September 29, 2012

It’s a mirror of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, in which NFL players allegedly won bonuses by knocking opposing players out of games.

But this is Pop Warner football in Orange County, California.  These are 10 and 11 year olds.  Two coaches of the Tustin Red Cobras are accused of paying between $20 and $50 to their players for making big hits and taking other teams’ players off the field.  In one helmet-to-helmet hit, the targeted player wobbled out of the game with a concussion.

The Cobra coaches, Darren Crawford and Richard Bowman, have emphatically denied the charges.  In what may or may not be a coverup, a league investigation has determined there is no credible evidence of a bounty program.  There’s a rumor that “disgruntled” parents of certain Cobra players made up the whole accusation.  Cobra coaches and parents have clashed before on other issues.

However, an assistant Cobra coach, several parents and players continue to insist the bounty program existed.

For years now, in America, there has been a pernicious attempt to organize the lives of children down to the last dotted i and crossed t.  As in Orange County Pop Warner, it’s risen to the level of psychosis.

Parents’ obsessions to control every waking moment of their kids’ existences leads to super-organized sports, fathers rushing out of the stands to confront their kids’ coaches during games, and coaches acting like caged animals on meth.

The kids themselves become little adults, even little celebrities.  Watch the Little League World Series when it rolls around on ESPN.  Wall to wall coverage by professional broadcasters who, embarrassingly, memorize the kids’ names and talk about them as though they were major league stars, instead of preteens.  The announcers read off their stats and detail their favorite candy bars and movies.

Apparently, a dozen kids, on their own, walking a mile to a field on a Saturday, picking sides, and playing their own games is a criminal offense.

In my neighborhood here in San Diego, I notice field after field empty of all human life on many afternoons.  I assume the kids are indoors playing video games, and that field gates are locked because insurance companies refuse to cover accidents.  And of course, the real sports action is taking place elsewhere in carefully controlled leagues.

Once upon a time, putting together these programs, where kids played only with others their own age, was a minor activity.  The real prize was to get into a game with older kids, to test your skill and ability, to learn something.  Now that’s verboten.  Parents consider this a potential for “intimidation” that could lead to a mental disorder.

In what would now be called a near-tragedy, requiring psychological counseling, an incident took place on our junior-high field during a hot summer day when I was 12.  A few of us were playing one-field baseball, under a cloudy sky, when a bolt of lightning struck the metal batting cage, wormed its way from link to link, sizzling like crazy, and then vanished.

We stood paralyzed, then yelled and ran off the field as a tremendous blast of thunder slammed over our heads.

When I got home, I told my parents about it.  My mother looked horrified for a few seconds and said, “You could have been hurt.”  “It was okay,” I said.

It was better than okay.  It was fantastic and terrifying and thrilling.  A few minutes later, the whole thing was forgotten.

Today, you might get a threat of a lawsuit and a community petition from “concerned parents” to tear down the batting cage.

Freedom isn’t the point anymore.  Organization is.  And that’s a terrible fact.

If you don’t grow up with a deep sense of freedom, you don’t know what it means to lose it.

Whatever actually happened over in Orange County, with the Cobras and Pop Warner football, was quite insane, and the tragedy is, half the kids on the team don’t even know it, because they’re already in harness, they’re already taking orders, they’re already trying to please coaches who think they’re in a battlefield war. These kids are learning to be little armies.  That’s the purpose of the brainwashing.

When I was 11, there was a coach local who took young kids and molded them into a terrific basketball team.  I knew the kids.  I was on another team.  When we played them, I noticed they had changed.  They were all suddenly sullen and dead-eyed.  The coach had programmed them to think “victory” all the time, to be little beady assassins on the court.  Life had drained out them.  They were efficient and effective, but so what?  If you want a machine, buy a machine.

One president after another in this country likes to talk about a brain drain, about how we need to teach more kids science and technology, so America can “remain competitive” in the world economy.  This is sheer baloney.

We have at least as many kids now as we ever did who do quite well in science.  And some of them are innovators.  The trouble starts when they leave school and find a job in a mega-organization, where cells and groups and committees are stacked on top of one another.

The bloodless controlled environment stifles their dreams and their ambitions.  They should be out on their own, but they don’t see that.

There was once a document called the Declaration of INDEPENDENCE.  It wasn’t the Declaration of Organization.  It wasn’t about ant colonies.  It wasn’t about bee hives.  It wasn’t about “getting along with others.”

We’ve lost the thread.  In the 1950s, in what is now called the age of conformity, there was a still a sense that you could walk out of any door or any job and still find your way.  You could do that because you were alive.  You were stubborn.  You had limits on how much stultification you could stand.  No one was babbling about how The Group was everything.

In sports, if you found yourself, at age 10 or11, playing for a coach who was a lunatic and acted like a drooling martinet, you just walked away.  You exited stage left and forgot about the whole thing.  And you didn’t complain to your parents about it.  It wasn’t an issue,  because there was no community compulsion to “participate.”  It didn’t exist.  Nobody cared.

There’s a whole lot of freedom in nobody caring.  It’s vastly underrated.

Everything these days is solved, in one way or another, through organization.  The solutions usually lead to more serious problems, and eventually the whole effort flounders, because it was based on the wrong premise to begin with: the premise that the team is all.

A kids’ football team made up of vicious little soldiers is a disgrace.

The parents and coaches are a disgrace, but they’ll keep on shaming themselves because they have nothing better to do with their time.  They learned how to be part of some organization long ago, and they’re still bridling at the rope around their necks, and they want out.  They think that, somehow, if they can win, win, win by proxy, it’ll resuscitate their lost hopes.

It won’t.  They’ll just ride the whole absurd mess until it’s over, they’ll make fools of themselves, and they’ll raise kids who see life as a dead space.

It is not a big stretch to see how super-organization at this level translates all the way up into what the American government and corporations are doing with surveillance, tracking the nation 24/7 in  myriad uncountable ways.  Most of the human worjers who assist machines in the ever-burgeoning surveillance state think of their work as merely organizing data.

There is a hole of “unmonitored random human activity that needs to be filled with information?”  The means are created, the data are obtained, and collation/integration of those data is organized.  Problem solved.

Yes, from the little football field in the pee-wee league to the highest centers of the NSA, the United States has found literally millions of ways to observe, arrange, select, interpret, and control human action and thought.

This mad extension of organizational power is gobbling up the nation.  And with it declines both the rational and intuitive understanding of individual freedom.

Take one for the team, they say.

This is: take a whole life for the team.

And then wonder where life went.

Jon Rappoport

The author of an explosive collection, THE MATRIX REVEALED, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California.  Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.  Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.