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Who put the Free in Freedom?
by Crystal O'Gorman

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Kathryn Bigelow is the first female to win an Oscar for Best Director.

Kathryn Bigelow is the first female to win an Oscar for Best Director.
It has always bothered me, this term freedom. My thoughts are based on the way we obtain this so-called freedom. It is evident by the 2010 Oscar's Best Film, The Hurt Locker, that nothing is free, especially freedom. First and foremost, the ones to pay are the soldiers and civilians who lose their lives for this idealism. Second and most importantly pertaining to the movie, the ones to pay for freedom are the soldiers that live through the experience and are expected to continue living as if nothing has changed. The psychological repercussions of the men and women who put themselves face to face with danger will forever affect how they encounter life as we, civilians, know it.

An adrenaline junkie, Staff Sergeant William James, perfectly performed by Jeremy Renner, fits the psychological profile to a tee. He continually puts himself in situations even his crew considers destructive. Fortunately, he is good at what he does; disarming bombs, 843, I believe is his count mid movie. He even keeps souvenirs from the tricky ones. His intentions are in the right place, but at what price does he sacrifice himself?

The consequences are alarming but valid as we are faced with his inability to comprehend what food to purchase at
This portrays Staff Sergeant William James played by Jeremy Renner.

This portrays Staff Sergeant William James played by Jeremy Renner.
the supermarket once his tour is over. He cannot handle choices. The only choice he knows is self sacrifice. The most upsetting scene is when he holds his son and tells him that all the love he has left inside him can be divided into two things: his son and being a bomb specialist. Unfortunately, that list shortens to one love as he chooses to reenlist as a bomb specialist in Iraq. Can you imagine choosing war over your children?

You might be thinking, this is just a movie, but that is not the reality. According to MSNBC.com and the New England Journal of Medicine, one out of every eight soldiers deals with some form of post traumatic stress disorder. I have experienced this first hand growing up in a small town, where boys have few options and often sign up for the military to become a man and make their way in the world. The recruiters sugar coat enlistment with sign-on bonuses, cars, and college money. What they forget to tell them is they sacrifice their sanity.

Do you know how many soldiers you can find in a bar in Augusta, GA every night of the week? This city is home to Fort Gordon a huge military base, but it's not so different than any other and I bet the same goes for any city housing a base. I remember when I
This depicts lighthearted soldiers, a definite oxymoron.

This depicts lighthearted soldiers, a definite oxymoron.
first turned 21 yrs. old and going out to the bars in downtown Augusta, GA. It would be swamped with army boys, as we called them. They were a dime a dozen and you could spot out their crew cuts from a mile away, drowning themselves in their sorrows—although most were too manly to admit it. The few that I obtained personal relationships with assured me that this was not a lifestyle to be taken easily and drinking was just one way to cope with it. The drunken violent scene between Staff Sergeant James and Sergeant Sanborn, played by Anthony Mackie, is reenacted every night on a military base somewhere. It is not a scene just included to further characterize the masculine inclination to puff out your chest and see who the big dog is. It is a way to reinforce themselves physically to deal with the inferiority they feel within, a way to rectify the loneliness of self sacrifice.

I was fortunate enough to obtain inside information on the way these young men were prepared to leave for duty during war time. The results were astonishing! Many commanding officers actually conditioned the young men who were not married but in relationships to let go of their feelings and move on. Sly ways of saying prepare yourself to never see that
Think about it.

Think about it.
person again and if you do, the relationship may never be the same. The seasoned soldiers knew the psychological repercussions these young men were up against, but instead of preparing them for the worse, they contribute to the disease.

I could continue to argue about this for hours and give countless examples of the psychological effects of war, but what difference does it make? We keep making war look like the masculine and advantageous thing to do, by our "Army of One" commercials and slogans. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of the people who have the gumption to put themselves in the face of danger; however, I want us to really weigh out the end results. Does one loss really equal one life? After thousands of years of egoisms and imperialistic notions haven't we come to a place of higher consciousness or are we still conditioned to be the animals we originated from?

Below is a link to MSNBC.com's article "1 in 8 returning soldiers suffers from PTSD".

Visit MSNBC.com

To read reviews on The Hurt Locker, please click on the icon below.

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The Big Picture
Every other Thursday

Using the Big Pictures as a bigger picture into the world around us, follow me as I explore this window of opportunity into other perspectives on life, love, and happiness. I will peel back the layers of fiction and movie making magic to show you the truth within. Sat Nam.

Other Columns
Other columns by Crystal O'Gorman:

Lessons Learned from Movies

Without Conventions in Waiting for Forever

127 Hours

Kid Movies

Children of Men...'Nuff Said!

All Columns

Crystal O'Gorman
I am a big dreamer from a small town searching for the meaning of life and using movies as a window of opportunity to understand the world around me. I remember working at the local, family-operated movie store as a teenager and being completely fascinated by the way movies bring the rest of the world to your finger tips.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Crystal O'Gorman by clicking here.

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