Jay Beeler

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and foreigners, taking 240 hostages. Putting things in perspective, 34,844 total Palestinian deaths might serve as a future deterrent before someone decides to start another war, but don’t count on it., a platform dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the future of work, has published a recent survey report evaluating college students’ attitudes toward pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses. The report also shares insights into their sentiments regarding different protesting tactics. The survey collected responses from 763 full-time college students in the United States.

According to the survey, 55 percent of college students report they have pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses. Furthermore, 84 percent express they fully or partially understand the motivations behind these protests. To learn about the Israel-Palestine conflict, students primarily turn to TikTok (31 percent), televised news (16 percent), Instagram (12 percent), YouTube (11 percent), friends and family (10 percent), and newspaper articles (8 percent).

From my perspective, most college students today are ignorant about wars, since they were born after Sept. 11, 2001, when four hijacked airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center, a Pennsylvania field and the Pentagon. That day, 2,996 lives were lost, starting a war that eventually claimed 4,492 U.S. service members and 200,000 Iraqis.

They are ignorant about Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, claiming 2,403 lives, including 68 civilians. In retaliation, the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki claimed between 129,000 and 226,000 lives.

In May 1921, 300 Blacks were genocide victims in Tulsa, Okla. and 1,250 homes were destroyed. The massacre was largely omitted from local, state, and national histories for years.

Between 1848 and 1857 4,000 native Americans were murdered during “California’s little-known genocide” as the state was flooded by 300,000 new arrivals during the gold rush.

Ignorance may be bliss, but keeping these facts from the public by re-writing history and tearing down Civil War statues is equally criminal. We cannot learn from our mistakes if a certain college president removes the Prospector Pete statue from upper campus and bans the use of the 49er moniker because of what happened 175 years ago. We should be learning from the truth, not hiding it.

To quote comedian Ron White, “You can’t fix stupid.”

My father was 15 when he snuck into the Army toward the end of World War 1. He tried again in World War II before I was born and was successful. He was too old to serve during the Korean War, but did serve in the National Guard.

My turn came during Vietnam, when we planted 150 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in the tundra of North Dakota. Those missiles have served as a deterrent for anyone thinking of starting a nuclear war against the U.S. for the past 50 years.

Following discharge from the Air Force in 1965, I found myself watching hundreds of fellow Long Beach State students protesting the Vietnam War.

Ron White is right: “You can’t fix stupid” and the nature of mankind is that we’ll always have wars as long as people like Putin are allowed to be in power.

My goal is to speak out against those who attempt to re-write the history of global conflicts so that college students stop being ignorant. Maybe we should bring back the draft so that these self-righteous young people can learn about war on a first-hand basis.


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