Douchebags Gone Wild – Panama City Edition
By Pablo James
Last week, I wrote about a group of college students who desecrated the American flag as part of a protest and how, despite their poor judgment and unforgivable actions, were legally exercising their First Amendment rights as Americans.
Now let’s look at the other side of the douchebag spectrum.
Earlier this month, the Warrior Beach Retreat, a non-profit organization started in 2009, held an event in Panama City Beach, Florida to benefit wounded veterans. The event included a parade (attended by an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 local residents lined the streets to honor the veterans) and a guest appearance by retired Air Force General Lloyd W. Newton, among other things.
The weekend was also host to the Dumb Fuck Olympics spring formals for the University of Florida and Emory University chapters of the fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau. The fraternity, whose alumni include comedic actor Harold Ramis and 1920s kidnapper and murderer, Richard Loeb, was founded in New York City in 1898 and has as its motto, “A Powerhouse of Excellence.”
Perhaps the UF and Emory chapters should consider changing the motto to “A Powerhouse of Douchebaggery.”
According to complaints made by wounded veterans who were guests of the Warrior Beach Retreat, several members of the Zeta Beta Tau chapters found themselves bored with binge drinking, collar popping, and hazing pledges, so they decided to thank the aforementioned wounded veterans for their service.
Did these young men of character shake the veterans’ hands? Offer to buy a round of drinks? Decorate the area with yellow ribbons? No, they went for something a little less…traditional.
These stalwarts of America’s future showed their exceptional sense of cuntdom by spitting at the approximately 60 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their service dogs, stealing American flags from their cars and urinating on them, and making lewd and suggestive comments to their wives. Some even made lewd and suggestive remarks towards a service dog…
All of this in addition to the usual frat boy behavior of puking in the elevators, pissing off balconies, and generally making total fucking asses of themselves.
At the risk of stereotyping, let me try and put this in perspective. These spoiled, bratty shitheads chose to aggressively disrespect a group of men and women who not only laid their lives down on the line to preserve the way of life that allows these very same pimple-faced jackals to act like third-rate extras from a spin-off of Jersey Shore, but paid the price for America with their very flesh and bones.
Really, the biggest mystery about this entire incident is how it is that none of the wounded veterans took it upon themselves to kick the ever-loving shit out of one of the mouthy little weasels. I’m certainly not advocating violence (maybe just a little), but it certainly would’ve warmed my heart if these stories were accompanied by a viral video of Biff getting smacked across his spray tanned, wise-ass face with prosthetic leg or Chip learning how devastating a Wheelchair Naked Choke can be when delivered by someone who stared death in the face only to witness death blink first.
Linda Cope, founder of Warrior Beach Retreat, told reporters, “In all my years, I’ve never seen such debauchery and disrespect.”
To their credit, the University of Florida chapter of Zeta Beta Tau have already expelled Moe, Larry, and Curly three member of their chapter from the organization for their actions in Panama City Beach during these events. Cope has received apologies from University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs and the National Zeta Beta Tau Executive Director Laurence A. Bolotin.
In a statement posted on the fraternity’s website, Bolotin wrote:
“On behalf of our entire organization, I want to apologize to veterans, both those who were in Panama City Beach, and those who have felt the pain from afar, as well as to their families and all who support the Warrior Beach Retreat and had worked to make it a positive and meaningful occasion for attendees. I am deeply saddened that the actions of our members ruined this special event and failed to show the respect our military and their families so deserve.”
This incident is only the latest in a series of fraternity scandals in recent years. From rape allegations to racist mocking and chants to hazing-related deaths, the modern fraternity system seems to be producing “men of character and respect” about as well as Breaking Bad’s Walter White giving marital and parenting advice.
As of this writing, the University of Florida chapter of Zeta Beta Tau has offered to engage in fund raising activities to provide financial assistance to the Warrior Beach Retreat – an offer WBR founder, Linda Cope has accepted.
While the offer to conduct fundraising is a good start, does it truly solve the issue of how these self-entitled punks conducted themselves? Like yellow ribbon bumper stickers and sharing “I Support Veterans” memes on Facebook, some efforts are more symbolic than anything. Real activism is more involved. These clowns shouldn’t get a pass on this disgrace because they host an Entourage-themed booze-a-thon at the frat house and turn the proceeds over to Warrior Beach Retreat.
Perhaps the members of Zeta Beta Tau would be better served by doing service that brings them in close with veterans and their families. Help renovate a wounded veteran’s home to make it accessible to his or her particular needs. Volunteer time at the local VA facility or with the university’s Veterans Affairs office. In other words, work with our veterans instead of for our veterans. Get to know them as people. Listen to their stories. Observe their pain, their pride, and their strength firsthand.
Service of this nature would very likely do exponentially more to improve the behavior of these drunken turd nuggets and the reputation (yeah, right) of the organizations they represent.
Emory University, in the meantime, has issued a statement saying, “no evidence has been found to implicate Emory students in these reported incidents.” Stay classy, Emory. Maybe that’s why your most famous alumni are Newt Gingrich and that kid from Into the Wild.
A Gainesville, Florida attorney told a local news station the actions of the “men” of Zeta Beta Tau could potentially result in criminal charges under Florida law.
Generations ago, men were often given a choice of serving jail sentences or joining the military. Perhaps that would be the appropriate solution for these young ass hats. Active duty tours as enlisted Army and Marine Corps Infantrymen. Forget about Daddy’s credit card – let these miscreants pay their debts with sweat and pain in the dirt of Fort Benning, Georgia and the sand of Parris Island, South Carolina. Follow up with graduate courses in the Persian Gulf or Africa.
Let them see what a real fraternity is like. A fraternity of brothers who put their lives of the line and defend something. A fraternity where you earn your respect through your actions, your selfless service, and your commitment to lay your life down for the men on your left and right – not by how well you play beer pong and do keg stands.
Zeta Beta Tau, you’ve managed to accomplish something almost impossible: In a single weekend, you managed to make every reality television star, politician, and celebrity who thinks wearing a Che Guevera t-shirt is cool look incredibly dignified and honorable.