Often used by gangs, hazing or bullying promotes group loyalty, camaraderie,
or initiation into the group. These ritualistic tests include harassment,
humiliation, and requirements to perform meaningless tasks. It can be used
to weed out whiners and complainers. People going through a great deal of
trouble to attain membership value it more highly than people who join without
effort. But repeated hazing promotes hate or fear, even suicide.
Click here for an extra page about suicide.
The worst outcome is when hazing becomes entertainment. Included in this
true story is where rat poison is put in someone's food while others look on,
for entertainment. Designed to make rats leave wherever they are, before
dying, it produces days of horrible pain and insatiable thirst before it kills.
This ultimately produced a unanimous mutiny.
In the military, meaningless or artificial hardships are a slap in the face to
courageous members who cheerfully endure real hardship for the benefit of
comrades. It also destroys the attitude of family that develops in a military
unit where the sacrifice of others is up-close and personal. In contrast,
outward bound style training teaches challenging and important skills with
teamwork, cooperation, and a sense of family.
In my experience, some of the most difficult new people were from a
particularly tough neighborhood in Philadelphia. They were angry, hated any
kind of authority, and they hated the Navy. I always ask new men (in private)
"why did you join the Navy". It helps to know what new people want from their
job. With these new men, the answer was always "the Judge said either I could
join the Navy, or go to jail".
Once at sea, new people have to "fit in" eventually, since there's nowhere
else to go. People trust others to do life or death jobs, where one mistake
could kill us all. Most Officers refuse to "waste their time" with
"worthless people". I refuse to abandon any of my "worthless people", so I
guess I "wasted" lots of time. I discovered these "worthless people" are
hungry to learn about character and responsibility, it's just difficult,
teaching such "foreign" subjects. It is, however, worth the effort. After
months of struggle, there is a huge and sudden turnaround. These former
"worthless people" are suddenly ambitious, courageous, - - and happy.
Except for one guy who went awol (absent), it always worked for me.
These "changed" people are incredibly loyal. When I was badly injured, many
young guys continued cpr for hours after I was declared "dead". We had 10
vials of scarce medication, divided by lottery, for over 100 people in need.
All 10 recipients wanted their medication given to me. They then talked the
corpsman into trying a massive blood transfusion. He didn't know my blood
type, but since I was already "dead", they wanted to try anyway. It left
several guys white as a sheet, and flat on their backs for days. I guess it
worked, since I am no longer "dead". Later, I asked these young guys, kids
really, why they did it. They said (tearfully by the way) I was the only
person who ever explained things so they could understand. Of course, they
teach me a great deal too, more than words can explain.
Click here for an extra page about hate.
Since the first good man gave his life, just to save mine, I am immune from
hate. It was so simple, really, and unexpected. He just said "I can't let
you do it (the job) because you're the only guy onboard with good ideas. We
still need you, if this one doesn't work." He arranged for two more guys to
be there, just to drag me away. Afterward, he was offered strong medications
for pain, for sleep, even for death. He refused them all, just so he could
tell me he was still really happy he did it (the job), before he died. He
said I taught him about "love". I would have called it "courage". Minutes
later, he was dead. He was EM1 Anthony B. Nelson. To us, "Tony". You only
have to read Ernie Pyle, or Theodore White, or Winston Churchill, to find such
uncommon courage was a common virtue in earlier generations. Men of courage
are always cheerful, and help one another, even in the most horrible of
That's what I remember from my horrible experiences. Not hate.
In the hope it might someday be useful, I wrote everything down.
See start .
Click here for an extra page about
derision and a new Navy doctor.