The Brutal Side of Our Society

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EDITOR’S COMMENT: If you look at the foreclosure process from the long perspective you will see that it is a form of brutality — bullying. Ask any educator about bullying and you will find that it is a major problem in early childhood education. Then it gets institutionalized and even fatal to its victims in college. We get out of college and we find a world where we are considered either prey or predator with very little in between. The result is a populace that is afraid of its own government, paralysis sets in and unimaginable things are condoned.

So it should come as no surprise that Banks are able to come to court, steal homes, and get away with it. The underlying “morality” is that they can. We have a defect in fundamental values at the root of this and to the extent that we don’t deal with it, we are sure to experience escalating cycles of brutality against our children, our lives and our prospects to live, to be free and to have the opportunity to prosper.

History teaches us that human nature runs in such cycles and that when power becomes more important than the welfare of the citizens, the decline is inevitable. The test shifts between legacy of deeds performed by government for the betterment of mankind to the amount of pressure the citizenry will take before it breaks down. A learned friend of mine likes to point out that if you put a frog in a hot pan of water it will jump out immediately. But if you put the same frog in a cool pan and gradually warm it up, he will cook without any fuss. We’ve been cooking gradually to the point where we are done — stick a fork in us to see.

Go back 100 years or even 50 years and perhaps 25 years. If you showed a picture to the population of what things look like today would history have been the same? I think not. The primary focus would have been how to avoid such catastrophic consequences of allowing power to shift to the Banks as bullies and how to assure that our elected officials are more interested in justice than in their next campaign contribution. Shown a picture of 2011, the man or woman in 1961 would have expressed shock and disgust. Instead the same people sit quietly as the heat turns up and we cook while a small handful of power-mongers prosper.

Look ahead another 50 years. Will we have taken this opportunity to change the paradigm under which we lead lives of quiet desperation?

The Brutal Side of Hazing

By CHARLES M. BLOW

The tragic loss of Robert Champion may be another sad case of a college student literally dying to belong.

Champion, a drum major for Florida A&M University’s famous marching band, died on a bus a few weeks ago after a performance. The suspected culprit: physical hazing, a behavior that’s proving remarkably resistant to being scrubbed from our culture.

His death refocuses attention on college hazing and illustrates just how pervasive and intractable the problem can be, how rooted it is into some organizations, how far some will go to belong and feel bonded and how some officials can seem to turn a blind eye — publicly disavowing and condemning while silently condoning.

I know this behavior well because I was once a willing participant. I was first paddled when I pledged a fraternity in college. It was one of our first meetings as a pledge group and the brothers were working their way through a line of us from shortest to tallest. Eventually they got to me. No. 13.

I moved to the center of the room and assumed the position. I stared straight ahead. I tried to brace myself for the blow, but nothing could have prepared me.

Swat!

The force of the impact nearly knocked me over. I rose on my toes to keep from falling forward. The pain of it crackled through my thin body. My vision blurred. The sound in the room grew muted as if I was listening from underwater. My temples throbbed. My nostrils flared. My nose ran and my eyes watered despite my best efforts to prevent it. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead. I was on fire. My body demanded that I scream, run, cry, do something. But I knew that I could do nothing. I stood firm.

“Thanks — may I have another?”

That is the way it is often portrayed in movies and literature. Orderly. But that was only an introduction, a test. The hazing sessions quickly accelerated to dangerous affairs beyond imagination or comprehension.

We would experience nearly two months of bleeding and bruises, harassment and terror, dehydration and nausea.

Virtually every connection with the outside world was severed. The beatings became more frequent and more severe. Some pledges broke and cried, others flinched and cowered. Others stepped up and stood tall, toeing the line for those who couldn’t.

The point was to test our mettle, to lay bare the depths of our character and commitment, to break the individuals so that the group could be built — amalgamated from the debris of our former selves.

All the language surrounding hazing was couched in that kind of grandiosity and nobility. The dangers involved were never discussed. No one gave voice to the fact that it was against the rules and possibly against the law. No one stopped and thought. We simply drifted forward, moved along by the momentum of a thing done because it had always been done.

One of the most brutal sessions was dedicated to breaking the breakable, to forcing anyone who couldn’t withstand the beatings to leave the pledge group. It was called “Turn Back Night.”

That session took place in a secluded, mudhole-pocked oil field. As the pump-jacks bobbed and creaked, we were subjected to an unfettered, gladiator-style hazing session so brutal it almost defies description.

The night air was punctuated by the swats of paddles, boards and even two-by-fours, by slaps of hands on flesh, by groans of pain from pledges, and by shouts of profanity from brothers who’d lost themselves in the frenzy and were caught in a chaotic feedback loop of alcohol and adrenaline.

And we weren’t Animal House-like alcoholics and louses. We were campus leaders. The fraternity prided itself on receiving the high-G.P.A. award, and I was the freshman class president.

Still, legends were to be made by the brothers who were most inventive, brutal or relentless, or by pledges who never flinched or cried aloud.

The rules were simple but unwritten: no facial marks or serious injuries. Of course, there is no real way of enforcing such rules when boys are swinging two-by-fours at other boys by the light of the moon. Luckily, my group survived without serious injury. But that’s unfortunately not always the case. Hazing is inherently dangerous and sometimes deadly.

And it runs deep. It lives in legacy.

The band director at Florida A&M warned two decades ago in a letter about hazing that “it would be very difficult for the university and the band should someone become killed or hurt.”

Yet here we are with the school’s president, James Ammons, having to release the following statement on Nov. 29: “It is becoming increasingly clear that hazing continues to exist — at FAMU and across the country at other universities, colleges and other elements — because hazing survives and thrives in a culture of secrecy and a conspiracy of silence.”

The silence is the challenge. A 2008 study by researchers at the University of Maine found that most college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing, but 95 percent never report it. I certainly didn’t.

This is compounded by the fact that many members of these groups see the tactic as flawed but effective. It separates the weak from the strong. It’s a forced group trauma for the pledges, and that has a bonding effect. And those hazed often see it as a test of toughness, taking a perverse pride in their perseverance.

But that’s not worth the price paid. Any perceived good will always be outweighed by injuries and measured against dead bodies. There are other ways to provide bonding experiences without barbaric physical and psychological trauma.

When I view what we did with a mature mind and enlightened eyes, it seems insane. But, in the moment, as a young man, it seemed to be a perfectly reasonable rite of passage. And that is the attitude that must be changed. It’s not reasonable. It’s ridiculous.

We must end the “conspiracy of silence.”

10 Responses

  1. A good video on this situation that has caused ALL our problems with the foreclosure frauds is a documentary called THRIVE. Only seen online….at http://www.thrivemovement.com/#.

    Well worth the $5 to rent the movie.

    There is some very shocking true information in this video. It keeps getting taken down from youtube

    “The cancer stage of capitalism is not a metaphor.
    It is a rigorous description of where we are.” The current financial
    stripping of economies and environments across the world exhibits, in
    fact, all the hallmark characteristics of a carcinogenic invasion. As
    on the cellular level, an uncontrolled rogue sequence of reproduction
    invades and self-multiplies across social borders with no committed
    function to life-hosts. As on the cellular level, the cancer advances
    by not being recognized by surrounding life communities. —John
    McMurtry, Professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph, in Economic Reform, Vol. 11, Number 3, March 1999

  2. Sometimes we go through things in life just to see if we know who we are. Sometimes the catalyst that causes us the most trouble is the one that wakes us up and helps us find our strength.

    No one has the ‘cookie cutter’ answer for all foreclosures.
    Everyone got into their home in many different ways, and everyone has lost their home in many different ways.

    I listen to many audios on the internet, so many talk about foreclosures and more. No matter how many ways they come up with to sue, file, or fight it, the Matrix/system, creates new rules and new procedures and training or decisions to combat the new processes or procedures people are thinking of.

    Hiring a law firm is tricky, some have a foreclosure side and a save your home from foreclosure side. Who wants to deal with two sides of the same coin?

    I know many want their govern(control)mental(mind) system to take care of this for them, but I think this is a situation that each of us have to solve for our self. I don’t know how we will solve, it but I feel the problem started when we entered the contract, and now it’s extended through unintended consequences for our actions of entering the contract.

    I think our government did so much for the benefit of the people that they have interfered with the growth and development of everyone.

    They have interfered with our ability to fend for ourselves and feed ourselves and shelter ourselves.

    If a natural or cosmic change occurred, how many people will sit and wait for their social check, their food stamps, or FEMA to come feed and care of them?
    How many will know how to care for ourselves and the family we’ve created without assistance?

    This is a distraction for something else. I don’t know what it is, but if people(we) can fear losing their homes, they(we) can miss the boat, or the message, or not receive the signal they(we) need to receive because they did a god an pony show or some hat trick or a pay attention to this hand, on us. If we let go, at least for now, we’ll see what they are spending a lot of time and energy keeping us from seeing.

    Ultimately, everything is our own decision.
    Time is infinite, we have spent a lot of time getting where we are today, and to experience what we have led ourselves to experience.

    If we fall for the distraction we may divert our path and experience something else; but it’s something they want us to experience, and their experiences don’t appear to be butterflies and roses.

    “The Brutal Dide of Our Society” is a fitting title for this thread and what’s going on to us now.

    Trespass Unwanted, corporeal, Free and Independent State(where State is defined as People in Black’s Law 5th Edition), jure divino (by divine right)

  3. thank you!!!! words of encouragement is what we need is the face of horror. i have some local people assiting me to the right counsel will not rest until i hear words wisdom from that lawyers mouth that he will do my BK and defend my home in foreclosure. so funny 2 years ago as we were prepearing for christmas of 2009 wells fargo was losing my modification paper work so i googled modification fraud, losing paper work fraud, i found all these web sites . i new something was wrong. as a nurse you have critical think. think ahead. so i found this woman in kansas no less. on the phone she directed me to find all my mortgage paper work and to go through it. if i needed to i could fax it to her. i was so upset to see what i found and till this day can not beleive it. my mortgage application was lied on. the broker added 700$ to my monthly income. my husband unemployed at the time. so i was approved for a home we could not afford. she never did any employment verification. thinking this was covered up i wrote all governemnt agencies about this. and wells fargo just last week wrote me back that i was put in a stated income loan. but i initialed the application as did millions of other homeowners. i guess that was suppose to scare so many peopel to walk away. me beinf a RN for 25 years knows that did not lie so i have nothing hide. the lawyer can check back 6 years ago and see she lied. also wells fargo tries to claim that the appraisal had no fraud what!!!!!! i know real estate comps, why use a house that sold 6 months ago what about 1 week or 1 month ago. and flipped house to a priceses adding 50k. i could go on and on all i get is prove it. i can not wait to the day all this is out in the open and these deviates to go to jail for fraud upon the court and homeowners

  4. You are right about the fact that the banks are counting on people to walk away, it’s the easiest way to make money and get a house free and clear. You and or anyone, can turn things around by learning to keep positive thinking switch ON! A year ago, two years ago or even further, I was completely helpless and filled with fears, mental anguish and stress over everything in my life. I had to change my way of thinking, I learned to say to myself on an hourly basis, that I am strong, capable and not doomed to fail. I am alone, no husband or boyfriend to help, I asked no one for help, I was feeling completely alone. Once I realized that I did nothing wrong, and the bank is trying to screw me, by realizing how many Millions of homeowners are in the same boat as I am, I felt much better.

    You are a strong smart wonderful person, to care for your husband and children and not to mention your sister. You have all this goodness and energy, so keep the faith. Tell yourself and your children to maintain a strong attitude, you are already half way there. You are strong because you are choosing to fight, to learn and to defend what you believe is right. You know how many people have that, not many. If the majority of people walk away, only the brave few are left to fight! You and your husband and children will find things to do outside of what you did before. You must depend on yourselves and each other, because people generally cannot help you even if they’d like to.

    My point is if I can get through it you can too, just change how you live your lives because things are different now. Not that I am telling you what to do, but letting you know that feeling helpless is not going to get you anywhere. Life is difficult right now and we have to think outside the box to fit in it. Start seeing change for the better in your eyes and mind, let the past rest for a while, the loss of job and money, etc. I know it’s not easy, but it helps to turn things around. I hope if any of what I said helped just a little bit, because I know how you feel and how brutal these last few years have been on so many of us. Keep reading, reach out to places in your community, let your voice be heard, and never give up. Sorry the info. I gave you was not for you right now, but does not mean you should not call them and see if they can refer you to someone else who can help. FL has many resources, more than CA, check them out, best of luck.

  5. I am so saddened by these stories and can empathize. This entire mess is so, disabling and emotionally draining I can hardly speak of it. Please keep fighting, we have your back and will support and help in any way we possibly can! Hang in there.

  6. thank you so much for helping i am at my wits end in this rape. they took all our jobs away from florida and the jobs that are left they want higher degrees. my husband has been in manufacturing since he was 24 years old starting off at a plant in miami. when he was laid off he was the head of 3 departments and 50+ emplloyees yet he remains unemployed since june because he doesnt have a 4 year degree in manufacturing. so i ask all of you if there is only one person working and the second person can not find a job. unemployment last only so long. your living expenses are based on 2 salaries how do you pay. i have little left over to keep us from being homeless if it comes to that proir to my appeals but we still need the money to moeve i have 3 kids and are not to fond of living in my car. although i cant get food stamps because i have this money? its kind of like a who dunit movie.
    have to figure out how to exist under such horrible of circumstances. you can do BK 13 with some money in the bank but you lose your house. so you basically have to be a paycheck away from homelessness to get food stamps. my husband who is a diabetic high bp cant even get medicaid. my job charges to much for health insurance for my familyen i have this . what do people do. this be so ank who probably does not own my home trying to stel it from me or at least try. and they are so trying to extract 1k from the governement by making us apply for hamo again. floridas sentaor marco rubios office is on my case. i have told them my demands. out of foreclosure, princible reduction loan to property value. the case right now for america to watch out of florida is the pino case. the banks tried to underhanded settle with the homeowner out of the radar (due to not wanting to admit to the robosigning) because the appeal was already applied for the judges will not allow the homeowner or the bank to drop the lawsuit. oh ps the lawyer helping homeowners in florida is for foreclosures that already happened. my sisters foreclsoure from 1/29/2009 is robosigned by brian blye from lps in palm harbor fl and the notary is in CA. i am trying to get her to open up this case. she doesnt want any part of it. that is what the banks want. for people to leave well enough alone. so they can steal our homes.

  7. lies is all they tell, here’s the attorney’s info I mentioned to you and the web site, it was under this blog/LL header FL FREE LEGAL HELP THE HUNDRED HOMES PROJECT. http://www.hundredhomesproject.com or http://www.ricardolaw.com. Attorneys Ricardo, Wasylik and Kanluk out of FL, 1888-830-0830, I hope this helps.

    Most of the time we find helpful information from other people who blog, and from sites listed on line through LL or others. Everyone has a different situation, even though, we are all under the same sort of position. the frustration of not being able to get help from others can be over whelming, you feel alone and helpless, I totally understand. I have been there and still am, it was by luck that I found a case filed in FL against Chase by a Nationwide Attorney and I went for it, but I was with WaMu, not Wells. Check his site forclosuredefensenationwide dot come.

    As far as getting help from people, it’s not easy only because all of them are facing the same hardship, and it’s true that some of them may not be able to share what info. they have, and some do. this site has been very helpful to me, if you go on the left side you’ll find wealth of information from A-Z. Please take care and keep that positive attitude on, because if you let fear take over things can get harder. Good stuff comes out everyday that shows bank’s fraud, so keep up with the reading. All the best.

  8. lies is all they tell, sorry to hear that you are going through such tough times with wells, you are not alone, we all went through the same with all the different banks that each of us dealt with. Recently on this blog there was a group of lawyers out of FL asking people to apply for help, they’d take 100 clients on who apply before the end of Dec. Please look them up it was either earlier this week or last week.

    People are ranting because they are frustrated and angry, and yes it is difficult to find attorneys who can help, and those who are good are overwhelmed with clients. I am not an expert, I don’t live in FL, I live in CA and it’s the worst in my opinion! Sty in your home as you have and fight with all your might. Read all the law suits out there on Wells, and don’t give up. I will go back and fine the blog for you if you cannot find it. If they cannot help you, may be they can find another law firm that can.

  9. DD TO YOUR STATEMENT AND NO ONE WILL DISAGREE. WE HAVE BEEN ALL ON HERE FOR QUITE A NUMBER OF YEARS VENTING. I HAVE SHARED MY STORY OF WELLS fargos frauds against me. i have experessed i am helpless that i cant get a lawyer to call me back (a good lawyer like mark stoppa’s group because they are booked) yet i remain a complete stranger . we are afraid to share our real names and email address that someone will be on here looking for us. not one person has expressed intrest in helping me. i have been encouraged to write government entitties yet i still sit hear waiting for my foreclosure like its some winding path. no bank settlement like in the pino case just utter stress. wondering is my assignment going to be robosigned, can the stated income loan wells fargo has admitted in writing they put me in vs verification of emplyment which would have deemed my home unafordable on my salary. yet the mortgage brokers were alour free rein to commit fraud to make as much money on origination as possible, wells fargo actually also stated my appraisal was not fraud, what straw buying of a home increasing a selling home by 20k must be illegal as a comp on an appraisal. or even using a home that sold not last week or last months but 6 months ago asa comp because the “price was right”. or will the judge not aloud the fact that during 2009 wells fargos modification department lost my faxed paper work umteen times as i kept resnding the hamp loan application. again and again (at the time didnt know they received 1k per application) until i was denied, welss fargo then puts me in a wells fargo mod adding 10k to my unside down mortgage and increasing my mortgage to more then i could afford litterally waiting for my default so they can collect their credit default swap insurance. but i still resisted i paid for about 5 months. then we had bp oil spill in the gulf. some business like hospitals depend on tourism to keep full. i was in along term care facility we got our patients from the st petersburg hospitals when they are full. with the bp oil spill tourism came to a halt but becuase we were not in the beach area directly being affected i found out they didnt calin bp money. well that mean i could not either. so i was canceled as a nurse every week therefore extremely under employed. i called wells fargo and told this year 2010 that i need to be in eminent default to apply. i questioned what that meant. w i was told not to pay. so my story is sad use of the banks paower over us and the government letting them have free rein to terrorize us. i am in florida the tampa bay area. very sad i do not want to lose my home. this is where i live with my 3 children. please someone nstead of ranting on here and venting get down to business and ask me fore my emial address i will give it. i need help . we need help not ranting thats not going to help anyone. helping me , help us , help each other is what is truly needed. my sister was one of those zombie homeowners that becuase she could not afford it she walked. i am different i have not left and will not. i will appeal a thousand times until i win. lets form a group to help each other please not after i lose our home, or after we lose our houses to a fake entity that does not own these propeerties but act like they have power. (you should have read wells fargos letter to me about the stated income loan. including another copy of the hamp loan application ) they think we are all dumb and it infuriates me, they want me to apply for a hamp pay the mortgage they modify it for until my lis pens and then try to foreclose thinking that i will beable to save the home and then they get some money in the proccess. to bad i found out about this scam. please help any floridians out there??

  10. That Hazing thing comes from England. Originally, it was meant to “punish” lower social classes from dreaming of a better future by enrolling in school and “contaminating” the higher classes.

    You don’t find it in France, Germany, Italy, etc.: the difference between social classes are not so pronounced and a true democracy exists there (although a vanishing one, as everywhere else).

    Cruel, unnecessary, dangerous, unless you believe that it has a place in our society as some kind of rite of passage. I don’t. Chances are, all those college-educated CEOs went through it, hated every second of it and swore to inflict on everyone else as a revenge.

    Typical non-enlightened human reaction. Either inflict fear or passively endure it. Neither is proper as a way of life. We chose which one we would belong to a long time ago: the silent majority. Time to become verbal and loud!!!!!

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