Thursday, January 6, 2011



The concept of Whistle-Blowing and Back-Stabbing, all rolled into one.

I have been watching with some disgust, the case of Owen Honors, the Captain of the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier “Enterprise”. Not disgust at what he did, but the unmentioned back story of how this whole episode transpired.

For historical reference, for those that may not know what happened. Captain Honors was relieved of command of the Enterprise due to his participation in some morale videos that were created and distributed to the Enterprise Crew back in 2005. At the time, Honors was the second in command of the aircraft carrier. The videos, meant for crew viewing only, were laced with profanity and references to homosexuality and were meant to be entertaining and humorous and not to be taken seriously.

Everyone on board the ship knew about these videos, including the captain of the Enterprise. Honors was promoted to captain of the Enterprise almost two years ago and was generally well liked by his crew. He has a long and distinguished military career as a high ranking naval officer and a navy pilot.

Was what he did proper? Probably not. Did what he do merit his termination and the end of his military career? Probably not. But the military was embarrassed and needed a scapegoat,..... five years later.

So much for the back-story.

This whole episode makes me pretty upset, because I have been in the same situation, but for totally different reasons.

No one is asking the question, why this came to light five years later? The answer is, because someone was pissed off with Captain Honors and went to a newspaper with the videos. And they did so anonymously. They did not confront Executive Officer Owens at the time of the videos were made nor follow the military chain of command on-board ship with a complaint, or even notify the Captain about their concerns as far as we know. They waited for five year and then stabbed him in the back and ended his military career.

The reason they are ‘allowed’ to do this is a mantra in our newer, politically correct government, that states “something that is ‘offensive' to one worker, is offensive to ALL workers” and won’t be tolerated. This supposedly makes for a more safe and secure work environment, but when abused, it has the opposite effect. It creates team-splitting as opposed to team building.

Let me share my personal experience with this concept.

Back in the 1990s, I was employed in a state office. For reasons that are still a mystery to me, one of the supervisors that I worked under decided that they did not like me and wanted me fired. I assume she determined that I wasn’t a ‘team’ player, which meant that I didn’t back her up in certain office situations. So much so, that the other supervisors in the office counseled me to ‘stay away’ from her, because she ‘had it in for me.’

One day, I was called into my directors office and told that a complaint had been filed. That a ‘fellow employee’ (anonymous) had found something in my office offensive and it had to be removed. What was the offensive object? A small painting by the artist Maxfield Parish that was hanging on my wall. The painting showed a person (androgynous, you couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman) sitting by a campfire with a naked back. I agreed to remove the picture.

Now mind you, both the director and I knew what was going on, and we both knew who had filed the complaint, even though no name was mentioned. Since he was advised that someone was offended, he was obligated to take action.

Never-The-Less, for the following year, there were copies of Cosmopolitan and Vogue magazines laying on our office break room table that displayed naked models hocking Channel #5 and stating 10 ways to have better sex with your lover that were never removed. The hypocrisy was evident.

Was hanging the picture in my office not really, and if someone found it offensive and told me, I would have taken it down in consideration. Was Captain Honor’s foolish in what he did, yes, but life on board a Navy ship is different than life on main-street. The culture is different and the stress and chain of command are different.

In both instances, anonymous individuals sought to tear down people that had done nothing wrong in most of their co-workers eyes and were allowed to get away with it. The only thing they accomplished was to cause descent among the ranks.

I keep a watchful eye on my co-workers now, because anyone of them can 'claim' I told an off color joke in the men's room and make an issue of it with management in order to have me reprimanded. They won’t come to me to discuss the matter directly in order to resolve it.

The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is more wary now as well, knowing that as soon as someone's tour of duty is up, they can spill the beans (anonymously) and ruin someone else’s career.

Whistling blowing is one thing, if it involves criminal intent or defrauding someone. Whistle blowing just to get revenge is back stabbing. The Navy and the Government need to know the differencee.

….and that supervisor that had it in for me many years ago? She walked away from the job under a cloud of suspicion about a year later and no one knows what ever happened to her.