“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
~ Steven Weinberg (1933—)
It was in the early sixties and I was a second-class boy scout. My older brother was an Eagle Scout; he could tie all the knots and recite the codes.
All I wanted to do was have fun.
Things haven’t changed much.
One day, for some reason, our scout troop leader fell ill and another scout troop in another neighborhood had to take care of us for a while. Of course, being a little kid, I wasn’t too happy about that. I had grown accustomed to our Scout Master. He was a nice man. I believe his name was Mr. Padderton.
When we went to the new scout troop meeting I knew that I did not want to be a boy scout anymore. The Scout Master, I don’t recall his name, was a man about 35 years old or so.
“We do things differently here,” he announced to us "new recruits."
And all of the boys in their scout troop stood in a line, spreading their legs wide. They made a "tunnel" for us new guys to crawl through. Several of the boys from my troop did get on their hands and knees and crawl.
As they crawled through the other boys’ legs, they were severely "paddled" on their behinds. Some of the boys began to cry. I think my older brother was one of the tough ones and made it through quickly as to minimize the pain. He didn’t cry.
Then it came to my turn. Even at my young age, I knew that something was wrong with this scenario. I refused to crawl through.
The Scout Master leered over me and demanded that I proceed. I wouldn’t. I began to cry.
He berated me and ordered me through. I didn’t and told him that I was going to tell my father what was happening… The Scout Master backed off.
Later that night, I did tell my father about the events that occurred and he was angry at my older brother for allowing such a thing to happen, as I remember. And my father, as well as some other fathers, complained and I believe this very rotten Scout Master was relieved of his duties.
I wasn’t even 10 years old and had already been given the American tradition of “hazing.”
That was the first time in my life I had ever seen in someone’s eyes the sick desire for domination. I will never forget the look on that man’s face. He wasn’t well at all. He needed help.
When I was 18, I worked in a famous department store. I sold office equipment and cameras. I was a good salesman and treated people right. I only worked there for two years or so, but I believe I saw at least a dozen women and about two or three babies with black eyes in the short time I was there.
That was the first time I realized how wide-spread domestic violence in America is.
I felt so sorry and embarrassed for those poor women and children. Their families were sick. They needed help.
In the West, people think that Islam and Muslims mistreat women. I have heard the same about Japan.
I’m sure that such disgusting behavior does occur here, in Japan, and anywhere else in the world.
But in over 20 years of living in this country, I have never once seen a woman or a child with a black eye that I can recall.
And according to the 1995 National Crime Victimization Survey of the U.S. Department of Justice, women aged 12 and older in America sustained almost 5 million violent victimizations in 1992 and 1993.
500,000 rapes and sexual assaults, almost 500,000 robberies, and about 3.8 million assaults.
Of the 5328 women murdered in America in 1990, FBI data indicate that half or more of them were murdered by a husband or boyfriend.
16% of all American couples experience a domestic assault per year.
Isn’t this a shame? Don’t you think that these people are sick? Don’t you think they need help?
And now word comes out that Iraqi and Afghani prisoners have been tortured. I’m repulsed, but not surprised.
Rush Limbaugh says about the tortures, “(People) having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? ….Need to blow some steam off?”
No, Rush. You are wrong. Those people are sick. They need help. And so do you.
George W. Bush said, “…What took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know.”
Well, considering that Mr. Bush has never had to worry about a job, or money, or how to pay the bills, like most Americans do, I suppose it’s possible that it’s not the America he knows.
But I regret to say that it is the America I have seen.
And I am extremely saddened to say, “America, you are very sick. You need help.”
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.