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A way of civilising youths who are “running wild”?
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I can’t persuade the tweedledum-tweedledee politicians playing musical chairs in my own country to take this proposal seriously, so I’m asking the ’bakery’s social engineers to tell me where I’m going wrong.

EMSERVE [for Emergency Services], is a proposed way of using the good bits of military life to civilise the increasing numbers of young people who are “running wild” in cities and towns world-wide.

The “good bits” of military life are : comradeship; a reduced-choice environment; 24-hour supervision except when on leave; food, clothing and health-care provided; constant training and motivation, and a ladder of promotion available to all, with elaborate recognition procedures and rewards.

The “bad bits” [in my mind], practising how best to kill other humans in large numbers - is replaced, in EMSERVE, by practising how to prevent natural disasters [about 20 kinds], from ... killing humans in large numbers!.

EMSERVE is for real unlike life in peace-time military. No faking. No fudging. No fussing. The first day a recruit turns up on the parade-ground the call-out horn might sound for “three teams to help traffic police direct motorists out of an impending gridlock caused by a series of crashes”.

EMSERVE centres would get their recruits from four sources 1. Applicants for places as a career-choice. 2. Parolees from Corrections; 3. Sent to serve by a Court decision; 4. Sent by now-redundant employment schemes.

Sponsorship, e.g. of uniforms and media exposure, would be an important feature of EMSERVE, nationally and locally to ensure a high public profile.

Training, and performance-based three-grade promotions military-style, would be integrated with the technology curriculum recently introduced into most schools world-wide, emphasising safe-practices and survival-skills and publicising aspects of that subject.

Underlying EMSERVE is the contention that a regular supply of disasters survived, has created civilisation; as a result, in the make-up of every sneering young crim there is a co-operativeness gene that a disaster can switch on, and often it stays “on”.

The devil hides in the details of course, but two books suitable as instructors’ bibles are: “The SAS Survival Handbook” [John Wiseman]; “Survival” [Lannoy and Nicholls]. Other sources abound, including selected parts of military subjects.

rayfo, Nov 23 2000


       The problem is making this cost-effective. You're going to be paying a lot of people to spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for the next disaster.
bookworm, Nov 23 2000

       i agree, but [a] seeking sponsoring money is new [b} EMSERVE would I assume, supplant a dozen costly and failing schemss [c] there is no shortage of emergencies in my turbulent little country.
rayfo, Nov 23 2000

       I think the idea glows with promise. [albeit, probably never see it in my lifetime]. Needs a money-making angle, though. How about 'reality' TV taking the reins?

Or is this what MTV's 'Road Rules' is all about?
reensure, Nov 28 2000

       In proportion to its population and brief history my tiny country is said to be one of the most warlike in the world.

Increasing numbers of voices are heard saying "Let us put our own house in order before we get involved once again expensively per head, in sending our young men to overseas war-zones."

I suppose I'm asking for a shift of some per-head expenditure on maintaining standing military forces, to maintaining standing civilian forces.
rayfo, Nov 29 2000

       If privatization of the military took place, would we have socially responsible 'wars for causes' in the future? I mean, really fight the war on crime (General Dynamics), war on hunger (General Mills), and so on.
reensure, Dec 01 2000

       I am confused, why bother creating the Emserv when we already have the national gaurd. If a real disaster broke out I don't think the EMSERVE would be as usefull as you might think Perhaps your idea could be converted to a specific division of the National Gaurd, and these days even in military areas technological training is more important than old fasion military training. I don't like the idea of how you are talking about giving these people military training when it really will not be. Or maybe this is an idea better for social workers, or civil service programs like being a post man, in which you learn how to work hard and also gain a little bit of patriotism and pride in what you do.
wood2coal, Sep 28 2001

       'Guard', 'useful'.   

       What he's describing is to the National Guard as the Boy Scouts are to the Army. A paramilitary organization that in this case, would be of use to things like the Red Cross, or any of the SAR groups.   

       It'd be fairly useful in New York, now.   

       The problem with the original idea <one I somehow hadn't seen until now, despite it's being nearly a year old> is that it assumes that all a gang-banger really wants is someone to order him around...
StarChaser, Sep 30 2001

       s/wants/needs/, I think. There's a theory, which I think has at least some merit, that youth gangs are a result of society having given these people no acceptable role. After the age of 16-18, you're no longer a child; you have the abilities, if not the wisdom, of an adult, and you're not given the same slack as you were as a child. But you're not treated as a real adult until perhaps your mid-twenties: you're not really expected to be able to do anything important. This leaves a gap of a few years, in which you have ability and responsibility but no power or privilege.   

       Going to college is a good way to occupy that gap: more freedom, more responsibility, but you don't have to act like a full adult yet. Serving a term in the armed forces is, also. But it's no longer common for everyone to serve in the army, and lots of people can't (or don't) go to college.
wiml, Sep 30 2001

       I'm still holding out for the possibility that authoritarianism isn't uniquely qualified to make constructive use of the as of yet unconstructive. My hypothesis is that if competition over "niches" weren't so brutal, people would have reasons to keep the nose to the grindstone, be nice to their elders, etc.
LoriZ, Sep 30 2001


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