The platoon has a new pre-mission sport now. We call it "Crete-put", or more simply "The Rock Toss". It's one of those activities that occasions a head shake and "I don't even want to know" from our platoon leader. It works something like this: Take a 15 pound chunk of discarded concrete, add some soldiers full of pre-mission energy, and a touch of lunacy, and you end up with guys running full tilt towards a line scratched in the dirt and hurling a big rock through the air. Eventually, someone will get hurt, I'm sure. We almost tagged an oblivious Marine tonight. Assuming we don't get bored before the inevitable happens, the Army will, also inevitably, release a safety brief warning us all not to throw big rocks.
The modern military combines part big brother society with part warfighter. We soldiers are considered almost mature enough to understand that war is dangerous, and the weapons we fight it with are just as dangerous as the enemies. The military seems to trust that we will understand that we can't be running around post like cowboys with loaded weapons or explosives. On the other hand, the most mundane and common-sense workplace safety practices often warrant a official warning. These warnings are usually accompanied by graphic photographs of the one idiot who managed to mutailate themselves in spectacular fashion.
Since I've come to Iraq, I've learned that you should not attempt to exit a moving vehicle or I may injure myself. I've been told that in the event of a rollover, I should not try to open the uparmored door that is now above my head lest I be crushed under it. I've seen pictures of what may happen to me if I hit my hand with a hammer, or get too close to a dirt auger. I now know that I shouldn't play with knives, and that opening the feed tray of a weapon while it is firing may be bad for my health. I have been warned on the dangers of cigarettes, and told that I shouldn't be drinking alcohol (not that doing so is allowed anyway). I know not to light fires inside tents, or any other enclosure, for that matter.
It's only a matter of time before we're not allowed to throw rocks.