How do you deal with somebody who's totally nuts (especially in authority positions)?

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    Oct 27, 2011 8:28 PM GMT
    It was 1983, and I had just completed an ROTC Summer Camp as a Platoon Tactical Officer, still a Captain and a few months away from becoming a Major. We had a complete lunatic for an ROTC Commanding General at Fort Lewis, Washington. He fitted his vehicle with rooftop loudspeakers, so we could hear him approaching our field training sites, playing things like Wagner's "Ride of the Valkryies" and the theme from the movie "Patton." We all knew he was totally nuts.

    So a few months later he paid our North Dakota campus a visit. He got a series of formal briefings, the first one by a Captain who caved under the General's abusive interrogating, he just totally fell to pieces. Now I'm up next.

    I figured my career is ruined anyway, like the guy before me, nothing to lose. So I looked the General right in the face, and said: "General, you questioned our program. You saw our photos on the wall during your tour [which I had taken myself]. THAT'S what we do, and we're proud of it. I doubt any other ROTC program can match us! Permit me to answer the questions you've posed." I saw our Colonel turn white at my audacity.

    "Now sir, I'm gonna take you through our program, and show you we're the best college program you've got." And all the while I'm pointing my finger at him.

    Well, I understand bullies, which is all he was. He sat silent while I did my thing, totally confident and in charge, regardless of his exalted rank.

    The next day my Colonel said to me I had saved his career, and our program, after the failure of the Captain ahead of me (who later got RIF'ed, removed from service, for substandard performance). I have no fear, and I know how to deal with nut cases, whether they wear a US uniform or they're online here.

    I was reminded of this today because of some totally looney post here I saw. Loonies are loonies, wherever you find them, and I wonder how you deal with them. icon_confused.gif
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    Oct 27, 2011 9:19 PM GMT
    VividCrop saidyou say you have experience with it Are you asking or telling us?


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    Oct 27, 2011 9:24 PM GMT
    I was wondering about this yesterday when I was reading about this case (can't find the exact story.):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/apnewsbreak-idaho-professor-in-murder-suicide-had-talked-about-shooting-students-in-class/2011/10/27/gIQA5mjVMM_story.html?wprss=rss_national

    The university knew for years that this guy was nuts. They chose... poorly.
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    Oct 28, 2011 12:30 PM GMT
    VividCrop saidyou say you have experience with it. Are you asking or telling us?

    Both. I gave one example among others I've had during my life, and thought some here would want to share there own. Not only for some possible laughs, but also to compare notes on dealing with these nut jobs.

    Some of them succeed in frightening me from a safety standpoint, and others, like that General, had career-ending power over me. Have you ever encountered wacko authority figures, or just random run-ins with very strange people? That make you wonder how they go through life, and what kind of life they have?
  • HndsmKansan

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    Oct 28, 2011 12:54 PM GMT
    Good point, Bob. I think you will encounter "Loonies" everywhere, RJ
    not being an exception...
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    Oct 28, 2011 1:21 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidGood point, Bob. I think you will encounter "Loonies" everywhere, RJ
    not being an exception...

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    Nobody could call someone a looney better than the late Graham Chapman, the gay member of the Monty Python troupe. And I like loonies when they're harmlessly funny. But sometimes they can be scary, and in authority positions, like quite a few US legislators at present.

    But leaving political observations aside, I'm fascinated by stories about high-functional loonies, like my former General. Who seem to defy all the rational laws about what it takes to succeed, and to be in important positions.