Nope, it’s not April Fools Day. That was almost three weeks ago. This is unfortunately real. Australian soldiers have been banned from wearing “symbols of death” because they encourage “arrogance.” Such symbols include the skull and crossbones, the grim reaper, and the Phantom.
According to The Australian, “Chief of Army Lt Gen Campbell on Tuesday issued the directive to the Army banning the ‘display or adoption of symbols, emblems and iconography’ which he says are ‘at odds with the army’s values and the ethical force we seek to build and sustain.”
Banned symbols include the skull and cross bones, which was said to be “associated with maritime outlaws and murderers, the phantom with vigilantes, the Spartans as extreme militarism and the grim reaper as a ‘bringer of death.'” Campbell went on to explain:
Such symbology is never presented as ill-intentioned and plays to much of modern popular culture, but it is always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession: the legitimate and discriminate taking of life…
Campbell went on to say, the soldier’s duty is to serve the sate by using violence with humility and compassion. Symbols of death only “erode this ethos of service.”