Sunday, August 23, 2015

CHANGE Has Very REAL Consequences...Many of Them Unexpected, BUT That’s NOT Necessarily a Bad Thing!

Image result for Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest
Shaye Haver and Kristin Griest - 1st female Ranger School Grads

Times change. There’s absolutely no denying that, and along with them, society and culture changes right along with the times. Of course, sometimes one or the other drags a little behind.

In recent years there’s been a push for “gender equality.” Not just equal pay for the same jobs, but the idea that females can do jobs like street policing, mining, firefighting, commercial fishing and military combat every bit as effectively as males.

With the emergence of sports icons like Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams, both of whom could almost certainly beat many professional males in their respective sports, who’s to argue other than that viewpoint may well have some merit.

Here’s the rub, that viewpoint demands that we disregard any of our old notions about male/female gender differences. Once past that, standards are NOT an issue. A fit PERSON can do at least X number of pull ups, push ups, run a given distance under a specified time, etc.

I personally don’t know anything about Ranger standards. I know that the minimum of 10 pull ups that I’ve heard is absolutely minimal. When I was a young firefighter working in the Bronx, myself and about six other firefighters routinely did “chins and pulls” off the aerial ladder in quarters. Steve Telesca, then a Lieutenant, who retired a Battalion Chief, was always the top guy in such contests, routinely doing 25 to 30 at a time. Myself and a few others routinely did over 20, so I KNOW that 10 pull ups is indeed an absolute minimum number, as it’s a number that wouldn’t have even registered among those firefighters back then.

Is there a reason to believe that pull ups and chin ups are harder for some individuals then others?


As this exercise uses your own body weight as a force of resistance, they are much tougher exercises for overweight and out-of-shape people. They‘re also much tougher for folks like myself, who’ve become SOFFs over the years. A “SOFF” by the way, is a “silly old fat f*ck,” BUT they’re NOT and CANNOT be too tough for young, fit people of either gender. Those old ideas of “strength differentials” MUST be discarded, because the job requirements DON’T change regardless of who’s doing them.

Regardless, there is absolutely NO rational, let alone overriding reason to look to make such standards more "female-friendly," any more than there is to make them more "SOFF-friendly." We're looking for warriors here, NOT just "anyone who can meet an absolute minimum criteria we arbitrarily set up." Let the best of the best compete head-to-head and take the highest order of performance.

Very recently, the Army Rangers graduated their first female recruits, Shaye Haver and Kristin Griest and this too requires that we all reconsider the entire male/female dynamic.

Whether there are, or are not any strength differentials between males and females, they must be disregarded, as they can no longer apply when the demands of these jobs remain physically demanding. It is extremely doubtful that anyone combat can hope to avoid direct hand-to-hand combat at some point...things break down.

All of this has to have huge societal impacts as well. It HAS to force us to reconsider the old “damsel in distress” model that once made things like physical assaults on women to be especially egregious. Once we accept the genders as physically equal, there’s no rational basis for that antiquated view. Today, we see female offenders engaged in some of the most violent crimes and subsequently fighting with police, so such views do seem indeed antiquated. In a particularly grisly recent crime, in which four members of a Youth Job Corps murdered another member with machetes, a female, Desiray Strickland’s post-crime actions were particularly egregious; “Strickland, of Miami Gardens, refused to cooperate with Miami-Dade detectives when detained on Wednesday. According to police, she shoved an investigator, head-butted his chest and flailed about before she was shackled in an interview room.

“She also used screws from an electrical outlet to try and pick her handcuffs, then scrawled “MPD Go to Hell” on a table, the report said. Strickland also was charged with resisting an officer with violence, battery on an officer and criminal mischief.”

So, it seems that society and culture are very much lagging behind the actual gender evolution we’re witnessing in this realm.

ALL of this argues AGAINST treating female offenders more leniently than males, which has been a long held tradition in Western jurisprudence. It also argues forcefully against any form of alimony or maintenance in divorce proceedings. After all, men and women both work and in many professions today women predominate, so there’s no reason to continue treating men as “the primary bread winners,” and women as “hapless victims.” Child support for whichever parent winds up the custodial parent should very much remain in effect, but NOT alimony, palimony or maintenance.

BUT even bigger changes seem mandated by gender equality. Once we accept that there are no recognized differences between males and females, then the gender segregation of sports must be eliminated. Gender equality demands that such segregation be eliminated, regardless of results. WHY have separate UConn Men’s and Women’s basketball teams? Gender equality demands that we treat men and women the same, so UConn should field a single basketball team. If one year five women make the UConn squad and in another season no women make the team, well we shouldn’t be counting by gender or race (we DON’T count the number of blacks and whites on such we?), so that really shouldn’t be an issue.

We should also eliminate all other segregated sporting events, women’s boxing, swimming, tennis, MMA, etc. should all be eliminated in favor of desegregated sporting events that treat male and female athletes as true equals.

I’ve always believed that so long as we hold everyone to the highest standards and take the best performers in rank order, then we’re “treating everyone as equals,” and barring discrimination against anyone. ONLY when we handicap a dominant group to “level the playing field for others,” Or bar disfavored groups from even competing that we actively engage in overt discrimination, or “disparate treatment.”

The fact that we’re now treating female sexual predators and other criminals much more seriously and that we’re looking to send female troops into combat demands true and complete gender equality across the board. We can certainly no longer adhere to policies and standards that stemmed from the antiquated view of women as “the weaker sex.”

In the not too distant past, men who physically assaulted women often derided as “Men who seem to view women as guys who just occasionally dress differently.” Other men looked down on such men, primarily because they saw women as “needing special protections,” as “damsels in distress”...NOT equals.

So, who knew, but that those men who DID treat women as brutally as they’d treat another guy were actually just ahead of their time?

Another aspect that will have to be focused on in the military is getting men past the impulse to protect female colleagues. Israel abandoned its experiment with females in combat because their enemies took to targeting female soldiers, knowing that instead of taking cover, the way they were trained to respond when one of the group was hit, a number of male soldiers would run to look to help a fallen female colleague, offering the sniper several other open targets.

It’s NOT female soldiers that are the problem in such scenarios but male attitudes. Those attitudes must be changed. Male soldiers will HAVE TO BE trained to view female soldiers as asexual (without gender) and to treat women in combat the very SAME way they’d treat another male – he’s down, probably dead, let’s take cover and prepare to fight.

In the end, it really DOES just come down to looking at things a little differently. It’s just that some people adjust to such new ways of thinking quicker than others. That DOES NOT make those faster (less considered, less thoughtful) adapters “better,” just folks who follow societal changes mindlessly and often without much deliberation. Neither is “better,” or “worse.”

Something that MUST NOT be compromised are the standards. In competing for sports teams, emergency service jobs, and the most elite military combat positions, the “basic standards” don’t count. Those positions have too many applicants to allow in anyone who meets the basic standards, given “an under-representation of that group.” Those positions can only fairly be filled by allowing all applicants to compete against each other on a set of standards that no individual can fully meet and take on the very highest performers in rank order, regardless of result.

THAT is treating everyone as true equals. Only THAT eliminates ANY & ALL kinds of deliberate discrimination.

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