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Why hazing continues despite physical and mental health consequences

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It’s been called a rite of passage, a bonding ritual, a way to initiate novice members into a fraternity, elite sports team or military unit through physical and mental challenges — with the aim of individuals becoming cemented into the whole.

But hazing can have a sinister side involving physical or sexual abuse and emotional trauma that, for some, can leave deep psychological scars. It’s also led to hundreds of deaths when typically alcohol-fuelled indoctrinating pranks go unexpectedly and horribly wrong.

So how did the practice begin and why does it continue, despite a burgeoning number of anti-hazing policies put in place by universities and colleges, within the military and among sports organizations? And how can it be stopped?

Experts say hazing is as old as antiquity, reportedly practised in the time of Plato, referred to by St. Augustine in his Confessions, and promoted by Martin Luther as a means of preparing students for the vicissitudes of life.

“Hazing in many ways is not one behaviour, it’s a set of interrelated behaviours,” explained Michael Atkinson, a professor of kinesiology and physical education at the University of Toronto, who trained as a sociologist.

Besides requiring newbies to prove their worth for group membership with feats of physical endurance, for instance, hazing rituals also have strong psychosocial components, he said.

“It’s psychological in the sense that it’s meant to intimidate, degrade people in some way, shame them, embarrass them in front of others. It’s social in the sense that it clearly establishes power in hierarchies in a group, and it establishes a place for people within the group.”

And the more esoteric the group — an elite junior hockey team, for instance, or a high-status Greek-letter fraternity or sorority — “the greater the risk of an extreme form of hazing that will result,” Atkinson said.

That appeared to be the case at St. Michael’s College School, a private boys school in Toronto, where six students were charged last month with assault, gang assault and sexual assault with a weapon. The charges followed an incident in which some members of the school’s football team allegedly sodomized another student with a broom handle.

Just over a week later, four 15-year-old Maryland high school students were charged as adults with first-degree rape in a locker room attack, and now face life in prison if convicted. A fifth teen was charged as a juvenile with second-degree rape. The charges relate to an October incident in which four 14-year-olds had their pants pulled down and were allegedly assaulted with a broom stick.

The parents of a freshman who died of alcohol poisoning last year after an alleged pledge-related fraternity hazing are suing Louisiana State University, the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and four students facing criminal charges in the 18-year-old’s death.

A 19-year-old Penn State fraternity pledge also died last year after consuming a dangerous amount of alcohol and falling during an acceptance-bid party at the now-closed Beta Theta Pi house.

In this May 5, 2017 file photo, Jim and Evelyn Piazza stand by as prosecutors discuss an investigation into the death of their son Timothy Piazza, seen in the photo at the right. He died after drinking heavily as part of a fraternity hazing ritual at Penn State University. (Abby Drey /Centre Daily Times/Associated Press)

Those deaths are just two among about 200 hazing-related fatalities in males that have occurred in North America alone since the first half of the 19th century, said Hank Nuwer, a professor of journalism at Franklin College, Ind., who has written extensively about the practice.

“If we count Canada, there’s been a death every year in either the U.S., Mexico or Canada from 1959 to 2018,” he said, noting that the first recorded hazing fatality within a U.S. fraternity took place at Cornell University in 1873.

“It’s all about status and power,” said Nuwer, whose latest book on the subject is entitled Hazing: Destroying Young Lives.

“A big part of it simply is imitation. It’s what they see in Hollywood movies, what they see on YouTube initiations, and it’s really consistently a bad practice.”

‘I jeopardize everything if I say no’

But why in the #MeToo era do those who are targets of hazing put up with being abused?

“It fits in with the idea of power, it’s what makes it so insidious,” said Atkinson.

“It’s the idea that ‘I jeopardize everything if I say no,”‘ he said, adding that acceptance on a sports team or into a post-secondary fraternity or sorority can provide lifelong benefits in the form of social and career connections.

“If I say no, I’m done. They’ll ostracize me. I might be included because the coach says I have to be included, but I will be a pariah on the team.”

And many of those who submit to hazing believe that no one in authority would do anything to stop the practice, he said.

That notion was borne out recently by former NHLer Daniel Carcillo, who experienced hazing with other rookie members of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting 15 years ago. He recalled a teammate being stripped naked and whipped with his own belt by two veteran players. The teen’s screams brought the coach out of his office, who gave the tied-down rookie a slap of his own.

“The mentality always is, especially in sport, that it’s only sport,” said Atkinson. “That’s how it’s reproduced over the course of time.”

For Carcillo and others who endured hazings, hearing reports about what occurred at St. Michael’s College School and elsewhere can reopen psychological wounds from the past, said Nuwer, who cited the case of a South Dakota man, whose high school sports team had forced him to parade around with a jockstrap over his head as part of his inauguration.

The man, who was now in his 70s, tracked down his prime abuser and shot him point-blank when he opened the door, he said.

“So there was a homicide.”

While some initiation rituals may be relatively mild, those that involve physical or sexual abuse take hazing to a entirely different level.

“They now have started looking at it for what it is — it’s a criminal act,” said Atkinson.

Stopping hazing — and the cultures that support it — means enacting zero-tolerance policies on campuses, within sports teams, the military and for any other group that views membership as a hard-won prize open only to a select few.

That means monitoring by parents, coaches, school administrators and those who oversee fraternities and sororities across campuses.

“If it means shutting down programs as examples, then so be it,” he said.

Bonding doesn’t have to mean reinforcing potentially dangerous hierarchies of power; close-knit camaraderie can ensue by creating conditions of similarity among group members, suggested Atkinson.

“You go on retreats, you do community-based activities,” he said. “There’s a million ways in which you could get a group of young men and young women together as a way of solidifying their collective identity.

“It doesn’t have to be ‘I’m going to force you to drink until you pass out and I’m going to dump you somewhere to see if you can get home.”‘

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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