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Last Post 02 May 2011 09:30 AM by Eoghan Roe. 25 Replies.
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Eoghan RoeUser is Offline
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Eoghan Roe

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18 Apr 2011 01:58 PM
    First, thanks chuckles for giving this a chance. I'm excited to see if it allows for some civil and intelligent discussion.

    So a post that came up earlier this weekend caught my attention and I just wanted to hear and discuss everyone's opinion on the matter.

    A question was asked about wearing a USCG Uniform to a high school prom. The response was given that it was ill-advised because it gave the impression that a CG member was a pervert and preying on high school students or that it meant they were desperate. It was also pointed out by someone else that some members DO step out of line of etiquette during these situations and DO make the USCG look bad.

    Now, I'm well aware of the validity of these arguments. I do, however, despise the overall concept that "The Perception of Evil IS Evil." I don't see why this is the answer to so many moral dilemmas. In the situation of the Uniform at prom, even after reading that argument, my thought was actually "DO wear your uniform and make sure to act with decorum and respect." Prove the perception false.

    I related this concept to something I've heard in hyper-conservative churches. People have and still do get drunk and do foolish things like drive while intoxicated or fight or whatever. So some of the people at these churches might think that because you are having a beer, then you must be an alcoholic. Does that mean you should never have alcohol again? No, it just means you should enjoy your drink responsibly, legally, and be an example of how it should be handled.
    chuklesUser is Offline
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    18 Apr 2011 02:35 PM
    I agree with prove the perception wrong. It is great, in theory. There are those of us that have seen this issue, and similar issues time and time again. The problem lie in the fact that there is greater evidence than not that issues often arise with a setting such as this. That is why you get the old timers saying to avoid the chance of an issue by not wearing the uniform to the prom. Regardless of what those of us with more progressive thoughts think, there is still a large portion of the population that still see the issue as a problem (perverse). Ad to the fact that as a military member we are held to an additional set of rules, often more strict than the civilian side, and you are setting yourself up for a very real issue if anything out of the ordinary happens. the UCMJ is very specific with rules of minors.

    920. ART. 120. RAPE AND CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

    (a) Any person subject to this chapter who commits an act of sexual intercourse with a female not his wife, by force and without consent, is guilty of rape and shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

    (b) Any person subject to this chapter who, under circumstances not amounting to rape, commits an act of sexual intercourse with a female not his wife who has not attained the age of sixteen years, is guilty of carnal knowledge and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    (c) Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete either of these offenses.

    This article is listed not for the 16 age requirement, but the punishment of death for rape. It is the smarter choice not to wear the uniform.

    The general thoughts to us old timers can be summed up this way, The benefits do not out-way the Cons. The more intelligent person would try to avoid a potential issue.

    To each his own, If the individual wants to wear the uniform, so be it.

    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted Coastie, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
    Eoghan RoeUser is Offline
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    18 Apr 2011 03:09 PM
    Understood, USCG members are held to a higher standard. But all of those are laws that would cause issue in a civilian as well.

    I suppose there is another aspect to this argument in that uniform or not, as a CG member we (me in the future tense) are accepting a higher responsibility. In much the same way if I just don't show up one day, I may get written up or maybe fired. A CG member doesn't show up, it's a legal matter. Either way, if in both situations I show up, there is no problem.

    Likewise, again, if a member goes to prom, knowing the punishment for doing something as listed above is much more severe, then they should be all the more inclined to act with respect to the uniform they wear. They do what they are supposed to and there's no problem.

    And even taking the idea that the USCG member is put to death or a mark on his/her permanent record, etc. but that member never actually did anything wrong... then we're talking about the same argument on a much grander scale. Because people THINK the member did something wrong, they are wrong. It's still a flawed logic.

    On a different note, it almost seems like this isn't just about whether or not to wear the uniform. If a USCG member goes to prom in a tux and had consented sex with a minor... he's still subject to the laws as a USCG member, am I correct?
    chuklesUser is Offline
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    18 Apr 2011 03:22 PM
    Correct
    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted Coastie, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
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    18 Apr 2011 03:31 PM
    I'm also onboard with the no uniform to prom side. As said earlier, its a bad perception. The guy/girl may be 18 and an adult to society, but it still looks wrong. It brings discredit upon the Coast Guard in the eyes of some individuals. Wear the tux, remember your still subject to the UCMJ, and be responsible. I only hope that it was a question form someone maybe 1 year out of high school or someone who graduated high school early and has a chance to go to their senior prom after boot camp. In my opinion, anything else is unsat.
    Eoghan RoeUser is Offline
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    19 Apr 2011 06:54 AM
    I guess my over arching argument would be that not wearing the uniform let's ignorance win. Because random nameless people assume that the USCG member is a perv/desperate/etc. then he/she is not allowed to wear their uniform regardless of their personal actions or merit.

    Likewise, people have come to this assumption because someone in a USCG uniform DID something wrong and therefore it is easy for society to blanket ALL USCG members as trouble makers. I didn't get all the details on the situation, but wasn't there something lately where some USCG members were being accused of neglect in a boating accident? Well following this same line of logic, then ALL USCG members MIGHT be negligent so none of them should be allowed to command a boat/cutter/etc.

    Albeit a crass over simplification, it's similar to the idea of a geocentric universe taking precedents over a heliocentric solar system. People who could completely prove the assumptions wrong are being told not to because the assumptions are too wide spread.
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    19 Apr 2011 07:57 AM
    You make a valid point Roe, please allow me to retort...

    A high school prom is a high school prom. They happen every year like clockwork. I don't know the history of the prom, but I doubt it carries the significance and gravity you would find at a memorial ceremony, a military ball, etc. Wearing a dress uniform to a formal function should be limited to those functions where a dress uniform adds a touch of class to the proceedings, or shows respect to the people or event being recognized. IMO a prom simply allows high school kids to spend copious amounts of money to show off dresses and hairdos. Showing up in a military uniform to a high school fashion show, again IMO, cheapens the work and sacrifice that goes into earning that uniform. In short, wear a tux to the prom, it's not about guys anyway. It's about buying the most expensive dress, and having the biggest hair.

    I didn't get all the details on the situation, but wasn't there something lately where some USCG members were being accused of neglect in a boating accident?


    Yes there was. And, that tragic incident has led to the boat crew being held accountable. The CG has responded with a concerted effort to prevent something similar from ever happening again. But, that is another topic all together.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    19 Apr 2011 08:37 AM
    Definitely a valid point there. In the grand scheme of thing prom isn't a big deal and maybe not the best point to use for this particular argument.

    I suppose I'm more against the larger overall "Perception of evil is evil" argument. Simply put, just because it SEEMS like someone MIGHT be doing wrong, it doesn't mean they ARE doing wrong.

    And I didn't bring up that tragedy to particularly discuss that... more that I have read SOME of the comments and some of the general public, regardless of facts or actual guilt, already assume that these guys were wrong and therefore the CG, as a whole, is careless. I've seen these stupid comments time and time again on so many different topics. Some people over generalize on a whim.
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    19 Apr 2011 09:18 AM
    I agree with you that the perception of evil is evil, but that is the societal norm. We'll take you for example, you're a new nonrate on CGC Neverdull, you're married, and a Star Wars fanatic. One of the females JOs on board is also a Star Wars fanatic, so you spend some of your downtime underway and inport discussing Imperial vs. Rebel tactics. As far as you and the JO are concerned you have a common interest and enjoy the conversation. The command and crew may see it as the sign of an innappropriate relationship. I've seen many, many times. Perception is 9/10th of the law.

    The only thing you can do is not let it be perceived. How does one do that though?
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
    Eoghan RoeUser is Offline
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    19 Apr 2011 09:25 AM
    Avoidance. Well played sir!

    I suppose it is very situational then. It shouldn't be... but it is.
    Eoghan RoeUser is Offline
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    19 Apr 2011 09:30 AM
    Hrm, I suppose chuckles has editing locked down.

    Well an additional note, the other tact to take would be to have more people join into the group. More people, more witnesses, etc. Take away the exclusivity and it significantly reduces the ability to assume something improper is going on.

    As for the prom situation, exactly the same. Stay with a larger group. If the CG member takes the date home, make sure others are with them. Yes, you sacrifice your alone time with that date, but you gain insurance that no one will assume impropriety.
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    19 Apr 2011 11:00 AM
    the other tact to take would be to have more people join into the group. More people, more witnesses, etc. Take away the exclusivity and it significantly reduces the ability to assume something improper is going on.


    Bingo! So, a bunch of raucous sailors attending the prom in proper dress uniform would be perfectly acceptable.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    19 Apr 2011 11:08 AM
    Sounds like a party to me!

    In all seriousness though, doesn't have to be all sailors... I'm just saying the CG member could easily avoid the assumptions by staying in the public eye.
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    19 Apr 2011 12:41 PM
    Easily, but the military is in the public eye, no matter what we do. Prom, gala event, walking through Wal-Mart, we stick out like sore thumbs. What do you suggest we do to stop people from automatically thinking, "What the hell is that guy doing here?"
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    19 Apr 2011 01:33 PM
    Who cares if they wonder what we're doing? I'm talking about them assuming you're doing something wrong.

    It's not like you're in Wal-mart and they're saying "Is he robbing the store?" I'm suggesting staying in the public eye so they can't assume things. They can't assume a CG member in uniform is raping someone while they are standing in front of them doing the robot on the dance floor.
    EUser is Offline
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    19 Apr 2011 08:15 PM
    I never saw the robot done at my high school prom.
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    19 Apr 2011 10:10 PM
    Roe...are you on the debate team...

    I really do not have much to add to this...but I will share a few thoughts if for nothing else but to stir the pot.

    When you become a parent, of even a high school aged young man or woman, they are still very young and in your mind children. Both of my boys are young men, both are much taller then I am and probably feel just like I did in high school, invincible and the only person that knows anything, however has a parent, they are the baby you brought home from the maternity ward, the kido you bandaged boo-boos for, the one you hugged and read stories to and watched over. Very hard to let the child go until they move away and really grow up. So to most parents our young children are attending prom to socialize and be with other children…Not Men and Women…perception.

    A young man wearing a military uniform is a man, he has moved from a high school kid into manhood therefore he is an adult, who is now responsible for not only himself but also for protecting our country and the civilians in it. Therefore he is now a man attending a prom with a child, right wrong or in different, if in uniform he is portraying an adult man. If in a tux, he is still an adult man but is now portrayed as on of the children attending the prom and not drawing the unnecessary attention to himself and the young lady he is attending with, I hope with her parents consent.

    Because the uniform brings about the spot light and represents so much more tehn the young man, the United States of America Military Forces, that if in uniform and he makes a major sexual mistake, drinking mistake, or any other tragic mistake with a high school child, it will not be John Doe civilian all over the national news and on millions of TV's…it will be the USCG that he represents, the United States of America Military Forces all over the national news…just one bad event in uniform made by just on person can ruin years of great public service and relationships…I tell my fire recruits this all of the time and remind them to be very professional and courteous when wearing the fire department uniform, because you no longer are just Joe Blow…you are the fire department…

    Yes we love to wear the hats, the t-shits, the sweat shits that advertise we are a member of the fire service, I am almost always in something fire department related when out and about, we also slap on the bumper stickers, the window stickers and anything else fire department related, I am sure many military members feel this way as well in the military clothing, we are very proud and wear and decorate our stuff with pride. However we are now advertising and are in the spot light for anything and everything, and need to remember that the good stuff almost always goes unreported…only the bad and the ugly are really seen, and if seen in department colors the department is now the only thing seen and represented.

    Also one needs to consider that the military uniform has been funded by the civilian taxpayer and IMO the majority of civilians (mainly because they do not know better) feel it should be only worn at military functions and in military areas...not at a prom (our children’s event), not at wal-mart, not at restaurants (because they might be trying to get discounts) or at whatever…We have to purchase our meals daily at the grocery store and we pay for it out of pocket but the taxpayer does not know or understand this and we get called out all of the time when purchasing steak and shrimp dinners or other fancy meal item on their tax dollar. Many feel we should purchase that stuff on our days off on our time and bring it to the station…perception and education.

    I am really surprised there is not a dress code stating that the dress uniform can only be worn at military events and/or your wedding and specifically not in bars/taverns and to high school proms.

    I will end there…I knew I should have avoided this thread as I have been here much too long and not completed my work assignment I have to complete tonight…lol

    I interpreted that the OP of the prom question was just out of high school and freshly into the CG and very close in age to his high school sweetie, he was just a year ahead…that was my interpretation I do not know that for fact.
    I want to finally set it free, So show me how to see what Your mercy sees, Help me now to give what You gave to me...Forgiveness, Forgiveness
    Eoghan RoeUser is Offline
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    20 Apr 2011 05:55 AM

    Posted By E on 19 Apr 2011 08:15 PM
    I never saw the robot done at my high school prom.


    I did

    I suppose this whole topic is a bit different for me because I'm confident in my ability to act right in public, regardless of what I wear. I've worn many uniforms before and while my CG uniform WILL be the most prestigious one, I was well aware that while wearing my TaeKwonDo and Marching Band uniforms I was representing something larger than myself.

    I personally believe that had I joined the military straight out of high school and been dating someone from high school. I would have worn my respective uniform and would have worn it with pride and dignity.

    Now while giving advice to a complete stranger online... yeah, I can definitely see playing it cautious and advising against it. But I feel if we knew the person, respected their judgment, and knew they were aware of the negative effects of their increased publicity, it might be a different set of advice we were giving.
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    21 Apr 2011 06:08 AM
    I'm confident in my ability to act like a fine upstanding citizen. But, at 19 (many moons ago) it never crossed my mind to jump into my uniform to attend a "formal" function at my old high school, regardless of who I was dating. If the case was my HS Sweetheart happened to be a graduating senior then I would wear a tux, and save my uniform for something a little more appropriate for.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    23 Apr 2011 11:05 AM
    FWIW, Eoghan...my son's a coastie, but my husband's law enforcement...and also worked seven years as an investigator with a public defender's office. End result: distilling in my son a profound paranoia regarding underage females and negative perceptions. He even quit attending our church youth group when he turned 18, because he's the sort of young guy the girls like to hug. No, it's not right...but it also stinks for a young guy to end up a registered sex offender because of a misunderstanding. We learned a long time ago that "No, I didn't!" isn't a viable defense.
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    24 Apr 2011 09:00 AM
    Ummm... "instilling" , not distilling. Duh.
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    02 May 2011 06:39 AM
    I guess this is my problem with the whole situation. Zero steps are being taken to remedy the problem.

    In this thread alone, at least a half dozen times, it has been said something to the tune of "They could avoid the situation by removing the doubt." Correct! Great!

    But it's a progressive problem. Kinda like our right to free speech or to bear arms. No, they haven't been taken away, but the pressure continues to increase to ban guns to civilians because SOME have misused them. My dad constantly tells me how people he went to school with had guns in gun racks in their trucks in the school parking lot when he was there. I'm willing to bet a large majority of them never caused any problem at all. But now, if you like to hunt, don't you dare bring your gun anywhere NEAR school because people WILL think you're doing something wrong.

    Nothing is being done to prevent these assumptions from carrying on. Next thing you know you won't be allowed to have a cell phone in your vehicle for emergencies... even if it's off, because you MIGHT be texting while driving. You break down in the middle of no where, better start walking... nope, I don't care if it's below zero. (Of course this is a random example, but think about those people 30-40 years ago who would NEVER have thought the USA would make such a big deal of having a gun, unloaded, in their truck.)
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    02 May 2011 07:05 AM
    Laws can be made for anything, people still break them. All the lawmakers want to do is support a crusade in the interest in getting votes.

    Banning guns is a bad idea. I think everyone should carry a gun. So, guns are banned and all the honest people turn them in so they can be melted down, and turned into playground equipment. The criminals, who make a living BREAKING THE LAW, will keep their guns, and have a field day committing violent crimes against people who may not be able to defend themselves. Concealed carry permits should be allowed for all of those people who meet the standards per federal regulation.

    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    02 May 2011 07:15 AM
    Exactly! The crusade however lives on because sooooooo many people are still going along with their assumptions that all people carrying guns are bad.
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    02 May 2011 09:07 AM
    The entire military carries weapons.. so we're all bad?
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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    02 May 2011 09:30 AM
    Some people seem to think so. I actually had someone suggest that we only give weapons to soldiers once they get deployed overseas.
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