“It was like a war zone”

In the Sun Herald recently (7th Feb 2010) there was an article about the disruption being caused to schools around the country as construction is undertaken as part of the Government’s economic stimulus plan. Schools are getting new halls and other capital works done. A quote from a parent of one of the pupils of Double Bay Public School struck a chord with me. A bad chord.

”We now have a war zone in the middle of the school with cranes and pile drivers, which are an unfortunate but necessary evil,” school parent Michael Lloyd White said.

Really? A war zone? That’s a bit over-dramatic don’t you think? People seem to compare large, disruptive events that they witness to either a war zone or my other favourite ‘it was like a bomb went off’.

Are the kiddies shooting at each other with machine guns? Are there land mines? Are there bombs being dropped from the sky? I’ve never been in a war zone myself, I’ve read a few accounts though and they don’t sound like the kind of place where you would continue to send your kid to school. I’ve never encountered any stories about the ANZACs reminiscing about the pile drivers, building inspectors, portaloos or the tucker truck either.

Maybe this example is better described as a bunch of testosterone fuelled blokes with noisy equipment making a big bloody mess in the middle of the school?

But there are plenty of other recent examples of war zone comparisons about. See this story describing the outbreak of a virus at a New Zealand camping ground for instance.

Family flees ‘war zone’ as illness hits camping ground”:
“A Christchurch family fled a "war zone" of vomit and diarrhoea at a Golden Bay camping ground after a contagious virus flared among holidaymakers”

OK to be fair there probably is a fair bit of vomit and diarrhoea in a war zone, but the presence of those two functions alone do not a war zone make.

According to The Durango Herald, Florida Road has been overrun by mechanized infantry, mortars and snipers. Or maybe it just has a few potholes, it’s kind of hard to tell:

Have you driven on 32nd lately? It’s a war zone, with craters the size of kitchen sinks and a mud hole by north City Market.”

According to Cyclingnews.com a recent road race in Qatar got a bit feisty as Steven Cozza broke his collarbone:

"It’s so dangerous out there with all the wind and stuff and it happened when the cross-winds started coming and we started racing hard," he said.

"It was a like a war zone and it was every man for himself.”

Mind you, it would make cycling a bit more of an interesting spectator sport if there were random explosions – this bloke might be on to something!

I could go on and on with examples but I think you get the point. The lesson here is don’t be over dramatic and describe things like war zones that clearly aren’t, it’s just plain disrespectful to anybody who is unfortunate enough to have had to be in a war zone.