Missing Ritual

Two stories from today’s news:

The first is a story that is all too sad, familiar, and frustrating. You’ve heard this one before: two high school boys, alcohol,  a boat, and a game of chicken. Do I need to tell you how this story ends?

The second story is about a ritual. Whenever a US soldier is killed in action, there is a service that takes place when the body is returned to Dover Air Force Base. Part of the ritual requires that a General be in attendance.

You might think this requirement is in place in order to provide consolation for the families of the deceased. But that’s only part of the reason. The other, and perhaps more important is that it requires the military leadership to see the consequences of their decisions.

High school boys, like the boys on the boat or in the car or on the bridge, don’t ever get what those Generals receive at Dover. And because they don’t have that feedback loop, they often fail to make the connection between choices and consequences.

I wonder if there is a way we could address this gap?


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