No. of Recommendations: 120
Personal responsibility?

I got out of the Marines in 1997. We did ok, but not great for the first couple of years, then did exceptionally well during the last five. Well, I signed back up with the National Guard in July of 2003. During my military hiatus, I've noticed the quality of the younger military members to be ATROCIOUS. Disrespect and insubordination is rampant, and I constantly hear, "What about him/her? What are they working on and why can't they do the job instead of me?"

I counseled a young man yesterday on his attitude. I explained to him that since we are in Iraq for a year and since you have several hundred rounds of ammo and a working M16A2 and several knives on you, I think you should improve your working attitude so I don't worry so much about you having all those weapons."

He began to scream and yell obscenities and after a five minute diatribe, he finally stopped for a breather, during which I asked, "Have you lost your mind?" He then very calmly explained that the outburst 'wasn't his fault' as he was under an 'enormous amount of pressure' from 'sources outside of his control'. I asked him to explain himself and he went on another tirade about white supremacy, arrogant imperialist attitudes and how a black man couldn't succeed in a white world. After this time, I asked him again if he'd lost his mind and he said, "You can say what you want or do what you will to me, but you will never control me, because it's not my fault. I am just a product of my environment!"

Well, the issue was finally solved. I had him arrested and he spent the night in jail. After which, he came to me and apologized and asked to be returned to duty. I refused, and told him not until he'd passed a psychiatric evalution. He agreed, and that's that. Now, back to a statement he said: I am just a product of my environment!

You are not a product of your environment. You are a product of your choices. You may be in a bad environment, but only under the most severe circumstances can you not change the environment you are in. It is the choices we make that makes us who we are. We all have to make some very tough decisions in our lives, but all in all, we feel the decisions we make are sincere and just and have responsibility melded into the decision. It doesn't seem to be that way with our younger Americans (or at least the ones I've been dealing with).

If you touch a hot fire, and burn your hand, it isn't the fault of the fuel company, or the match company, or the doctor who delivered you, or any other goofy direction you can vent the responsibility onto for your actions. If you touch fire and get burnt, it's your fault, and doubly so if you do not learn from the experience.

Anyway, that's my idea.


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