The Grendels of Risk Management
Many organizations and companies create risk management policies to help prevent financial disasters and employee problems. Many fraternities and other similar organizations have employed risk management techniques to help prevent alcohol related accidents. These accidents include, but are not limited to drunk driving violations, minor in possession charges, physical injury due to intoxication, and fights. Some tactics employed by appointed risk management individuals within organizations include sober drivers during certain days of the week, sober party monitors, assessment of grievances upon violators of a predetermined risk management policy, and speakers on the dangers of alcohol. In short, risk management strives to prevent and reduce alcohol related problems.
The origins of fraternal risk management systems can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon text of Beowulf. Beowulf, a Geat, arrives among the Danes to destroy a beast known as Grendel. Grendel was really a euphemism for alcoholism that turned to fratricide. The berserker warriors of the Danish nation were revered during times of war. However, during times of peace they had no other skills to practice. Their peacetime activities consisted of heavy drinking with the loosely organized band of soldiers and king known as the commitatus. After excessive drinking, the berserker warriors often turned violent and slaughtered ‘brothers’ from their community. Due to the overall intoxication of the group, no one remembered the violence of the previous night. It was as if a mysterious monster had struck when everyone was asleep.
Many modern alcohol education programs refer to alcoholism as a ‘monster of a disease’. Beowulf’s job as an outsider was to eliminate the monster of alcoholism from the Danish people. Beowulf succeeds in fixing one instance of alcoholism. However, in a later battle, Beowulf finds and wields the giants’ sword. In the ancient Bible, God gave this sword to the violent giants so they would slaughter each other with it. The dangers of the sword have been passed on to all societies with the social acceptance of alcohol. Even in the twenty-first century, individuals who abuse alcohol no longer use swords to kill; they use their automobiles.
The following is a list of stories of people who have symbolically become ‘Grendels’. These people have let alcohol take over their lives and it has lead to pain, suffering, loss of an education, and poverty. More specifically, the stories below all occurred to fraternity members who were aware of risk management options that could have prevented their problems. These people were in a similar situation to the Anglo-Saxon idea of the commitatus. The names have been changed and the organization names have been excluded. All of these people suffered because of alcohol, like the Anglo-Saxon society. The tragedy of the Anglo-Saxons is still prevalent in the modern world. Arguably, life has not changed much...