have a common element of strength on their side: courage.

They are soldiers who refuse to kill others simply because they are ordered to. They have a sincere objection to war. They're not supportive of training where they are required to "bayonet human-shaped dummies while shouting, 'kill, kill.'"

Standing up and saying "NO!" to people with guns rarely turns out well. Whereas the home of the brave was once the land of the free, more and more, the new home of the brave is prison. Refusing to obey orders from a government hell-bent on you following orders is a ticket directly to jail. Although there are exceptions in history, disorganized individuals trying to encourage peace don't have much of a chance to affect change. They need help. They need help from people like you.

Here is the story of one man who, literally, has committed his life to change. What are you this committed to? What is so important to you that you would risk your life to try to change it? How does someone like this lone individual create a movement to change the world? Is there anything that you care that much about? Do you support those who refuse to go to war? What are you doing to help the idea of peace spread?

A Royal Navy medic was sentenced to seven months' detention in a military correction facility today after he was found guilty of disobeying a legal order by refusing to attend rifle training because of his "moral objection" to bearing arms and the war in Afghanistan...

On that day, he reported to Warrant Officer Robert Bainbridge and stated that he could not start the course because he had a "moral objection to bearing arms" and asked to be "re-rolled for non-combative duties", leading him to be charged with disobeying a lawful order.

He then entered his appeal over his conscientious objector status to the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors (ACCO), which was rejected on December 17.

Fiona Edington, defending, said medics had a "protected status" under the Geneva convention, meaning that they were non-combatants who had a right to bear arms for self-defence and the protection of a patient.

She added that Lyons had developed a moral objection to the war in Afghanistan since he originally joined the navy at the age of 18...

"This is an isolated incident by a man with a conscience."

Commander Darren Reed, prosecuting, said: "What distinguishes a military force from an armed mob is discipline."

...The committee rejected his claim, saying he was a "political objector" not a "conscientious objector".

...The ACCO heard that Lyons decided he could not serve in Afghanistan after he read the WikiLeaks revelations about the conflict.

Lyons, who comes from a military family and is the great-grandson of a decorated Second World War hero, told the committee: "I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out but I still had a sense of duty to my country.

"It was a big dilemma. Soon after, a large number of military documents were leaked by WikiLeaks...

"I came to the conclusion I couldn't serve on a moral ground and I couldn't see any political reason for being there."

...He added: "If more people in my position stood up, there would be a lot less innocent lives lost around the world."

Royal Navy medic jailed after refusing to attend rifle training on moral grounds


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Jul 7, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=595

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