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Resident Questions Anti-Military Stance

by Tyler Ramrath

Loyalty and Respect    (28 comments)

Having just returned from school(College) for the weekend, I sat with my parents for dinner. I being of the type not to abandon my community for a short stint at college, and the type to not ever want to place myself within Barney Frank's district, left my voting registration here with my home town rather than at the school I attend. This is my residence, I pay my taxes here, I frequent local businesses, and I live under the local laws and regulations. In my mind voting here is the right thing to do. So, being a thinking and active member of our community, I asked my parents, “So, who are y'all voting for?” Immediately my father informed me that a man by the name of Jay Leary was running for Selectman, and that he had called former servicemen who seek jobs in the law enforcement arena, “Yahoos.” I had my doubts, but let's check out the facts.

I was directed by my father to the HCAT website to watch the initial debate for selectmen on STREAMING VIDEO ON DEMAND. I was impressed with Mr. Leary's statements early on, “Promote Accountability..... Holliston is a safe place to raise a family.” Sounds all well and good to me, but then he reached a part in his speech where he said this,

“An educated public safety force is a very important thing. That was the Genesis of the Quinn Bill, that said we didn't want people that were just coming out of maybe military and wanted to come in and who wanted to be yahoos on our police force. We wanted people who have some thought and who have some maybe social skills... and who look to maybe mitigate issues instead of causing confrontation. So, I think it is important that we maintain that.”

Here is were we start to have some problems Mr. Leary. Granted, Mr. Leary was stating what he viewed the Quinn Bill to be, but right at the end of it he said, “I think it is important that we maintain that.” Now, if Mr. Leary had left just the word military out of his statement and left it group neutral, his statement would align with his previous personal accountability note and there wouldn't be an issue. Because Mr. Leary took the effort to bring up this group, we can clearly deduce that he is saying that a significant percentage of former servicemen, “want to come in and wanted to be yahoos on our police force,” and that they are a group that has significant numbers that do not “ have some thought and who have some maybe social skills.”

The hypocrisy is clear. Mr. Leary began talking about accountability. One can only hope he is talking about the personal accountability of everyone's own actions. Why does he need to demonize a group? Additionally, Mr. Leary needs to do a little research into the thing he feels the need to criticize. He clearly hasn't heard of the military Human Intelligence teams in theater, who's entire job is to talk to people and build rapport.

I am a member of the military and I will take my branch of service as an example. The army teaches very vigorously a group of army values. They are as follows: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. If an institution as large as the Army so vigorously teaches these values and an individual gets out of the Army and exhibits a lack of one of these values, might it be the character of the person, rather than the organization he just came from? Let's take two of these values and apply them to Mr. Leary. Loyalty: Mr. Leary shows a lack of loyalty to his country by demonizing the very group that defends his right to say what he is saying. Is it acceptable to have a negative opinion?  Yes. Is it appropriate or even smart to devalue the very protector this Mr. Leary sleeps behind safe and sound in his home every night?  Probably not. Respect: Is it respectful of Mr. Leary to demonize the group that produced such great men as General Patraeus, General of the Army MacArthur, and President Eisenhower, to demonize the group that had so many lay down their lives in order for him and his fathers to prosper in this country? No.

The long and short of it is that I am seeing a serious lack of judgment and a serious lack of perspective with this statement. Only one half of one percent of the people in America join the military. This man just did a pretty good job of alienating a large and highly valued group of Holliston voters. 

Alas, this wasn't the most disturbing thing about the debate. The disturbing thing was that Mr. Leary's opponent didn't counter any of these statements Mr. Leary said. The disturbing thing was that the moderators didn't use their self proclaimed discretion to defend those who defend us. The most disturbing thing was that no one in the audience was outraged enough to get up, and walk out.

Tyler J. Ramrath

Comments (31)

I vote for Mr. Leary. Socially awkward people are often the smartest.

ellen westland | 2015-03-01 18:39:25

Social skills isn't everything. it's what comes from the heart.

ellen westland | 2015-03-01 18:20:04

As far as educated people with no social skills they are treated with cruelty when there is something medically wrong with them. We should all strive to act with kindness, and the holidays is especially a time to forgive.

ellen westland | 2015-03-01 18:17:42

Tyler, it is a bold move when someone takes a chance and throws an idea into the water to see if it will float or take on water. If by chance it does float, the majority is willing to jump on board of the buoyant idea. If by chance the same idea sinks like a rock, people tend to turn away causing the one who tossed it out there all alone at the bottom. Again, only in America. Where you say, "I was less enthusiastic about voting for his opponent", sounds like having to choose between the "least of two evils." From the time Mr. Leary threw out the "yahoo" reference in a public forum, to the time he sat down over coffee, there seems to be some realization that the "idea" sank like a rock. Sometimes it's better for a person to stand by thier belief's instead of changing what they believe in, even if you find your taking on water. If someone will "flip flop" on what they believe in, I would hate to see Mr. Leary defending the rights you or I believe in. Nevermind on a battlefield. On a battlefield, where many servicemen and servicewomen fought and died for our rights, they did not have the luxury of being able to change their minds,their choices or their devotion to this country. Not that they ever would. Unlike some others.

W. O'Brien | 2011-05-08 22:40:07

Ammendment to my previous post: My reference to "yahoos" in my previous post is in no way a reference to our military personel, who freely give would give up their lives for all of us. If a reference is to be directed towards the men in women who have served, are serving or will serve, it should be "HERO". No matter what you stand up for, no matter what you believe in, the military makes it all possible in America. You should freely say "Thank You" to our military men and women. Don't be putting yourself in the position to say, "I'm sorry."

W. O'Brien | 2011-05-08 21:02:16

I had coffee with Mr. Leary over the weekend and I am pleased to say that his statements during the debate addressed above are not a good representation of the man. It gladdens me to find this out as I was less than enthusiastic about voting for his opponent. My comment was never meant to be the single basis for anyones opinion, so I implore all readers to make sure they are well informed about the candidates come election day.

Tyler Ramrath | 2011-05-08 18:46:49

It is evedent, if there is anyone who has "lack of social skills" it would be Mr Leary. We should all be LEERY of any potential public servant who would talk down about another public servant. Especially a military servant. I believe the people who volunteer for military service have more credibility and character then Mr. Leary could ever attempt to possess. Not to mention, volunteering for military service is without monitary incentive in mind. Not to say that Mr Leary does. If Mr Leary can spout the negative words he chose in a public forum about our military, you could'nt possible agree with what he must think and not say. If ignorance is truly bliss, Mr. Leary must be one of the happiest people in the community. Mr. Weise, we all have said things that we may regret. The only exception is, we don't have plans to represent a community and make major decisions for a town. My son signed on for the next 8 years and is now a U.S. Marine. Might I had, he signed on during a time of war. Over the next 8 years it will most likely be the most volital times of all our lives. But, he does it so that Mr. Leary can speak his mind freely. No matter how poorly the words he utters can provoke such a heated response. I will say I am glad my son doesnt have to climb into a foxhole with Mr Hill though. Mr. Barry, valid point? The majority of Fire and Police are veterans. Veterans of strong sound character. Mr. Dan, there are "yahoos" already working for the town. Do we really need another? Thank you again Tyler J. Ramrath.

W. O'Brien | 2011-05-08 17:09:08

I couldn't agree more with the last two comments....give me a break.....he's a great guy who's given hundreds and hundreds of hours to the town....what is the plan, blindfold him and shoot him for one unfortunate example to make an otherwise valid point? I, like almost everyone else I know, is voting for Jay Leary - by far, the most qualififed and deserving candidate! Not even a close call!

Jim Barry | 2011-05-06 05:46:46

Wow! Jay Leary recently used an unfortunate word and quickly apologized. But, obviously, not even one mistake can be tolerated! To all who have never woke up one morning, thinking "Gee, I wish I had said . . ." please accept my sincere congratulations. To everyone else, do words really count more than deeds!? Jay has volunteered countless hours over many years to the town of Holliston. Few have ever had any reason to question his dedication, motives or effectiveness before. Does the recent unfortunate use of one word now wipe out the worth of all past service? Is hari-kari really the only acceptable proof of contrition? Will you volunteer for a Town position on that basis?

Jeff Weise | 2011-05-05 13:32:15

I agree with Dan 5/4/11 1:05pm I've known Jay Leary for over 10 years, I am an Iraqi Veteran, and I too have said a few things I wish I didn't. Give the man a break. He has served this town and done a lot of good for many years. I believe he will continue to do well for us in the position of Selectman. He's got my Vote. Maybe I am a little bit of a Yahoo! But look at the options...

Pete Hill | 2011-05-04 15:14:41

Stick a fork in him!

Mortimor Wellington | 2011-05-04 14:55:02

Lou, I could not agree more that people should get over their hurt feelings and vote for the person who will serve Holliston best. I am not a veteran and maybe that is why I was not as outraged as some by Mr. Leary's comments which had to be linked together and magnified to create the outrage. What I mean is this: there are yahoos in all professions and occupations, including some in the "maybe military." It is not like he said, "All military people are yahoos." He clearly used a poor example, but he has apologized. Call him and meet him for coffee if you want - you'd be surprised what a good and decent guy he is without an ounce of military dislike. He has served almost a decade on volunteer boards for the town. For me, the alternative to Jay Leary is completely unacceptable - watch the HCAT tape again! Leary screwed up, something that is easy to do with the nerves of being on public cable. I am with Lou - get over the hurt feelings. He apologized for God's sake. Have any of you in your lifetime ever said something stupid or used a bad example? Fact - there are lots of yahoos in every occupation! (if I am understanding the term correctly)...and, lastly, I have all the respect and admiration possible for present and former military personnel!

Dan | 2011-05-04 13:05:07

Hey Lou, Thanks for the comment. I said I would "prefer" to fight with those who chose to be there. I would prefer it so that those who didn't sign up could stay home and live their lives uninterrupted, and in peace. I know there have been many honorable men and women who were drafted and fought just as hard as their volunteering counterparts. Thanks for serving when your country came knocking on your door... And I think I might just start flossing more.

Tyler Ramrath | 2011-05-04 09:17:12

Tyler, You had me at "hello." But as a veterean who was drafted, now you've gone and hurt my feelings. Sorry you wouldn't want to fight next to me, but that's OK. I wasn't much of a fighter. They made me a dental hygenist. So we probably won't ever get to share a fox hole. But if they ever get us back in, and I get to clean your teeth, I'll scrape extra-hard. Meanwhile, let's get over our hurt feelings and vote for whoever will serve Holliston the best. I'm leaning towards Jack Blais now. At least he hasn't offended anyone yet.

Lou | 2011-05-04 08:14:33

Tyler there are always going going to be ignorant citizens like Mr Leary who will never understand the meaning of the selfless sacrifice of military service. However you last paragraph is the most powerful and begs the question, why was there no sense of outrage in the hall's of this town's government? I happen to be one of those Vietnam military 'yahoo's' that spent my life in the service of Public Safety to citizens of this Commonwealth. I would not trade that service for all the power or money in the world.

Robert N. Gibeault | 2011-05-04 04:35:22

Unfortunately, this mindset is all too common, especially in this part of the country, where military service is relatively rare, and/or embedded in the distant past. Two common fallacies seem to persist in the views and biases of those who haven't worn a uniform: First, that our military hasn't changed in decades, and that representations of military life in popular film and books is a good window into the experience of war. While some elements of soldiering are eternal ('hurry up and wait' and paperwork spring to mind) the military of today is NOT the military of the Vietnam Era as seen through the eyes of Stanley Kubrick or Phil Caputo. The average soldier does NOT serve because he has no better options; the underprivileged are NOT vastly overrepresented (although the privileged are, compared to previous conflicts.) Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of our present military better represent the nation and are better educated than those of any other time in our history. Only a mind mired in the past (and probably a fictional one at that) would automatically equate veterans with 'yahoos.' Second, it is untrue that education is somehow a better predictor of what makes a good peace officer than military experience. It seems an obvious and universal truth: the goal of education and training is to provide the knowledge and skills required to function in a position, without the risk or expense of acquiring them by experience. This seems obvious; what employer would pass over an experienced driver in favor of one who had 'aced' a driving course but never driven in traffic? If you were badly injured in a traffic accident, who would you want to find you bleeding - an experienced trauma paramedic or a summa cum laude PhD in medicine? As the philosopher said, "Until we figure out how to impart common sense, education'll have to do." I don't consider myself uneducated. I have BAs in Politics, Economics and Foreign Languages, and feel I had a first-rate ed

David W. de Ganne | 2011-05-03 11:28:19

Thank you Tyler Ramrath, Dan Valovcin and all of our Military men and women, past and present. My eyes and ears were opened wide and one can only hope that we all move forward and continue down the right path. I couldn't agree more with most of the comments below, having a son who is an active military member (pilot in the Air Force) and is extremely proud to be serving his country. He has his Bachelors of Science, went through a rigorous Officers Training program, was sent to Iraq and Afghanastan for 4 tours and just recently attained his Masters Degree while working 80 hours a week. I couldn't be more proud. If he is not someone who would have some thought, who would have social skills and who could mitigate issues without confrontation, it concerns me who Mr. Leary would choose to fill those positions. As for Mr. Leary, it is very dissappointing, but very poignant to know exactly how you feel.

Jackie Napolitano | 2011-05-03 09:50:15

Dear Mr. Leary, you are probably at this juncture regretting your very poor choice of words regarding military "yahoos" trying to gain employment on a police force. You single handedly managed to upset the best of the best with your comments; and if they reflect your thinking - shame on you. And shame on you for suggesting that a higher education makes a better cop. There are police that have died in the line of duty, and there are veterans that have given ther lives for our country - that wouldn't meet your education creterioa for muncipal employment. Please don't waste your ink with another shallow apology as you try to "respin" your orignal pathetic remarks.

john tarantino | 2011-05-03 07:53:11

Dear Tyler, We are so fortunate to have such thoughtful, and well-written young people represent our fine town! I know how proud of you, your parents must be.... Continue to question whatever seems disturbing to you, and we wish you well in your college experience...the future is wide open to young adults like you!

Kim Bloom-Draper | 2011-05-03 05:43:30

Maybe politics is not your forte Mr. Leary.

Nat Simkins | 2011-05-03 05:34:46

Thank you all for such a response to my Comment. Respectfully Mr. Zeamer, I would prefer to fight next to someone that is there because he wants to serve and not because Uncle Sam told him to go.

Tyler Ramrath | 2011-05-03 05:13:49

this is a sad thing ..... This is the bias that all people that have served their country face from those people that think they are better because of what ever reason. The more I hear about this the more I feel that short military service should be a requirement for ALL citizens.

Geoffrey Zeamer | 2011-05-03 04:51:09

Mr. Jay Leary, my father was one of those 'yahoo's' who fought in WWII and I as a former 'Marine Corps yahoo' in Vietnam, and as the father of a current '4 time yahoo pilot in the Air Force' (yes.. 4 tours in Iraq and Afghanastan), take offense to your perception of the fine men and women who have served OUR country. You have never walked in their boots so you have no idea of the sacrafices that these 'Intelligent, educated, respectful and team orientated 'yahoos' have brought to our country and little respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. AMERICA IS PROUD OF ALL OF THEM!!! I would hope that any veteran and their families, that has heard and or read your comments about their lack of skills, will remember you come election day. P.S.... Thank you to all the "Yahoos" who took out Bin Laden!!! This is a great day for all Military Personel (yahoos) and for the USA!! HOORAH!

Stephen Napolitano, Commander American Legion Post #47, Holliston MA | 2011-05-02 18:26:38

When running for a public office, I understand that emotions may compromise personal judgement. This seems to be the case for Mr. Leary, calling the loyal men and women of this country who have served "yahoos" with little or no social skills. A yahoo is defined as a brute, a crude person, often lacking in intelligence, and uninterested in culture, a yokel, hillbilly. True, the military is a different culture, one that strives to breed discipline. Perhaps too many Hollywood movies and no real experience with service members? Believe me, I know plenty of educated professionals with no military service who have little or no social skills. My husband and I, both college-educated, are proud Navy veterans with family members and friends who have served; none of us are/were brutes, uneducated, and/or lacking culture. One may think that an individual is a yahoo - this is a matter of personal opinion - however it is inappropriate for anyone to categorize ex-military personnel in such a manner. Shame on you, Mr. Leary, and God bless America for the opportunity to have this public banter, thanks to us "yahoos" who have served and are currently serving to maintain such rights.

Kriss Westland, former USN | 2011-05-02 17:19:47

As a veteran who was merely 18 years old when I first headed to Iraq, I had already spent months upon months training as a Military police officer as well as in other combat tactics. When I returned I was barely 20 years old and already seen and done more then a lot of grown men I know have in there entire lives. Now a "normal" person of that age spends there time drinking and partying at college to stumble into class and take a test. Now if thats what it takes to " have some thought and who have some maybe social skills." Then I must be confused on how they are more educated then myself or any other veteran for that field.

SGT Valovcin, Freedom isn't free | 2011-05-02 14:34:12

I come from a family of yahoos and am very proud of it. My Dad was a WW2 Vet who served my home town as Veteran's Agent and later as Tree Warden. My older brother recently retired in the same town after 41 years on the fire department, the last 9 as Chief. In a few weeks time my fellow Yahoos and I will be helping to put up a tribute to those who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. As we put up the flags and posters, maybe we will stop and say, "they gave their all for the right of someone to call them yahoos". Or maybe we will just forget it and forget you on election day.

Steve Bradford, Adjutant, American Legion Post 47 | 2011-05-02 14:26:28

Very well written article, and thank you for pointing out what I missed. Thank you also for your service to the country.

Scott Heavner | 2011-05-02 14:04:40

I think I saw this movie 40 years ago when returning veterans were labeled "baby killers". As I print yet another poster for the 6,018 service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan I hope their lives were not lost in vain. "You have never lived until you have almost died, for those who must fight, life has a flavor that the protected will never taste". A special thanks to the "yahoo's" who killed Bin Laden.

Bobby Blair | 2011-05-02 13:53:08

Sorry Mr. Leary, In this day and age an apology is supposed to make everyone happy and the problem goes away. That's OK. You were expressing your real feelings whether you meant to or not. Most military veterans have more education in real life situations and how to deal with them than any college could teach in ten years. Without us "Yahoos" law enforcement would come to a standstill.

Commander, VFW Post 8507 | 2011-05-02 13:19:27

To be fair, Mr. Leary, I see no way that Mr. Ramrath (or I) could have taken your statements other than to "demonize." Moreover, the statements regarding military personnel's lack of "social skills," and gravitation towards confrontation display not only an ignorance of how the military works, but an alarming lack of self-discipline regarding prejudice in your views on other groups. Do you not get offended when others stereotype politicians as "liars," or "cheaters?" Would you be able to take those types of words as anything over than offensive? As a fellow service member I appreciate your apology, but unfortunately it does not do much to account for your lack of judgment, especially as someone who wishes to be elected and lead a community. In short: I'm finishing five years of college in order to qualify for a commission in the United States military. My mother, a retired Colonel, has a masters degree in business as well as various other degrees from military schools, specifically one focusing on the importance of dealing with local populations effectively when operating in foreign nations. The military itself is very pro-education. We aren't all rednecks, we come from all walks of life, please give us the credit we deserve before you make ignorant statements in the future.

Chris Robinette | 2011-05-02 06:35:18

Dear Mr. Ramrath: Thank you for taking the time to comment on my statements in the April 25, 2011 Selectman debate aired on HCAT. First, Thank you for your service to our town and country. After listening to my comments on the Quinn Bill, military, and "yahoos", I agree that my comment might lead one to imply that former military personnel might not act in the best interest of public safety, however that was not my intent. My intent was to recognize the benefit of having a highly trained and educated public safety force. The Quinn Bill was enacted to recognize that higher degree of education with the hope that it would translate into a more capable public safety officer. Clearly, I could have and should have chosen better wording to express those thoughts. That being said, I disagree with your further assertion that my comment sought to "demonize" any group or imply that a significant percentage of former servicemen "want to come in a be yahoos on our police force." That is how you translated my comments. I recognize that many current and former servicemen and women today have significant education, training, and interpersonal skills that are an asset, not only to our military,and public safety departments, but also to our community when their military service to our country is finished. I further recognize and appreciate all that our ourrent and former members of our armed forces have contributed to our community. I applaud their sacrifice and unselfishness. Please accept my sincere apology for any statement that I made that offended you or anyone else. Sincerely, Jay Leary

Jay Leary | 2011-05-02 05:17:34