When I was 18 years old I enlisted in the US Army. Shortly after arriving at Basic Training I witnessed a taste of the real world. While waiting in a long chow line one evening I saw a guy walk all the way to the front of the line. This isn’t typically something you see a trainee do in boot camp but this guy happened to be built like a monster; he looked like a shorter version of the ex-boxer Mike Tyson…he was a bull! Anyway, I guess he thought, who’s gonna stop me. A few seconds later this scrawny little guy walked up to him and politely challenged his arrogant behavior. This bull of guy just glared at him, didn’t say a word and retreated to the end of the line. Nothing more was said about it. Later that evening after I finished my shower, I was walking back to my room and spotted that huge guy in the hallway, almost hiding as he stood near an open doorway just staring into space. Seconds later a heard a short yelp, then nothing. He was waiting for the guy who approached him in line and in a split second he snatched that little guy and slammed him to the floor, slid him up against the wall, forcing his head into the corner between the floor and wall and then proceeded to pound his head as if he was chopping a log with an ax. Huge, heavy blows to the scull, over and over again as he held his head in the corner. I quickly grabbed him with both of my arms wrapped around his chest but he tossed me aside like I wasn’t even there. Several of us desperately tried to come to the aid of that kid but the anger and adrenalin that was erupting from that guy was no match for anyone at that moment. Finally, a few of us did manage to pull him off but the damage was done. The young recruit appeared to be alive, fairly still and bleeding like crazy. A drill sergeant ran over and cleared the hallway as he tended to this young man.
I never heard if the victim recovered or even lived. The psycho that punished him retreated to his bunk until the military police arrived and then they took him away. He never returned to the barracks. There was never any open discussion about what happened…that was it. I tried to find out if any of the other trainees knew who that kid was or how I might be a able to reach him but nobody could help me. To this day I still wish that I could have done more to help that young kid.