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Published:May 14th, 2009 09:42 EST
U.S. Marine Corps to Open Military School in DeKalb Country

U.S. Marine Corps to Open Military School in DeKalb Country

By Philip Lawrence

The U.S. Marine Corps has been making plans to open a school in DeKalb County, Georgia for disadvantaged but talented students.  Some local government and civic leaders have expressed concern while others have indicated they will vehemently oppose any attempt to build the school.


Proponents argue the school will provide a quality education to disadvantaged students who might otherwise fall through the cracks and that the students will be taught discipline, self-respect, and confidence which will make them better and more productive citizens.  Opponents argue the students will be more aggressive and violent if they are exposed to military culture and should instead be inculcated in a society that shuns aggression and violence and espouses peace and understanding.


Most opponents have never served in uniform and therefore arguably don`t understand the military.  In their defense, I`m sure it`s difficult to understand anything you haven`t experienced firsthand and on which you`ve used information from television or other second-hand media to base your opinions.  I`ve never been a nuclear physicist so I don`t know much about nuclear physics other than the fact that if you slice an atom you can unleash enough energy to power an aircraft carrier.  Perhaps those who serve or have served in the military need to do a better job of educating civilians to show them we`re not autonomous brutes who will shoot up shopping malls if someone teaches us to fire an M-16 rifle.


            Perhaps critics should let prospective students decide for themselves whether they want to attend the school.  Some will no doubt forgo the opportunity; they simply don`t have the temperament to survive in a military school environment.  But I`m guessing many of them will, especially those who don`t have trust funds or wealthy parents and those who have already lived in such harsh conditions that military life will be a welcome respite from a life in which they don`t know from whence their next meal is coming.


            As for shunning aggression and violence, I`m all in favor of that as well as embracing peace and understanding.  I served as a Marine lieutenant on the front line in the Gulf War from 1990 to 1991 and like the protagonist in Homer`s Odyssey, I was a reluctant warrior as well.  I do hope that one day people and nations will beat their swords into plowshares and that I will live in a world based on peace and understanding.  Until that day comes, I will sleep well at night knowing that young men and women " many of whom went to military schools like the one the Marine Corps is attempting to build in DeKalb County, Georgia " continue to step forward to serve in our armed forces.