Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Eamonn

Complacency

Recommended Posts

Many years back a very good friend who happened to be a policeman and myself were driving to a Scouting event in Scout uniform. As we were riding along we came across two guys fighting. One guy was beating the heck out of the other with an iron bar.

We stopped, my friend who is not small, in fact he is a very big fellow, broke up the fight and then went about attending to the guy who had been beaten, telling me to watch the other guy. I was 147 pounds and the guy I was watching was a good deal bigger, at least 220 pounds. While I did my best not to seem scared, the truth was I was shaking in my boots.

I think that if my friend had not been with me I would not have stopped.

I'm not sure if I would have gone out of my way to find a policeman or report it?

Or if I'd have been OK hoping that someone else would do the right thing.

This past week I received a phone call from a Corrections Officer at work, telling me to have a word with my inmates who he had seen doing something wrong in the corridor.

He was a little upset when I told him that when he seen an inmate doing something wrong it was down to him to take action and do what was right.

The truth was that I didn't have a lot of time for this guy.

I didn't like the idea that he was making me a gift of a group of inmates and he seemed more than willing to pass the buck back to me rather than do his job.

At Scout camp I have ran into Scouts from other Troops that I've had no connections with who were smoking. I have asked these Scouts to put the cigarettes out and reported what I seen and did to their SM.

Again at Scout camp I've come across Scouts using axes near their camp site, in ways that I know if they were in any Troop I was associated with, I'd be most un-happy.

But I do nothing.

All the media coverage of the Sandusky case has got me thinking about complacency. Not just from the child abuse point of view, I kinda like to think that we all would do the right thing in a situation like this.

But there have been times when I've seen and heard Scouts behaving badly or even dangerously, when because I felt I'd be sticking my nose in where it;s not needed I've not done the right thing and have been OK with doing nothing.

The other side of the coin is when someone has come to me informing me that a member of a unit I'm with has or is doing something wrong. Rather than thanking him or her I tend to think that they are indeed sticking their nose in where it's not needed and I resent the intrusion.

Your thoughts and opinions are welcome.

Eamonn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been on both sides of that fence too.

 

When I see scouts from other units doing something they shouldn't, I usually don't say anything unless it involves a threat of injury, safety, bullying, or some other type of damage.

 

I also feel like I am sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.

 

But I also know that some mean scouts purposely wait til they are away from an adult leader ( within their own unit) to "get" the victim.

 

On the other side of things, I do know I will be more likely to go out of my way when my scouts are observing. I guess it makes a good example for them.

 

I bet you are like me in one sense: We tend to get biased over our own scouts and we tend to defend them no matter what if somebody from another unit calls them out. If our own leaders/parents do it, it's okay. But if another person from another unit does....look out!

 

I have learned to speak up more and do it more tactfully.

 

As an example, we just recently did an overnight campout/ service project at a National park in a combined effort with another troop.

As we were getting ready to leave, we formed a trash line to make sure any and all trash in our area was picked up. WEll, it ended being only the boys from out troop ( 11) formed the line and the boys from the other troop ( 3 ) just sat under the shelter area.

 

As our boys walked by the shelter - specifically in the area where the other troopp had set up it's kitchen/cooking area - the SPL from the other troop starts yelling and dressing down our scouts for not picking up 3 pieces of trash that were practically undet that troops table.

 

NOw, this SPL was also just standing there and mde noeffort all weekend to pick up anything.

 

So - while realizing that pieces of trash are not individually assigned to anybody and that we were picking up all trash from whoever dropped it from whenever they dropped it at this park......well, it got under my skin that this scout was doing nothing at all, about his own mess and then yelling down at "my" boys for it.

 

So, I was tactfull, but also very, very firm in telling him : "WEll then, pick it up as you join the trash line like everybody else."

 

The look on his face told me that he was neither used to people talking to him like that and that he never had invovlement with clean up.( his troop adults were cleaning up stove s and DO's, not the scouts.

 

 

So, I guess we do our best too. We strive for better, hope we don't do worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't worry about adult sensitivities. If I see a scout engaging in something that is risky or dangerous or if I just am not sure about it, I just blurt out what I'm thinking. Sometimes I get the 'huffing and puffing' from another leader, other times they get just as alarmed as I am. But either way, the problem, if there is one, is addressed.

As for the adults, judging from what I see waddling around, I think I can still outrun most of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At camp, one of my boys comes up to me and motions at the campsite across the road....

 

Three boys, standing perhaps 2' away from each other, the middle kid swinging a hatchet wildly over his head on a live limb of a pine tree...

 

I walked over, asked them what they were doing, and after they answered, told them what I thought of it, and that all three would have had their TC torn in half if they were in my troop (why bother with corners?...).

 

Their adult leader was standing 20' away during the whle lead-up, and never said anything until I walked away...

 

As with the trash-line above, it's the adults not leading by example...

 

(This message has been edited by Eolesen)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were at Webelos resident camp 2 years ago.....

 

Standing at evening flag saw a young man on his knees hot spark in hand striking it with his pocket knife. Took the knife and hot spark from him and turned to give it too his leader and leader was their right in my face wanting to know what the problem was...... I handed him the knife and hot spark and told him what had happened and my concern about the knife, safety circle and letting a 10 year old have a hot spark.

 

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS is what I was told. Leader handed the knife and hot spark back to the scout.

 

Next morning I was over seeing our waiters when a frantic call for the medical officer went out.....same scout had slit the ankle of a boy standing at flag.....

 

I would have loved to see the leader again and tell him it was completely preventable and entirely his fault. But it was his son and they left the camp after the incident...

 

Intervening in a roadside fight.....No way. In my neighborhood, you will get knifed or shot...If it is gang related and one of their boys gets arrested or killed they will get you and your family in retaliation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah, I'm probably silly, but I'd always intervene in a roadside fight. Just somethin' yeh do. If that's my end, so be it, at least I didn't walk away. Only had it happen once, intervening in an attempted rape of a woman by a stranger.

 

On the scout side, I reckon it's do-unto-other-leaders as yeh would have done unto you. :) Mostly, rather than addressing the boys directly, I just alert the SM or youth leader. Quiet-like, on the side.

 

Lots of times I've seen adult scouters stick their noses in when they really didn't know what they were talkin' about, or didn't really know the skills of the youth in question, or hadn't gotten enough coffee that mornin' and were making mountains out of molehills. That can be awkward, because we put a fellow scouter in da position of havin' to back up a fellow adult when the adult isn't being the best judge or example.

 

So until it reaches da level of the roadside fight, it's easier to be polite and work with da youth and adult leaders, rather than over 'em.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It boils down to how involved do you feel moved to become. Everything is a test, after all.

There have been times when I walk up ane get involved. There have been times when, hours, days later, I find myself thinking "gee, I shoulda done something", but maybe it's too late, and but maybe I find something to do or say that helps prevent or improve a future event. Maybe.

 

Whether it is that turtle you didn't stop to pick up and carry to the other side, or the Cub Scout who is waving a pocket knife around like an x-wing fighter, or the mother who is getting close to violence with her child in the supermarket,

how and when and what regrets (or satisfaction) one feels is determined by past events, training, sensitivity to the movement of the Spirit in your life, whether or not someone helped you when you were in need.

Lots of shoulda , coulda, mighta, comes up.

 

In the extreme example, I am reminded of the following:

 

""First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--

Because I was not a Socialist.

 

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--

Because I was not a Jew.

 

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

= Martin Niemoller = ""

 

Think hard when an opportunity is presented to you. How will you feel later if you do not act or speak?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roadside fight. Well, I've intervened in the past and I gave the details in another thread quite a while back. But by the time I had stopped my car, the fight was pretty much over and the two persons had separated, one of them in retreat. The deputy I had on the phone advised me not to approach, advice that a guy named Zimmerman probably should have taken. The deputy investigated later and eventually called me for some more conversation. Evidently between the time I left and the time he investigated, one of the guys returned with a golf club and nearly killed the other guy. Testosterone combined with stupidity. Bad combination. And what was it about? A girl. (have I ever mentioned before that we are monkeys?)

Beavah, when I learned about the record that both of the guys had, neither one of them would have been worth your life. Trust me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roadside fight - call 911 on my cell phone. Unless it involves my friend(s) or family member getting mugged / etc... I'm not getting in harms way. I did it once while on active duty, saw two E-4's going at each other outside the barracks. Got out of my car and yelled at them to knock it off. One started towards me until he saw my officers rank and I let him know I was a personal friend of both his CO and 1st SGT. That stopped the lad in his tracks.

 

As for an unsafe act at a scout outing with multiple uunits...

 

If you are an adult leader, then you are a leader of ALL scouts. If I am to ever correct a scout that is not in my unit, I do so, but with the uptmost tack. Usually stating something like, "Guys, do you think that is the best thing to be doing? What if you slip with that knife? You know, BSA has a zero tolerance for bullying, I'd hate to see you get sent home from camp..."

 

You can get your point across without being a blowhard and if the other unit's leadership disagrees with my assesment of the situation, then so be it... I move on with life. At least I can lay my head down at night knowing I've done my due dilligence.

 

Unless it has the potential to cause serious harm or involves boys from multiple units, I see no reason to alert camp staff. Most of the time, just making the other unit's leader(s) aware of the issue solves any problem.

 

As for current events with Penn State and the Sandusky trial, thats a whole new level of complacency. Multiple people at multiple levels had multiple chances to do something to stop the abuse and ALL (for whatever their reasons) chose not to do anything. They all have to live with that decision. By the time the criminal and civil courts get done, Penn State will be a bankrupt institution if there is any justice in the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've talked guys (and some ladies) down from a few metaphorical ledges. Spent too much time growing up in the beer business to put myself anywhere near where gents on the verge of fisticuffs. I know my grandma, uncles and cousins were respected (and feared) bar tenders who did not tolerate threatening behavior from patrons.

 

I've broken up fights between scouts who had spent who thought their season of boxing lessons gave them the right to "throw down." Some parents thought that was dangerous, but nobody dared give me a MYOB lecture.

 

When youth friend me on FB, they find out that I am not complacent about their speech. When friends of their friends are uncouth, I try to contact the parents as discretely as possible. I don't consider MYOB an option.

 

One guy who was a mutual friend of the family started posting girlie photos. I contacted the family member -- who happened to be a pastor -- and we both confronted him. Turns out the guy was recently jilted and needed to talk. Again, if I have to see your crap, you're going to hear from me about it.

 

If boys from another troop are in imminent danger, I'll intervene. Otherwise, I'll find their SPL and ask if he could help resolve the issue.

 

On the flip side. The advantage of having a troop with bad kids is that we expect about 50% of our visits are because someone needs to talk to us about our boys' inappropriate behavior. And yes, we have adults who would go on the offensive and throw out the MYOB lecture. That's why the SM and I try to meet visitors before they come too far into camp!

 

We can't be everywhere our boys are causing trouble, so those who intervene on our behalf are doing us a service. And, it has had a positive effect in those boys' lives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

National statistics on safety indicate that out of 330 unsafe activities 300 will not result in any unjury, 29 will, and one will result in death.

 

The choice is yours, Play the odds or play it safe.

 

Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eamonn--first off it is good to see you back! I missed your posts.

 

I do not think you can predict how you will react at any given moment. Isn't that why the train and train military guys and first responders to get a more consistent response?

 

There have been several times when I was in buildings on fire and my cold reptilian brain turned on and I was calm, methodical, and rational. I am ashamed to say another time I saw a minivan get hit and flipped and I felt no need to run over. Other people did and everything turned out OK but I just was not prepared to do so at that moment.

 

In my youth I came across a man who had been stalking the future Mrs Turtle. I broke off a table leg and would have beaten him to death if the police had not showed up. I am a pretty meek and mild guy and was shocked at "my inner cave man".

 

Other times I have said nothing and sometimes I have stood up to an entire group threatening some stranger.

 

I do not know why the switch is on or off. I suspect their have been a few PhD's completed on the subject. Sometimes I say things to another Troop and other times, yeah I don't get involved. I am sure you have been on the receiving end of "helpful" comments about your boys--and happily thanked the person or felt they were being a busy body.

 

We constantly go over this as ASM's. If it is a safety thing we will intervene. If it is a "form thing" --uniforming for example--we might let it slide. I think we keep going over it to get a consistent response and it is human nature to be inconsistent. I think that is why (Sandusky thing again)we have "you must report" laws--because not everyone will report everytime and they need a little push.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tampa Turtle

Thank You.- I kinda lurking, but got stuck making and preparing a lot of Training stuff for work. I'm now almost an expert on Office 2010! (Note the word almost.)

I do think when it comes to "Sticking ones nose in" A lot has to do with how it's done.

All to often when someone sees something that they think is not right they climb on their high horse and let the other guy have it with both barrels. - Then wonder why the guy isn't over the moon to receive a helping bit of advice.

Most times when I do opt to stick my fair sized hooter in I do so in almost an apologetic kinda way.

Having said that I do remember at one District Camporee coming across a Patrol of very young Scouts out in the rain at about midnight. Their tent had leaked and all their gear was soaked. When I found their leaders they were nice and dry and fast asleep.

I was not very happy and didn't mince words.

Maybe I thought that just because I was the District Chairman I could get away with it.

Later the next day I did apologize but I think that I made my point.

I have had several run ins with guys who at times seem to forget that this is the BSA and not boot camp for the Marines and guys who think just because they are good at something and have the skills that the rules don't apply to them. Most of the time it falls on deaf ears. But I go on my way thinking that maybe I've done my bit and done what I'd expect of myself.

Eamonn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×