Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Hard Truth From Orlando

Anyone who read the ABC news article this week on the
increasing violence in sorority hazing has to be sickened by
the vicious acts of these young women, supposedly the cream
of our society, practicing every kind of abuse, from demeaning,
malicious verbal assaults to physical violence to calculated
sexual abuse of the young women seeking to become
members/pledges. I mean, we've heard about the fraternity
hazing violence, the alcohol poisoning deaths, the rites of
humiliation, and just plain criminal acts which have led to
some campuses banning fraternities and sororities from their
educational institutions. Why does it continue despite
institutional policies and protocols on hazing?

It continues because it's institutionalized bullying. It
continues because it happens on school campuses, just
like elementary, middle school and high school bullying,
and therefore law enforcement defers to the campus
authorities first instead of taking immediate outside
criminal action against the perpetrators of these abuses.
And campus authorities are loath to admit their institution
has these types of criminal behaviors occurring on their
grounds. For institutions of higher learning, bad press
equals loss of revenue by students changing their choice
of university or college. Bad press means a loss of revenue
from former alumni and financial subsidizers. So
universities and colleges are highly motivated to whitewash
or hide the questionable, if not outright illegal and
discriminatory practices of these "fraternal" organizations
and to make it difficult, if not impossible to report these
abuses by students. Sure you see little real action taken
-- until there's a high profile case that makes the local news.
But there's almost nothing substantial done to change the
culture of the frats and sororities themselves.
Some would say it's up to the youngsters themselves to
refuse to participate in these rites of humiliation. But why
are rites of humiliation the source of determining who will or
will not be admitted into a sorority or fraternity? If these
"Greek" system organizations want to represent the best,
then let them recruit by grade point averages, recruit by
special artistic or academic talent, and leave the sadistic
silliness elsewhere. Let them open their doors to external
reviews and have outside supervision of their initiations.
That won't suit the "it's a secret" mantra which these
organizations embrace to prove their exclusivity and which
the bullies hide behind.

Frankly, as a young college student, I thought about
pledging to a sorority. But I wasn't at the university for
a four-year social event. I wasn't at the university for
parties, dating or hanging out. I had a lifetime goal ahead
of me. I went for an academic education that was going to
get me a chance at the best paying job in a professional field
I enjoyed. And I let that be my all-consuming focus, rather
than "belonging" to a crowd I was most likely never going to
see again once I graduated. So I never joined. I went to
school, I got good grades and I put my energy into living
my life independent of others and their opinions of me.
I recognize not everyone is that sturdy. A lot of students
are desperate for peer acceptance and validation, so they
subject themselves to figurative slaughter by frat house
and sorority conscienceless sadists, protected by a tradition
of secrecy and rampant peer pressure.

If we keep the antiquated and increasing influence of
sororities and fraternities on campuses, then the campus
authorities need to do more than pay lip service to the
no-hazing policies. They need to define hazing, they need
to make it plain that many actions which currently pass for
"hazing" are in fact criminal acts and that any complaint
of hazing will see the sorority or fraternity closed down and
participating individuals (and their Greek chapters) facing
criminal and civil prosecution. That's the punitive measures.
The positive measures should be banning pledging. Sororities
and fraternities need to set public written requirements for
membership and recruit accordingly, the same as you would
for any professional organization. And the organizations
themselves need to set a standard for courtesy, honesty and
a few other virtues which seem to have gotten lost in the
animalistic clawing for supremacy.

To paraphrase the article, this ain't reality TV where you're
going to get some prize for survival; this is the real world and
living means more than staying alive. Show you have enough
personal integrity to stand up for yourself and the guts to say
"no" to abuse by these bullying creeps and walk out. You'll be
surprised how many will follow you out the door. And when
enough young people show they're not interested in being
victims, the frats and sororities will stop the hazing and
become the positive social organizations they were once
purported to be.

Florida Cracker

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Thought For Today

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Thought For Today

"Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life." - Jean Paul Richter

The Hard Truth From Orlando

And the tragedies continue. While we’ve come a long way in
recognizing domestic violence, legislating against violent crimes
targeting women and children, the murder of 23 year old Alissa
Blanton in Orlando, Florida, this week by 61 year old stalker
Roger Troy, highlights how much further we have to go in
getting the judiciary and law enforcement proactively on the
side of the human targets of random dysfunctional freaks. Who
knows what Brevard County’s Judge Dean Moxley was thinking
– or even if he was thinking – when he denied Ms. Blanton’s
petition for an injunction against her stalker-murderer, Roger
Troy. Plainly there was enough to send up alarm bells if the
judge was paying attention, and certainly enough to err on the
side of caution in issuing an emergency injunction. The
stalking/harassment had gone on for two years, and if
that wasn’t enough, the emails and complaint plainly
indicated that Troy was willing to travel over 40 miles
in one direction from his home in Cocoa Beach order to
stake out Ms. Blanton’s home and work place in Orlando.
That alone shows a real obsession and scary determination
on the part of this fruitloop which should have triggered
all kinds of alarms in Judge Moxley’s mind.
But I bet I can guess what Judge Moxley was thinking. He’s
a white, older, middle-class male – deep down, he doesn’t get
it. He’s never been victimized by a member of the opposite
sex; never been stalked; never been put in daily fear for his
own safety simply because of his gender. He looked at this
petition, as he’s looked at dozens of others, said, well, she used
to work at Hooters, and she can’t be that nice, not and be a
Hooters girl. And the stalking has gone on for two years and
she’s just now getting upset? There’s something wrong with
her. And it’s not like a domestic violence case where there are
mandatory legal requirements – this guy is just someone who
used to be a customer where she was a waitress, no reason for
them to be in contact.

So he denied the emergency injunction, scheduled a hearing
two weeks out, notice was sent to the bad guy, and Alissa died
at the hands of her stalker. And, even if Roger Troy didn’t
receive the notice of the pending action against him, chances
are that, in effect, such notice would have signed Alissa’s
death warrant, just as it has in so many other cases where
the victims had active injunctions in place against their killers
and the paperwork proved the trigger to the final violence,
rather than the solution.

Advocates are trying to end the legal notification of abusers
until the restraining order is a done deal. And that’s for the
protection of the petitioners. It doesn’t mean the respondent
– the accused – doesn’t have any rights. They absolutely
have the right to legally challenge the restraining order in
court. But frankly, there’s no reason they can’t challenge
the order after it’s issued. Civil rights advocates would say
that’s a violation of the respondent’s Constitutional rights to
confront witnesses against them in court. Well, an injunction
is a civil action – not a criminal action, and it’s there simply
to give the police legal backing to confront an abuser and
probable cause to arrest if necessary if the situation merits.

And I wouldn’t be too concerned about the perpetrator’s
rights when he’s so patently in violation of his victim’s rights.
But the other lesson from this hideous event is simply, an
injunction does not make you bullet-proof. If you’re waiting
for the police or the judicial system to save you, you’re dead.
Safety is in your hands. Pacifist idiots preached the juvenile
silliness of maybe getting in trouble for standing up to bullies
until law-abiding, decent citizens are afraid to do more than
cringe, lock their doors and try to hide from the predators.
If we’re going to curtail this phenomenon of people being
casually murdered by losers who kill because they’re too
dysfunctional to get a date, maintain a relationship without
violence, or just plain socialize in a general population, then
instead of trying ineffectively to play protector, we need to
teach our daughters to be aware and to get tough. A
predator needs to know if he reaches out and the touch
isn’t welcome, he’s going to pull back a bloody hand – and
his target will be the one drawing blood. An obsessed freak
sending emails and hatching bizarre plots in his twisted brain
needs to be brought sharply to reality with criminal, not civil,
charges shining a public spotlight on his destructive activities.
And rest assured, there was any number of criminal charges
that could have been leveled against Mr. Troy early on in
preceding two years which would have been much more
effective in stopping his vicious campaign of intimidation
and eventual homicide than a civil injunction.
Our daughters need to know that being nice doesn’t have to
mean being weak. Our daughters need to know more than
how to dial 911 on a cell phone if they’re in a dangerous
situation. And when all is said and done, if every legal
means is ineffective or impractical and the wolf is at the
door, our daughters need to know they should tell the bad
guy to come on in while she has her finger on the trigger –
and pull it point-blank. It’s not a pretty solution, but it
beats the alternative of her family in mourning, playing
forever the woulda, shoulda, coulda game that resolves
nothing and brings no one’s daughter back.

Prayers for Alissa Blanton and her family and all the
victims of self-absorbed losers everywhere.

Florida Cracker

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Thought For Today

"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense." - Robert Heinlein

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Thought For Today

"Power is not a means; it is an end...The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power." - George Orwell

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Thought For Today

"Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Recipe: Microwave Instant Rice

2 cups instant rice
2 cups boiling water

Place the rice in a microwave safe dish (3 quart)
pour in the boiling water. Cover with a vented
microwave lid. Cook on HIGH (1200W) for 2 to 3
minutes. When it boils, reduce the power to
(30%) and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
the dish out and fluff the rice with a fork.

Makes 4 cups

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Thought For Today

"The superior man seeks what is right; the inferior one, what is profitable." - Confucius